Venezuela's coming electoral farce could double its emigration to the US

GettyImages 1948403250

A new and unprecedented wave of migration is brewing in Venezuela. The Chavez-Maduro dictatorship, after 25 years in power, has announced presidential elections this summer. Everything points to a new electoral farce, which, far from generating political change, will destroy the hope of 28 million inhabitants and trigger a wave of emigration like none we have never seen.

The Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community states that political repression and lack of economic opportunities will continue to drive Cuban, Nicaragua and Venezuelan emigration. The regimes in those three countries will of course continue to blame U.S. sanctions and policies for their own failure and the irregular migration — the perfect alibi.

The U.S. Southern Command recently reported that Nicolas Maduro presides over an unmitigated humanitarian disaster. His stewardship of Venezuela’s economy has worsened living conditions for desperate citizens who have limited access to food, water, and fuel, leaving no other options but to emigrate. The report also noted that record numbers of Venezuelans are leaving their homes in search of a better life. More than 7.7 million have fled the country since 2013.

Efforts to democratize Venezuela failed. For two years, maybe three, the international community began to talk about a new strategy to deal with the tyranny involving less sanctions, more dialogue and of course more oil. These efforts led to the Barbados agreements, which outlined a path to free, fair and transparent elections.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Maduro did not comply with the signed agreements. As the U.S. authorized the easing of some sanctions on oil, gas and gold, the dictatorship merely consolidated its economic power and reinforced the persecution and arrest of opponents. This included disqualifying Maria Corina Machado, Venezuela’s main opposition leader, from appearing on the ballot in this year’s election.

Maduro is a criminal. In March 2020, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office accused him of drug trafficking and offered a $15 million reward for his arrest and conviction. Since then, many things have changed, most of them in Maduro’s favor and against the millions of Venezuelans who suffer from hunger, exile, prison or death.

The Maduro regime is also blacklisted for human trafficking. In 2023, the United States included Venezuela on the human trafficking blacklist. This means that Maduro does not comply with the minimum standards to combat human trafficking and protect its victims.

This month, the U.S. extended for another year Executive Order 13692 and subsequent executive orders issued with respect to Venezuela, noting that the situation in that country has not improved and continues “to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

Repeating the Cuban dictatorship’s playbook, Nicolas Maduro is intentionally and strategically promoting the infiltration of political allies and criminal groups such as the infamous Tren de Aragua among migrants crossing the border.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.) led a bicameral effort requesting that President Biden to respond and designate the vicious Tren de Aragua a Transnational Criminal Organization.

According to their letter, Tren de Aragua is an invading criminal army from a prison in Venezuela that has spread its brutality and chaos to U.S. cities and small towns. If left unchecked, it will unleash an unprecedented reign of terror, mirroring the devastation it has already inflicted in communities throughout Central and South America, including in Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.

Let’s be clear: Migrants from Venezuela are not criminals. The vast majority are honest working people. But Venezuela’s regime is carrying out a dark and dangerous migration strategy — a new version of the Cuban Mariel Boatlift, except on steroids, designed to destabilize the U.S. from the inside.

The notion that immigration is just a border issue mimimizes what is in fact a much larger crisis. Migration is also a problem of national security and foreign policy. The way we respond to Venezuela’s dictatorship — or fail to do so — will have a direct impact on the new migration wave. That is the elephant in the room.

Arturo McFields Yescas is an exiled journalist, former Nicaraguan Ambassador to the OAS and a former member of the Peace Corps of Norway.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top