The minimum you must know
There is now peace between Venezuela’s leaders Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó, who have more than just the support of their own people. They've become Venezuelan heroes with tremendous international credibility. Both leaders have done an extraordinary job representing their country. They showed tremendous courage for peace, and may be remembered as two of the greatest leaders in the history of Venezuela.
President Maduro (who will continue to lead a hundred non-aligned countries at the United Nations with tremendous international credibility) and NATO-backed President Juan Guaidó (who the White House said will continue to be recognized by NATO as President of the country) once competed for influence. But they reportedly recently signed a peace agreement with each other instead that received the support of the United States. It represented an extraordinary victory for the leaders because of their decision to prioritize the Venezuelan population’s interests. According to the United States, an astonishing US$ 3 billion dollars is being voluntarily released by the U.S. for the United Nations and Venezuelan government to use to help Venezuelans. Infrastructure will improve, and schools and hospitals will be built. That was historically the right thing for Presidents Maduro, Guaidó and Biden to agree on in peace with each other. The United States furthermore agreed to lift important sanctions on Venezuela. President Maduro is requesting that all restrictions on Venezuela be eliminated. But in the meantime the country can sell natural resources limited only by the country’s drilling and production capacity. This progress required the support of all three political leaders. Clearly there's peace within Venezuela and improving relations for Venezuelans with the American people. And there may be more great news ahead because President Maduro said an additional peace agreement with the United States is contemplated in the near future.
Progress on sanctions relief was recently announced. But support for improving relations has been building for some time among member United Nations, journalists globally and members of congress in the United States.
Presidents Maduro, Guaidó and Biden will obviously each do what they believe is in the best interests of their own populations and humanity. Peace benefits all of the populations and constituencies involved. It was perhaps easily decided upon. But continued improvement in relations isn't something that should be taken for granted and is far from guaranteed. The United States has multiple competing political parties that sometimes interfere in the best foreign policy intentions of Presidents. The United States sometimes patterns itself unhelpfully to improving relations, and varies foreign policies in response all the time. (Republicans withdrew the United States from JCPOA for instance, and abruptly adjusted the U.S. posture towards Iran.) And negotiations through media reports aren’t as reliable as directly between government representatives such as at the United Nations. But peace is in the best interests of everyone involved ranging from the leaders to the populations they represent in this writer's opinion. There is also increasing realization in both U.S. political parties that Venezuela can become an excellent parter again. This writer believes very much in the possibility that U.S. - Venezuelan relations will improve further. Also, the Maduro and Guaido governments are very likely to remain at peace with each other regardless of the reliability of the United States. Their relationship of peace with each other does not depend upon the behavior or agendas of U.S. politicians or administrations.
Venezuela is a socialist country. And socialism isn't considered desirable by some in the United States. But it's a very charitable system for supporting impoverished people. Who cares whether humanitarian aid provided within Venezuela is called “socialism” or "capitalism?” (No one. The only thing that matters is that all human beings have their basic needs met however the people and their government can provide for them.) The most important objective is to make sure the population’s needs are fully met by ensuring there are job opportunities and necessities available for average Venezuelans. Ultimately the future of Venezuela will be up to the population. It should be up to their people - not politicians in any other country - how they approach their government and economic system.
The future of the Venezuelan people isn't just important to Venezuelans. It's important to people across the continent and beyond. The Venezuelan government is leading the country extraordinarily, where there is an improving economy for the middle class in spite of the restrictions placed on their economy. U.S. sanctions precipitated an amazing number of refugees who poured across the continent. The United Nations once estimated that 6.5 million Venezuelans left the country in only a couple of years. (Perhaps ten to twenty million Venezuelans departed over a decade. It’s much easier for people to find work in the global economy almost anywhere else that isn’t sanctioned. So an exodus of people continuously left in hopes of opportunity.) There have been rationales for why U.S. economic restrictions on Venezuela are consistent with global treaties and U.S. regulations. But an astonishing number of people abandoned their homes impoverished to search for any work opportunities anywhere else. Mass migration called into question the ethics of an economically restrictive U.S. foreign policy towards Venezuela. It was the source of substantial debate at the United Nations. Now those arguments aren't necessary anymore because the Venezuelan leaders are clearly working well with NATO countries.
