The lost opposition: Democracy dies in Venezuela?


As Venezuela falls into ever more tumultuous times, President Nicolás Maduro has tried to hit the final nail in democracy’s coffin. Now opposition parties are a thing of the past, reports suggest.

Maduro has acknowledged that people are hungry in Venezuela, but he has refused to accept international aid, the New York Times adds, in a must-read account of the country’s food crisis:

Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. But many economists contend that years of economic mismanagement set the stage for the current disaster. ….In soup kitchens around the country visited by The Times, many of the parents who brought their children had full-time jobs. But hyperinflation had destroyed their salaries and savings. A 2016 survey by three Venezuelan universities found that nine out of 10 households had become “food insecure” in Venezuela.

Roberto Patiño (below) runs a nonprofit group encouraging peaceful political solutions to Venezuela’s crisis, the New Yorker reports. He was one of several senior figures of Venezuela’s opposition who recently met with French President Emmanuel Macron on a “European tour” to rally international pressure on Maduro.

Every day Patiño’s program – Alimenta la Solidaridad (Feeding Solidarity) -feeds 500 children in Caracas, notes one report:

Patiño’s meals help keep kids alive and in school during this difficult time in their country. It costs $0.50 to feed a child for a day – that’s $250 per day for his 500 kids. Let’s see how many days we can help Roberto keep his wonderful program going! He provides food Monday-Friday, so $5,000 would give his kids food for one month! It’s $10 per kid, per month – how many can you help?


The initiative “is empowering mothers to feed daily 920 kids in the poorest and most violent communities in Caracas,” notes one observer, adding that such work “consolidates collective efficacy that can be leveraged for democracy promotion and violence reduction purposes.”

Venezuela’s political and economic collapse is due to populism, corruption, and impunity, says Antonio Ledezma, a leader of the democratic opposition, who escaped house arrest and fled his country in November 2017. A co-recipient of the National Endowment for Democracy’s 2015 Democracy Award, Ledezma urges his fellow democrats to unite and seek international support for their cause in an interview with AEI’s Roger Noriega.


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