The UK just turned its back on unity and voted to leave the EU. Markets are roiling.
Now for some good news.
On Thursday the Organisation of American States (OAS), for the first time, handed down a ferocious indictment of Venezuela’s Socialist regime, led by President Nicolas Maduro, in a passionate speech made by Secretary General Luis Almagro:
“The Permanent Council should also take the necessary steps to address the unprecedented and unnecessary humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. The Council should express itself clearly on the political prisoners and the persistent reports of torture. The Council should support the will of the Venezuelan people in their call for a recall referendum. It’s in accordance with these principles that we must or not act. As Desmond Tutu said, ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’ Democracy is the government of the people.”
He went on to list a litany of atrocities the government has committed against its own people — things we already know. We know that that Venezuelans are being denied their right to hold a referendum on the presidency. We know they are starving. We know the press is being tightly controlled or persecuted. We know that there are politicians who fought for democracy on the streets now rotting in jail cells.
And that’s hardly the half of it.
What we also know is that the OAS has never, within its own chamber, blamed Maduro’s government for Venezuela’s economic and political disaster.
“These challenges cannot be blamed on external forces. The situation facing Venezuela today is the direct result of the actions of those currently in power,” Almagro said.
Of all of Almagro’s indictments, this one was perhaps the cruelest:
“On April 5, 2016, the National Assembly introduced Special Legislation to ‘address the humanitarian health crisis.’
This law would allow much needed international humanitarian assistance into the country. On June 9, the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional.”
The Venezuelan people suffer immensely, and their government has actively worked against their relief.
The pink tide is receding
Perhaps you’re thinking, “when was the last time this toothless group of mostly Latin American nations did anything for anyone?” That’s not the way to think about this.
The way to think of this is to realise that this is the end of The Pink Tide’s grip over all politics in Latin America. The Pink Tide is the wave of socialist and left leaning politicians who rose to power in the region starting with the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in the 1990s.
After that, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, and a host of other countries moved to the left. The OAS was a party to this. The left held the body in its grip. And while Chavez was alive, and after that while left-leaning Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was President of Argentina, it seemed that the body would never stand up for the rights of Venezuelans and try to stop their unimaginable suffering.
Almagro suggested the OAS put together a “Group of Friends” to “help it back on the path to democracy.” In all honesty it sounded like the group of friends that stages an intervention for their drug addicted loved one.
Except the Venezuelan regime is addicted to power, violence, terror, and a failed ideology.
At the end of the speech Almagro outlined what this Group of Friends would be doing. It looked a lot like a list of demands the Venezuelan opposition might make, including a referendum before the end of year, the acceptance of international aid, and the creation of a Truth Commission to sort out differences between the regime and its detractors.
“Democracy has no borders,” he said. “Democracy is more than an election; it is about freedom. Freedom of expression, association, assembly. It is an empowered citizenry. An independent judiciary. A security apparatus that is trusted by and accountable to the people. It is the legitimate exercise of power, within the rule of law. Democratic governments have a responsibility to their citizens.”
I guess we’ll have to keep reminding people until it sticks — until the end of time.