The headlines around the world said it all in describing the bogus July 30 election in Venezuela. “Venezuela heading for dictatorship after ‘sham’ election,” wrote the Guardian, quoting Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “Venezuela faces more isolation after controversial vote,” read an article published in the Latin American section of Aljazeera’s English online news service. Boycotted by the opposition, the vote further distanced Venezuela from the free and democratic world. International condemnations were sharp and swift. The U.S. slapped immediate sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro — in addition to previously imposed sanctions on 13 other Venezuelan officials. In the face of the new sanctions, Venezuela’s dictator reportedly asked a strange, almost childlike question, in response, wondering out loud: “Why are they sanctioning me?”
Given that the democratic rights of the Venezuelan people were ignored in the election, opposition leaders were arrested for voicing dissent and voting was held in an undemocratic manner, what other choice was there, besides slapping sanctions on Venezuela?
Maduro doesn’t get it and he is no exception. Few dictators anywhere in the world have ever respected the democratic rights of the people they rule, held elections in a democratic manner, or handed over power in a timely fashion to democratically-elected representatives.
Maduro’s intentions became clear when he came up with his controversial proposal to create a 545-member Constituent Assembly, to replace his country’s duly elected 167-seat National Assembly.