It took some breathtaking acts of illegality and repression that at the end paid off handsomely. Mr. Maduro was just sworn in for a second term as Venezuela’s president. What’s next for this once richest country in Latin America?
In my mind there’s no doubt that Venezuela will sink from its current status of failed state to a collapsed state. See, if your economic, political and social policies are bad, you get an epic humanitarian meltdown. What’s needed is a strategy led by Venezuelans, sustained by a serious multilateral platform for fostering a political change when Mr. Maduro’s government collapses.
The odds that the UN Security Council accepts an intervention in Venezuela, I think, is zero considering the Chinese economic interests, Russian and Iranian (on a smaller scale) geopolitical ambitions. Hoping for diplomatic ‘negotiations’ with these countries to limit their support for Maduro is not easy as their presence there is connected with other global hotbeds (Kossovo, Syria, South China Sea).
Also, suggesting military intervention only empowers hardliners and lead others to join Chavismo to ‘defend the motherland.’ Whilst I support targeted economic sanctions on the abetters of a patronage network that maintains the status quo in Venezuela, I don’t think indiscriminate sanctions as proposed by the right-wing Lima Group (a group that doesn’t recognize Mr. Maduro’s regime) are effective. It would only amplify the suffering and tide of refugees.
Fact is that we can’t count on Mr. Maduro to stop Venezuela’s crisis. As we’ve seen in parts of Africa, extreme socioeconomic collapse and the absence of rule of law tend to render the opposition toothless and send the common man to fend for himself in order to survive. This system has become Maduro’s most effective tool of repression and corruption. Venezuela’s economic and political crisis would have to worsen to such a degree that it threatens the power base of hard-liners and the military. I don’t see that happening soon.
People need an alternative to start believing change is possible in Venezuela when the collapse happens otherwise the unknown will only extends Mr. Maduro’s stay in power. The time may have come for a Venezuelan government in exile (GiE) and a provisional parliament shifting the centre of gravity of opposition decision-making beyond the borders of Venezuela. A GiE is a very rare move in international politics and results from widespread belief in the illegitimacy of the ruler(s), war or humanitarian crisis. The effectiveness of a GiE depends primarily on the amount of support it can receive, from foreign governments and its own population. It’s important that the Venezuelan GiE, from the onset presents itself as offering a democratic alternative for all Venezuelans. To be effective, it must be able to win over Chavistas who are (becoming) disenchanted with Chavismo. It’s no easy task, but the wounds of my neighbor country are too severe to respond quickly to standard procedures.
Photo: Pro democracy rally in Port Imperial, West New York. IPhone, 16 July, 2017.