So, are we becoming a failed state? Is there a way to avoid it? Do we have the people for that? Before going into the last point, a highly un-PC examination of the populace, let’s set the parameters that would qualify us as a failed state to be.
Let’s start with Wikipedia, as reliable a source as any other on this one since it is a relatively subjective notion.
Wikipedia offers a short resume to an article worth reading (at its current edition anyway). There are four items and thus I will take each one in turn.
Loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein
This one already offers us two examples. On the loss of territory there is how the claim on Guyana has been lost by Chavez while Maduro has lost the claim on a large chunk of territorial sea that should belong to Venezuela.
On the legitimate use of physical force the example is even more dramatic. Venezuela has one of the highest death rates in the world. But we can also see the rise of a warlord cast that is already challenging authority in ways significant enough that the regime prefers to make deals with these warlords wannabe. Some are the “pran” or jail inmates “negative leaders” that conduct in all impunity all sorts of extortion and traffic business from their jail where they are safe from other gangs. Some of these jails have even swimming pools, discos, warehouses, etc. Tocoron, a noted jail, has even an outdoor market where people can find what cannot be found elsewhere. Trucks with food are routinely taken away from their delivery route, pillaged at Tocoron and then abandoned somewhere. That the Nazional Guard took action against them last year will turn out to be a mere pause since the weapons and the business that enters in Tocoron can only happen because authorities collaborate with the pranes.
There are also the infamous “colectivos” which are the tropical equivalent of a cross of S.A. with Cuban CDR. That is, assault bands which were created to defend the revolution and who know control large chunks of popular districts where they try to make sure the counter revolution does not make inroads in spite of all the penuries the populace suffers from.
Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions
The problem has been brought crudely in the forefront when the regime refused to recognize the legitimately elected National Assembly in December 2015 vote. The opposition got 2/3 of the seats but that did not stop the regime to use its control over the judicial system to invalidate 99% of the Assembly votes. As a consequence the regime cannot get its budget approved in a legal way threatening to bring the country into financial chaos. The Assembly has limited itself to revote the 2016 budget for 2017 since it cannot see the details of the 2016 use of money nor the proposals for 2017. The Assembly simply cannot engage its responsibility over an item that could carry penal implications.
Never mind that all important decisions since 2003 have been taken without consulting the opposition in order to take what are called state positions, those that are of national interest for all Venezuelans. Imposing soon 14 years of partisan politics has a toll.
Inability to provide public services
Need we detail that last one? Oh well…
Basic services like electricity and water are now rationed. In some areas regular power outages can last 12 hours, and more. Water in many parts reaches the people once a week for a few hours. Trash collection is reduced in some areas to once a week. Roads of Venezuela look some time like bombed roads in countries at war, not because of bombs but because of utter disregard for maintenance.
The health crisis has been widely documented by the international press, including graphic photo journalism. Never mind that the writer of this blog has narrated his own difficulties in providing for his family.
Now, I would put a caveat in putting a full check on this one. Contrary to the above mentioned items this one could find consensus to be worked out on some items such as electricity recovery or Hospital refurbishing. The political requirement and will may be reached easier here than on the above two items. But so far the regime has refused to take any step unless it is controlled by its minions all the way through and through. In short, since corruption is the driving force behind that lack of services then we must include it in the failed category.
Inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community
This is developing currently. Venezuela has already been kicked out of Mercosur for failing to fulfill its commitments amen of its human rights record. The OAS is on the verge of taking a decision on applying the Democratic Charter that would make Venezuela a pariah state. No significant head of state has visited Venezuela in a year or so, nor is Maduro received in any of the important capitals of the world. In fact Maduro as well as his foreign minister are now forced to crash in some countries where they are received by underlings of the foreign ministry when received at all. Only China, considering the huge debt Venezuela has with the Middle Empire, does receive Maduro at a decent bureaucratic level, but not at high level anymore.
What is worse is that there is an increasing number of Venezuelan high ranking officials that are on risk lists in the US (and elsewhere probably) and who thus cannot travel outside of the country anymore least Interpol grabs them.
There is no need to go further, the question is whether Venezuela is already a failed state.
Now let’s look at some causes of this, and to the people that are putting up with such a situation.