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Andrew Dickens: NZ right to stay out of Venezuela mess

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 30 January 2019, 12:03p.m.
Photo / Getty Images

Venezuela. What a basket case. Blessed with oil, a nice climate, fertile earth and insanely attractive citizens it has somehow over five years managed to collapse to a hyper inflation ravaged wildland with starving children and widespread unrest.

So the guy who runs the place is President Maduro who took over in a dodgy election from Hugo Chavez after Chavez died of cancer. A former bus driver and trade union official he had been groomed for power by the ailing Chavez. But after Hugo died Maduro has used every trick in the book to stay in power and as he plays his games the economy has collapsed

Now the US and more than 20 other countries have recognised the opposition leader  as interim president. On Saturday several European countries including Spain, Germany, France and the UK said they would recognise the opposition leader as president if elections were not called within eight days.

So our government has refused to join the pile on. They’ve criticised the elections but as Winston Peters says "It is not New Zealand's practice to make statements of recognition of Governments, Venezuela needs to decide its future through free and fair elections."

The government is getting stick for this. For sitting on the fence. But I think he has a point. With so many nations asserting their sovereignty these days, whether it be over immigration policies or Brexit or pulling out of UN organisations, you have to ask if it is a little rich to trample all over another country’s sovereignty.

As someone said yesterday imagine if Venezuela turned around and demanded Britain honour Brexit within 8 days. We’d all die laughing. 

Plus the question has to be asked as to what the answer to Venezuela’s woes really are.

President Maduro says Donald Trump hates him and he’s not wrong because all you need to have done is watch Fox News for the past 5 years. Venezuela has been branded in the rightist media as the example of what happens when socialism goes wrong.  And that feeling has spread with many people in this country prone to saying that Jacinda will take us down Venezuela’s route.

Unfortunately however Venezuela is not socialist. They say they are as it plays well in South America but they’re not about redistribution of wealth.They’re about acquiring it for the ruling elite. They’re not about the rights of the workers. That’s why the workers are starving.

They’re a criminal feudalism. A corrupt plutocracy. A political mafia held up and supported by the military heads who are also on the money grab. No wonder Russia and Putin loves them. It’s like looking in a mirror.

And guess what. The so called opposition leader that all these nations are scrambling to support is just as bad as the guys in charge. He’s never been elected. He’s a leader of a party that’s part of a coalition that agreed on a rotating leadership and so as soon as he got in charge he saw his chance.

So Venezuela is a criminal mess and not democratically fixable. The recognising of the opposition leader is virtue signalling writ large by nations. I don’t mind that we didn’t join in.

Which would all be fine but Venezuela has oil which makes them valuable. Which is why the United States is moving 5000 troops into Colombia. A military intervention looks more likely every day.

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