Tags: maduro | venzuela | chavista

Venezuela's Maduro Cracks Down on Democracy

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Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 09:02 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s brutal regime has proven to be extremely divisive among Latin American nations.

Three much differentiated groups have emerged. The first one is comprised of countries ruled by pro-Chavistas governments including Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and to a lesser degree Argentina. They fervently favor the Venezuelan government and have not uttered a word about its crushing repression.

In the other extreme, there are nations that want discourse, and are gravely concerned, including Panama, Peru, Colombia, and Chile.

Finally, in the middle, are the leftist countries with more democratic and tolerant authorities, which have not condemned Maduro’s abuses but are recommending more dialogue and peaceful resolutions of the political conflict in Bolivar.

The European-style socialism of Brazil, Uruguay, and newly elected President Bachelet of Chile could be included in this later group.

This division was apparent last week when Panama asked the Permanent Council of the Organization of the American States, OAS, for a  meeting of the hemispheric foreign affairs ministers, in which the whole continent, including the United States and Canada would have discussed and eventually condemned Maduro’s flagrant human rights abuses.

This possibility is clearly listed in the OAS charter, voted and agreed upon by all its members, including Venezuela. But the Chavista government, with the support of the so-called Bolivarian republics (a kind misunderstanding of Simon Bolivar ideas) not only vetoed it but also wanted to use the more friendly and controlled UNASUR (Union of Nations from the South), an organization of South American Nations created a few years ago after the inspiration of Hugo Chavez and Nestor Kirchner.

The Venezuela authorities of course, want to avoid any kind of international condemnation of its brutal repression against opposing politicians and university students, including the imprisonment of former Mayor Leopoldo Lopez.

The “Bolivarians” insist that the OAS is violating the nonintervention principle, one of the pillars of the whole international legal system. But what they really hide is that the  organization includes a “democratic clause” which forces all its members to collectively promote and defend representative democracy.

The same clause was included in the Mercosur, UNASUR and other regional organizations and was used several times in the past to punish lesser violations such as Paraguay’s a couple of years ago, when the Senate impeached and removed leftist President Fernando Lugo and Hondura’s coup against the Chavista President Manuel Zelaya.

Caracas and its followers among the region are using this clause in a very biased way: to be very strict and intolerant with their political adversaries and extremely permissive with themselves.

They understand representative democracy ensuring relatively clean elections. But they lack complete elemental freedoms, such as the freedom of press, the freedom of speech, even the respect for private property.

In all the countries ruled by the Chavista manual, there is little respect for these institutions, no independent judiciary, and a lot of pressure over the media and the opposition parties and leaders.

Recently, Maduro went even further, supressing any kind of public demonstrations or protests against the government.

In Latin America, democracy and freedom had come at a high cost and much blood.

During decades people have fought for their rights, confronting all kinds of dictatorships, terrorism and tyrannies. For that reason, to cross certain borders is extremely dangerous.

It is incomprehensible that so-called popular governments, which came to power to secure the interest and welfare of their people, especially the poor, foster a militaristic regime very similar to the most violent ones of the past.

A great paradox, and a very bad prospect for Latin America.

Luis Rosales was elected as the youngest state representative in Mendoza, Argentina, in 1989. In 2011 he was candidate for governor in Mendoza, representing Compromiso Federal, a union of three local and national conservative parties. He is the Latin American partner of Dick Morris. Together they have worked in more than a dozen presidential campaigns around the region. They have written the book “El Poder,”  about their experiences in Latin America and other parts of the world. To read more of Luis Rosales' reports, Go Here Now.

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s brutal regime has proven to be extremely divisive among Latin American nations.
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2014-02-12
Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 09:02 AM
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