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Maduro, United Nations Make for Feckless Pair

By: Javier Garay - @Crittiko - Oct 23, 2014, 1:06 pm
While the Maduro regime benefits from symbolic achievements, the people of Venezuela continue to lose their freedoms. (Flickr)
While Maduro benefits from symbolic achievements, the people of Venezuela continue to lose their freedoms. (@arq31)

EspañolLast week, Venezuela was elected, by an overwhelming majority, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The position itself means very little. Colombia has occupied the same seat on various occasions, and the benefits have not been noticeable in any way. It is clear the Security Council is not capable of solving any international problems, as has been demonstrated by the crisis in Syria and the rampant growth of the Islamic State (ISIS), in addition to various other issues throughout its history.

Venezuela’s admittance to the UN Security Council is not a watershed moment for the country, but it is revealing in a couple different ways.

First, it is a demonstration of the type of organization the United Nations has become. Statism is considered an end in and of itself in some UN agencies; the idea of “development” is a perfect example. Furthermore, the United Nations claims to be interested in international peace and security, while it recognizes oppressive regimes like the Maduro government in Venezuela.

The Chavista regime embodies contempt for the very principles necessary for the development of world peace: interdependence that only free trade can bring about, overcoming hatred based on nationality, and nonintervention in the domestic affairs of sovereign states, among others.

Secondly, the election only serves the leaders of the Venezuelan regime. President Nicolás Maduro, through his typical demagoguery, has framed Venezuela’s election to the Security Council as evidence of international support for his government. And basically, he’s right. The countries that voted for Venezuela have backed a nation that persecutes and jails its political opposition, eliminated almost all individual liberties, and destroyed its own economy.

Nicolás Maduro behaves exactly how we would expect this sort of dictator to behave. His domestic policy has been nothing more than series of embarrassments and mistakes, without a single achievement worth noting. Instead, Maduro will attempt to glorify Venezuela’s international recognition, just like the Castro regime in Cuba.

However, Maduro’s aggrandizement should generate condemnation from the international community. As it stands, it demonstrates how many governments around the world will carelessly legitimize excesses and atrocities in places like Venezuela. More than condemnation, this should generate concern. Do that many world leaders approve of the Venezuelan regime’s abuses? Do world leaders sign off on this? This is clear cause for alarm over the state of liberty in our world.

This simply allows Venezuelan government officials to feel better about the disaster they have caused in their country — a disaster that became even more apparent last week.

On October 15, an Algerian oil tanker arrived in Venezuela. It was the first oil import to the country with the largest oil reserves on the planet, but whose oil production has steadily declined since the rise of 21st-century socialism.

Make no mistake, international commerce — no matter the actors involved or the products being traded — is good news wherever and whenever it takes place. However, this particular case demonstrates the severe ineptitude in the Venezuelan government’s decision making.

So many mistakes have been made. The theft committed by the state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), has been so great, that Venezuela is now forced to import its only significant natural resource — a resource that once allowed the country to be self-sufficient. The same resource that allowed the state to spend outrageous sums of money on programs whose benefits were never clear, and to implement policies whose only goal was to solidify a nearly totalitarian regime — a tradition of corruption that enriches a privileged few.

The situation worsens in light of the falling price of the small amount of oil the country still produces, a consequence of an increase in international supply. This will affect the Venezuelan government’s wasteful spending for years to come, which may ultimately result in default.

But the despot Nicolás Maduro and his inner-circle are not concerned. After all, they have been recognized by the United Nations and the secretary general of the useless — yet dangerous — UNASUR. While government leaders celebrate symbolic victories, citizens lose their freedoms and basic necessities to live a decent life.

Misery and widespread poverty will continue to go hand-in-hand with meaningless international achievements. Just like in Cuba.

Translated by Alex Clark-Youngblood.

Javier Garay Javier Garay

Javier Garay is a professor at the Externado University of Colombia. He has written two books on international issues, such as development, after his doctoral dissertation focused on the same topic. Follow him on Twitter @crittiko and through his personal blog, Crittiko.