Monday, April 3, 2017

What can we learn from Venezuela's polarization?

Under the rule of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela was polarized between those who supported his socialist ideals and those who opposed it. With the death of Chavez and the falling oil prices -the country's main economic resource- the situation has only gotten worse. The severe crisis that arose with his successor's government, Nicolas Maduro, created an overall rejection of the current government.  However, Venezuela's political polarization is stronger than ever before and is dragging the nation into the edge of ruin. 

The deep polarization of the country consists of two sides. By one side, the government of Maduro is willing to stay in power at all costs and, the opposition, as the other side, wants to remove him from the government. Though the 2016 elections have been postponed and the foundations needed to accomplish these goals are inexistent. Each side sees the other as a threat to their way of governing, and even though Venezuelans agree on a constitution reform, there aren't stable institutions to pursue those goals.

Polarization in the U.S might be seen when people support or oppose the Trump's administration, but the division between republicans and democrats are nothing compared to what polarization has caused in countries like Venezuela.  The Economic, social and political crisis has propelled Venezuela into the spotlight of global news. We have seen a country that has been incredibly affected by the falling oil prices and the mismanagement of the resources by part of the government. We have also seen a government that in the name of socialism has sunk into a period of food scarcity, poverty, inflation, and violence. Venezuela's government is oppressing its own country since people who have opposed to the government and proclaimed democracy have been excluded from participating in the country's decisions. For instance, this weekend the national assembly -which is led by the opposition- was dissolved by the government, which implies that the three branches of the government will be controlled by the Socialist Party and basically the opposition presence has been taken out of the picture. There is an inexistent democracy and with this move possibly a future dictatorship.

Several media outlets have drastically changed due to the polarization and the decrease of dissoi logoi. As people continue taking to the streets and protesting for a recall referendum that will put an end to the crisis, Maduro is intensifying his efforts to shut down the press and the public opinion. Local journalists and foreign correspondents have been aggressed by soldiers and independent newspapers were denied permissions to cover what's happening in the country. The attacks on media only reflect how scared the government is to lose control of its people and it seems easier to shut down the opposing side rather than working together. In this way, extremely polarized countries like Venezuela tend to dissolve any act of dissoi logoi, even until the point where people is aggressed for expressing themselves. 

Venezuela is exactly what any country with a similar government should be fearful of. The Venezuelan government needs to learn a lot from dissoi logoi and the importance of considering the opponent's views. Probably, if the government was simply willing to receive international aid, to recognize they have an oil-based business instead of a stable economy and to accept different political parties, Venezuela wouldn't be in such a state of emergency as it is today and polarization wouldn’t divide its people away from their government.


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