What is happening in Venezuela?
It was a tense weekend in Venezuela and its borders with Colombia and Brasil.
Two concerts, one in Venezuela and another in Colombia, became the focus of what is being fought at political level.
Clashes were reported on the border as a so-called convoy of humanitarian aid (20 million dollars against the over 7 billion dollars of Venezuelan assets frozen in US and UK), at least 2 dead where reported and last night Venezuela ended diplomatic relations with Colombia.
The situation remains fluid and confused, while the US insist on threatening an armed intervention and main international aid organisations and institutions refused to back and deliver US aids (from the Red Cross to the UN).
Legitimate Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, has been elected last May with 67% of consensus in free, democratic and legal elections. It’s worth noticing that Maduro defeated the other three candidates. It was not a farcical election with just one candidate. Indeed three opposition candidates presented themselves. It could be argued that in fact Maduro also won because the opposition was divided and unable to set behind them differences and see the bigger picture. But this, as it is, was not Maduro’s problem.
Maduro run the elections and won. And this is a fact.
Another problem is whether outside Venezuela, the richest country in oil, others were making different plans and calculations. But this too, was actually not Maduro’s problem.
He was voted by the majority of the people who decided to go to the polls in Venezuela. And therefore he is Venezuela’s legitimate president.
Unfortunately tough, too many times we are witnessing a peculiar interpretation of democracy: a president, or government or party, is democratically elected - according to some - only if it is the president, government or party the very some want to see in power.
So, democracy a la carte. And if the strong powers do not like the outcome of an election, well let’s make the elections again! So much for respecting the freedom and choice of people.
Perhaps the most fitting example of this democracy a la carte is Turkey. President Erdogan did not like the outcome of the June 2015 elections, so he called for new elections on 1 November the same here. Yet the results were still not what he liked, so he called for a third election!
The US, the country with most interests in who is running Venezuela, because of its possibilities to exploit or rather plunder Venezuelan oil, did not like of course Maduro reelection. Yet, they bet on and believed in an opposition which is absolutely divided, inconsistent and weak.
With the help of Colombia’s new right wing president, Ivan Duque, and right with Brazilian president Bolsonaro, the US is trying to get their hands on Venezuela.
As award-winner British journalist John Pilger said, ‘the war against Venezuela is built on lies’. Nothing new, there. So was the war against Iraq and that against Afghanistan, only to name two.
The US tried to disguise their intention to plunder Venezuela’s oil at all costs, by saying that there is a humanitarian problem in Venezuela. Indeed there is a humanitarian problem, caused precisely by those, US first, strangling the economy of the Latin American country by imposing sanctions and blocking trade of vital products, namely medicines, food and other primary needs.
Venezuela has been living in a permanent state of emergency for at least two years now. And this of course has affected the economy and people’s life.
Maduro himself has been targeted by a rather patched up attempt to kill him. But the fact that the opposition is weak does not mean is less dangerous, and it actually managed to divert resources and attention from the daily running of a country to the need to defend and be alert to attempted coup born dead and other attacks.
Maduro is someone hard to like, indeed his choice of allies especially abroad, shows how opportunistic and also desperate he is. He feels no shame in teaming up with Erdogan or Iran despite their poor record when it comes to human rights (and this is a euphemism).
But the point is, nobody has the right to violate the sovereignty of another state because it does not like its president (legitimately, freely and democratically elected) and nobody has the right to invade another state and tell the people of this state that in fact they have no right to decide freely how and by whom they want to be governed.
Nobody has the right to bring war and despair to a nation and its peoples because they don’t ‘comply’ with another order established and dictated somewhere else, on top of people’s heads and certainly not with people’s interests in mind.
Let’s not forget this.