There's recent improvement in the economy in Venezuela. Inflation was brought down in line with other countries, and the living standards of Venezuelans are improving. There’s middle and upper class people who appreciate improving living standards in the country with extraordinary forests with winding paths and countrysides. But Venezuelan government couldn't possibly meet the demands of so many people without enjoying free and open access to the global economy. There are even humanitarian burdens that affluent neighboring governments can’t meet. Many Venezuelans headed through Colombia, for instance, which could not support all of the arriving people. (Venezuela shares its largest border with Colombia, which takes in more of the refugees than any other nation.)
According to the U.S. State Department's website, the border nation, Columbia, is "a key U.S. partner." And it’s easy to understand why Colombia is described that way as aligned. Previous Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was a great partner in peace with all other countries. He was loved by his population and governments everywhere. He even enjoyed receiving the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. He was followed by current Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez, who has also led extraordinarily and courageously on peace. He did his best to fully support the United States. His compassionate welfare program for Colombia represented a historic effort to help more people than almost any other country in the world. He was recently succeeded by democratically chosen Gustavo Petro, a populist leader who is already respected in Colombia and at the United Nations.
Colombia participates in the global economy with permission from the United States. But the country became burdened by the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela anyway. Venezuelans filled Colombia uncontrollably. Millions of people entered Colombia including recently. The Colombian government couldn't help millions of needy Venezuelans immediately enough. People were arriving want of their most basic needs. They took up shelter in make shift tents along city-center Colombian streets without sufficient food, clothing, and medicine. Colombia is endured growing slums because of U.S. foreign policy.
This author believes the U.S. foreign policy should be unrestrictive economically.
Colombia is a democracy with a robust capitalist economy. It’s a mostly similar country to the United States with respect to rules and regulations. But the Colombian government is increasingly embracing charity and consequently socialism for a quarter of their population. Why? Because U.S. foreign policy leaves them with no other choice. Venezuelan citizens can't work for international firms. Their government has to give countless Venezuelans their basic necessities for free and embrace socialism instead of the U.S. preference for capitalism. (That’s all socialism means - giving clothing, food, medicine and shelter to poor people. There is sometimes barely a work obligation on the part of recipients.) Colombia has started taking the same approach to socialism for a quarter of their populations as the Venezuelan government endeavors to do for their entire population.
The Colombian government now estimates that there is an urgent humanitarian need from a quarter of the people in their country - approximately thirteen million Colombians and Venezuelans. A Government in that situation doesn’t have a choice in how to respond. They have to embrace welfare. They have to give charitably. Colombia is a market based economy but is embracing socialism pragmatically. There’s no other choice than to give handouts to people for free. Otherwise the thirteen million people will live in squalor and some may steel to feed and house themselves. They’ll have no other choice! Without government support, they might breakdown the social order, riot uncontrollably and destabilize the country.
Colombia is a beautiful country that’s very well governed. It’s a capitalist democracy similar to the United States. There’s advanced voting, a judicial system and an international free market economy. It has very similar rules and regulations as the United States. But the country is forced by U.S. policies towards Venezuela into giving socialist welfare away for free at their own expense. In other words, the U.S. approach to Venezuela is encouraging U.S.-aligned Colombia (and several other regional countries) into utilizing an economic system the U.S. is ostensibly critical of. Economic pressure on Venezuela is forcing several neighboring countries friendly to the U.S. into responding to humanitarian concerns with "socialism" instead of with the U.S. preference for "capitalism,” by giving freely and generously to Venezuelans in need.
Colombia doesn’t call their charitable handouts “socialism.” But Colombia is certainly emulating socialist countries when they provide shelter, clothing, food, healthcare and education without cost to a quarter of the people there. That's what socialism means - providing a safety net by making sure the entire populations needs are met. Socialist policies might or might not be right for the United States. But charity is clearly acceptable for other countries that have to provide for the basic needs of impoverished people.
How is U.S. aligned Colombia's giving its population handouts morally or ethically better than Venezuela's doing exactly the same thing (and for millions of the same people wandering between the countries)? Why does the United States partner fully with one country yet not the other? Perhaps the United States should not only accept socialism in Venezuela, it should fully embrace socialist welfare for Venezuelans, by partnering with the Colombian and Venezuelan government to provide it.
