Events in Venezuela may be heading toward a catastrophic conflict. Venezuelan society is deeply divided between President Nicolas Maduro and his supporters, backed by the military, versus an opposition led by self-declared president, Juan Guaido, leader of the National Assembly.
This is the sad, predictable result of US economic sanctions that have squeezed Venezuela’s oil production and pushed the country into vertiginous collapse and the oligarch capitalists intentionally holding the economy hostage.
There, fixed it for ya!
Makes too much sense.
The players will buy it depending on how much money is in it for each.
Exactly, the western oligarchs and their military minions want the oil to stop revenue to the Bolivarian Revolution … like killing two birds with one coup.
I didn’t see that comparison at all. Sachs is saying that in both cases there was an outside player and in the case of Poland, that player allowed both sides to share power. He is specifically saying the US is not acting like Gorbachev did in that we are only interested in kicking Maduro out completely.
I still like Sachs, though @Callmeskeptical gave me some things to think about with his last piece he wrote here. I think Sachs missed the mark this time though because he could have brought Obrador into the discussion when it comes to who could possibly mediate between the two sides (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-mexico/mexico-says-willing-to-mediate-in-venezuela-political-crisis-idUSKCN1PJ1WV?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+(Reuters+World+News)). Sachs is clear that given our history, we can’t do any mediation and (in my opinion), we just need to shut the hell up other than a nod to Obrador or another party who could possibly be viewed more integrity than we can ever be.
From my limited reading, I would say the two sides don’t have have equal claims, but the election of 2018 was not a reflection of everybody who wanted to have a say in the leadership. As in Brazil, people were barred from running (I suppose it’s an intricate task to figure out the validity of these actions), and valid or not - many people boycotted the election. While I will stand with the absolutist call that we stay out of it, I won’t stand with the absolutist position that there is the Maduro side and everyone else is a criminal monopoly capitalist trying to bring Venezuela to its knees (I’m sure everyone in that set will be on the Guaido side, but it is clearly bigger than that).
While this is a reasonable proposal with an historical precedent, I’m doubtful that the opposing parties in the Venezuelan economic free-fall will compromise or that there is an impartial arbiter acceptable to both sides. I wish Dr Sachs had explained how Venezuela was ruined and by whom. If he had, the countries that could assist might be easy to identify. Sending Eliot Abrams into the fray isn’t helpful. He is a liar and untrustworthy. Apparently, Iran-Contra is too many crises ago. Makes me want to re-think presidential pardons. I fear the days ahead will be ones of continuing suffering for the people and threatening for Moduro’s opponents.
Outrageous. How about just executing the entirety of the plutocratic maggots that have been wrecking Venezuela for decades? Maduro ran his race and won. Handily.
And Sachs is telling him to give up power just because a bunch of frigging oligarchs threw another tantrum? Oh, that won’t encourage them to turn up the heat even more. If that’s even possible at this point.
When are one of these douche-y American writers going to actually support the Venezuelan people during this?
Pieces like this make the problem worse, because they seduce already fragile-brained liberals into supporting crap like “negotiations” which do nothing but erode the legitimacy of an elected regime.
Screw Sachs. And the oligarchy he rode in on.
Dr. Sach’s article does not discuss the impossible economic situation in Venezuela, or the fact that millions of the country’s people have already emigrated because of the failed state. Sharing of power will not restore the economy or encourage the people to return. Moreover, Maduro is supported by China, Russia and Cuba – all totalitarian countries, whose main interests are either utter exploitation of Venezuela’s oil, or to include Venezuela in their war against the West. Comments that fail to consider how sharing of power could resolve the economic situation or avoid a clash of the developing totalitarian axis against the West are not writing or reading.
How do you walk away from the table when a brokered agreement was at hand, refuse to participate in elections and then get to declare a government takeover?
When the U. S. Empire says you do and has the $$$ and illegal criminal capacity to prove it.
As are the interests of the vandals and criminals in DC, not that the formerly United States is a democracy. Venezuela also has large reserves of gold and other minerals.
