Room for debate

It requires the most extraordinary naivete to imagine that pressure from this quarter is likely to promote democracy in Venezuela or anywhere else.

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Maduro beat his opponent by a narrow margin in the presidential poll, but the PSUV extended its lead in the municipal elections of December There was no such clamor for action when elections were stolen in Mexico or Honduras, when democratically elected presidents were ousted in Paraguay or Brazil, or when the Uribe regime presided over wholesale butchery in Colombia.

Their willingness to endorse sanctions is further proof of that. How justifiable are its political moves over the last two years? These are the people who will decide what kind of sanctions the US should impose, and when.

For many people, all too familiar with the history of US intervention in Latin America, this will go without saying. Diane Abbott Over the past year, left-wing writers have debated the crisis in Venezuela, focusing on some basic questions: Marea Socialistapreviously organized as a current within the PSUV, has now divided into two groups, with sharply contrasting analyses of the Venezuelan crisis.

We can expect those polemics to continue, especially now that Maduro has announced presidential elections will be held in April. And what chance is there that the United Socialist Party of Venezuela PSUV will take the necessary steps to win back the popular support it previously enjoyed?

They also have a record of colluding with authoritarian regimes in Latin America. The United States and its allies have no legitimate role to play in resolving the Venezuelan crisis, and their attempts to do so should not be given any rhetorical cover.

They have no more credibility than the US as champions of human rights. Above all, nobody should give a shred of legitimacy to efforts by the US and its allies to interfere in Venezuelan politics and impose their own preferred solution to its crisis, whether that means military aggression or economic sanctions.

No such article would ever see the light of day, even if it came down firmly against Russian intervention. However, it is useful to be reminded of those sanctions, because they were applied just two years after Maduro won the presidential election. Canada and European countries like Britain and Spain have this much in common with the United States: However, some things should never be open to discussion.

Again, a little thought experiment should help clarify things. You can find a sample of this debate in articles by Gabriel Hetland and Mike Gonzalezwho put forward a critical perspective, and George Ciccariello-Maher and Gregory Wilpertwho take a more sympathetic line.

By any measure they did not reinforce democracy, rule of law or human rights. US interference in Latin American affairs has not let up for so much as a week. There are two clear differences between that invented scenario and the real-life one Smilde is proposing: Venezuela in is not Panama, and an invasion would not be a surgical strike.Room for Debate.

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Room for debate
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