01 Agosto 2017 15:13
A messy situation just got messier
Venezuela is in the grip of economic and social ruin, and after a potentially catastrophic election result last week, US President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions against President Nicolás Maduro.Last Sunday marked a tipping point for Venezuela towards a dictatorship because the country’s opposition, as well as worldwide critics, boycotted the election and raised suspicion over the validity of the outcome.
[caption id="attachment_5766" align="aligncenter" width="392"] (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)[/caption]According to Maduro, there was a 40% turnout with which he won a majority, but members of the opposition estimate it was actually around 12%. This has paved the way for a new super-congress made up entirely of government backers. Such sweeping power will allow for these legislators to rewrite the constitution and modify the current governing structure. The US government said Maduro’s ‘outrageous seizure of absolute power’ was the driving force behind their decision to freeze any American assets he may have, and to ban all American companies from doing business with him. The ‘sham’ election has provoked some of the most intense protests the country has ever seen, killing hundreds and injuring many more as the Bolivarian National Guard steps up its defensive attack.
[caption id="attachment_5765" align="aligncenter" width="387"] (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)[/caption]Maduro, prodigy of the late socialist ruler Hugo Chávez, who is painted in a much more favourable light than his successor, is heading towards a totalitarian style of leadership. And while employing 370,000 soldiers to subjugate protestors and allegedly rigging an election makes it hard to defend the president in any capacity, the narrative coming out of Western countries is also problematic. Born out of a left-wing socialism, Venezuela’s ruling party, elected into power in 1998, prompted a similar wave of political restructuring across South America, with the US and Europe seeking to discredit their roots under a neoliberal agenda. The view from Washington is very different from that of Caracas. Any nation state that isn’t an ally to the US and isn’t aligned with the country’s moral script can say goodbye to any friendship, or at the very least amicability. And what is interesting is to see two ‘leftist’ narratives emerging from the situation in Venezuela. One is that Maduro is an evil dictator, and the other is that the country is being treated like any other Latin American country that governs in a different style to Western democracy. Furthermore, ‘liberals’ are being forced to realise that the ‘left’ can also be used for authoritarian regimes and politically-motivated murder, which is harder to swallow for ‘bourgeois’ international media and politicians. Put simply, it’s now the ‘left’ who must recognise the potential problems caused by socialist ideology, or Chavismo.