Sunday, 1 May 2016

Venezuela now and what to do (I)

average yearly price for an OPEC oil barrel
Above you see Venezuela's Alpha and's the average oil price as dollars per barrel for each year. Actually: the data reflects OPEC average barrel whereas Venezuela's oil is somewhat cheaper. Prices have started to increase since February. As usual, some so-called specialists say there is a clear trend now and some other so-called specialists there is none. Their guess is almost as good as your or my grandfather's.

Even if prices were to keep increasing, anything under 100 dollars a barrel won't be enough to keep Venezuela's economy afloat.

And yet: we have seen Chavismo is able to  keep power even if Venezuela is in it has been for several years now. Beyond Caracas, Valencia and Maracaibo and some surrounding areas, the regime firmly controls what people can watch and read. Your average Russian Ivan Popov in Nizhny Novgorod or even a village around Kemerovo is more likely to be able to surf at high speed on the Internet than my José González or María Rodríguez in Guacara, Calabozo or Quíbor, the kind of urban centres where more than half of Venezuela's population live. Even though the vast majority of Venezuelans are spending many hours every week queuing up to be able to buy a few basic products and find only a fraction of them, even if murder rates are among the highest in the world, even if the inflation is the highest at all, there is still a 30% of the population that keeps supporting the regime. Why? Because for them a turning back is just too painful, because they know nothing else, because they fear to lose the state jobs they now have. 

Don't fool yourself: Chavismo is led by gangsters who have a lot of skeletons in their closets. Chances they leave power willingly are less than of bank robbers of turning themselves to the police unless they are completely cornered.

What is going to come? 

We might find some support from the new government in Argentina, but Macri is very busy now trying to fix an economy plundered by the Kirchner family. Peru's future is still to be decided. Brazil is in a mess of its own. Other Latin American countries are getting into recession mode as well.

Venezuelans of good faith are again left to their own. Still, there is a lot they can do.

Let's start with this: Venezuelan expats need to organise demos in front of the embassies of Latin American countries in Latin America and all of the Americas to 

1- denounce how the Supreme Court in Venezuela is constantly violating the Venezuelan constitution
2- force the renewal of the Judiciary 
3- make the Venezuelan regime accept independent observers who will prevent abuses of power during the recall process.

Venezuelans in Brazil need to talk about these things in front of the embassies of Peru and Colombia, Venezuelans in Germany need to do that in front of the embassies of Colombia and Mexico, Venezuelans in Washington need to do the same in front of the embassies  of Chile and Costa Rica and so on. The whole world needs to know Venezuelan democrats are asking their Latin American neighbours to support democracy the same way Venezuelans supported democracy in Latin America when most countries were living under military dictatorships.

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