Globe: Venezuela’s Insurrection
The trend now ceases to be ironic: states that overthrow a ruling establishment with the promise of a new age of equality are always the states to fail in the most miserable ways. These nations are typically, if not always, socialist experiments. The latest rendition of this trend is Venezuela. An earlier article for this column covered the deteriorating nature of Bolivarian Venezuela; the crisis of rationalized healthcare, the skyrocketing in violent crime, the shortage of basic supplies, and the corruption and diminishing status of civil rights were all covered.
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s current president, lacks the political skill and luck of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, and the Venezuelan population has increasingly become less forgiving of their government’s failures. The last Globe article in this subject mentioned the beginning of anti-government protests in Venezuela. Since that article’s publication, the situation has grown significantly worse, and the Maduro government responded as all authoritarian governments respond: with a crushing of political rights and a strengthening of the government’s power
The Maduro regime has achieved this end by overthrowing the constitutional order in an illegitimate election. Venezuela has been heading in a despotic direction since the inception of the Bolivarian regime, and the authoritarian actions have accelerated under Nicolas Maduro. Propaganda has been utilized by the Venezuelan government since Hugo Chavez was the leader, gang violence is a tool used as population control, and the Venezuelan supreme court has acted as a puppet of the Maduro regime. When in 2015, the Venezuelan opposition gained control of the assembly, the Maduro regime went on the defensive to retain control of power, which have done nothing but agitate the situation, and throw Venezuela into a state of chaos.
In the latest and most blatant attempt to retain power, the Maduro regime held a corrupted election to rewrite the constitution for the Maduro regime and the Bolivarians to hold more power. The opposition, sensing the hopelessness of the situation, called on opposition supporters to boycott the election, and violent protests broke out across the country. With predictable results, the election lead to the allies of the Maduro regime reigning power. Bolivarian establishment bigwigs and allies have been placed in power.
The Maduro regime wasted no time in exploiting their new-found power; the day after the seizure of power, the Venezuelan government sent state police to arrest two opposition leaders; one being a long-time political prisoner under house arrest, the other being the former mayor of the Venezuelan capital city of Caracas. He was still in his nightwear when the state police came for him. The Maduro regime has not held back on divisive rhetoric.
The new leader of the puppet assembly, former foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez, has begun making threats against opponents of the Bolivarian regime. She has stated that “justice will come” to the “fascists that wage an economic war against the people.”
Nicolas Maduro’s despotic actions have not gone unnoticed and unpunished by the nations of the world. The United States have barred Maduro from entering the country, and have bared off any assets in the United Sates. Maduro has that restriction in common with Bashar Al-Assad of Syria, Kim Jung-Un of North Korea, and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Peru, a traditional Bolivarian ally of Venezuela, has expelled the Venezuelan ambassador for the government’s actions.
The governments Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors Mexico, Columbia, and Brazil have stated that they will not recognize Venezuela’s new legislative body as legitimate. The ambassadors of Britain, France, Spain, and Mexico have decided not to recognize Maduro’s puppet legislature. Bolivarian Venezuela’s honeymoon period has come to a brutal end.
In a country already plagued by one of the highest homicide rates in the worlds, politically-inspired violence has become a common occurrence in Venezuela. More than 120 people have died since the turmoil began to spike in April, including ten who died on the day of the election. The rise of violence has led many to question whether Venezuela is on the edge of civil war.
Venezuela is far from the war-torn nations of Africa and the Middle East, but the political foundations have been laid and the grievances exist. Violence exists between both government forces and civilian opposition, and pro-regime supporters and opposition.
The strongest foreign voices of opposition to Nicolas Maduro and his Bolivarian allies is the United States government. Pressure on Venezuela has intensified since the inauguration of Donald Trump as President. The Trump administration wants to cut back on Venezuelan oil imports. Oil is vital to the Venezuelan economy, as it remains the only hard currency the economically devastated country retains. The United States accounts for about 40% of Venezuelan oil exports.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has eluded to wanting to see an end Nicolas Maduro’s rule. The Secretary of State commented that he would like to see a “change of conditions where Maduro decides he doesn’t have a future and wants to leave on his own accord.” In comments that were met with criticism by leaders in Latin America, President Trump, when speaking on the issue of Venezuela, stated that military action was a possibility.
Whatever the future may hold for Venezuela, it is now certain that yet another system has been thrown into the ash heap of history. Venezuela is the latest example of a lesson that become brutally apparent in the 20th century: utopia is a myth. When citizens forfeit power to the government, that government will not return power when their designated ideology fails to provide the prosperity it promised. Countless nations have learned this the hard way, and now it is Venezuela’s turn.