5 votes

Modern Venezuela shows the eerie conclusion of illiberal politics

9 comments

  1. [6]
    tempestoftruth
    Link
    This sums up what is wrong with this article. The author makes what is essentially a normative assertion that the United States should intervene in Venezuela, by suggesting that it is a given that...

    Whatever the United States and other members of the international community do next in Venezuela, the goal should be to help real Venezuelans, not to further an ideological argument, especially as the humanitarian and political crises deepen and spread.

    This sums up what is wrong with this article. The author makes what is essentially a normative assertion that the United States should intervene in Venezuela, by suggesting that it is a given that it will and providing advice on what it should do when it does intervene. There is no consideration of the fact that Venezuela is a sovereign country and to interfere in its affairs is to violate that sovereignty. There is no consideration of the fact that when the United States has intervened in Latin America historically, it has been to eliminate democratically elected leaders and to replace them with dictators and fascists. There is no consideration of the fact that just maybe the Venezuelan people, and only them, should decide how they are to be governed.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      So as someone exposed to an unusually large population of Venezuelan refugees and expats through work I can tell you that, each of them, without fail, wish the American government would intervene...

      There is no consideration of the fact that just maybe the Venezuelan people, and only them, should decide how they are to be governed.

      So as someone exposed to an unusually large population of Venezuelan refugees and expats through work I can tell you that, each of them, without fail, wish the American government would intervene in Venezuela to oust Maduro. I will say though, that the type that escaped are going to obviously have a bias in one direction.

      Likewise I would argue that the widespread protests against Maduro would suggest that the people have decided how they want to be governed and are being suppressed by the countries military.

      With that said U.S. interventionalism rarely turns out well, so I'm not sure what the solution is.

      4 votes
      1. tempestoftruth
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Mm, what it looks like in the country itself is a completely different story. A cursory search brought up this Reuters article which suggests that over 50% of those surveyed were against United...

        I will say though, that the type that escaped are going to obviously have a bias in one direction.

        Mm, what it looks like in the country itself is a completely different story. A cursory search brought up this Reuters article which suggests that over 50% of those surveyed were against United States military action in the country. Though I believe anyone can find a pollster with a poll that's going to confirm whatever they believe, so ultimately the numbers aren't super debatable.

        Likewise I would argue that the widespread protests against Maduro would suggest that the people have decided how they want to be governed and are being suppressed by the countries military

        so I'm not sure what the solution is

        Well, that's exactly what I'm getting at: the leader becomes unpopular, the people protest. Take it a step further; if the government responds with violence and repression, then the people should overthrow the government. See the overthrow of Yanukovych in Ukraine and the Euromaidan movement as an example of the people of a country exercising their right to choose to govern themselves without serious foreign involvement on behalf of the protestors. Of course it was bloody and people died, but it's never going to be easy. Now, you can honestly say that Ukraine decides its own affairs - at least, as much as it ever will under Russian political and military pressure.

        3 votes
    2. [2]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      The article wasn't about US intervention in Venezuela, it was about what the authoritarian politics of Venezuela that are being replicated all over the world result in.

      Venezuela is the endgame of ideological Marxism; the culmination of the assault on democracy, courts, and the press now unfolding in so many countries; and the outer limit of the politics of polarization.

      The article wasn't about US intervention in Venezuela, it was about what the authoritarian politics of Venezuela that are being replicated all over the world result in.

      3 votes
      1. tempestoftruth
        Link Parent
        Sure, that's what the author might say, but at the very least it doubles as a piece intended to drum up support for United States intervention, as indicated by her conclusion, which is essentially...

        Sure, that's what the author might say, but at the very least it doubles as a piece intended to drum up support for United States intervention, as indicated by her conclusion, which is essentially an appeal to intervention.

        3 votes
    3. the_funky_buddha
      Link Parent
      Many Venezuelans who want to be sovereign feel this way also and are harassed, jailed and sometimes killed under the current regime.

      There is no consideration of the fact that just maybe the Venezuelan people, and only them, should decide how they are to be governed.

      Many Venezuelans who want to be sovereign feel this way also and are harassed, jailed and sometimes killed under the current regime.

      2 votes
  2. [2]
    tindall
    Link
    I don't trust someone with so little understanding of Leftism as to call Corbyn "far left" to say pretty much anything about Marxism.

    Jeremy Corbyn, the far-left leader of the British Labour Party

    I don't trust someone with so little understanding of Leftism as to call Corbyn "far left" to say pretty much anything about Marxism.

    5 votes
    1. Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      I'll admit the author's pretty badly judgmental of leftism and an unironic buyer of "COMMUNISM NO FOOD", but I feel the article is more about general authoritarianism and corruption than any...

      I'll admit the author's pretty badly judgmental of leftism and an unironic buyer of "COMMUNISM NO FOOD", but I feel the article is more about general authoritarianism and corruption than any specific political ideology.

      1 vote
  3. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    An article on how Venezuela's fall to illiberalism, corruption and later outright authoritarianism resembles other countries today. The Republicans are following this playbook pretty well with...

    An article on how Venezuela's fall to illiberalism, corruption and later outright authoritarianism resembles other countries today.

    If some elements of recent Venezuelan history sound amazingly like a replay of Soviet history, other elements strongly resemble the more recent histories of Russia, Turkey, and other illiberal nationalist regimes whose leaders slowly chipped away at civil rights, rule of law, democratic norms, and independent courts.

    Democracy became weaker in the 1990s, thanks to widespread corruption linked to the oil industry. Chávez was the one who broke the rule of law completely. His first attempt to take power was via a coup d’état, in 1992. He won a legitimate election in 1998, but once in power he slowly changed the rules, eventually making it almost impossible for anyone to beat him. In 2004, he packed the Supreme Court; in 2009, he altered the electoral system.

    The Republicans are following this playbook pretty well with gerrymandering and the withdrawal of that SCOTUS justice.

    Chávez began to transfer the wealth of the country to his cronies. This process was extraordinarily well documented, in real time, by many people. A Foreign Affairs article about Chávez in 2006 spoke of “blatant violations of the rule of law and the democratic process.” A 2008 article in the same publication noted that “neither official statistics nor independent estimates show any evidence that Chávez has reoriented state priorities to benefit the poor.”

    Venezuelan writer Moisés Naím has described his country’s political system as a “loose confederation of foreign and domestic criminal enterprises with the president in the role of mafia boss,” which makes it sound very much like Vladimir Putin’s Russia. In Caracas, I sat in a room full of people who were debating just exactly how much money the regime had stolen—$200 billion? $600 billion?—a parlor game that gets played in Moscow too.

    Here on Brazil this also happens frequently, although much further out of sight AFAIK.

    At the height of his power, Chávez appeared every Sunday on his own surreal, unscripted reality-television program, called Aló Presidente. He would interview supporters, hire and fire ministers, insult people, even declare war while on air, using television much as President Trump uses Twitter, to shock and entertain, sometimes continuing for many hours. Chávez made up names for his enemies—“El Diablo” was one of several for President George W. Bush—and he was vulgar and rude. These traits convinced people that he was “authentic.” Just as Trump used to shout “You’re fired” as a kind of punch line on The Apprentice, Chávez would shout “Exprópiese!” at buildings and property, supposedly owned by rich people, that he intended to expropriate.

    This is also very descriptive of Trump.

    1 vote