“No man is an island,” English author John Donne declared back in the 17th century.
The same could be said for nations.
Countries which try — or are forced — to operate without co-operation from other nations find it to be rough going.
Just ask North Korea.
It’s a lesson Venezuela could learn the hard way following harsh international reaction to that country’s presidential election Sunday which returned President Nicolas Maduro to another six-year term in power.
Canada has joined the international community in condemning the South American country for what is broadly viewed as an undemocratic election.
In a statement last month, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said:
“The Maduro regime has once again failed its people by restricting Venezuelans’ rights and liberty and by preventing the free participation of opposing parties… Canada rejects the Venezuelan electoral process — and its results — as not representing the democratic will of Venezuela’s citizens.”
More than a dozen countries have recalled their ambassadors from Caracas in protest of the election, and Canada said it won’t look to replace its ambassador.
Freeland said effective immediately, Canada will downgrade its diplomatic ties with Venezuela. That includes a ban on formal military co-operation with the country and leaving the Canadian embassy in Caracas headed only by a charge d’affaires instead of an ambassador.
Consider this another strong message sent by the international community, which has been stepping up the pressure on the Maduro government. The United States, for one, has added more teeth to its rebuke by hitting Venezuela with further economic sanctions on top of an earlier move blocking U.S. companies from buying any more debt from Caracas or Venezuela’s state oil company.
Whether or not you agree with such measures, sanctions are likely to have a more tangible impact than the diplomatic indignation of other nations. Venezuela continues to suffer from an economic crisis fuelled by a decline in oil production that has left the oil-reliant nation cash poor. Shortages of food and medicine are widespread.
According to data released by Venezuela’s opposition leaders leading up to the election, the cost of basic goods in the country are increasing at a rate of nearly 9,000 per cent annually, and the economy shrank by a whopping 13.2 per cent in 2017.
There’s no question things are very bad for Venezuelan citizens right now. Is this move by outside countries to further castigate the Venezuelan government for an election deemed unfair the right way to help?
Perhaps these economic and humanitarian pressures, coupled with increasing outside pressure from the international community, will force the Venezuelan government to give in to demands in order to rescue the country. It’s the diplomatic way for other nations to influence those countries that don’t operate according to internationally agreed-upon standards, certainly preferable to military intervention.
Will it work?
Will it serve to help the Venezuelan people the efforts are reportedly aimed at helping?
Time will tell.
It’s not easy for a country that isn’t a superpower to swim against the international tide.