Venezuela may be on the brink of civil war. What should we be doing?
The crisis probably would not have arisen if violent street protests were not stoked up by the US and UK, alleging electoral fraud.
Venezuela has a good record for conducting fair elections. The last election was boycotted, but there was still quite a good turnout.
The US, UK, and others say it was illegitimate. I do not believe that is true, but our MPs, supporting the ouster of Maduro, ought to be asked to give evidence when they make that claim.
The US claims that people were forced to vote for Maduro or be denied food vouchers. Do they have evidence?
Do they believe the election process is fair in other countries, eg: Turkey, Egypt?
Suppose the elections were invalid. The US response was totally unjustified. They have supported violence. Pro-Maduro citizens (or people thought to be pro-Maduro) have been burnt in the street. A police motorcycle cavalcade was bombed. The US has supported calls for a military coup.
If the US/UK really believed the election was invalid, they should have confined themselves to promoting peaceful methods to mitigate the human rights abuses they claim result from it.
There are several reasons and alleged reasons for the suffering in Venezuela:
socialism, corruption, incompetence, a fall in oil prices, economic war by the US, aided by powerful business corporations in Venezuela. The only one in our control is the last. The question of US subversion in Venezuela is widely, credibly alleged, but never seriously discussed in our mainstream media.
The US has been unremittingly hostile to Venezuela since Chavez came to power. The great things he did are acknowledged only in a token way. The country had serious problems before Chavez, including, I believe, food riots, with people shot down in the streets by their own military.
The US has a horrendous record in South America, turning the continent into a charnel house in the last century.
There is a danger that they are going to bring civil war to Venezuela and, if not, ongoing strife.
If I could advise Maduro, I think I would plead with him to call early elections, to be monitored by neutral international observers.
However, Maduro seems intent on carrying on, which I believe he has a right to do.
In those circumstances, our government should call on all opposition protestors to use only peaceful methods and call on the US to do the same; condemn calls for a military overthrow of the government; cease and oppose all sanctions that harm the Venezuelan economy; end the hostile rhetoric; and seek a rapprochement with Maduro, asking for early elections and promising no-strings aid to the country.