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An International Siege on Venezuela Could Be the Beginning of the End for Maduro’s Regime

By: María Teresa Romero - @mt_romero - Mar 21, 2017, 12:26 pm
Siege on Venezuela
Pressures have mounted since Maduro’s last attempt to block elections.  (Twitter)

EspañolBeyond the threats, aggression and the usual bluffs, Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro and other spokesmen for his administration seem more than concerned about the “inter-American” siege that is gradually ganging up on them in response to free and fair elections that would more than certainly not go in his favor.

This is no longer simple sporadic and intermittent international pressure like the one that took place before the end of 2016 when there was still hope for Venezuelans to achieve peace through voting. That moderate pressure has changed since Maduro’s regime itself closed the electoral gate by denying any possibility of a recall referendum requested by the democratic opposition.

The cornerstone of this current siege is undoubtedly the new report presented by Secretary General of Organization of American States Luis Almagro. The document has already become a milestone in the defense of continental democracy, threatening the implementation of an inter-American Democratic Charter, including Venezuela’s suspension from the OAS, should the government not call for general elections in 30 days. The report also challenged the farce of the dialogue process currently going on between Maduro and the political opposition in the National Assembly as well as with third-party groups.

It’s unknown whether Secretary Almagro will actually obtain the necessary votes to implement the Democratic Charter, but after seeking a consensus in the region, it is possible they have at least 18 votes in the Permanent Council of the OAS, which would allow them to ask the Venezuelan government to “acknowledge the alteration of constitutional order and call for the immediate restoration of compliance with the Venezuelan constitution and the democratic guarantees contemplated in the Democratic Charter.”

This is possible now because the situation in the region as a whole is very different from what it was some time ago. Maduro’s administration has seen a significant decline in support and no longer has the ability to purchase votes like it did before.

 

The current US government is not only in favor of a collective siege through the OAS, but has also issued sanctions to Vice President Tareck El Aissami for his role in international drug trafficking, which could lead to the total rupture of diplomatic and trade relations between the US and Venezuela.

If the OAS finally reaches a consensus to somehow sanction Venezuela or suspend it from the body as suggested by Almagro and if Maduro’s administration does not respond positively to the recommendations within 30 days, it won’t be surprising that other governments in the region begin to take their own unilateral action against Maduro that could even result in economic blockades.

So it is not so true that, as former Chancellor and Chavez supporter Roy Chaderton said recently, “Venezuela can live without the OAS.” It will not be able to live peacefully, anyway.

Nicolas Maduro is not lucky enough to live in times that allowed Fidel and Raul Castro to enjoy such isolation, and not even Cuba matches the state of decomposition, crisis and chaos that Venezuela lives at present.

María Teresa Romero María Teresa Romero

Romero is a journalist with a PhD in political science, specializing in international politics. She's a professor at the Central University of Venezuela, a columnist in several Venezuelan and international newspapers, and the author of several books. Follow her at @MT_romero.