The political crisis in Venezuela, which brings tension to the human drama, calls for the international community to exert diplomatic pressure to restore stability and bring that country back to democracy.
We stand in solidarity with the Venezuelan people who have been suffering an oppressive regime installed two decades ago and that now, with Maduro´s second term, tries to remain in power while turning its back to the welfare of the people and the democratic constitutional order. The fact that National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaidó self-declared president of Venezuela joins the collective discontent that has already been sadly reflected in a mass exodus.
We hope that the United Nations Security Council -that will hold a meeting on Venezuela today- will agree to explore and use all diplomatic channels that may be necessary to avoid the escalating political turmoil in the region. Particularly, concerns regarding tension with the U.S. after Venezuela ordered American diplomats to leave Caracas.
Despite its unprecedented socioeconomic disaster, and beyond international political differences, the Venezuelan oil reserve seems to be the key for countries to take sides on Maduro or Guaidó.
In the meantime, Venezuelan people suffer violence and repression. They have already suffered too much with the double humanitarian crisis: an internal crisis since they cannot access food and medicine. The other crisis shows in the mass exodus of young people who flee Venezuela seeking refuge under uncertain and even dangerous conditions in neighboring countries. A massive migration that threatens to destabilize the region due to its pressure on South American countries.
Guaidó won the recognition of The United States, Canada and most countries in South America like Argentina and Chile while Mexico and Uruguay are urging all parties to reduce tensions and negotiate to resolve the dispute peacefully.
Except for his ideological allies, such as Cuba and Bolivia, Maduro is alone in this part of the world. Not even the most impoverished sectors, used as a spearhead for the Chavismo to perpetuate its populist regime, can stand demagogy anymore. Many in these sectors have joined peaceful protests that security forces control by firing tear gas and live ammunition. More than a dozen people were killed in three intense days of anti-government protests.
Tension rises as Russia, China and Turkey side Maduro, as well as the Venezuela´s powerful military high command who back him. Russia accuses the United States of instigating a coup in Venezuela and warns of catastrophic consequences if Venezuela is threatened. This inflammatory rhetoric is also fuelled by Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López describing the crisis as a "hybrid war". Such a category poses a major threat to the people who –despite the risks- protest on the street demanding their precious right to freedom and democracy.
Guaidó himself calls for free elections to resolve this crisis through the people´s vote. It is the wiser solution for any government that advocates for legitimacy inside and outside its borders.
Meanwhile, it is urgent to intensify international diplomatic efforts to put an end to the agony of a country rich in resources, but controlled by an abusive minority anchored in power. Venezuela needs to lead a peace process that will enable the transition towards the necessary democratic national reconciliation, and the entire region stability.
Meanwhile, our Venezuelan brothers must know that they are not alone. Our close ties with this neighboring country lead Puerto Ricans to stand in solidarity with all those Venezuelans who, against all odds, demand for the end of tyranny. We trust that their perseverance and the international pressure will soon lead to a peaceful and democratic solution to the Venezuelan tragedy.