Nicolas Maduro was re-elected yesterday in the Venezuelan national elections. The vote has been widely disputed, with allegations of vote buying and electoral fraud. The United States’ mission to the United Nations indicated it would reject the result. “Today’s so-called election in Venezuela is an insult to democracy ... It’s time for Maduro to go,” it tweeted.
Venezuela is a mess, and it is difficult to watch. Ruined by an international oil crisis and a fierce El Niño that caused major drought in a country that relies so heavily on their hydroelectric dams, it has never truly recovered.
There have been many arguments on the Left, whether we should defend Maduro or rally against him in light of his drift to authoritarianism. The answer lies in between. We must fight against the policies that are pushing Venezuela further to the brink, but also acknowledge that those who say they are there to help, are often not. This is not about a peaceful opposition and a raging Maduro, both sides are to blame. One thing I believe we should all agree on, however, is opposing any intervention from the US. If you know anything about the history of Latin America, then you know that US involvement has brought nothing but misery.
Before Maduro was the emblematic figure of Hugo Chávez. Under Chávez, Venezuela's inequality level was the lowest in the region, having reduced inequality by 54%, poverty by 44%. Literacy in Venezuela became widespread and university fees were non-existent. Jimmy Carter, speaking in 2012, Said of Venezuela's elections: "As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world."
Despite this, the US consistently persisted that Venezuela was a dictatorship and their people were suffering. The biggest regret? That as the US rehash this line, this time, it may actually be true. It is the ordinary Venezuelans that are watching as the gains made under Chávez slip away. Little electricity, food and with disease rife, one hopes there is light at the end of the tunnel for Venezuela.