Cuban writer Carlos Alberto Montaner explains why Maduro’s regime is a threat to the region.
Maduro had to rectify his unconstitutional behavior. Venezuela’s Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Díaz, made it very easy for him to do so. So easy it was probably agreed upon with the government. First, Nicolás Maduro had eliminated the few remaining vestiges of democracy in his country. His hitmen on the Supreme Court took upon themselves to take over the functions of the legislative power (the Asamblea Nacional). It was their last maneuver on the path to a dictatorship without restrictions and an even firmer hand. They were free to accuse legislators of treason, or whatever they wanted to.
They couldn’t, resistance at home and abroad was too intense. Legislators and students protested on the streets. They had taken a step that was too bold. Luis Almagro quickly prepared the opposition at the OAS, while in Perú PPK practically broke relations with Venezuela and Maduro’s allies (Leonel Fernández, Rodríguez Zapatero and Martín Torrijos) warned that they would not accompany him in this new totalitarian road.
The operation to destroy the Asamblea Nacional started soon after the electoral defeat in December 2015. This is a Venezuelan version of the “Nicaraguan Piñata”. It was then, in the few weeks Maduro had before the new assembly took power when, in full charge, he reformed the leadership of the judiciary – trampling the constitution and preparing to govern by stick and try if necessary.
What does Raúl Castro think of all this? He must be worried. In the end, the leadership of “XXIst Century Socialism” is in Habana. Nicolás Maduro is just a puppet (badly) formed in Marxist theory by a few short curses at the Escuela de Cuadros of the Cuban Communist Party.
The Cuban secret services considered Maduro to be a noble and docile brute that talked to birds. He was significantly less corrupt and manageable than, for example, Adán Chavéz, the late coronel’s brother. He was not perfect but, among available Venezuelans, he was the most useful to Cubans precisely because he was weak.
What is going to happen now? Not much, unless the US abandons the ridiculous “Venezuela is not a danger but an annoyance” stance adopted by Bush and later Obama.
Venezuela’s government, although chaotic and disorganized, does represent a threat to American security because of its links to Islamic terrorists and military ties to Iran and Hezbollah. They don’t have nuclear warheads, but they have other ways of severely damaging its archenemy.
It is dangerous because of its ties to drug trafficking and the use some of its Generals give to this murderous business. It is dangerous because of its militant anti-Americanism, always on the lookout for new conquests, and it is dangerous because it is one of the most corrupt nations on earth.
What is the use of the Treasury prosecuting international football hierarchs for corruption or a dozen bankers for laundering drug money when Venezuela remains a narco-State in which all of this is done with impunity and can assist Colombian narco-guerrillas unabashedly?
Lastly, the government of Venezuela is endangering its own people, who are deliberately made hungry. The country is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe brought about by a combination of corruption and a terrible government. Don’t we all believe the victims of these political horrors should be protected?
The United State is the only nation in the Americas that possess the kind of strategic vision, the resources, the political and economic weight and the sense of responsibility required to defend itself from its enemies and formulate a plan to change a regime that is harming Venezuela intensely and poisons the atmosphere throughout Latin America.
It might not be smart for the United States to stop all oil purchases in Venezuela, which are the country’s only source of cash, but it is feasible to pay this transaction via a Scrow account until the National Assembly certifies that Maduro is behaving according to the Constitution. It would be irresponsible to nourish an illegitimate government that usurps functions that do not correspond to the executive.
The Cold War did not end completely. The USSR did disappear and with it the communist regimes in Eastern Europe, but the United States still has tenacious enemies who are decided to fight them with whatever means they can find. If Washington wants to continue to lead the Free World it cannot avoid the issue. The US has to step forward and lead the Americas. Nobody else can do it.