Venezuela: A Country Beyond Ripe

June 16, 2019 Updated: June 16, 2019

Commentary

Nicolas Maduro has reached a point of no return, as has the crisis in Venezuela.

The story began many years ago, perhaps when the young trade unionist received political training in Cuba, or during the dark machinations surrounding the death of Hugo Chavez that catapulted Maduro into the presidential chair via the same method used by medieval monarchs and by Fidel and Raúl Castro: The outgoing king designated his successor.

The enormous political capital that Chavez had garnered ratified Maduro’s power in the first post-Chavez elections; but the defeat in the legislative elections made him wobble: He realized he would never win a democratic election again. So he replaced unsupportive judges of the Supreme Court, then began to undermine the National Assembly by declaring it in contempt of court and creating a spurious Constituent National Assembly (ANC) to supplant its legitimate duties, while viciously chasing rival politicians, arming groups of thugs to increase his repressive forces, and criminalizing peaceful protests by students and citizens. The dead were on the people’s side.

Maduro later used his monarchical absolutism over the six powers of the Venezuelan State (executive, judicial, electoral, military, and media, plus the ANC, the new legislative power that he created) to prepare for the elections of May 20, 2018, where his main rivals were dead, imprisoned, deprived of rights, or banned from public office. It was like running the 100-meter dash at the Olympics after eliminating the rest of rivals, killing one, disqualifying another, accusing another of doping, etc., bribing the judges and the press, and then choosing a physically disabled person as a rival for the competition to be valid. How could he lose?

Opponents and many countries warned him that they would not recognize the results, but Maduro mocked them, until he saw that they were talking seriously. Some 50 nations already do not recognize him as president.

In the meantime, he ignored the serious economic hardship caused to the people by his incompetence and the destruction of the productive system through nationalizing policies inherited from Chavez, corruption and theft of public funds, the fall of oil prices, and the substantial expenses of the political-military class organized from Havana City.

To finish selling his soul to the devil, he forbade the entrance of humanitarian aid with coarse pretexts, intensified repression by allegedly committing crimes against humanity, and multiplied state terrorism by depriving lawmakers of their immunity and torturing those military who quit supporting him. With these actions he has destroyed any hope of a possible peaceful solution to the conflict.

It is laughable to talk about dialogue under these conditions. It is criminal to deny a humanitarian intervention based on the principle of the responsibility to protect. In Venezuela countless parties have intervened: Cuba, Russia, Iran, the kingpins from the Colombian ELN, and Hezbollah terrorists introduced by the connection of Tareck El Aissami. The only ones who are less and less in Venezuela are the Venezuelans: it is estimated that between 3 million and 4 million have emigrated.

The government has on its side corruption; the smuggling of gold, currency, and drugs; and the encouragement of violence and repression. Contrast this with an increasingly impoverished population, with not only a shortage of food, medicines, and consumer goods (affected by an unstoppable inflation), but also the collapse of water, electricity, and public health infrastructure and services.

Maduro believes he continues to govern, but he cannot. Over 80 percent of the population believe he must go, most Chavez supporters accuse him of betraying Chavez, relatives of his victims call for justice, 50 nations ignore him, and even his allies are denying him credit. His paranoia is well justified; many of the army’s senior officers have abandoned him and his closest collaborators conspire behind his back. Every day that passes his life is at risk, and the window to escape starts to close. Cuban intelligence has already understood that Maduro cannot be saved, but they dream the Bolivarian Revolution can be. Surely they already have plans to put in power someone they trust … just not called Maduro.

Roberto Camba Baldomar

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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