Last Wednesday, President Donald Trump made fun of our rules law. His baseless rejection of the results of the presidential election, his refusal for a peaceful transition to power, and his subsequent hate speech have brought us into this chaotic moment. Shocking images in Congress, where I began my career 20 years ago, will have far-reaching consequences – not only for Americans, but for those worldwide who draw on the American example to fight for their right to democracy Occur.
After a series of constitutional crises and waves of social unrest, Chile and Peru in particular are in the grip of growing anti-democratic tendencies.
The damage can be particularly severe throughout Latin America, where epidemic catastrophe, severe economic tensions, and the increasing impact of climate change have shaken public confidence. Amidst these challenges, the spread of misinformation and disintegration across the region has created the right environment for a democratic backslide that could blunt decades of progress in many young democracies in Latin America.
And for countries aspiring to democracy but not yet succeeded – chief among them Venezuela – Trump’s actions are particularly devastating. In 2017, the United States led the international community in retaining Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro in power and condemning the insidious elections that stood behind Venezuela’s democratic forces. Over the past three years, the United States has taken a tight line against the Maduro regime’s abuses, despite the right time and repeated refusal to accept anything less than free and fair elections to the people of Venezuela.
Trump’s actions undercut that effort. The President of the United States cannot in one breath condemn dictatorship like the Maduro regime, then unilaterally reverse US elections in the next. In the light of Wednesday’s rebellion, Maduro condemned the manipulation of recent legislative elections before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement. It is difficult to reduce Venezuela’s rigged vote when – just a few blocks from his office – Pompeo’s boss is attempting to reverse the will of American voters.
In doing so, Trump aligns himself with despair like Maduro rather than the great American presidents of the past and the future. On Wednesday afternoon, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry released a brief but joking statement: “With this unfortunate episode, the United States is experiencing what it has generated in other countries with its policies of aggression.”
The embarrassment of the United States on the world stage has real consequences for those under dictatorial rule like Maduro. Despite a complex human emergency and the horrific abuses of the Maduro regime, including reported crimes against humanity, Venezuelans stand up for their right to democracy. They do so with the support of the international community led by the United States. But when the US president instigates an armed rebellion, the US loses its legitimacy and the fight against Maduro’s dictatorship becomes more dangerous.
In practice, Wednesday’s rebellion gave Maduro ammunition to further reduce the credibility of the United States, adding further cracks to the regime. Maduro would feel free to consolidate power as he would feel less threatened by the possible consequences.
Venezuela’s democratic opposition, since Maduro and his cronies control the National Assembly, may face greater arrest or worse, persecution, and have lost the moral boost that America has on their backs if they turn their back to democracy. Dangerous push. The regime is likely to further disrupt the activities of on-the-ground humanitarian organizations and independent media outlets in Venezuela; The harassment of Maduro has intensified since Wednesday.
Venezuela is not the only country where Trump’s discrepancies can have a destabilizing effect. Although Latin America’s democratic institutions have proved remarkably resilient to the circumstances, this may be important in the coming months. Chile, Peru, Honduras, Nicaragua and Ecuador are all set to hold presidential elections this year.
After a series of constitutional crises and waves of social unrest, Chile and Peru in particular are in the grip of growing anti-democratic tendencies. In 2019, mass protests in Chile led to an October vote to rewrite the country’s dictator-era constitution. If Chile’s high hopes for the new constitution are disappointed, public disenchantment could create an opening for dangerous fringe candidates.
In November, Peru went through three presidents in 10 days, a worrying sign that after several military coup in the 20th century, relative democratic stability could be put to the test amid the difficulties of the epidemic. And there are very few reasons to expect to be free or fair in Nicaragua; A law passed in December prohibits many opposition candidates from running.
In addition, with the massive havoc in the region’s economies and failing to slow down the spread of the virus at large, the region’s political class has seen a thorough approval rating. In an increasingly hostile political landscape, democratic institutions may face increasing pressure from external challengers fighting to protect them. And Trump’s anti-traitor has given democratic leaders an updated playbook: use social media and other alternative information sources to spread misinformation to incite loyal followers, and then the hearts of democratic institutions using those tools Conduct a violent attack on.
We are facing a new challenge over epidemics, economic crises, and current chronic problems: for the international community to prove that American democracy is strong.
To minimize the damage in Latin America and the world, President-Elect Joe Biden would need to re-engage with allies and re-build America’s reputation by openly acknowledging the necessary healing after the chaos of his predecessor.
In the coming months, we are facing a new challenge over epidemics, economic crises and current chronic problems: proving to the international community that American democracy is stronger and more resilient as it has been tested.
We, as a nation, must re-accept the values that have given the American leadership something more than our ability to use force. And we must remember that our actions have consequences domestically beyond our limits. Trump has helped Maduro and other dictators to maintain the democratic system. It is up to the US to use this moment as an opportunity to strengthen democracy.