Maduro’s second term
10, witnesses the second inauguration of the presidency of Nicolas Maduro of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and formally marks the commencement of his second term as leader of this important CARICOM ally.
The inauguration follows upon his landslide election victory in the May 2018 presidential election, which was formally sanctioned by the National Constituent Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the country.
Maduro won 68 per cent of the national vote in an election contested against two other contending presidential candidates put forward by opposition groups in the country.
However, despite the absoluteness of Maduro’s victory, it is unlikely that the opposition-dominated parliament will offer him the courtesy of taking his oath of office before that body, given its history of endless, total opposition in fulfilment of its objective of toppling Maduro’s Chavista socialist project. Instead, the oath will likely be taken before the Supreme Court, a development which will signal yet another moment in which the court has had to rein in a renegade parliament.
These developments suggest that whilst President Maduro’s second inauguration will be greeted with jubilation by all who welcome alternatives to the anti-poor, neoliberal model currently dominating the globe, it is likely that his new term will continue to be marked by unrelenting destabilisation by the opposition, and their foreign and regional anti-socialist allies, who erroneously believe, like the new Brazilian president, that they can usher in “the end of socialism”.
This sustained global pressure being placed on Venezuela’s socialist project, calls for astute leadership by CARICOM in order to avoid the trap of assisting the global enemies of poor and African-descendant peoples from declaring victory in Venezuela.
This story has played out too often in the Caribbean-latin American region.
Very intelligent Caribbean people, force-fed on Americancontrolled news, end up tacitly supporting the overthrow of a progressive, socialist and friendly ally to the region’s poor, only to be regretful when the full onslaught of right-wing fascist reversals begin to emerge.
This is the story of Libya which, under Gadaffi, was a genuine friend of African and Caribbean development. It is the story now emerging in Brazil, where with the popular and progressive former President Lula da Silva imprisoned on a kangaroo charge, the crude and fascist Jair Bolsonaro has been elected. The first casualties of his election appear to be the poor, the indigenous, the Afro-brazilians and the progressive left. It is also the story behind CARICOM’S moral insensitivity to the assassination attempt on President Maduro.
CARICOM must ensure that President Maduro’s second term does not end with a repeat of the bitter Libyan regret. While Venezuela’s dispute with Guyana has polluted the Caribbean waters, global imperialists should not dictate our response to a regional dispute.
We should embrace Venezuela’s socialism, rather than seek its overthrow.
Tennyson Joseph is a political scientist at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, specialising in regional affairs.
MUAMMAR GADDAFI NICOLAS MADURO