Back during the big protests when the government decided to throw out the Venezuelan constitution, I had some hope that the corrupt PSUV regime now led by Nicolas Maduro, a foul dictator noteworthy for starving his people to death, would finally get its just desserts.
Unfortunately, it seems those just desserts may never come:
“Venezuela is moving from an authoritarian state towards a totalitarian one,” says Mr Smolansky, looking shell-shocked and disorientated amid the skyscrapers of New York. “I have no idea where I will settle. Exile is not easy.”
Mr Smolansky is not alone. As part of Mr Maduro’s clampdown, 11 other mayors have been removed fom their posts on trumped-up charges. Five are already in jail, says Mr Smolansky, while seven are on the run or in exile.
Magistrates have gone underground, too. In July, just before the opposition-controlled parliament was usurped by a “constituent assembly”, it nominated 33 independent judges to the Supreme Court. Mr Maduro vowed to arrest them “one by one”. Within days, the secret police had picked up the first, Ángel Zerpa.
The rest went into hiding. Seven turned up in Colombia last month and have requested asylum. Six more are holed up in the Chilean ambassador’s residence in Caracas. The Chileans have offered asylum but the Venezuelan government refuses to let them leave.
It is the stuff of old-fashioned Latin American dictatorships. “Judicial persecution is being used as a weapon to silence dissent,” says Luisa Ortega, the former attorney-general. A government insider who was stripped of her post in August after she broke with Mr Maduro, she too is now on the run.
I have been reading more and more stories about the opposition’s leaders being forced to flee Venezuela for their lives. Maduro has abandoned the last pretenses of democracy and is now jailing or murdering most of his political opposition. Make no mistake that the last chances for peaceful reform in Venezuela are now over.
The opposition’s backs are broken and they are defeated. With many of the leaders giving up and fleeing, internal resistance to Maduro’s regime is going to quickly collapse. He is following the Cuba/North Korea model and starving and terrorizing the populace into submission while relentlessly killing and jailing any opposition. Unfortunately, these repressive tactics work, and the opposition waited far too long to act. By the time they tried to push back, it was far too late.
The article has some rank stupidity in the bottom, which is typical goobledygook from our provincial, pig-ignorant liberal elites who don’t understand how global politics works. To wit:
After a slow start, the international community has begun to respond. Big Latin American nations such as Brazil and Mexico, historically reluctant to criticise their neighbours, have taken a tough, united stance. The US has sanctioned officials suspected of abuses and has said it is prepared to raise the pressure. Europe has said it would follow suit unless Caracas moved to restore Venezuela’s subverted constitutional order.
“The international community is finally waking up,” said Tamara Taraciuk, a senior HRW researcher with a special focus on Venezuela.
It doesn’t matter how much the corrupt governments of Latin America “condemn” Maduro. None of these guys are going to do anything useful beyond issuing thunderous denunciations of human rights abuses; there won’t be any sanctions or restrictions from the rest of Latin America.
In fact, I think these governments probably waited until it was too late to do anything quite deliberately.
There are really only two solutions to the problem of Venezuela at this point. The first is a military invasion from an outside power such as the United States, and the second is an internal coup. It’s too late for any sanctions on PDVSA, the state oil company, to work now, as even if it does more damage to Venezuela there is no real opposition left to topple Maduro at this point.
It would be great if our politicians stopped pretending to care about Venezuela rather than holding these useless, pointless talks, but I guess it gives our incompetent diplomats and Congressmen something to posture about.