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The international community needs a different approach to Venezuela

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Venezuela was once noted as one of the richest countries in the world; now chaos is the only thing that abounds.

Eighty percent of Venezuelans live in poverty, many are suffering from malnutrition, illness and outright hunger, inflation has risen to record levels, jails are filled with political prisoners, hospitals host an overpopulation of sick children, asylum requests have increased, and on top of all this, violence is more and more common. 

Venezuela is currently in an unprecedented social and political crisis that foretells the country is doomed to collapse.

Four years ago, President Nicolas Maduro (communist-leader Hugo Chávez’s successor) became a despot dictator who turned his back on Venezuelans. These days, I wonder whether the international community should follow. 

Recently, President Maduro held a controversial election to erode the power of the country’s National Assembly and write a brand-new constitution.

The poll was heavily criticised by many countries that have also been condemning Maduro's regime. International organisations such as the United Nations as well as nations in both Europe and Latin America nations have accused him of trying to cling onto power and of leading the country to impoverishment.

But when it comes to action, no one seems ready to do anything about it. 

It is both deterring and disheartening when democratic countries and human rights institutions merely bemoan Venezuela’s critical situation.  

It might look like the United States has taken a step forward by deciding to impose sanctions on American firms and individuals doing business with Mr Maduro, but it is demoralising to learn that, on the other hand, Venezuela and the US have been trading oil with each other.  

A military intervention may not be the best solution to pacify Venezuela, but a non-intervention isn’t either.

Some would want to intercede in Venezuela to allow negotiations between the Government and the opposition to ensure free elections, release political prisoners and allow the supply of humanitarian assistance. But neither that nor condemnations and disapprovals are effective in a country where, while Venezuelans have been dying on street protests every day since February, their leader says the struggle is between the ninety-nine percent against the one percent.

Hence, a passive intervention ends up being the best solution.  

Venezuela has the world’s largest petroleum reserves; therefore, their customers should make the utopian effort to boycott their oil or oil-related businesses.

Oil exports represent a fifty percent of the country’s income and without them: on the one hand, Maduro could not finance social programs (according to official figures, they have provided more than one million poor Venezuelans with homes) and would lose his voters’ support; on the other hand, if he raised Venezuela’s oil prices, countries could not afford to pay for it.

Venezuela’s suspension from the Organization of American States (OAE) last June was a measure that should be followed by some poor Caribbean nations that the country supplies with cheap oil. All the same, democratic governments and organisations should intensify investigations into drug trafficking, corruption and misappropriation carried out by Venezuelans.

In the short run, Venezuela would suffer the consequences of isolation and Maduro would have to reconsider taking a step back in his administration. However, Venezuelans would be most the most affected by this hypothetical scenario. Applying Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey’s Robert Menendez proposals could relieve them: the approval of bills that would send money to opposition organisations and would provide them with $10 million for food and medicine.

Venezuela’s socialist party (PSUV) leaded by Hugo Chávez implemented an anti-capitalist revolution (“La Revolución Bolivariana”) when it came to power in 1999, and since then the party has destroyed Venezuela’s democracy up to the point of emulating totalitarian governments such as Bashar al-Assad's in Syria, Kim Jong-un’s in North Korea, and Robert Mugabe’s in Zimbabwe.

Thus, cooperation between democratic countries is essential to undermining the form of oppression applied. Every single nation advocating democracy should condemn the appalling actions executed by Maduro, they should not refuse, as France has, to get involved because impassivity encourages other oppressors to keep on oppressing. Politicians owe it to the people.  

Military intervention is not the means to an end for it would prolong the dispute between Venezuela’s government and opposition. The United States was already involved in the 2002 military coup against the elected government of Venezuela, it also refused to recognise the presidential election results in 2013, and supported opposition street protests in 2014 economically and ideologically. It did not work back then, and it should not be different this time when the outlook is far more violent.

Non-intervention isn't what the oppressors deserve; active or military intervention heads to a long destructive world conflict; passive intervention might bring long-term stability.

For a country with such oil reserves, any arrangement is hypothetic, and any agreement is utopian, but it is crucial not to be blinded in the face of injustice and tyranny, especially when those affected by it (political prisoners, jailed journalists, and oppressed citizens) ask you not to. It might look like Governments do not do much for now, but you can. Use social media as it is done in Venezuela to read, write, post, tweet, share, and, in the end, somehow intervene.

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