May 1, 2019


In Venezuela, root for the people (Frida Ghitis, April 30, 2019, CNN)

The Venezuelan conflict may seem complicated, but what's at stake is simple. Sure, there are geopolitical ramifications and multiple forces at play. But above all, we should view Venezuela as a human tragedy. If you don't know who to root for as you see reports of competing forces and hear accounts of rival narratives, root for the Venezuelan people.

Rooting for the Venezuelan people means hoping that Maduro will step down peacefully, bringing to a close the most disastrous regime Venezuela has ever seen. It means recognizing that the opposition deserves to emerge victorious.

News organizations, including CNN at times on Tuesday, labeled the opposition-led revolt an "attempted coup" -- but that was not only unfortunate, it was also incorrect and harmful. Venezuela has already had a coup. Maduro and his cronies took power illegally. Maduro rigged elections, locked up opposition candidates and took control of the judiciary and every "independent" government entity.

The last relatively fair elections came in 2015. That's when the opposition won an overwhelming two-thirds of the seats in Congress. Maduro and his acolytes then stripped the legislature of all its powers.

In last year's presidential election, Maduro, whose approval rating has barely budged above 20%, somehow won with nearly 70% of the vote. It was a sham, but he took office in January.

That's when Guaido, the head of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president, in keeping with the Venezuelan constitution. He vows to call new elections and fully restore the constitutional order as soon as Maduro is out.

Rooting does not suffice.  Marco Rubio should be preparing a massive economic package to help them as soon as the regime falls. And it should be advertised as a model for other failed states.

Posted by at May 1, 2019 4:20 AM