Friday, February 21, 2014

Venezuela is not a democracy

Leftwing activist Mark Weisbrot penned a frustrating piece in The Guardian this week claiming that America should refrain from supporting the ongoing efforts to topple the regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela because he was elected democratically.

Weisbrot, who is co-director of the left wing think tank Center for Economic and Policy Research, cites his own pro-Chavez organization when he attempts to deflate arguments that the elections that kept Chavez and eventually Maduro in power were rigged. He claims the votes were counted fairly, thus proving Venezuela is a democracy.

That's dubious, but irrelevant even if it's true.

What Mark Weisbrot does not understand is that counting votes does not make an election a valid form of democracy. Political Scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita argues that to be considered a legitimate democracy, a nation must also have freedom of assembly and freedom of the press. Venezuela doesn't have either.

Those aren't elections in Venezela; they're a mummer's farce. Weisbrot's argument from democracy

It's also telling the way Weisbrot glosses over the authoritarian nature of Maduro's regime. The only reference to the brutal nature of Maduro and the struggle opposition leader Leopoldo López has endured was a weak throw away line that exists only to say that he acknowledged it.

Meanwhile, López is taunting Maduro on Twitter after the government made the mistake of threatening to arrest him: "Don't you have the guts to arrest me?" he tweeted on 14 February:

Made the mistake? It's as if Weisbrot thinks that was a simple, uncharacteristic accident.

An election does not make a bad idea good, and fake elections do not wash away blood. Weisbrot is a fanboy for authority, a Tom Parsons, and like Parsons he deserves to become a victim of the monster he loves.

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