President Nicolás Maduro shocked Venezuela this week when he announced he was giving exceptional powers to his Defense Minister, General Vladimir Padrino López. Was this a palace-coup by the military against a rudderless, discredited Maduro government?
When Venezuelans elected Hugo Chavez president in 1998 they wanted a revolution. Instead, what they got was the 1970s and all its social, economic and political ills all over again, but this time on steroids.
Did I miss something? No collective call for dialogue, not even a meeting wrap up by the Ambassador from Argentina. Just a call for lunch. Does that make the whole endeavor of convening the Permanent Council to discuss Venezuela a bust? Hardly.
Este jueves, a pedido de Almagro, se considerará en la OEA la activación de la Carta Democrática Interamericana contra Venezuela. Si bien es probable que la region no apruebe que hubo una alteración del orden constitucional en este país, el mero acto de debatir la situación aumentará la presión para que Maduro acepte el referéndum revocatorio.
One thing in Venezuela is definitely not in short supply: presidential rhetoric. In fact, while the economy veers toward 700 percent currency inflation, Maduro’s never-ending daily national television speeches, if anything, have created hyperinflation of presidential verbiage.
The international community is trying to encourage the Venezuelan government and the opposition to sit down to a dialogue. But democratic dialogue requires commitment to principles, and the government has never shown—nor is showing now—any willingness to commit to those values.
Secretary General Luis Almagro has invoked the Democratic Charter of the OAS, calling for a meeting of the body’s Permanent Council to discuss the situation in Venezuela. How the hemispheric body responds will be a test of its role and future in a divided hemisphere.