Dancing on the razor’s edge. Proposals to overcome the crisis [VENEZUELA]

Carlos Carcione

The space for a nontraumatic way out of the deep crisis faced by Venezuela is even smaller. The game is in stoppage time. Although, for now, it is still halted, its conclusion is approaching, and if the dynamics of the crisis could not be stopped, it will be dramatic.

Last week two events took place hours apart from each other. The first: Venezuelan delegation to the OAS agreemeent to the proposal submitted by Argentina with the support from the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Barbados and Peru, which opens a space for leadership negotiation, postponing for now, open interference as would be taken the sanction of the Democratic Charter.

The second: the violent outbreak of desperate citizens in the center of Caracas, searching for food that had been diverted from the commerce to the government informal distribution network known as CLAP, which still does not work and where it does is clearly insufficient.

Two pictures of a crisis that has no limits. It is evolving into an open hyperinflation scenario, acute shortages of food and medicine and increase in social tension. Two pictures that joined to other everyday images show the film that leads, step by step, to a humanitarian crisis which even if announced will be no less tragic.

The agreement proposed by OAS’ Permanent Council and accepted by Venezuelan government hardly helps to solve the crisis. In any case, it represents the momentary oxygen to President Maduro’s government and time to develop even deeper interference policy by the US and their continental partners such as Macri. The three points proposed in this dialogue to political leaderships vying for power and income distribution in the country, do not help neither in their order of priorities nor in the credibility of their protagonists.

Neither the PSUV-Government nor the Assembly-MUD are concerned with the sufferings of the population. Therefore, the first point of their “dialogue” is the Recall date, the second is the freedom of right wing’s alleged political prisoners and the third economic crisis, but the latter viewed as a pressure to an openly neoliberal way out.

In a nasty shrinking-stretching game, while both leaderships prepare to talk about these issues in a table that does not yet exist, their main spokesmen make the situation even more tense with irresponsible statements. They raise the menacing tone of a discourse in search of guiltiness on the other side and leave the people unprotected on the edge of hunger and despair.

The outrageous allegations of supermarkets full of goods in millionaires housing estates, or pictures of senior highly-placed officials buying food or medicine in Aruba using dollars, only add fuel to a fire that began to flare in the center of Caracas.

Added to supply crisis in food and medicine is the deterioration of basic public services. In populated areas of western Caracas, the water cut is announced, for those with better luck, for weekly 82 continuous hours. However some housing estates have gone up to 15 continuous days without water. In the countryside, even more unprotected and abandoned than Capital District, the power cuts have reached 8 daily hours. Water comes scarcely from time to time and even the communications service is collapsed.

Dozens of protests take the country daily, concealed by public and private media in an effort to derail the thin boundary that separates the current conflict situation from widespread social explosion. However obvious, it can not be hidden the clandestine corralito kind of limitations in the banking system. And even less the merciless shortage of the basic products forcefully obtained after long and exhausting queues.

The cynical speech of the leaderships and their search for such a spurious pact of income sharing and control over rentier state and its mafia pattern of accumulation, develop under the complicit gaze of national union leaders and the extreme confusion of the popular movement.

Therefore, the space for democratic solution to the political crisis and against totalitarian and / or interventionist threats that are developing, should and can come from the foundations of citizenship, whose solidarity and humanitarian motivations put as a priority goal the detaining of the crisis dynamics.

Proof that this is possible is the creation of the Platform for the annulation of Arco Minero. In a record time, it stood up an autonomous movement which left aside occasional differences, and that daily gains strength and a leading role in defense of the country’s irrecoverable goods, the environment, sovereignty and life.Three points are needed to build a realistic and necessary social agreement to end the moment that crosses the country and the agonizing suffering of the most unprotected people:

1.- Humanitarian emergency declaration and request for Latin American solidarity. We can not keep hiding reality. The current situation takes directly to a pathway of a humanitarian crisis. The humanitarian emergency declaration aims to make a dramatic call to solidarity among Latin America peoples and governments and to the instances Venezuela helped to create as UNASUR.

Latin American solidarity is not only possible but essential. Countries with medium development or large food production as Brazil and Argentina, have the ability to help our people in solidarity, and why not obligation.

Finding the supply level in food and medicine, essential for subsistence, is the only guarantee to achieving a democratic and non-bloody way out to the political crisis facing the country.

2.- Special emergency tax to Venezuelan capital deposited abroad. It is a fact recognized by international financial institutions, key government spokespeople as President Maduro and even opposition spokesmen, the existence of 300 billion Venezuelan dollars deposited abroad. It is our right to investigate its legitimacy. An emergency tax on such capital of a derisory 10% annually, while the crisis lasts, would reach the need to feeding and health of our people.

3.- Temporal suspension of external debt payments.

Another recognition of President Maduro is the payment of 30 billion dollars of foreign debt in little more than a year. The suspension of those payments would set in motion the national economy and boost local production.You can not keep paying a debt accused of being illegitimate, while the Venezuelan people can not get the basic goods to survive. While political leaderships keep dancing together on the razor’s edge of a crisis that is paid by the people with their anguish and suffering, the challenge is raising awareness, autonomous and joint initiative of organizations and personalities to boost coordination and citizen action to prevent the current situation turn into humanitarian disaster.

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