By Pedro Campos

Catia Blvd. in Caracas. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES – We approach the existing problem of power in Venezuela according to what we wish to see: a Venezuela united in diversity or a Venezuela divided and presumably destroyed.

Those who desire a Venezuela united in diversity and committed to the country’s development and to the welfare of ALL its people, from both the government party and the opposition, will see not so much a duel of power – two enemy powers facing off, each wishing for the destruction of the other – but power shared between two fundamental contenders who must seek solutions through collaboration, not confrontation. That’s one of the essences of democracy.

However, while some hope for the coexistence of two different forces united in the struggle to move Venezuela forward, others see an irreconcilable battle between two contenders. This interpretation of the current situation, in which Maduro and his followers hold in the executive branch while Congress contains a wide majority from the opposition, could bring this country to the worst disaster of its history.

The “dueling powers” vision implies the existence of two powers with different interests. Shared power deems that the different forces in power share a common objective: that of getting ahead with help from the two forces.

Unfortunately, we’re witnessing the existence of incendiaries in both gangs: the all or nothing crowd from Maduro’s party who want to torpedo the establishment of a new National Assembly dominated by the opposition; and those from the other band who – before even taking their seats in the Assembly – are already declaring that their objective is to destroy the President.

Venezuela is living through some of the most divisive moments of its history. In these times, the political protagonists, both individual and collective, should be putting the general interests of the nation and the Venezuelan people first and foremost. They can do this by assuming a constructive position that works to negotiate a solution to the conflicts, taking into consideration the interests of everybody and not those of narrow groups.

A call from the jungle. Photo: Caridad

It would be an enormous, catastrophic error to try to “intensify the class struggle”, deepen the Stalinization believed to be socialism, and try to dislodge the opposition from all positions of power. This is what Lenin and Trotsky did in Russia in 1917, when they deposed the democratic government of Kerensky; and what Fidel Castro did in 1959 when he maneuvered the overthrow of Urrutia’s government which had espoused democratic elections.

Venezuela in 2016 has nothing to do with Russia in 1917 or Cuba in 1959.

I put forth this difference between the two views of power (dueling or shared) because many historians speak of a duel of powers when they talk about the situations of that time in Russia and Cuba. This is the concept with which I began this article, and which invites one power to prevail over the other instead of considering a model of shared power.

History has shown that such assaults on democratic power were serious errors that led to Stalinism in Russia and a government of similar general characteristics in Cuba.

History should serve the people as a way of lighting their road. Maduro supporters and opposition sympathizers, not to mention foreign governments, shouldn’t forget its teachings. Democracy implies taking into account the interests of everyone, not just those of a majority or those from one hegemonic group. When we don’t take history into consideration, we are condemned to repeat its mistakes and failures.

One thought on “Venezuela: Dueling Powers or Shared Power

  • Switzerland is a country where this is done best. All the main parties get a place on the cabinet and the presidential role is rotated. They also allow a great deal of participation from all citizens in introducing laws.

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