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The Venezuela dangerous precedent

Feb 09,2019 - Last updated at Feb 09,2019

Even if all the accusations being levelled against the elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, are basically correct, that does not mean that foreign countries can pick and choose the next leader of the country on their own!

Maduro has been charged with plundering his country, causing runaway inflation, contributing to wide scale famine, causing high unemployment among the poor and, perhaps, above all, oppressing his people and running his country as a dictator and not as a democratically elected president. Yet, all these wrongdoings combined cannot entitle his opponent Juan Guaido, the speaker of parliament, to declare himself as the interim president.

The rapid and precipitous endorsement of Guaido's claim on the presidency of his country by the US and several European and Latin American countries makes a mockery of recognised international norms. US President Donald Trump even ordered the seizure of billions of dollars worth of Venezuelan assets found on US soil, and imposed punitive sanctions against the country.

It would be not only folly but also a stark repudiation of international norms for foreign countries to "elect" the leader of any country, no matter how grave are the charges against the incumbent leader. Since when do foreign capitals have the tradition of "electing" presidents of countries on behalf of their people?

It would be understandable if foreign states simply call for new economic and fiscal policies in Venezuela, the end of oppression and the denial of basic human rights and even propose holding fresh elections if there are grounds for disputing the credibility and fairness of the elected president. However, to go as far as choosing for the people in that country their new leader and calling the un-elected opposition leader Guaido the interim president is simply untenable and is going too far in the wrong direction.

There is a haunting fear that what the few Western foreign capitals have done to interfere in the domestic political situation in the county will set a dangerous precedent. International and regional peace and security cannot be founded on open and naked interference in the domestic political order of countries.

It is not too late to correct the path of nations on the situation in Venezuela. Otherwise, the crisis in that country may snowball to dangerous levels sooner rather than later.

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