I would not propose an invasion, an event Hugo Chavez (+) and Nicolas Maduro have been using as an imminent warning for 15 years but has not yet happened. This “sword of Damocles”, claimed by the satraps to be pending over the heads of Venezuelans, has served as justification for expenditures of some $12 billion in weapons from Russia, China, Spain, Belarus, Iran and other countries. In fact, this was (and is) a vulgar stratagem to consolidate the military dictatorship that prevails today in the country. Unless the situation in Venezuela becomes an open, all- out war, the U.S./the United Nations will not intervene militarily.
But there are other things the U.S. can do and should do to assist the Venezuelans who are bearing the brunt of the abuses, humiliations, exclusions and lack of protection from a military - fascist type dictatorship before the passive eyes of the countries in the region.
Thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets during the last two months. Marches have incorporated thousands. Protests have taken place in the capital, Caracas, and in many other cities and small towns of Venezuela. An entire state, Tachira, neighboring to Colombia, is up in “arms” (stones and sticks) and has been attacked by tanks, military jets, armored vehicles and much toxic gas sent by the central government. The line between protests, violence by the government and civil war is becoming more diffuse as time goes by. Almost 40 Venezuelans have been killed already, hundreds wounded and over 100 students and opposition leaders have been imprisoned. There are 18 documented cases of torture by a human rights organization called Foro Penal Venezolano, led by lawyer Alfredo Romero.
The mecca of democracy in the hemisphere should not remain passive while this is going on
While this is going on in Venezuela, most international venues of protest have been indifferent or, even, biased in favor of the Venezuelan regime. The recent, shameless spectacle at the OAS is very illustrative. A Venezuelan member of the National Assembly, Maria Corina Machado, was prevented from speaking at the OAS, due to a majority made up of countries that have been bought by Venezuelan oil. The whole world witnessed this perverse exhibition of mercenary force. Upon her return to Venezuela Mrs. Machado was summarily expelled from the National Assembly, where she was popularly elected.
Since all legal venues in Venezuela are also blocked, what can Venezuelans do? One of the very few remaining options is to take to the streets, demanding to get back their confiscated rights. This is what they have done. For over five weeks now marches and protests in Venezuela have intensified. A large group of citizens seems to have made up their mind that enough is enough. They protest against insecurity, against the collapse of their quality of life, the abuses of power by the regime, corruption and, not least, by the presence of Castro Cubans in sensitive areas of public administration. They also protest against the frequent violations to the constitution, a situation that amounts to illegitimacy of exercise by the government. In its article 350, the Venezuelan constitution stipulates that citizens have the right and duty to reinstate democratic conditions in a country when these conditions have been violated. Such is the case today.
The U.S. has the capacity to take measures that can give wings to Venezuelan freedom fighters, among them:
· Passing a law in Congress that would call for the freezing of illegally obtained assets of Venezuelan public officials, military personnel and government agency contractors deposited in U.S. banks. Such a bill, 2142, has already been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Menendez, Rubio, Nelson and Kirk. This bill should be supported by all U.S. citizens who would like to see a return of democracy in Venezuela and by Venezuelans residing in the UnitedStates;
· Updating the list of Venezuelan government officers and military personnel linked to drug trafficking;
· Imposing prohibition for U.S. companies to supply the Venezuelan government with certain goods and services, for example gasoline or gasoline additives. The U.S is a source of refined products which would not be easy for Venezuela to replace;
· Express clearly and at the highest levels their disapproval of the violations to human rights taking place in the country.