Nicolás Maduro’s is a textbook dictatorship, with assassinations, censorship of the press, and a
sociopathic strategy to use the hunger of its own citizens as a tool for political control.’ Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock
Nicolás Maduro has brought the country to its knees. The international community must support Venezuelans trying to restore democracy
The descent of Venezuela into a dictatorship has resembled the fable of the boy that cried wolf. Back in July 2000, when Hugo Chávez won his first re-election, many in the opposition, surprised by his sudden rise in popularity, claimed electoral fraud. Since then, it seems, the norm has been for the opposition to accuse the government of stealing elections, without presenting enough evidence to gain the support of the international community. This has made it difficult for many outside Venezuela to label the regime a dictatorship. Until now.
It has never been clearer that Nicolás Maduro – who cynically described this weekend’s vote as “a triumph of democracy” – is a dictator. Dozens of countries throughout Europe and the Americas warned that the fraudulent presidential elections should not occur and are now refusing to recognise the results.
We are not dealing with an authoritarian government that, like Chávez’s, still managed to loosely colour between the lines of democracy and the rule of law. This is a textbook dictatorship, with assassinations, torture and sexual abuse of political prisoners, violent censorship of the press, and a sociopathic strategy to use the hunger of its own citizens as a tool for political control. So, in the face of all this, what can we do to help restore democracy in Venezuela?