Panama is another country that wants great relations with the United States that’s in a similar situation with respect to refugees. Peace-loving Venezuelans departed their home country and passed through both Colombia and Panama to reach the United States. Some portion of these migrants settled In Panamanian streets.
Panama can't accurately estimate the real number of Venezuelans in their streets. Most countries don’t have an effective counting system in place to keep track of everyone passing across borders without permission. Many enter the country and then bus or walk through Panama on the way to the United States. So the number counted on any one day or week doesn’t fully reveal the humanitarian challenges there. But you can get a sense of the scale of migration from the following excerpt from Panama's President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen's recent speech at the United Nations.
The word “revolution” in Venezuela that brought socialism there isn’t meant as a challenge to any other country. It’s meant as a rejection of corruption and abject poverty in their own country. It refers to support the existing government receives for providing for Venezuelans to the best of their ability, and often extraordinarily. It’s insistence that the government provide directly for its own people. In n this author’s opinion, its time for the Venezuelan government to be allowed by the United States of America and all other countries to do just that, and for the population to be able to work for any international company.
Socialist welfare is currently the only way to provide shelter, food, clothing, healthcare and education to people in need of the dignity of literacy, safety, shelter, health and work opportunities. The Venezuelan nation can finally remain in place when they receive social welfare again for free. Venezuelans love the peaceful and beautiful country. They appreciate their shared culture and traditions. All they want is for their government and country to once again participate in the global economy like all other peace-loving nations so the population’s needs will be met.
Here is how Denis Ronaldo Moncada Colindres, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Nicaragua, described Venezuelan migration through his country. After Colombia and Panama, Nicaragua is the next country Venezuelans travel through towards the United States.
Imagine how the average Venezuelan feels about U.S. foreign policies that deprive them of the possibility of employment with international firms, prevents charity from their own government, and that contributes to the international displacement of so many people across so many other countries! This is a matter of morality for everyone involved. That's why the recent improvement in Venezuelan foreign relations is so exciting. All countries can work with the Venezuelan governments of Maduro and Guaido in peace with each other to provide for the population generously.
Some in the United States want more immigration, not less, because arrivals from Venezuela and elsewhere are amazing people. People in the United States love the phenomenal Venezuelan community. And the United States is right to want to grow the U.S. population with such extraordinary human beings. Immigration is vastly preferable to exodus. Immigration contributes vast talent, intellectual capital and enthusiasm to host countries. Aspiring and new citizens are peaceful and conscientious. They want the same things as everyone else - to find work, fall in love, and to integrate happily into society where they can contribute tremendous abilities. In fact, migrants sometimes contribute more to recipient countries than native populations. The United States, for instance, wouldn't have tremendously inventive iPhones and Macintosh computers if Steve Jobs' parents had settled in the U.S. as Syrian refugees shortly before he started Apple Computer. Immigration created the largest company in the country. Immigrants often become the most respected members of society.
But recipient countries - including the United States - encounter great social welfare needs when receiving millions of people so quickly. It's too much of an initial burden to receive countless refugees uncontrollably. The scale and speed of migration can create suffering for migrants and host populations. It's much better for prospective immigrants to feel safe, peaceful, prosperous and consequently optimistic in their own nations.
The United States can easily reduce the refugee burden and consequent mayhem for Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua and several other countries with an improving foreign policy of generosity.
This recent article in a Colombian newspaper reveals the burden countries have when socialist welfare isn't provided to Venezuelan refugees. They protest and turn to petty theft to secure their basic needs. Their behavior can become destabilizing. This even occurs (of absolutely no fault of the Venezuelan administrations whatsoever!) among refugees in the United States, which has encountered similar social challenges. It’s clearly one of the reasons for news reports in the United States of store shelves being emptied. Perhaps U.S. congress will respond with a new welfare program.
The U.S State Department can review its relationship with the Venezuelan administrations to become more understanding of socialist welfare and much more generous. This author recommends getting teams of Venezuelans and Americans working together on charity immediately. This author believes the Maduro and Guaido governments can work peacefully together with the full blessing of the United States. This is the best way to humanely address the Venezuelan refugee migration through Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua and all of the other countries in between Venezuela and the United States. With great diplomatic leadership, there can be a bright future for Venezuelans in Venezuela and far fewer homeless people wandering through Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua who ultimately take up residence in U.S. streets.