CRF Blog

As Venezuela Declines, So Does Its Latin American Influence

by Bill Hayes

In As Venezuela Declines, So Does Its Latin American Influence for Bloomberg Businessweek, Tim Padgett looks at the decline of Venezuela.

“I have never seen a country going down so fast,” Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS), recently told the Miami Herald/WLRN News. “At every level: politically, economically, socially.” Almagro, Uruguay’s former foreign minister, is a self-described leftist but is arguably Maduro’s harshest antagonist outside Venezuela. In April he persuaded the OAS’s Permanent Council to issue a resolution essentially declaring Venezuela’s democracy dead. The reason: A desperate Maduro, his approval rating down to 20 percent, has neutered the legislative and judicial branches, called off elections, muzzled independent media, and locked up more than 100 opposition figures.

The OAS resolution was an unusual sign that the rest of Latin America — for once — isn’t shamelessly apologizing for a disastrous and dictatorial left-wing regime. The region has a long and hypocritical history of decrying U.S. imperialismo while defending repressive socialismo. Communist Cuba is Exhibit A, but that country retains a romantic symbolism — standing up to U.S. hegemony and social inequality — that much of Latin America still wants to cling to. Venezuela no longer does, if it ever did, so it’s not getting the usual pass. [more]