Main menu

What is to be done about Venezuela?

August 11, 2017

Venezuela is a disaster. Its democracy is broken and its economy is in ruins. The social fabric is being torn apart, and its national identity is up for grabs. People are going hungry and institutions are going to pot. The country is increasingly isolated and has all but exhausted its supply of medicine, food, money, and friends. Venezuela is so close to the maw of the abyss, it can feel its hot breath...

Maduro’s grip on the situation became even more tenuous this week as the international community rejected his government’s efforts to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution. The U.S. responded by slapping more individual sanctions on corrupt Venezuelan officials. Meanwhile, 13 countries from across the hemisphere (minus the U.S.) signed the “Lima Declaration,” which denounces the rupture of democracy in Venezuela and refuses to recognize the legitimacy of Maduro’s new constitutional assembly...

Maduro responded immediately to the Lima Declaration by calling for a new “dialogue of respect for Venezuela” among his ALBA allies and four of the declaration’s signatories: Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Argentina. Maduro’s proposal is essentially to create a smaller Latin American focus group to counter what he calls the “failed efforts” of the Organization of American States (OAS), an organization the Venezuelan government considers a Trojan Horse for U.S. interests...

There’s little reason to think that a new dialogue would be any different, says Latin America analyst Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas. Farnsworth believes the Maduro regime would only negotiate in good faith if its survival were really on the line, and right now the stakes in Venezuela probably aren’t high enough.

But despite the skepticism, some analysts think new talks might be the best of several bad options.

Farnsworth says if Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina accept Maduro’s proposal and enter talks with a realistic agenda, a clear list of deliverables, and a series of pre-conditions to make sure Maduro isn’t wasting everyone’s time, the talks might just be Latin America’s best chance to negotiate a homegrown solution to the Venezuela problem...

Read the full article here.