Is it getting hot in here or is it just the millions of desperate Venezuelans demanding an end to ruinous state socialism? I raised this point yesterday when writing about Venezuela. It seemed strange that in the midst of a major international crisis America’s leading Democratic Socialist had remained silent. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez still hasn’t said anything directly but sometime last night or this morning she retweeted a call for a negotiated settlement and an end to sanctions on Venezuela.
This statement doesn’t mention that neighboring Colombia, which has taken the brunt of the Venezuelan refugee crisis, has called for Maduro to step aside or that Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, and Peru have all sided with the U.S. As for the countries supporting Maduro, that’s Cuba, Bolivia and maybe Mexico. And not surprisingly Maduro’s regime has the support of Russia which is shocked, shocked that any country would interfere in someone else’s dictatorship:
Russia, the source of billions of dollars in loans to Venezuela, insisted that Maduro remains the legitimate president and slammed the U.S. approach. Russian officials and pro-Kremlin lawmakers said that Venezuela — after Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Syria — was becoming the latest victim of global U.S. efforts to foment regime change in violation of international norms.
U.S. recognition of Guaidó was aimed at “deepening the split in Venezuelan society, increasing conflict in the streets, and fundamentally destabilizing the domestic political situation and further escalating the conflict,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “attempts to usurp the power in Venezuela are illegitimate and contradict international law.”
As for a negotiated settlement, Maduro has been involved in negotiations with various parties for nearly 3 years. More than a year ago the latest round of negotiations came to an end. The result? Absolutely nothing changed:
Members of Venezuela’s leftist government and opposition leaders concluded a round of talks in the Dominican Republic on Saturday, failing to reach a deal to address the country’s political and economic crisis…
The result prolongs the standoff between the government and the opposition, who have tried and failed for years to strike a pact. The two sides last met for talks in December.
As Foreign Affairs pointed out, these negotiations have been going on since May of 2016:
Since May 2016, the Union of South American Republics (UNASUR), an intergovernmental organization comprising 12 South American states, has attempted to mediate between the government and the opposition, in the hope of averting a meltdown. In October, after the Venezuelan government-controlled electoral commission (CNE) waved off a constitutional referendum and indefinitely suspended local elections—blocking an electoral resolution until the 2018 presidential elections—the Vatican stepped in.
Those mediation efforts have predictably failed, thanks to an inability on the part of the mediators and other outside parties to impose real costs on the government. Since March, the Maduro government has violently repressed street demonstrations, resulting in over 70 deaths, and it continues to imprison at least 120 of its political opponents. The government has resisted calls to hold elections before 2018, refused to recognize the right to a constitutional recall referendum, and, most recently, called for an illegal constituent assembly to revise the constitution. However, it has faced no consequences from the mediators.
Negotiations aren’t a fresh solution, they’re the status quo. And ending sanctions would just make it easier for Maduro to drag things out even longer while his people starve.
We’ve already been doing what AOC says we should be doing for 2 1/2 years and the result has been brutal repression and murder in the streets, hyperinflation so severe that money is weighed instead of counted, millions of formerly middle-class people fleeing by foot or boat to neighboring nations, and nearly everyone left behind starving on the aptly named “Maduro diet.” That’s not to mention that a once free democracy is now a dictatorship where the media and the courts are all run in the service of one man who even distributes food on the basis of loyalty to the regime.
Just the other day Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described America as “dystopian” and argued for the “fierce urgency of now” in changing it, but when it comes to the vile socialist dictatorship in Venezuela she apparently can’t manage any similar outrage or urgency.
Update: A statement from the DSA.
New @DemSocialists statement on Venezuela: "The economic, political and cultural crisis there is complex, but a U.S. driven coup is totally unacceptable." Two House Dems, @AOC and @RashidaTlaib, are DSA members. pic.twitter.com/AgYBfE2fpi
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 24, 2019
Update: Here’s DSA member Rep. Omar taking the same line as AOC.
A US backed coup in Venezuela is not a solution to the dire issues they face. Trump's efforts to install a far right opposition will only incite violence and further destabilize the region. We must support Mexico, Uruguay & the Vatican's efforts to facilitate a peaceful dialogue.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 25, 2019