Recently, news has emerged from Caracas that a non-elected not so well known politician has publicly taken oath as the President while President Maduro is still in office. This is a very controversial moment as the Venezuelan economy stumbled due to the over-reliance on oil and its low prices, high external debt, weak currency, government bond crash and foreign economic sanctions are among the key issues driving the current economic condition.
Some argue that the mismanagement of Venezuelan government bonds and overselling it abroad handed over control to foreign governments and entities. This was done in order to raise funds after the collapse of its economy due to low oil prices. The rightwing elements across the globe blame the Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez’s ‘Socialist’ policies that enabled Venezuela to overspend on public services.
However, it is evident that it is not merely due to the policy of these two governments who invested in public services. Quite the contrary these public services created jobs and enable the economy to resurge for some time. The downturn was effectively caused by the rapid fall of oil prices. Venezuela is the country with the largest oil deposit in the world. This certainly puts the key geopolitical players’ eyes on this state.
Furthermore, the so-called Socialist government of Venezuela has been a stern opposition to the American intervention in the region. This, as a result, brought the American reaction to the Caracas government within the country. This is further proven as American administration openly utilising an illegal, unconstitutional and completely undemocratic method of backing an individual who opposes their adversary. This individual Juan Guaidó is an industrialist who has been educated in the US, who is also part of the elites in Venezuela with whom the American elites have significant relations.
Mr Guaidó has opposed the government based in Caracas and has gained support from the US and their allies such as the UK. This is more evident and clear as quite recently, the UK government denied the Venezuelans access to its gold deposits in the Bank of England. This should have foreshadowed a more hostile approach from the US-led alliance in the world. The UK since the Cold War has been more of a client state of the US in terms of following political agenda. While Venezuela rightfully demanded the gold to be returned the UK rejected and this was followed by the open recognition by the US and UK of the unelected individual Juan Guaidó as the President.
The US-led Western powers profess democracy and the rule of law across the globe when it is in their interests. However, they are not hesitant to break democratic norms or the rule of law when it is necessary to serve their interests. For instance, they will critique the Syrian government, Iranian government, Venezuelan government although they are popular and elected by their masses. The US-UK will oppose these governments and call them undemocratic. While the US supports the Saudi-Qatari-Emirati Sheikhdoms which are among the least democratic states in the world. The UK-US further criticises countries where there are election scandals. This proves the double standards of these countries when it comes to international politics.
Usually, there are interests that drive their political position, for Venezuela’s case it is the oil reserves. As the government in Caracas nationalised the oil reserves and all oil extractions were brought under the government’s control, this makes US oil companies to be restricted in the country and to dictate terms with the government when it comes to extraction and contracts. This is a repetition of the overthrow of the Mohammad Mossadeq’s democratically elected government in Iran. When it comes to oil and natural resources, the US-UK alliance knows no rule of law or democracy.
The economy in Venezuela is in turmoil, due to hiked food prices and lack of supply due to sanctions, lack of production and complicated relations with neighbouring countries particularly Colombia makes things a big challenge in Caracas. There are elements in the country that are unpleased with the current establishment. It is quite obvious to why the elements are emerging, this was proved as the current President Maduro survived an assassination attempt. Now to fix the issues in the country the government needs to trade with neighbouring countries. Venezuela is bordered with Colombia, Brazil and Guyana. With the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and a US-friendly Colombia, it makes it particularly difficult for Venezuelan geopolitics and trade. Food supplies have become a shortage due to the abandoning neighbours.
This certainly is a big challenge for the establishment in Caracas, although, Russia has given signs of support to the government by criticising the US undiplomatic and biased manoeuvres and also by sending military planes to Venezuela. Yet, this does not seem enough to relieve Venezuela from its issues. The government needs to take steps in order to ensure its sovereignty and fix its economic issues if it is to survive. The overthrow of the Maduro government looks more likely as the US strategy is getting more direct against the establishment.