Contributed from Victoria
In a speech two days ago at the Munich Security Conference, Donald Trump’s right-hand man, Vice US president Mike Pence, told the European nations represented there to recognise the American puppet Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
In doing so, he positioned himself and Washington as the defenders of democracy. But one may ask, why are such staunch defenders of democracy involved in pressurising other countries into what the US wants them to do? Some might suggest that respect for democracy involves accepting the right of other nations to make up their own mind, without having pressure exerted on them.
Secondly, Guaido was never elected by the Venezuelan people. An effort has been made to impose him on them. Contrast this with villainised Nicolas Maduro. He actually won two elections, which major teams of international observers reported to be fair and above board. the second time, which was last year, he gor more than 65 percent of the vote, and even though many didn’t vote, the result was good enough to be the envy of many other heads of state.
Given this , the people of Venezuela had their say. So where does imposing an unelected individual as the ruler equate with defending democracy?
It is said that Maduro is a dictator representing an undemocratic government which won’t allow proper elections. As said already, this is not the verdict of international observers who have been on the scene. It is only the claim of those who have lost.
Secondly, over the last 20 years, the governments under Chavez and Maduro has gone to the ballot box a total of 26 times. This must be something of a world record.
The next accusation is that Maduro had tried to circumvent the parliament by establishing a new body. What actually happened is that a convention was established not to replace the parliament, but to come up with an agreed recommendation for a new constitution. The rider was that this was not to be a body of political parties and politicians, but of ordinary people like workers, peasants, women indigenous people, business owners, students and others elected by their own peers. The recommendation would them go to the parliament for consideration.
One would think that having the opinions of others besides politicians is exceedingly democratic. But no. This is branded as dictatorship.
Added is the claim of brutality in the streets. According to real eye witnesses and verified statistics, by far most of those killed and injured have been supporters of the government. What does this suggest, other than the brutality is coming mostly from the other side?
The final piece of the argument is that Maduro is wrecking the economy. There is an economic crisis. Wherever the government is responsible for it, this is a matter for those who live in Venezuela.
But it must be acknowledged that twenty years of a cruel embargo, openly directed at wrecking the economy, may have a lot to do with the creation of shortages. The massive theft of oil revenue over the period, may have deprived the country of foreign earnings, especially when it has been almost entirely dependent on trading oil.
What have any of these things to do with defending Democracy?
Pointing out these matters does not mean that Nicolas Maduro is the best thing since sliced bread. It does not mean that improvements are not needed. Either way, this does not justify what is increasingly looking like an invasion to capture oil and other resources, securing a strategic advantage over China and Russia in global geopolitics and installing what could not be called anything but a puppet government.
Those who continue to deny all of this, have an obligation to present facts and not wild accusations and prove the above wrong. They have not managed to do so to date and It is unlikely that they will ever be able to do so.
As the details coming out begin to mount, it becomes ever more difficult to argue that Guaido and his supporters stand for anything else than their own greedy ambitions.