Sunday, January 13, 2019

Venezuela is a militarized narco-dictatorship and will not be negotiated out of power

"Dictator's will not negotiate themselves out of power." - Gene Sharp, strategic nonviolence expert on BBC program HardTalk in 2015
 #MaduroIllegitimate #MaduroDictator #MaduroUsurper

Venezuela is a militarized narco-dictatorship that will not be negotiated out of power, Venezuelans are suffering greatly under the Maduro regime and it is part of a larger threat to democracy in the region. Chavista defectors such as Supreme Court Justice Christian Zerpa continue to confirmed this.

Consider the following:

On June 13, 2019 the opposition leader  Juan Guaidó was taken by Maduro's secret police while on his way to an opposition rally. Former OAS Ambassador for the United States, Roger Noriega sent out the following tweet.

NPR on January 10, 2019 reported of the suffering of Venezuelans: "Hyperinflation, widespread hunger and deaths from preventable diseases in formerly oil-rich Venezuela have sparked an exodus of more than 3 million people, from a nation with a population of just over 30 million."

Reuters reported on January 9, 2019 that "Venezuelan security forces have detained and tortured dozens of military personnel accused of plotting against the government, and in some cases their family members," made public in a study by New York-based Human Rights Watch and Venezuela’s Penal Forum, which also says forces tortured civilians. Reuters found that in "32 cases in which accused plotters detained by the intelligence service Sebin and military intelligence group DGCIM were subjected to beatings, asphyxiation and electric shocks to obtain details of alleged plots.When authorities could not find the accused, they in some cases detained and abused family members to determine their whereabouts, the report says."
Two nephews of Venezuela’s first lady were sentenced to 18 years in prison on [December 14, 2017] following their convictions in New York on U.S. drug trafficking charges." The New York State attorney reported on the conviction over twitter. The two men were arrested in Haiti in 2015 and were found guilty in December 2017 of trying "to smuggle 1,700 pounds (800kg) of cocaine into the United States." Jackson Diehl in The Washington Post reported on the Venezuela, FARC, Cuba trafficking axis on May 24, 2015 in the article "A drug cartel’s power in Venezuela":
Ever since Colombian commandos captured the laptop of a leader of the FARC organization eight years ago, it’s been known that Chávez gave the Colombian narcoguerrillas sanctuary and allowed them to traffic cocaine from Venezuela to the United States with the help of the Venezuelan army. But not until a former Chávez bodyguard [ Leamsy Salazar] defected to the United States in January did the scale of what is called the “Cartel of the Suns ” start to become publicly known. Spain’s ABC newspaper published a detailed account" ... [and] ABC reporter Emili Blasco followed up with a book [that says] ... Cuba’s communist regime and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah have been cut in on the trafficking. 

In Venezuela, the Maduro regime calls those who oppose the regime: worms, and fascists. In the past sectors of the political opposition in Venezuela sat down to dialogue with a government whose leadership rejects the legitimacy of the opposition but used the process for tactical purposes to slow the imposition of international sanctions while they continue to engage in systematic human rights violations.  In Venezuela the purpose of the Constituent Assembly that was brought into existence on July 30, 2017 with escalating repression, including government snipers shooting unarmed demonstrators in the head, and tampering with voting machines in a massive fraud is to make the opposition illegal. This turned Venezuela into a second Cuba.

On May 18, 2017 The Miami Herald reported that it had a secret recording of a Venezuelan general advocating for the use of snipers against street demonstrators. Beginning in February of 2014 the phenomenon of young Venezuelans being shot in the head while peacefully protesting was first widely documented and has continued over the years

Snipers in Venezuela targeting government opponents.
The role of the Castro regime in Venezuela is under reported in The New York Times, and other mains stream media outlets. The Cuban dictatorship beginning in 1959 had strategic designs on taking over Venezuela to exploit its natural resources in order to magnify its regional impact. Nevertheless the United States Southern Command military in 2018 recognized this relationship:
"Cuba’s negative influence in Venezuela—notably through its intelligence service and Armed Forces, which play key advisory roles shaping Venezuelan domestic policy —is evident in the Maduro regime’s increasingly authoritarian tactics and human rights abuses. This relationship is symbiotic, as Cuba receives oil and financial support in exchange for keeping the Maduro regime afloat." ... " The continued assault on democratic institutions provides increased space for illicit actors to operate with impunity, and for Russia, China, and Cuba to expand their influence over the corrupt Maduro regime."
Venezuela has been a full blown dictatorship since the Maduro regime on October 20, 2016 illegally suspended a recall referendum because the dictatorship knew that it could not obtain a favorable result. 

The International community is now aware of the threat of Venezuela to democracy in the region and the Maduro regime has lost all legitimacy. The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States resolved among other things "to not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s new term as of the 10th of January of 2019," and "to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. The European Union has called for new elections and does not recognize the May 2018 elections as legitimate."

However it is still too narrow a focus. Bolivian attorney and former government minister, Carlos Sánchez Berzaín in an important January 9, 2019 article, "Democracy is not regained without clearly identifying it's enemy" identifies four countries (Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia) that are "under a common group of dictatorships" and that they are "integrated into a group controlled by Cuba." Sánchez Berzaín understands that "to regain democracy, it is vital to clearly identify its enemy that is not just a single one local dictator"  but a “transnational organized group.”

Worse yet, the new government of Mexico is led by a Castro regime ally and has broken away from the Lima Group and recognized the Maduro regime. This development should not just concern Venezuelans, but also Mexicans, and democrats the world over. The democratically elected government of Mexico, like Venezuela's 20 years ago, needs to be watched closely and democratic institutions defended.

No dictatorship has ever negotiated itself out of power, and the Maduro regime is no different. They have used and will continue to use dialogue as a tactic to delay and distract the opposition. However, nonviolent strategy remains the best option for restoring democracy in Venezuela. "Violent flanks" and the use of the so-called "diversity of tactics" reduces mobilization and decreases the probability of success for a resistance movement. Strategic thinker Gene Sharper put it succinctly when he said: "using violence is a stupid decision." Violent resistance is not a short cut to ending the regime but prolonging its time and power while undermining the international legitimacy of the opposition.

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