The United States government must cease interfering in Venezuela’s internal politics, especially for the purpose of overthrowing the country’s government. Actions by the Trump administration and its allies in the hemisphere are almost certain to make the situation in Venezuela worse, leading to unnecessary human suffering, violence, and instability.
Venezuela’s political polarization is not new; the country has long been divided along racial and socioeconomic lines.
But the polarization has deepened in recent years
[JMAC] This statement is baseless. Polarization has been equally proportionated since 2002. The manipulation of polls and election results have transformed the information. But there has never been a whole side with more than 40% support at any time since 1999.
This is partly due to US support for an opposition strategy aimed at removing the government of Nicolás Maduro through extra-electoral means.
[JMAC] This conveniently leaves without comment that the other parts have a direct intervention, with the presence of personnel in the country, from CUBA, RUSSIA, and CHINA. Additionally, the ties the Venezuelan government has with Turkey, Syria, and Radical and Terrorist ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS. Current Maduro’s term is based on an election that was hurried by a Constituent National Assembly that was formed out of legal and constitutional procedures by an Electoral Power, which denied Venezuelans to realize a recall referendum. So, the extra-electoral means affect both sides.
While the opposition has been divided on this strategy, US support has backed hardline opposition sectors in their goal of
ousting the Maduro government through often violent protests, a military coup d’etat, or other avenues that sidestep the ballot box.
[JMAC] The only protest aimed to oust the president was in April 2002 and it was successful. The opposition does not initiate violence during the protests. We (the opposition who protests openly on the streets) do not have guns nor pepper gas armory. All that comes from the military and militias, with government-supplied Kalashnikov rifles. This is also conveniently omitted.
Under the Trump administration, aggressive rhetoric against the Venezuelan government has ratcheted up to a more extreme and threatening level, with Trump administration officials talking of “military action” and condemning Venezuela, along with Cuba and Nicaragua, as part of a “troika of tyranny.”
[JMAC] Once again, the part where RUSSIA, TURKEY, and SYRIA have pledged to send troops to defend Maduro’s regime is left out. Additionally, the regime counts with paramilitary support, from Colombia FARC and ELN, that currently dominates and has invaded the frontier states of Venezuela.
Problems resulting from Venezuelan government policy have been worsened by US economic sanctions, illegal under the Organization of American States and the United Nations ― as well as US law and other international treaties and conventions.
[JMAC] This is an outright lie. The Venezuelan Government Policy is the only cause of the economic problems that are reflected in huge shortages of otherwise readily available food, medicine, spare parts for cars, among other simple things. Additionally, the “bachaquero effect”, people who sell at huge premium regulated products, are a direct consequence of the production, distribution, and retailing price control. These are handled from a centralized government entity that knows, beforehand, where the products are going to be sold, and the bureaucrats send their army of poor people to buy their rations, just to accumulate them in storage and sell them for a huge profit.
These sanctions have cut off the means by which the Venezuelan government could escape from its economic recession while causing a dramatic falloff in oil production and worsening the economic crisis and causing many people to die because they can’t get access to life-saving medicines.
[JMAC] Again, this is not true. The recession in Venezuela began in 2009 and has not stopped ever since. It is due to the combination of the harsh economic conditions that have shut down more than 70% of the private economy. They are a direct consequence of the tight controls that have converted common merchandise in illegal items (e.g. butchers sometimes have to sell meat with greater care than a drug dealer do business) and, as oil USD income recessed, the printing of worthless Bs surged to maintain social programs. The price, ever increasing hyperinflation. Consequence: Continual Impoverishing population.
Meanwhile, the US and other governments continue to blame the Venezuelan government ― solely ― for the economic damage, even that caused by the US sanctions.
Now the US and its allies, including OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, have pushed Venezuela to the precipice. By recognizing National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the new president of Venezuela ― something illegal under the OAS Charter ― the Trump administration has sharply accelerated Venezuela’s political crisis in the hopes of dividing the Venezuelan military and further polarizing the populace, forcing them to choose sides. The obvious, and sometimes stated goal, is to force Maduro out via a coup d’etat.
The reality is that despite hyperinflation, shortages, and a deep depression, Venezuela remains a politically polarized country.
[JMAC] It has never been NON-POLARIZED since 1999.
The US and its allies must cease encouraging violence by pushing for violent, extralegal regime change. If the Trump administration and its allies continue to pursue their reckless course in Venezuela, the most likely result will be bloodshed, chaos, and instability. The US should have learned something from its regime change ventures in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and its long, violent history of sponsoring regime change in Latin America.
[JMAC] There are many and sizeable differences with the Middle East US Interventions. First, the opposition is not armed. I’ll have a push here. WE DO NOT HAVE GUNS. So, the bloodshed, which is occurring increasingly since Maduro took office in 2013, comes from government military, police, and militia. The chaos is government sponsored, since it is the winner when the order is oblivious.
Neither side in Venezuela can simply vanquish the other. The military, for example, has at least 235,000 frontline members, and there are at least 1.6 million in militias. Many of these people will fight, not only on the basis of a belief in national sovereignty that is widely held in Latin America ― in the face of what increasingly appears to be a US-led intervention ― but also to protect themselves from likely repression if the opposition topples the government by force.
[JMAC] True. But it is not mentioned that the government has imprisoned any popular politician whose voice has started to gain track among the population, particularly the impoverished one. So, the balance, regardless of polarization, is in favor of the government by controlling courts and prisons. There is no rule of law in Venezuela when the government is involved.
In such situations, the only solution is a negotiated settlement, as has happened in the past in Latin American countries when politically polarized societies were unable to resolve their differences through elections. There have been efforts, such as those led by the Vatican in the fall of 2016, that had potential, but they received no support from Washington and its allies who favored regime change. This strategy must change if there is to be any viable solution to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.
[JMAC] False. There are many solutions. The negotiations have shown a government that is irresponsible when fulfilling its part. That’s because they are expert in the short term. You don’t mention that the Electoral Power has shutdown audits and the manipulation of results occur when there is no publicly available online data during elections. A real solution is just a presidential election, with the Electoral Power committed to let all the polls results open to the public at real time, eliminating the advantages that the many control points for arriving at the voting table give to the government party, and, foremost, eliminating the armed militia from supervising elections in the areas that decide the elections.
For the sake of the Venezuelan people, the region, and for the principle of national sovereignty, these international actors should instead support negotiations between the Venezuelan government and its opponents that will allow the country to finally emerge from its political and economic crisis.
[JMAC] It is clear that you have no idea of what is happening in Venezuela, or if you do, you’re very hypocrite about it. Negotiations are useless while one of the parties have the gun power in their hands and using it. When that is neutralized, we’ll be able to have a meaningful negotiation. Meanwhile, although unorthodox, we welcome US assistance.