The two choices for Venezuela’s future

People extending their arms to shake hands with Juan Guaidó (© Ariana Cubillos/AP Images)
Juan Guaidó greets supporters during a visit to Socopó in Barinas state, Venezuela, in June 2019. (© Ariana Cubillos/AP Images)

As the fraudulent December 6 elections raise questions about the future of Venezuela, one thing remains clear: Venezuelans cannot have democracy while an illegitimate authoritarian regime is in power, says the U.S. Department of State.

“Many of Venezuela’s most popular politicians are not permitted to run in the election, opposition political parties have been co-opted, there are no tested and reliable voting machines, millions of Venezuelan voters remain unregistered, political prisoners languish in Venezuelan prisons,” said Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on September 22 in a statement, “and a puppet Electoral Council, hand-picked by the illegitimate regime, is overseeing all of this.”

Venezuela’s future with Maduro

In a future with Nicolás Maduro, not only will the previously democratic electoral processes continue to erode in Venezuela, but other elements of society — access to food, medicine, fuel, reliable electricity and clean water — will continue to vanish under the illegitimate regime.

Venezuela will experience:

  • More poverty. Currently, 96 percent of Venezuelans live in poverty, a number that will not decline if the illegitimate regime is still in power.
  • More hunger. A staggering 97 percent of Venezuelans are food insecure, a number that promises to keep growing as food shortages continue across the country.
  • Tightened control over government. Maduro’s latest attempt to contaminate Venezuela’s National Assembly elections proves he’ll stop at nothing to destroy Venezuela’s democracy.
  • Fewer freedoms. Human rights abuses and crackdowns on freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom to assemble peacefully will increase.
  • Expanded relationships with malign actors. As the illegitimate Maduro regime becomes increasingly isolated and cash-starved, it will depend on Iran and Cuba as allies to illegally export oil from the country with little in return for Venezuelans.

Venezuela’s future without Maduro

However, a future without Maduro would look entirely different. The restoration of democracy would end economic chaos and allow for stability and prosperity, including:

  • Health care improvements. Doctors and nurses currently make less than $6 per month, but legitimate interim President Juan Guaidó’s recent Health Heroes program has sought to pay health care workers more money to compensate their work. With a thriving health care sector, Venezuelans will be able to receive improved medical services, improving the general health of the population.
  • Increased job opportunities. A legitimate government will work to restore the Venezuelan economy, have access to international financial institutions and markets, and restore the country’s fuel exports to the global market.
  • Relief from poverty. With stimulated economic growth and an economy in which Venezuela’s resources benefit Venezuela’s people — not only the top elites in the government, like Maduro’s inner circle — Venezuelans will no longer live in poverty or suffer from food insecurity.

A brighter future for Venezuela is possible, with the restoration of free and fair elections, says Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations Kelly Craft. She emphasized that Juan Guaidó remains the best hope for Venezuela’s future.

“He understands that he is there to represent freedom and to make sure that he promotes free and fair elections,” she said on November 13.