Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Venezuelan Crisis Needs to be Contextualized



Venezuela can not be considered a dictatorship in spite of certain violations of democratic procedures. One has to be careful as to where you draw the line between democracy and dictatorship. If you’re not careful, the U.S. may be thrown in the latter category. After all, where in the world does the candidate who gets nearly 3 million less votes than his rival get to be elected president? The Chavista governments have committed their fair share of errors. I’m the first to recognize that. But those errors have to be placed in a context. Since 2001 the opposition has declared war on the government and has done everything possible to overthrow it. Few times in history has an elected government faced such aggression on so many fronts (church, foreign powers, the national and international media, the business sector and the entire political opposition) over such an extended period of time. War and democracy are not compatible. This is not to justify the government’s errors but to provide a context to understand why the errors were committed. For example, the Chavista slogan “Unity, Unity and more Unity” is a recipe for sectarianism and clientelism, but is the result of facing a ruthless enemy with enormous resources. CONCLUSION: both sides share a degree of responsibility for the mess. In order to avoid another Syria (which is a definite possibility) leaders on both sides have to have the maturity to sit down and talk (without pre-existing demands). And foreign actors, rather than exacerbate the polarization which is what the White House, Almagro, and so many others are doing should insist on negotiations.That’s the only solution.

This piece was posted on the page of Venezuela Dialogue: A Forum for Dialogue and Reflection:
https://venezueladialogue.com/

2 Comments:

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