CARACAS, Venezuela – The inauguration of President Nicolas Maduro’s second term was surrounded by negative statements from neighboring countries. Roberto Santana, professor of History and International Relations of UERJ, spoke on the subject. He explained how looking beyond the West can help Venezuela to bypass the crisis and regional isolation.
For Professor Roberto Santana the current crisis in Venezuela may have its beginning located in Maduro’s first electoral victory for the presidency in 2013. He points out that currently the opposition political forces in Venezuela do not recognize the electoral results that gave the victory to the Chavista as early as 2018. Opposition groups to Maduro say that the elections that guaranteed the second term to the Chavista were rigged.
“This right-wing position is unfounded, because the Venezuelan Electoral Court also made the 2015 legislative election, in which the opposition was largely victorious. So there is an impression that the right-wing opposition recognizes when it wins and does not recognize when it loses,” said Santana.
The researcher also remembers the economic aspect of the crisis that devastates Venezuela. He points out that the country is under economic sanctions imposed by the government of Donald Trump of the United States. The sanctions, according to Santana, have “choked” the Venezuelan economy and “harming” the country’s people.
“Venezuela’s current economic problem is from the outside in. There is an economic blockade on Venezuela – it has been imposed by President Donald Trump since last year,” said the professor. He explains that economic sanctions hinder major transactions of the country’s economy, excluded from the US financial market, the world’s leading. This situation is reflected in internal political conflict. In his second consecutive term, Maduro assumes the government without support from the National Assembly, the Venezuelan Legislative.
Santana explains, however, that the Venezuelan president has the support of other sectors of the state.
“The other powers are Chavista majority, they are still pro-Maduro. Venezuela, unlike Brazil, does not have three powers, it has five, they consider the Electoral Justice as a fourth power and have a fifth power is the Moral power, which would be a junction of what is here the Attorney General’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office and the General Comptroller’s Office,” recalls the professor, explaining that the Venezuelan opposition controls only one of the powers within the country.
“So the legislative power of the country today has no power, no effective power at all, this is because of the mistakes of this right-wing opposition,” he explained.
After the legislative election of 2015, the Venezuelan National Assembly, majority of the opposition, began to confront the measures of Nicolás Maduro, and was later penalized by the Supreme Court of the country, explains the professor. Already in 2017, as violent demonstrations broke out in the country, the government called a National Constituent Assembly to redesign the country’s constitution. In this process, the presidential elections were also advanced from December to May 2018, in order to appease the political crisis.
Regional isolation makes the Venezuela look beyond the West
The inauguration of the second term of Nicolás Maduro underwent official protests from several neighboring countries, including Brazil.
A manifestation of the Lima Group, a group created in 2017 to foment the democratic process in the Venezuelan crisis, was against the possession of the second mandate of Maduro. Members of the group are: Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Argentina, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Canada. Of these, only Mexico refused to sign the demonstration. The Organization of American States (OAS) also protested against the inauguration.
After the inauguration of Maduro, some of these countries once again demonstrated against Maduro. Paraguay has severed diplomatic relations with Venezuela.
For Roberto Santana, this situation draws a regional diplomatic isolation to Venezuela, which should count with the support of governments of the region aligned to the ideological profile of the country. Among them, Cuba and Nicaragua.
“[Maduro’s government] will bet, it has been betting since last year, with the deepening of relations with China, Russia, India, Turkey, that is, returning its economy to Asia – which is becoming in recent decades, the center of the world economy – and secondarily to politics with the Americas and with Europe,” he explained.
Santana recalls that this change of perspective is a way of tracing alternative routes to economic blockades, which also includes the creation of the cryptocurrency, the Petro.
The professor believes that it is not possible to know how long this situation will last, but points out that economic reasons can reduce this siege. He explains that countries like Brazil and Argentina lose money by reducing relations with Caracas.
“It does not matter to the Latin American peoples that governments are in conflict. It is in fact of interest to the Latin American peoples the integration of Latin America in every way – economic, social, diplomatic and cultural – because all countries have to gain from it,” he concludes.