Venezuela is a tropical land of massive reserves of natural resources, vast plots of arable land, and rich biodiversity. Venezuela should be a paradise. Venezuela’s national wealth has, however, been terribly mismanaged by capitalist industrialists, who starved the Venezuelan People to build fortunes, then socialist cronies, who fed the poor, yet corrupted the government and economy to enrich themselves. Fueled by high oil prices, the so-called Chavismo movement lead by the popular Hugo Chavez appeared to the solution to all the problems of the People.
Since the collapse of commodity prices and the death of Chavez, which left his successor Nicolas Maduro in power, Venezuela has spent years struggling with economic hardships and political upheaval. The response of Maduro and his government has been to use a “state of economic emergency” as a guise to silence protesters, political opposition, and dissent in general. Not only has Maduro sought to subvert Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly, he has corrupted the judiciary to do so.
He is currently relying on a dubious vote, which has massive legitimacy issues, to institute a Constituent Assembly with the power to disband the National Assembly and rewrite Venezuela’s Constitution. In short, Maduro is utilizing ill-democratic means, which offer legitimacy through a superficial adherence to democratic principles, to secure his power. His justification is that only his government can solve Venezuela’s problems, even though it is fueling many of the issues. This is analogous to the situation in Middle East and North Africa.
The Syrian Civil War, the Yemeni Civil War, the Libyan Civil War, the War in Afghanistan, and the War in Iraq have captured the spotlight, yet the real story is the ruin faced by millions of people in the Middle East and North Africa. Millions upon millions of people are starving to death due to the aforementioned conflicts and others. Venezuela also suffers from food shortages due to political and economic reasons. Unlike Venezuela, the Middle East and North Africa have very dry climates, which make food production difficult, thus the political and economic turmoil within the regions is doubly harmful.
Like Venezuela, the political leaders of the Middle East have responded to their crises by blaming any and all opposition, crushing dissident , and seizing power, which has fueled massive civil unrest, violence, and extremism. In the Middle East and North Africa, the Arab Spring Revolutions appear to have shattered the stability of the regions. Today, those leaders who survived their uprisings blame the violence and instability on those who opposed them. Many even blame foreign powers for allegedly engineering the revolutions.
In the West, some portray US President Barack Obama as the enemy of the Middle Eastern and President Donald Trump as a friendlier alternative. Although it is true Obama’s stances were unfavorable to the authoritarian governments of the regions and Trump appears more willing to support the regional monarchs, but Obama was a friend to the Peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, which is why he offered lackluster support their authoritarian governments. It is the authoritarian government of the Middle East and North Africa that have and continue to act against their own Peoples.
The Arab Spring Revolutions happened, because the government of the Middle East and North Africa were not responding to the interests of their Peoples. There may have been foreign antagonists involved, but the sentiments of the Peoples that fueled the massive civil unrest were, and are, very real. Violence-fueled instability followed, because governments refused to relinquish control and/or address the interests of their Peoples. In other words, governments, which sought to secure their power of the interests of their Peoples, were, and are, the problem.
Today, many lament the devastation and suffering, while some would be willing to return to the status quo, if it was possible to simply unwind a revolution, yet it is the self-serving, unresponsive governments that fuel the violence, instability, and economic ruin. The blame rests with bad governance. Like the Middle East and North Africa, Venezuela’s woes cannot be solved by further empowering the government that created the problem in the first place. The brewing revolution in Venezuela must change government, whether the current government is willing to change or needs to be replaced.
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