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HomeAsiaChina's Impediment to Venezuelans' Fight for Democracy: An Analysis by The Diplomat

China’s Impediment to Venezuelans’ Fight for Democracy: An Analysis by The Diplomat

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Over the past week, the people of Venezuela have once again demonstrated their determination to bring about political change. This was seen in the highly restricted primary election to choose an opposition candidate to run against the country’s socialist dictator, Nicolás Maduro. The Maduro regime is responsible for the constant hunger and massive exodus from Venezuela, which was once a prosperous and democratic nation. Despite the atrocities committed by dictators and terrorists worldwide, the Venezuelan people’s belief in democracy is truly inspiring.

María Corina Machado, the winner of the opposition primary, expressed her gratitude to her supporters and emphasized that this is just the beginning of their journey. However, it is crucial for all stakeholders in Venezuela’s political change to understand that this is not the end but rather the start of progress.

Maduro has already dismissed the primary vote as illegal and initiated a criminal investigation against the organizers. This is not surprising considering his history of disrespecting the democratic process and targeting political opponents. Machado herself has been banned from holding public office by the regime.

Some may believe that this time things could be different because of the deal Maduro made with the United States regarding the upcoming presidential election. However, it is a risky gamble, and the credibility of the American threat depends on pressuring Maduro to lift the ban on Machado running against him.

To bring about significant political change in Venezuela, it is essential to understand the factors that maintain Maduro’s grip on power. These include China’s support, access to oil, loyalty of the Venezuelan military, and assistance from other autocratic regimes like Russia and Iran.

China, in particular, has provided significant financial support to Venezuela through loans and investments. Additionally, they have shared technologies for repression, such as advanced surveillance and censorship methods. The strengthened relationship between Venezuela and China has given Maduro strategic support and emboldened his regime.

The example of China highlights the need for a restructured approach to sanctions. Rather than imposing blanket sanctions on Venezuela’s economy, the focus should be on targeting the companies, individuals, and networks that directly support Maduro’s rule.

Furthermore, democracies must engage with Venezuela’s opposition, providing them with support and coordinating pressure against the Maduro regime. It is crucial to unite democracy defenders from different autocratic states to counter the multi-state autocratic network and offer mutual support.

It is important to view autocrats as united by their desire for power and greed, rather than by ideology. The struggle in Venezuela should not be overshadowed by the ideological polarization of democratic nations.

The Maduro regime tightly controls the flow of information to maintain its narrative. Restrictions on information pose a significant challenge for democracy advocates in Venezuela. Ensuring affordable and uncensored online access, as well as distributing smartphones, can empower the Venezuelan people and facilitate communication and organization.

Overall, the recent primary election in Venezuela marks the beginning of a crucial journey towards political change. It is imperative for all stakeholders to understand the challenges and take strategic actions to support the Venezuelan people in their fight for democracy and freedom.

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