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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 11 New Delhi March 2, 2019

Resolve Venezuelan Crisis before it is Too Late

Sunday 3 March 2019, by Bharat Dogra

The crisis situation in Venezuela is getting more and more serious. It is clear that while the economic problems of the people of Venezuela in recent times have increased greatly, it is also true that left to itself the Maduro Government could have reduced these to a significant extent but the problems were accentuated due to the aggressive intervention of the USA. Matters came to a head when due to the support and prompting of the USA Juan Guaido declared himself the ‘interim President’. Subsequently the USA has also been threatening the Venezuelan Army to abandon the Maduro-led elected government. The oil revenue of Venezuela generated in the USA is not being paid to the elected Maduro Government. This as well as sanctions have made it very difficult for the Maduro Government to provide badly needed relief to the people who are facing extreme economic hardships in the crisis situation.

The latest development at the time of writing is that the US aid in the form of food and medicines is being sent overruling the objections of the elected government. While food and medicines are certainly needed by the people, the best way of ensuring this is to pay the massive oil dues of Venezuela and remove or at least loosen the sanctions. What is being offered as aid is actually only a small part of the oil revenue dues. Aid should be genuinely humanitarian and should not be made a servant, much less a soldier, of narrow political or military objectives, as appears to be happening just now in Venezuela.

The USA knows well that any UN Security council sanction for removing Maduro is not possible due to the veto power of Russia and the USA. So if the Venezuelan Army continues to stand by Maduro, then the USA may intervene militarily in Venezuela, co-opting some allies particularly Colombia. This is likely to be resisted by Russia and possibly China who may come to the help of the Maduro Government. Hence the situation can become very serious indeed. Oil availability for countries dependent on large imports will be very adversely affected. These countries have already faced difficulties due to the unjust sanctions on Iran and now there is this new crisis.

Such completely avoidable crisis situations are being created in more and more places due to some very narrow-minded interests. This is happening at a time when the world should be moving in the direction of more and more cooperation for solving the most serious and essential issues like climate change and accumulation of weapons of mass destruction. How will the world attend to such real issues with real commitment and continuity if entirely avoidable crisis situations are created in one country after another, as seen in the recent examples of Iran and Venezuela?

The Venezuelan crisis is too serious to be allowed to fester. It should be resolved as early as possible in peaceful and just ways, but who will take the lead?

The author is a freelance journalist who has been involved in several social movements and initiatives.

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