There are a number of different perspectives regarding the current situation in Venezuela within the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice, and so we have chosen six articles that reflect that diversity in perspectives. This is part 4/6. Originally published on Mediapart on 29 January 2019.
Venezuela is experiencing an unprecedented crisis, which has been gradually worsening in recent years, to the point of dramatically affecting all aspects of the life of a nation. The collapse of public services, the collapse of the oil industry and the extraordinary fall of GDP, hyperinflation, the vertiginous increase of poverty, the migration of millions of people define this crisis, among other factors. Political unrest has escalated to very dangerous levels, undermining the constitutional state, the framework of social coexistence and the health of institutions. The country’s population is in a state of absolute vulnerability.
The Government of Nicolás Maduro has advanced towards authoritarianism, suppressing de facto numerous forms of popular participation that had been established since the beginning of the Bolivarian process. Repression has increased in the face of numerous protests and demonstrations of social discontent; the government has hijacked the electoral route as a collective decision-making mechanism and has proved intransigent in the goal of holding on to power at any cost; Maduro has ruled outside the Constitution, applying a permanent state of exception. Meanwhile, extractivism is deepening and economic adjustment policies which favor transnational corporations are implemented, with a negative impact on society and nature.
In parallel, the extremist sectors of the opposition bloc that managed to lead different mobilizations, have prompted several calls for a forced and radical ousting of the Maduro government (in 2014 and 2017), which generated very serious violent confrontations and attacks on infrastructure. This has further contributed to the strangulation of the everyday lives of millions of people, and had a severe impact on the framework of peaceful coexistence.
Additionally, in the context of the growth and alignment of the political right in Latin America, foreign intervention has intensified. In the first place, the Government of the United States has assumed a much more aggressive position toward Venezuela since 2015, through Executive Orders, threatening statements, creation of regional and international lobbies against the Maduro Government and economic sanctions which have impacted the national economy. Other international actors such as China and Russia also have significantly influenced the course of events according to their own expansionist interest, and their economic and energy appetites, configuring an extremely tense geopolitical situation.
On January 23rd, 2019, the self-proclamation of the president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as ‘interim president’ of Venezuela in order to head a transitional government, has unleashed a new escalation of the crisis. This attempt to create a parallel State in the country found a quick recognition by the government of the United States, as well as other allied countries such as Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, among others.
The creation of a parallel State centered on the National Assembly and the Supreme Court of Justice in exile, supported by the US and the so-called Lima Group, opens the stage for the deepening of the crisis and the unleashing of an internal armed conflict, a civil war with international participation. A devastating scenario for the population and for the Venezuelan Republic, which could be dismembered and be preyed upon by different international interests, as has happened in other world regions as a result of recent imperialist interventions.
The aggressive pressure of the Government of the United States, as well as the diplomatic confrontations between the latter and the Venezuelan Government, create very dangerous constellations.
The current situation no longer represents only a threat to the possibility of democracy, but to the very lives of millions of Venezuelans and to stability in the region. In an armed confrontation, the people are the first affected, and even more in today’s Venezuela, where the population already lives a huge precariousness and violence in the context of territorial disputes.
In this sense, we who sign,
- Reject the authoritarianism of the Maduro Government, as well as the government’s repression in the face of growing protests throughout the country, for food, transportation, health, political participation, public services, living wages, among others. The Venezuelan people, who suffer the enormous precariousness and the current repression, have the right to protest without being criminalized for it.
- We reject the self-proclamation of Juan Guaidó and the creation of a parallel State in the country, which will only lead to greater conflict and does not solve the main problems the country is facing.
- We repudiate any anti-democratic political shortcut that does not pay tribute to a peaceful solution decided by the people.
- We reject US interventionism, as well as any other form of foreign interference. Venezuela must not become an international battlefield. It is the Venezuelan people who must decide their destiny. We invite the peoples of the world to support and accompany them in this sense.
- We urgently call for the convergence of political actors and social organizations to join forces in order to stop the escalation of the political conflict in Venezuela.
- We urge to promote dialogue scenarios and seek solutions in which the Venezuelan people can decide, democratically and from below, their next destination; to reconnect with the processes of democratization that the Bolivarian revolution had built in its beginnings.
- We ask that the solution be based on the principles of the Constitution of the Republic. It is essential to reconstruct the social, political and institutional frameworks of understanding.
- We support the proposals, made from Venezuela, of negotiated outputs either through the mediation offered by the governments of Uruguay and Mexico, and/or by holding a binding consultative referendum so that the Venezuelan population will decide on the call to general elections. The fact that the Organization of American States (OAS) did not obtain the votes necessary to support the proclamation of Guaidó, gives indications that there is still room for an international dialogue.
- We invite national political actors to promote channels for an exit from the economic crisis that is suffocating the Venezuelan people. These channels should help to alleviate the basic needs of the population and boost the resurgence of an economy that enables the development of life and social welfare.
The way out of the deep crisis that the Venezuelan society is undergoing must be peaceful, constitutional and restore its sovereignty to the Venezuelan people.
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