Tuesday, January 18

Guaidó, at the Summit for Democracy: “The dictatorship has condemned my country”


Correspondent in Washington

Updated:

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The president of the United States gave this Thursday a prominent part in his first Summit for Democracy to those who fight against dictatorships in Latin America. The opposition leader to Chavismo whom the White House recognizes as the interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, included in his delegation the Nicaraguan activist Berta Valle, wife of the detained presidential candidate Félix Maradiaga, and the Cuban dissident Rosa María Payá, who is the daughter of the opposition leader Oswaldo Payá.

In his turn to speak, in a space reserved exclusively for him, Guaidó thanked the president Biden the invitation, «and the recognition of the struggle of my country, Venezuela, from where we continue to resist for freedom, facing one of the most terrible dictatorships in history, which has caused the second largest migratory crisis in the world, displacing more than six million Venezuelans, just as countries at war.

“The dictatorship condemned 76% of Venezuelans to live in extreme poverty, kidnapped institutions and ended the rule of law,” said Guaidó.

Precisely the will of Biden with this meeting, which has been held virtually, is to create a permanent forum in which countries can enter or leave depending on their commitment to democracy, in a context of the rise of totalitarianism. Biden himself said when opening the plenary that “half of all democracies have experienced a decline in at least one aspect of democracy during the last 10 years, including the US.”

The three dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela Y Nicaragua, what the Trump Administration called “the troika of tyranny.” But neither are there countries that the US accuses of corruption or authoritarian drift, including Guatemala and El Salvador. Precisely on Wednesday the United States accused the Salvadoran president, Nayib B Watch, of having sealed a pact with the gangs, the criminal groups, to reduce crime and gain their support in elections. Bukele denies it.

Yes he was present Jair Bolsonaro, from Brazil, accused by his detractors in the opposition of authoritarian drives to perpetuate themselves.

In keeping with a less interventionist policy in Latin America than that of his predecessor, Biden has not given more prominent places to leaders of the continent in these two summit days, Thursday and Friday. In the plenary, the heads of government or state of all the invited countries did speak, including Peru, Chile, Ecuador or Colombia.

But after that plenary session, the heads of government of Latvia, Denmark, Zambia, Lithuania, the Dominican Republic, Malawi, Sweden, Botswana, Slovakia, Moldova, Ghana and New Zealand took part in talks and presentations. The UN Secretary General also spoke, António Guterres, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Not one American, and not the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro.

An “inclusive and negotiated” solution

With respect to Guaidó, Biden has had the gesture of inviting him, reinforcing him in the position of president in charge, in the face of the perpetuation in power of Nicolas Maduro and his dictatorship. Since he came to the White House, he has always addressed him as “interim president,” and he has been presented that way at this summit.

Guaidó has said that “the dictatorship condemned 76% of Venezuelans to live in extreme poverty, kidnapped institutions and ended the rule of law, persecuted, imprisoned and tortured dissidents, and for this reason today it is the first regime in Latin America investigated by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Then he added a note of optimism, as he said that “in the specific case of Venezuela, it is necessary to commit to an inclusive and negotiated political solution that provides a genuine space for all sectors of society.” It is precisely the point that the Biden Administration always makes, that the solution must be negotiated. He also asked those present, 110 heads of state and government, to support the host states of Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

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