Venezuela Is Out of Options: The Armed Forces Must Intervene
The government of Nicolás Maduro, a few days ago, decided to withdraw the 100 bolivar note from circulation, which is the highest denomination in Venezuela today. This despotic and arbitrary measure has put the South American country in an unsustainable situation. Already the Venezuelan people were facing scarcity of services and shortages of essential goods; now this action of the government leaves the people without cash and means a real expropriation: those who can not change their bills in time will lose their money and there will be no means for redress of grievances.
To make matters worse, the measure has been taken on the eve of the holiday season, at a time when consumption increases and many more commercial transactions are carried out than usual. The high inflation that Venezuela suffers has only compounded current economic difficulties, because one needs immense quantities of bills to carry out minor transactions. Thus, for example, a 100 bolivar note is not even enough to pay to park a car.
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The dictatorial government of Nicolás Maduro has ordered this measure in order to prevent the purchase of dollars, which is very common in the border regions. Thus, the government can better control the economic life its citizens, who will now have to carry out all their transactions through the banking system; a banking system that, it is said, will be nationalized very soon.
But the response of many people has been violent and chaotic: faced with the hopelessness of their inability to make their daily purchases, groups of people have been plundering shops in Ciudad Bolivar and other localities of the country, devastating and destroying shops, and taking everything they find.
The scenes recorded on smartphones, now circulating widely, are terrifying and show that the social order has broken down completely in several cities and seems to have collapsed across the country. It is possible that the looters belong to groups allied to the government or even that they have been organized and encouraged by the ruling party itself.
Venezuelan security forces are trying to control the situation; several deaths and hundreds of arrests occurred recently, but the situation still often remains out of their hands. There are attacks on private homes and the population fears for their property and even their lives.
Shortages, delinquency, inflation, and brutal measures of the government have led to chaos in that oil country now plunged into misery. There is no law: the National Assembly, which defeated the opposition a year ago in an overwhelming vote, lacks all power and its decisions are routinely annulled by the Supreme Court or by the executive branch.
The population lives in perpetual anguish while the dictatorship affirms and exerts increasingly strict control oer their lives. But the opposition uses only legal initiatives that, due to the absence of rule of law, have no effect. The struggle in the streets, the demonstrations that grew during the months of September and October, were stopped when a process of dialogue was entered that only helped the government to buy time, without being obligated to make any concessions. The ordinary citizen has no one to represent him, to fight for his few rights.
The Venezuelan dictatorship makes it impossible for the country to overcome its current problems; regime change is an indispensable condition for calming the country and stabilizing the economy, albeit minimally.
But with a government that controls all the powers of the state, there is only one possibility, albeit painful, for the necessary change to take place: direct intervention by the armed forces.
It is true that the military high command is an accomplice of the government, which allows many generals incredible opportunities for personal gain, although of course very little of it done legally. It is also true that a military government, even if it has civil participation, will not immediately bring democracy and well-being to Venezuela. But continuing to tolerate the mafia that is now entrenched in power only allows us to predict that the evils Venezuela currently faces will increase, and that misery and oppression will continue to increase.