Dictatorship Venezuelan style
Over the last few days, whatever was left of Venezuelan democracy collapsed. We can finally say that Venezuela is a leftist dictatorship.
The bad news is that the rule of law is a thing of the past. The good news is that the people are not taking it, as Sabrina Martin reported:
Venezuelans are blocking highways and taking to the streets in response to an apparent Coup d’Etat.Though Maduro’s regime arranged anti-riot measures in several Venezuelan cities, hundreds of Venezuelans turned out to express their opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling that dissolved the powers of the country’s congress.Caracas, Los Teques, Vargas, Carabobo and Anzoátegui are just some of the states where protests are taking place.In Urbina, Caracas — a popular area that has traditionally been faithful to Chavez — is now flooded with protesters.“No more dictatorship,” they are reportedly chanting. “We want freedom.”
We are also finally hearing from other Latin American democracies through the OAS. The US is also speaking out loudly:
The besieged leftist government of Venezuela is under mounting pressure after the United States and 13 of the hemisphere’s other leading nations demanded the release of political prisoners and other pro-democracy concessions.The Organization of American States, the region’s main collective body, has threatened to suspend Venezuela because of what it called the autocratic repression imposed by President Nicolas Maduro.Maduro’s foreign minister, Delcy Rodriguez, will appear Monday before an OAS panel in Washington to plead her government’s case. This comes after members of the Venezuelan delegation stormed out of OAS meetings last week, according to diplomats.OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro, in a report on Venezuela, noted that Maduro canceled both a referendum that could have recalled his government and later regional elections, after the opposition made huge gains in parliamentary voting in 2015. A Maduro-controlled Supreme Court then stripped the parliament of much of its power.In addition, thousands of people have been arrested for their political beliefs, Almagro said, including opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who has been in jail for three years.The OAS is demanding Venezuela hold elections or risk suspension from the group, a drastic measure. The last time a country was suspended was when the military and right-wing politicians staged a coup against the elected president in Honduras in 2009.Under OAS regulations, a country can be suspended when the “democratic order” is “altered.”
Frankly, I don’t put a lot of stock on the OAS. Over the years, Latin American countries have always been very careful to meddle in their neighbors’ affairs. As a Colombian professor told me years ago: “We say nothing because we don’t want them to say something about our elections”. This is sort of the Latin version of he who is free of sins cast the first stone!
So what happens now? We will continue to watch the Maduro regime stay in power with whatever means at their disposal. At some point, I do hope that the soldiers understand that they are the only ones who can bring about change. Only the military has the power to force Maduro to leave the country or resign.
Last, but not least, I sure hope that all of those Hollywoodies who embraced Chavez and his socialism are staying away from Caracas. It’s probably not a good idea to be seen in Venezuela as a friend of Hugo these days!