Venezuela’s freedom will not be recovered based on small victories. What the Washington Post proposes in its editorial “Venezuela’s blatantly rigged election poses a test for Biden” dissents from what Venezuelans, today kidnapped by Nicolás Maduro, really need. The whole editorial is, in fact, quite troubling.
Blaming US sanctions for the humanitarian drama in the Latin American country is absolving those truly responsible. If today millions of Venezuelans have fled their country, it is not because of sanctions surgically designed to bring down the regime’s hierarchy. It is, in fact, due to the complete destruction of the economic apparatus. This began very early in Chávez’s time, though it is impossible for the moderate left to acknowledge it.
Long before the first sanction was imposed by the government of Barack Obama, in 2014, the country was going through difficult times, marked by scarcity and a stampede of fleeing multinationals. Expropriations, price controls, currency controls and restrictive labor laws led, in 2008, to the first episodes of economic hardship. They were only a prelude.
And if today Venezuela, a rentier state that could never overcome its dependence on the oil industry, is going through dramatic times —and its goose with the golden eggs, the state-owned PDVSA, is on the verge of collapse—, it has more to do with the politicization and looting of the industry than with the willingness of the Donald Trump administration to prevent trade between Venezuela, a criminal state, and countries like Cuba or Iran, other criminal states.
Well-known is the purge of professionals carried out by Hugo Chávez at the beginning of the 2000s in PDVSA as well as the exact figure of the pillage that the country suffered for ten years: 700 billion dollars. This is why Venezuela, during its greatest bonanza, ended up more like Somalia than the Scandinavian countries.
Sanctions are not responsible. These, in fact, have become a headache for the top leaders of the regime, who can no longer enjoy their immense ill-gotten fortunes in free countries where capitalism rules. Those truly responsible for the drama are in Caracas. Also, in Havana. And they are criminals, with big friends who have declared war, not only on the Venezuelans but on America and the free world.
It is not by reducing the pressure and reaching agreements, as the Washington Post proposes, that Venezuelans will be freed. Doing nothing will never be better than doing something. Suggesting the eventual Biden administration that it should stand idly by and dismantle the aggressive policy brandished by the Donald Trump administration is to condemn Venezuelans to many more years of socialism. Not only is more pressure needed, but it also requires a strong will to rid the country of the biggest criminal groups that have ever set foot in this hemisphere.
As Hannah Arendt warned decades ago: worse than evil are those who unwittingly serve their enemies’ structure. A docile America is a useful America for the criminals who have installed their operations bases in Venezuela with liberticidal purposes. The banality of evil proposed to Joe Biden by the Washington Post.