Jeffrey, for all your good and humane intentions, which are many and good, you fail once again to recognize that none of the power players have such intentions. All are out to pillage and plunder, and do not stand in relation to each other as did the USSR and Solidarity. Neither the Venezuelan opposition, which consists mostly of the Patrons of mainly European descent, nor the countries backing it, nor the countries backing Maduro, have any stake in the welfare of the majority of the Venezuelan public, who are mostly of indigenous descent.
HI economic magic, and I think I read that the UK has the gold and won’t give it back to its rightful owner, Venezuela.
Excellent essay from someone who has a clear non-ideological understanding of the situation.
It is true that US policy towards Venezuela has worsened the situation there, but even without the US destabilizing policy, Venezuela would be in trouble. Basically, to run an economy you have to know how economies work. Maduro trained as a bus driver, and has the views of a bus driver (nothing wrong with being a bus driver, but bus drivers can’t be expected to appreciate the nuances of the economy.)
If the US overthrows Maduro and replaces him with a military-supported dictator (something that seems imminent), it would be a repeat of what the US did many times in Latin America, and it would remind other Latin American countries that the US today is the same one it always was - and that is good.
Could easily be. The US bank that was holding the oil accounts has now blocked access to them by the lawful government. Here we go again. (Didn’t Ronnie Raygun say something like that as a putdown?)
Would you mind explaining that last bit?
HI Monckton----but any leader of a nation has skill areas that are lacking . Have we ever had a president in America that knew about all areas? NO! Besides, it doesn’t matter, because when Chavez was running the nation for his people, America was attacking him all the time.
Harry Truman was a bankrupted haberdasher, and he did some good things, FDR was exceptional in many areas, but he sought out people who knew who they were doing. Remember, he made a woman the head of Treasury—way back then.
So looking back at our many lousy presidents—where are you getting this idea that American presidents have been exceptional? : )
I read a little more about the election:
That was kind of interesting - I didn’t know there was a change in procedures where the opposition couldn’t run a fusion candidate. What was really needed was a Ranked Choice Ballot and that way if there were a majority of the people were strongly against Maduro (as it is he got 67.8% of the vote with 46% turnout (official count - opposition claims 25% or less according to Wikipedia), then they would have ranked all candidates above Maduro and even if Maduro had a plurality win, he still would have lost (just as in the recent RCV race in Maine). And if he had one, the opposition would have less of a leg to stand on.
I also looked at:
“Only Venezuelans living overseas and in Caracas can participate in the presidential elections.” - what the hell does that mean? I see electoral maps that showed the whole country voted (area wise - at least 55% did not vote - kind of like here).
I see that many election observers did not come to Venezuela for the election. I suppose due to certain preconditions not being met. I wonder what would happen if observers came to the US.
What we really need is some ultra simple open source software driving RCV paper ballot processor and some uniformity across countries so that election observers are always there (including in the US).
I don’t think it’s possible to work for 3 years with a gangster who has embezzled billions, literally starving the citizenry.
And what’s this about an invasion? Who needs one? Don’t you realize that CIA drone operators know where Maduro is 24/7. He’s no longer the head of a government, and so it’s open season.
Don’t forget, the first set of sanctions established at the end of 2014 were targeted to individuals in the Maduro government. They weren’t economic sanctions writ large, but sanctions on individuals, denying them visas, etc. The Congress authorized the president to sanction individuals in the government through 2019 in 2016, sanctions Trump levied in 2017. Venezuela owes China and other creditors a lot of money, and China is not extending loans under terms friendly to the Maduro government anymore. The idea that this failure is all on the US is laughable and appears to be uncomfortable excuse-making by the same type of progressives that thought Communism worked out, save for the authoritarian regimes that ran communist governments.
The above being said, there’s zero reason to interfer militarily in Venezuela, none. It’s the height of stupidity for Trump to be playing war-making games over a Maduro government likely to collapse all on its own.
I mean many in Latin America tend to forget the cold war years, when the US would subvert their governments using their own military for the dirty work. I think the US hasn’t changed a bit, and Venezuela can be a reminder of that. Just a silver lining, if not a very nice one.