Venezuela: Dialogue better than empty slogans of democracy

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A Chavista march in Venezuela in February 2019 - Photograph: Ricardo Vaz/Venezuelanalysis.com

The road map for democracy should take place only after the humanitarian crisis is resolved, says Ronald Benjamin.

The US has officially recognised a self-proclaimed president of Venezuela as the country’s president.

Guaido the self-proclaimed president, have been recognised by Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay and Peru.

The United States has pressed all nations to stand with the forces of freedom. European Council president Donald Tusk expressed hoped the EU would unite in support of democratic forces.

The question is, are democracy and freedom alone adequate to resolve the deep seated humanitarian issues effecting Venezuelans? Can democracy and freedom guarantee that there will not be inequality?

In one party authoritarian nations such as China, millions of people have been lifted from hardcore poverty by the communist regime even though its people have never experience the western notion of freedom and democracy. Chinese citizens today are taking the lead in many creative technological and economic endeavours that are moving the country to another level.

Cuba’s literacy rate is at 100% and life expectancy parallels first world nations despite limited funding and suppliers.

It is not merely freedom and democracy that enlighten a nation; it is about leaders who are honest and who are in solidarity with the needs of the common people while being rooted in compassion.

Democracy and freedom meet their true purpose only when ordinary men and women are given equal opportunity to grow individually and collectively as community and when they are able to decide on their destiny. It also takes leaders who are conscientious and who consider the wellbeing of the common people.

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In this context, certain Western nations have blatantly disregarded the humanitarian crisis that has polarised Venezuela; the issues there have been narrowed down to democracy and freedom with the underlying motive to control the political outcome of the South American nation. The focus has been to get rid of current President Nicolas Maduro in the name of freedom and democracy.

In Europe millions of young people are jobless; why has the so-called concept of freedom and democracy been unable to resolve the basic right of Europeans to be gainfully employed? In 2018 the unemployment rate for European countries such has Greece has gone up to 20.2% followed by Spain 15.2% Italy 10.9% and France 9.2%. That is quite high for these countries. who seem to have great freedom and democratic credentials.

In the United States, a quarter of American workers make less than US$10 per hour, puting them below the federal poverty level. In contrast, the rich in the United States recovered from the 2008 financial crisis: in 2012 the top 10% of earners took home 50% percent of all income. That is the highest percentage in the last 100 years in the United States.

These are countries that have embrace the neoliberal economic system, which has undermined democracy in relation to workers’ rights to be gainfully employed and grow. This facts shows the current crisis in Venezuela is not merely about democracy and freedom, but the underlying economic system that in fact erodes the true nature of democracy.

The way forward to address the crisis is for the Venezuelan government and opposition to engage in dialogue and address the humanitarian crisis of high inflation and lack of medical supplies, which has affected the young and the old. Nations of goodwill should help in the mediation process to bring the parties together. This requires a joint solution for the common good of the nation and demands sacrifice and solidarity instead of an obsession with political power.

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The Madura regime has totally depended on its oil resources and created social programmes to empower the poor, but it has not built the necessary foundation to diversify its economy in a pragmatic way. This has made the nation vulnerable to the fluctuations in oil prices, which have affected its currency. Its rigid ideological socialism has failed to create a sustainable economic eco-system that works for its nation in a complex neoliberal global economy. Furthermore economic sanctions by the United States have created more hardship for the common people of Venezuela.

The road map for democracy should take place only after the humanitarian crisis is resolved. And this should be decided by the Venezuelan people rather than being dictated by foreign powers. The United States and Europe should stop deceiving the people with democratic slogans when its actual intention is to gain control of the oil resources of this nation through its companies.

What is needed now is an end to the humanitarian crisis and democratic solutions that are wholly owned by Venezuelans.

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Khoo Soo Hay
Khoo Soo Hay

The problem lies with the US refusing to accept a socialist run government. The rightwing capitalist elites not been given the opportunity to plunder the country, obviously wants to get rid of Maduro, a supporter of the late President Chavez. Also it is its vast reserves of oil that made the American oil conglomerates supporting the overthrow of the current socialist regime. All those South and Central American countries supporting the US are nothing but under American control.