Pepe Mujica In Venezuela there is an authoritarian government and

Pepe Mujica: “In Venezuela there is an authoritarian government and you can call it a dictator or whatever you want.”

The wave of detentions in Venezuela has renewed concerns about Nicolás Maduro's government. In the region, several countries have rejected the arrest of activist Rocío San Miguel, who was allegedly involved in a plot to assassinate the president, and the expulsion of representatives of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Leftist leader and former Uruguayan President José Mujica has also distanced himself from Maduro's Chavismo, to which he was once close.

“Venezuela has an authoritarian government that goes the other way,” he said this Friday to a group of journalists who asked him if there was a dictatorship in Venezuela. “What does the word dictatorship mean? Where does the term dictatorship come from? It was a decision of the Roman Empire when the potatoes were burning that it concentrated power and gave it to one man alone to take over. No disagreement or anything. Closed affair as it cannot be discussed in moments of danger. There has to be someone in charge. The figure of the dictator was invented there. Venezuela is an authoritarian government, you can call it a dictator…call it whatever you want.

Mujica also criticized the reaction of Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, who a few days ago, in a series of statements on social networks, called the current President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, a “lackey” of the United States for pointing out the authoritarian drift in Venezuela , which the Uruguayan leader now also recognizes. “You can’t talk about American presidents like that. “One should not speak, even out of convenience and diplomatic relations,” Mujica noted.

It is not the first time that Mujica has criticized Maduro, but it is the first time that the leader, considered one of the clearest and most balanced voices in Latin American politics, has admitted his authoritarianism. In 2016, he said in an interview that “in Venezuela everyone is crazy” and defended the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Uruguayan Luis Almagro, who is regularly the target of insults from Chavismo in power.

Maduro's hardening of the opposition, dissident voices and even multilateral diplomacy has unleashed a new siege on Venezuela. Argentina, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay have rejected the arrest of San Miguel and the expulsion of the UN representatives. The USA and the European Union have also condemned the events, and now the United Kingdom has also joined in. The international community is fighting for the resumption of the Barbados Accords in Venezuela, which marked progress in negotiations between Chavismo and the opposition to find an electoral solution to the Venezuelan crisis.

The opposition primaries held last October, in which leader María Corina Machado confirmed the high level of popular support that quadrupled Maduro's diminished approval, and the determined mobilization of opponents visible in a process full of obstacles, raised alarm. Chavismo is not ready to give in to power. The scenario of free and competitive elections envisaged last year now seems unlikely after Maduro has abandoned the commitments and concessions he made, particularly with the United States, on the easing of oil sanctions and gas sanctions. have become the lever of change in the Venezuela crisis in recent years.

In another part of the conversation with journalists, Mujica expressed that “Venezuela's misfortune is that it has a lot of oil and feels surrounded and has an authoritarian government, they go to the other side.” “But I learned one thing : In a besieged square, anyone who thinks differently is a traitor. They treat people like orthopedics,” he suggested. In recent days, the situation in Venezuela has once again been at the center of the political debate in Uruguay, which is heating up in the run-up to the general elections in October this year. Recent events, such as the blocking of María Corina Machado's candidacy, motivated President Lacalle Pou to comment on the circumstances in the Caribbean country. “It is clear, it is eye-breaking, it is a dictatorship, there are no elections,” he said last Sunday. Members of Uruguay's right and center-right parties have demonstrated in unison in the same direction.

The situation is not so clear in the ranks of the left-wing Frente Amplio, whose main leaders are more reluctant to describe the Maduro government as a dictatorship. However, there have been notable exceptions, such as that of former Vice President Danilo Astori and even Mujica himself, who described it this way in 2019: “It's a dictatorship, yes. In the current situation there is nothing other than a dictatorship, but there is a dictatorship in Saudi Arabia with an absolute king, there is one in Malaysia where 25 people are killed every day, and in the People's Republic of China, what do you say? ?” Mujica had said.

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