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The case of Venezuela: Democracy, Tyranny or imperialism?

Updated on February 25, 2019
Saul Grandier profile image

master in political science from ULA. Currently studying a PHD in political science at USB

Venezuela: In the eye of the storm

Understanding what is happening in Venezuela does not escape the controversy. I'll be honest, if you sympathize with Maduro you probably will not like what you'll read next; but you must do it. I, for my part, will try not to bias myself and try to tell only the truth.


Yes, because Maduro won the presidential elections with more than 6 million votes on May 20, 2018. The opposition abstained after winning on December 6, 2015, committing a political mistake that was practically incomprehensible.

Hugo Chávez abused his power; he misused the state's resources and personnel to win elections; but it would be a lie to say that Chávez did not have a popularity higher than 50. The man had a charm like few leaders in history and that's why the opposition could never defeat him in a presidential election, and thanks to Chávez hardly the ruling party lost an election.

Yes, a lot of democracy, but how many democratic countries do you know that have a parliament disabled only because they are opposition?


When I defined tyranny I said that he was a ruler who did not obey the laws. After the opposition finally won the Parliament with an overwhelming majority of deputies, there was a clear opportunity to revoke Maduro's mandate through a referendum. The popularity of Maduro was in a tailspin, so his defeat was more than certain if his charge was submitted to a popular referendum. In addition, as in other South American countries, such as Brazil and Peru, the respective parliaments were investigating corruption cases with the Odebrecht company.

Come on. Let's be honest. You are Maduro, son of the almighty Chavez; what would you do? Give yourself to justice or take off your mask and declare yourself a tyrant?

With weird pretexts the other public powers declared that the national parliament was in contempt. In contempt? That strange figure does not even appear in the Constitution. The truth is that the government disqualified Parliament in order to continue in power.

In short, to understand what's going on in Venezuela you have to go back to december 2015. That's where everything starts to harder for the governmnet. Back in that date, the political opposition finally had an election against the powerful state machine.

The opposition had won nothing more than less than the national assembly. This institution has the power to find out facts of corruption and invoke a recall referendum to depose the president of the republic. President Maduro did not like this new national political game at all, so he decided to disable the parliament using a "legal pretext".

In another article I have spoken of the counterweights to despotism. Well, the Maduro government is not accountable or transparent; there are no media that criticize or demand accountability from Maduro (political scandals respond with cynicism); there is no separation of powers, the only thing that exists are elections and they are plagued by vices and manipulations in favor of the government.


US president is getting into deep waters. Caribbean deep waters. After the disqualification of parliament, now everything is a great disaster. Maduro, a tyrant (yes, he is) who has Venezuelans in the worst economic and political crisis in his country, begins a new presidential term facing his greatest challenge: overcoming the pretensions of the US government to depose him at any cost.

But why is Trump interested in overthrowing Maduro? For oil? If it's because of oil, why not do it before. Why did not the US empire overthrow Chavez? For fear of Vietnam? It must be admitted that Chávez was dangerously popular; dangerous because he was never a democrat. Some people get upset when I say that Chávez was not a democrat but, what kind of democrat wants to govern until his death?

It would be very stubborn to deny the imperialist character of the United States, as Russia (especially when it was the Soviet Union) and China, great power poles, also have it.

It would also be stubborn to deny the interventions of the United States government in Latin America. However, I will make three reflections. First, after the war with Mexico, the United States has not had any other war with Latin American countries. And second, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States drastically reduced its interventions in its so-called "backyard".

Finally, an excersise: President A, from country Z, in 1967 tried to invade country X. 30 years later, B, the new president of country X, hands over the country to A, who remains president of country Z. And it happened in real history:

A = Fidel Castro

Z = Cuba

X = Venezuela

B = Chávez

You can find out more about what happened in 1967 with the name of The Machurucuto Incident. So, let's condemn this imperialism too ... or not?

Venezuela: a lesson for the world

The realm of post-truth politics: The post-truth implies that in information and analysis prevails more feelings than reason. It is synthesized in a phrase of Dostovieski (I think) who said: "the piece of bread in someone else's hand always seems bigger." In the case of Venezuela, post-truth is the order of the day. With each fact there are two antagonistic truths: the truth of the government and the truth of the opposition. Polarization does not allow to see a single truth.

The government made a drastic turn of its speech. Before they came to power and until 2010, they denounced a society in which only the rich could have a high quality of life while the poor were excluded. Now journalists in favor of the government make homemade videos with the purpose of showing a false image of the situation of the country. A Spanish journalist made a video in a shopping center in Caracas showing a McDonalds to affirm that the situation in the country was as normal as any other country is the region. Is the reality of the country is summarized to a shopping center located at the east of Caracas (the richest area of ​​the city and surely in the whole country)

And I'm sorry, maybe I'm not being objective at this point, but as much as I try to be, I only see that: After 20 years of chavismo, the government now desperately relies on the bourgeoisie to justify that Venezuela is a normal country, and even prosperous. They hide the poor and make the rich visible. The Chavez government that was born being left, will die being right.

After 20 years of Chavism they confuse tyranny with sovereignty; They confuse the self-determination of peoples and non-interference in internal affairs with tyranny, oppression and violation of human rights.

The state-centric conception must be overcome by an anthropocentric vision of politics, where the State is at the service of individuals and not individuals at the service of the State. It seems that Venezuelans have been asked to immolate for their country, for sovereignty, which is an idea of the States prior to the Second World War.

Many people claim that the situation in the country is due to a blockade by the US government. This simplicity of reality is part of post-truth. Is it that the multiple expropriations, the excessive controls of the State, the inefficiency, the incompetence and the corruption of the government will not be taken into account? It will not be taken into account that the large companies that produced aluminum, cement, depleted their production with the chavista administration? It will not be considered that Venezuela's problem is structural because it does not have a productive forces? It will not be taken into account that in the 70s there had already been an oil boom that gave Venezuelans such a quality of life that the country became known as “Saudi Venezuela”, and that Chávez's popularity was simply due to it, to another oil boom?

If you want to know the truth of Venezuela, it is convenient to review the indexes that the Non-Governmental Organizations have; Even the Human Development Index, which places Venezuela in an advantageous position, worries about its future. And no NGO has taken the economic blockade seriously.

Anti-imperialist fetishism: Nobody is Goliath fan. I supported Saddam Hussein in the two Gulf wars, I believed that Fidel Castro was cool because he was against the United States. But I was wrong. What a coincidence that every government that comes to power by a coup always wins democratic elections! Many times by overwhelming majority.

Saddam Hussein came to power through a coup in 1979 and never wanted to leave power again.

Muammar Gaddafi came to power through a coup in 1969 and never wanted to leave power again.

The al-Assad family came to power through a coup in 1971 and since then they have not wanted to leave power.

The Cuban revolution came to power through a coup in 1959 and since then they have not wanted to leave power.

Hitler and Chávez did not arrive at the power with a coup d'etat, but they tried to arrive at the power through a coup; and once in power they disrupted democracy to remain ruling until their death.

The House of Saud in Saudi Arabia and the Kim family in North Korea are founding dynasties of their respective countries, and have no intention of turning towards democracy.

We are in the XXI century and even some rulers persist in calling themselves princes, supreme leader, supreme commander eternal father (Hugo Chávez); I honestly ask myself why should we go so far as to have to threaten militarily the rulers who intend to eternalize in power? Why is a democratic opening so difficult?

Thanks to Chavism I have learned a basic principle that I invite others to assume: Tyranny should not be supported only to please a fetish against US imperialism, and if I am going to support one, at least I must have the decency to live in it.


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