Humanitarian aid to Venezuela: "Whatever he decides, the Maduro regime loses its face"

Former diplomat and adviser to the White House during the Clinton presidency, Eric Farnsworth is vice president of the Council of the Americas (AS / COA), a liberal think tank based in New York. He analyzes the stand-by position of opponent Juan Guaidó with the accession of international humanitarian aid to Venezuela.

The self-proclaimed president, Juan Guaidó, seems resolute to challenge Nicolás Maduro and the army about humanitarian aid. What do you think of this strategy?

I believe that it is his concern to provide humanitarian aid to the suffering Venezuelan people, not to challenge Maduro's security forces. But since Guaidó has no control over the police, whatever they may be, his only option is to attract outside help, which means that the army will let go. However, it is a clear way to attack the regime politically by insisting that Maduro must open the border of Venezuela to allow international humanitarian aid. This destroys the Chavanist rhetoric, which is to insist that Venezuela is doing well, and that forces the regime to choose between rejecting aid or letting in, under pressure from Guaidó. Whatever he decides, the Maduro diet loses face. The delivery of foreign humanitarian aid would be an important political victory for Guaidó, but, more importantly, it would help a much-needed population.

To read too In Venezuela, humanitarian aid is the tendon of war

Several countries, including the United States and Canada, and the European Union have announced that they will increase their humanitarian aid to Venezuela. Which obstacles must be overcome to reach the needy?

The obstacles are numerous: logistics, distribution, corruption, security. This is a gigantic task, given the size, geographical diversity of Venezuela and the insecurity that affects a large part of the country, without of course forgetting the regime's resistance. Moreover, it is essential that humanitarian aid is given directly to the population without going through the Maduro regime, so that Maduro and his supporters can not steal or divert help, or claim the merit of its distribution. . Ideally, the regime should completely disappear from the process, which of course it will never accept. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan population continues to suffer.

What role can the United Nations and its humanitarian organizations play?

The role of the United Nations must be crucial, especially to give a mandate for international humanitarian action. We need to be clear: given the position of Russia and China in the Security Council, it will probably be difficult to do more than provide border humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans who have already fled, but it is a start. Moreover, the establishment of refugee camps on the Colombian and Brazilian side of the border with Venezuela, and possibly in Guyana and the Caribbean islands, would be a constant and symbolic reminder that the Maduro regime does not meet its own needs. population.

Frédéric Autran

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