Those who want to realise freedom, the rule of law and democracy should start with themselves, within their own sphere of power and influence.
With his self-proclamation as interim president, Parliament President Juan Guaido has proclaimed himself leader of the opposition in Venezuela. His recognition by the leading forces of the West of values followed promptly. This has further intensified the power struggle between government and opposition that has been going on for years. Venezuela threatens to slide into a civil war.
Freedom, democracy and self-determination
In supporting the Venezuelan opposition, the Western community of values (WWG) is driven by nothing but the noblest motives in its public statements. Donald Trump stated: “The Venezuelan people have courageously taken the floor”(1). He also explains without digression the will of the people of Venezuela, namely nothing less than the typical Western values: “freedom and the rule of law”(2).
The EU, too, was not allowed to lag behind in defending Western values. Thus the Foreign Affairs Commissioner Mogherini hastened to inform the world and Venezuela itself: “On 23 January the people of Venezuela demanded democracy and the possibility to freely determine their own destiny”(3).
Imagine the outrage in the WWG if Russia, China or Iran were to interfere in the dispute between Trump and Pelosi in a similar way to what is now being done in Venezuela. What threats against Russia have been made solely by the hitherto unproven allegation of interfering in the American election campaign or of wanting to intervene in the forthcoming European elections? But the West is actively engaged in power politics in Venezuela, right up to the civil war, before the eyes of the world.
And what would happen if Russia threatened with sanctions in the area of gas and oil supplies to support the demands of the Yellow West in France? But the WWG has taken the liberty of threatening other peoples and states with sanctions, interventions and wars for nothing less than human rights, freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
How would one have reacted in the Catalonia conflict if Russia or China had stationed troops there and claimed airspace for themselves, as the WWG states do illegally in the Kurdish regions of Syria? Would the USA accept it inactively if Russian soldiers settled in neighbouring Canada or Mexico without the consent of the governments of these countries? Just remember how close the world was to a third world war during the Cuban crisis, because the Soviet Union wanted to take out the same thing that NATO and SEATO had done since their founding: the installation of missiles on the enemy’s doorstep.
Keeping your own house in order.
But WWG claims all this for itself on the basis of what it calls the “Western” values. But what makes them the typical “western” values or even the “only western” ones? In contrast to other peoples, are they part of a typical “western” DNA, i.e. quasi genetic, perhaps even racial? Are Western people perhaps a master race after all in the eyes of those who argue like this?
Do they believe themselves to be so superior to other peoples, societies and states that they claim to be allowed to missionize them with their own ideas of democracy and freedom and the rule of law, or even to have to missionize them? So do higher rights apply to the West of values because of the higher values that it believes it has at its disposal?
Would the states of the WWG want to be missionized by Russia, China or Iran, let their ideas of social coexistence be forced upon them? Would the West of values want to let itself be blackmailed by sanctions, instigated colour revolutions or even wars into a different lifestyle, a different politics? So why should other peoples and societies let the WWG put up with it? Only because he pretends to be value-oriented in his own opinion?
This is perhaps how one sees it in the WWG, but other peoples and societies see it differently. How else can it be explained that it is losing more and more influence in the world? The Taliban are becoming stronger and stronger in Afghanistan, to which the West’s blessings were to be brought by force of arms. They now control half of the country, forcing the Americans to negotiate the terms of their own withdrawal. In the Middle East, Russia has expanded its influence through its involvement in Syria to such an extent that the Americans are about to withdraw from the country. Relations between Russia and Turkey have improved so much that NATO’s cohesion is at risk.
But even within their own sphere of influence, the number of those who still find themselves in the Western image of the rule of law and democracy is constantly decreasing. For example, a Forsa survey states: “Almost all social institutions in Germany are losing confidence” and “such a widespread erosion of confidence has never been observed in the survey conducted over the last ten years”.(4)
Shouldn’t one rather put one’s own shop in order than want to bring salvation to other peoples that is missing in one’s own country? Those who want to realise freedom, the rule of law and democracy should start with themselves, within their own sphere of power and influence.
Ideal and material values
Or isn’t all this talk about values more about those values that you can get out of the ground and out of the market? Are these perhaps the values that the West so painfully misses in Venezuela? It’s precisely in this area that Chavez and Maduro have put a stop to the Americans. Many companies were expropriated because they wanted to let the wealth of the country benefit their own population and develop the economy according to their own ideas.
Isn’t the Western notion of freedom the same as it was before Chavez’s Bolivarian revolution, to be able to freely rule Venezuela again? In any case, Russia and China are becoming more and more important for Venezuela’s economy, not least because the Western sanctions regime prevents its own companies from trading more than the Venezuelan government itself. The importance of the Western economy for the country is declining more and more.
Now the USA has tightened the sanctions against Venezeula. This is intended to help the opposition, which is to receive the proceeds from the oil trade. The situation for a change of power seems more favourable than ever before. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung notes with relief: “Maduro’s opponents are finally united”(5). When the leading medium of the ruling class in Germany talks about the “final game in Venezuela”(6) it’s clear what it’s all about. They want new political conditions in the country, conditions that meet the interests of the value West.
Confusion of the public sphere
Since Juan Guaido’s self-appointment as interim president, the media in Germany have been trying to justify his move and thus also their own support for a politically very questionable act. It is worth recalling here how, in contrast, the Western media and states condemned the proclamation of Puigdemont as President in Catalonia as unlawful. There was no struggle for understanding. On the contrary, the media and politicians tried to portray the actions of the Catalans as unconstitutional to their own people and to provide the corresponding justifications by the obligatory “experts”. Two comparable situations lead to different behaviour and judgement. So are the values not as indivisible as they are often tried to be? So aren’t they much more dependent on situation and interests than on ethics and law?
The Western media and governments try to give their own people the impression that it is about the Venezuelan people, their freedom, their interests. In reality they know, at least the Frankfurter Allgemeine as the leading medium, that it is different and hide it under a pile of information that explains little. The view that Guaido’s actions are justified is increasingly being worked out. The people of Venezeula want it that way and the country must be saved from destruction, according to the tenor of the media.
The country has been brought to the brink of the abyss primarily by the sanctions of those who now pretend to do everything they can to save it. And the people? The FAZ describes the mood among large sections of the population in a single paragraph, while it gives page by page space to all other aspects of the crisis: “The opposition, whose representatives come mainly from the upper social strata, has never had a strong connection to the people. Even today, most Venezuelans do not identify with the opposition parties.”(7)
This is almost at the end of a full-page article somewhere and says more about the situation than the many pages with which media consumers have tried to cloud their brains. However, it says a lot about the manipulation that media consumers are being subjected to in order to share the offered point of view and support the policy against Venezuela because they consider it to be right and fair.
translated by Alfonso