The international community is trying to encourage the Venezuelan government and the opposition to sit down to a dialogue. But democratic dialogue requires commitment to principles, and the government has never shown—nor is showing now—any willingness to commit to those values.
Secretary General Luis Almagro has invoked the Democratic Charter of the OAS, calling for a meeting of the body’s Permanent Council to discuss the situation in Venezuela. How the hemispheric body responds will be a test of its role and future in a divided hemisphere.
With the Venezuelan economy in a free fall, massive shortages and President Nicolás Maduro renewing a state of emergency and calling for military exercises, the question of political upheaval and state collapse in Venezuela is no longer a matter of if, but when. And when it does happen, Venezuela’s neighbors will have themselves to blame for letting it get this far and this bad.
The question for businessmen and governments with a stake in the deteriorating situation in Venezuela is no longer if the regime of Nicholas Maduro will come to a premature end, but under what circumstances.
The new majority in the National Assembly has failed in offering economic alternatives and in confronting Venezuela’s political crisis. Despite being a lousy opposition, though, they are still important.
The problem isn’t that domestic investors are treated any differently in Venezuela than foreign investors. All investors are subjected to the same arbitrary set of rules and regulations. Restoring the country’s productivity requires re-establishing predictability and respect for private property.