Give me two (presidents), Hugo
Did you know that Venezuela possesses the world’s largest known oil reserves, well ahead of ‘beloved’ Saudi Arabia ? That potentially makes Venezuela one of the richest countries of the planet… in theory. How ironic – and sad – therefore for the country to experience medicine and food shortages for the past months and years, with an estimated 3 million people having already fled (that’s almost 10% of the total population). Heck, even toilet paper is running out, to the point that it’s become cheaper tp use bank notes than toilet paper (try this at home at your own peril)! Inflation? Let’s not even talk about that: it’s estimated at more than one million percent… the numbers don’t even make sense anymore.
What happened, you may ask? I have to admit that initially I thought it was mainly due to corruption. While Venezuela ranks almost at the far bottom of the Transparency Index (168th out of 180, ouch), it’s actually mainly poor planning: over-spending when oil prices are high, including with untenable fuel subsidies, and not thinking that prices fluctuate (duh!) and forgetting grandma’s advice to always plan for difficult times ahead. If you look back forty years, it’s always the same story in Venezuela.
It’s also always the same story when it comes to politics, which obviously doesn’t help in solving the situation, instead making matters worse. The political system has always oscillated between attempts at democracies, military coups, so-called revolutions, autocrats who call themselves presidents, and elections that are not exactly the most fair.
Hugo Chavez suddenly died (from cancer) in 2013 after 14 years in power, triggering elections which led to Maduro’s election… yes, Maduro, the same guy who’s clinging to his re-election of last May during which there is evidence of vote rigging and when opposition candidates had been jailed (it’s certainly easier to get elected if your opponent can’t compete, I wonder why I didn’t think of that sooner, so clever). But Venezuela’s parliamentary elections somehow managed to get the opposition party to control the National Assembly, the president of which is, you guessed it, the 35-year good-looking Juan Guaidó. Guaidó deemed Maduro as an illegitimate president and self-declared himself president (as the constitution seems to allow him to do so).
Interestingly, many countries – but not all, and not necessarily just the obvious ones – recognised Guaidó as the legitimate president. And that’s the question we debated about: is it acceptable that he be recognised as the legitimate president? What do we do of all the other countries, including Russia or China, where we all know there are no free and fair elections? Listen to our arguments in our latest episode – as always 6 minutes are given to each side
Before I finish this newsletter, I’d like to invite everyone to recognise me as the legitimate president of 2debate. I have indeed self-declared myself as such. Enough of German tyranny over this podcast. Viva la revolución!
Sebastian (legitimate president, as per the terms & conditions) & Dirk (illegitimate president but Sebastian is still happy to have a national debate with him, every week, recorded and posted on 2debate)
 Check out the episode during which we had debated about the relative value of Khashoggi’s death vs. the death of 40 Yemeni children.
Picture: CC0, Pixabay