LA PAZ, Bolivia -- It is simple: if Trump can blame U.S. problems on small neighbors like Mexico, ascribing conspiracy plots to their "devious" government and agitate American voters to hate Mexicans, then strongmen like Venezuela's Maduro can more credibly blame the economic catastrophe they have caused in their own countries on "the U.S. empire" and justify a cruel domestic political crackdown.
LA PAZ - In all likelihood, Venezuela will produce another mythical figure: Leopoldo Lopez, the movie star-handsome, Harvard-educated son of privilege, who chose to dedicate his life to public service in his home country. He clearly had passion to serve and steel in his spine, so his potentially comfortable life turned out to be rather different than expected. History beckoned.
Given his virtuoso performance as a power broker who helped thaw a half-a-century-old conflict between Cuba and the U.S., the audience Pope Francis has granted Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro this coming Sunday has aroused hopes the Argentinian pope can instill a sense of normalcy to Venezuela's political life.
The resistance displayed by OAS leaders to U.S.-imposed sanctions during the recent OAS summit highlights the severity of the credibility gap the United States faces in its attempts to counter adverse political conditions in Venezuela.
The main scene of the tragedy experienced in the Havana capital is indoors, in the homes where they couldn't save even a chair, but the official press tries to minimize it because it happened a few hours before the "triumphant" First of May.
The contradiction between the Venezuela sanctions and the opening to Cuba is probably more apparent than real. A majority of the U.S. foreign policy establishment has wanted to normalize relations with Cuba since at least the 1990s.
MEXICO CITY -- For the last 15 years, Venezuela has been mired in crisis, characterized by wasteful government spending, rampant corruption, growing authoritarianism, relentless human rights violations, and now economic collapse. But, beyond the occasional sharp word from the late President Hugo Chávez, the periodic expropriation of a foreign company without adequate compensation, and some minor meddling in the elections of neighboring countries, the crisis barely registered abroad. This is no longer the case.
A focus on the Middle East, Russia and East Europe, and East Asia is always warranted. But it would be a mistake for the United States to ignore events in its own hemisphere, especially as we've seen what happens when a problem isn't addressed until it is too late.
All this to hide that he doesn't know how to govern and can only imitate the dismal model he's inherited from his mentors of the Plaza of the Revolution. The result is a bad copy of the Cuban model, a crude replica in which ideology has ceded its entire terrain to the ravings of a man.
Even with the economic problems in Venezuela, the government has decided to press forward in fully funding its social programs.
With his approval rate sinking by the minute, Chavez's successor should be learning from what other commodity-dependent countries, especially in Africa, have done in terms of policy instead of desperately begging for loans.
We take the electoral process to be the first symptom of a democracy, but that in and of itself is very far from sufficient. By that measure, Russia is a democracy, as are Iran and Singapore -- and indeed, many of the former Cold War Warsaw Pact regimes.
It is always a good idea to read the business press with a critical eye. In the case of countries where media bias is unusually strong, it can also be quite profitable for investors to do so.
For anyone who can still see straight, it is obvious that Venezuela won't be able to keep on subsidizing the Castro regime with 100,000 daily oil barrels. Moreover, each day it becomes likelier that there will soon be a major political overhaul in Venezuela, one that, in one way or the other, will spell an end to the island's economic salvation.
President Obama is poised to sign a bill sanctioning Venezuela over alleged concern for human rights in that country. Thousands of Venezuelans have responded to this news by marching in protest of these sanctions.
Can you honestly trust that Maria Corina Machado will receive due consideration under the rule of law in this case? And if not, what does that say about the Venezuelan regime?