By: Victor Jorges/News Director
Diplomatic behavior and democratic elections are the only way out of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro regime according to experts at the State of the World event at FIU on Jan. 10.
Elliot Abrams, Special Representative for Venezuela from the U.S. Department of State, believes that fair democratic elections are the only way out of the regime, which has caused massive humanitarian crises.
“The only way out of the current crisis is a presidential election,” said Abrams. “National Assembly elections are scheduled this year. That doesn’t solve the crisis.”
Adding clarity to his statement, Abrams said that all parties should be allowed to run, exiled deputies should be allowed to come home, and the elections should have international observers and fair vote counting.
He also said the end of censorship is crucial to the end of the regime.
However, he doubts that Maduro will agree to these terms, and a transitional government is necessary.
“And, if we didn’t know that, we saw more on Sunday,” he said referring to the Venezuelan National Guard blocking interim president, Juan Guaido, from entering the National Assembly on Jan. 5.
He’s aware that the free elections “won’t fall from the sky,” he said.
On the other hand, Frank Mora, the director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center at FIU believes that sanctions are not effective and do not target the root of the Maduro regime.
“A friend told me, sanctions are, to this administration what Vicks Vapor Rub is to Cuban abuelas,” said Mora. “It is an all-purpose remedy that you keep putting on, making you think that you’re going to feel better, but it doesn’t result in the outcome.”
Additionally, Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, former president of Costa Rica, believes that the issue will not be solved with only international cooperation, but rather, “big sacrifices”, including more human lives being lost.
“Given the conditions of repression in Venezuela, this is not something that is going to be easy, nor should be recommended,” said Solís Rivera, who joined FIU in late 2018. “The regime has proven that it doesn’t respect human life at all.”
Finally, Brian Fonseca, the director of Jack. D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy believes there’s a struggle in the North American perspective in terms of policy and their approach towards the end of the regime.
“There are two approaches. Right?” said Fonseca in terms of the relationship between Cuba, the United States, and Venezuela. “Is it punitive, or is it incentive? Do you punish people enough that they are willing to withdraw their support?”
The questions he proposed were meant to show that the relationship between Cuba and Venezuela is abstract and has been a two-way street since the Castro regime in the early 21st century.
“The regime in Cuba has ties to some degree of survival to Venezuela,” said Fonseca. “And, inversely, the Venezuelans have tied their survival to some degree to the Cubans.
Astrid Arrarás believes that diplomatic behavior from other Latin American nations should never be underestimated in being the answer to the problems of the regime.
“I encourage Latin American democracies to continue creating awareness, a consciousness of the blatant destruction of democratic institutions and practices in Venezuela,” said Arrarás.
This event was a part of the Dorothea Green Lecture Series and it was held in the GC Ballrooms on Jan 9 and 10.