In the run-up to the Venezuelan legislative elections on December 6th, 157 legislators from the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru sent a joint letter to President Nicolas Maduro.
Last week, Human Rights Watch, along with 36 other human rights organizations, issued a statement that Venezuela did not deserve to be re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council. This week, unfortunately, the UN General Assembly did just that. Here’s why the human rights groups were right.
The question isn’t how the majority of Venezuelan citizens will vote in the December 6 national assembly elections but what conditions the balloting will be conducted under… and whether the government will accept the results.
UNASUR’s statement that it would not question the judicial decisions of its member states over the recent sentencing of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was as predictable as it was troubling. It’s a perfect example of how the region has regressed, with little respect for its troubled past and a warning of things to come.
Venezuelans are having children at higher rates than their counterparts in other countries, despite the economic crisis (aided, perhaps in part, by the condom shortage). The resulting non-working, dependent population will make it increasingly difficult for the government to sustain its high levels of redistribution, even if oil prices improve. Ultimately, demographics may be what doom the Bolivarian revolution.
August marks the beginning in a decisive stage in Venezuela’s electoral process and, quite likely, the future of elections in the polarized country. Three scenarios seem the most likely, with only one of them remotely positive for the country’s vitiated democracy.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has resurrected century-old land claims over two-thirds of neighboring Guyana and its corresponding maritime borders. Venezuela’s aggressive efforts are a direct challenge to the hemisphere’s traditions of rule of law and diplomacy. The U.S. and other neighbors need to step up their condemnation of Venezuela’s aggression and urge a diplomatic solution.
Now that President Nicolás Maduro has fixed the date of the legislative elections, the Venezuelan opposition has a real opportunity to capitalize on the country’s severe economic problems and the government’s low disapproval ratings. The successes of opposition parties in Chile offer a lesson for Venezuelan opposition leaders. Here’s a three-step plan.