Regional Conflict Insights


                                                        Threats To Peace

                       DEMONSTRATIONS IN MEXICO OVER MASSACRED STUDENTS

The mood was sad, defiant and angry, but the marches that reached and then filled the vast Zocalo, with the ceremonial National Palace on one flank, were largely peaceful. Some chanted to demand that President Enrique Peña Nieto resign; at another point, they counted from one to 43, then cried, “Justice!”

 “I am here because I have children who are students and one day they could be No. 44,” said Roberto Garcia Santibañez, a 54-year-old architect. “They are not going to silence us.... If they want to quiet us, we are millions that the government will have to confront.”

Read more at:http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/content/violent-clashes-thousands-protest-mexico-city-over-massacre-corruption

                                                           VENEZUELA UNREST


IV. Conflict Risks

The persistence of the economic and social crises, the inefficient management of the economy during over 15 years of oil bonanza, the internal tensions in the Government and the polarization between the ruling party and the opposition, along with the possibilities of an international incident that may further aggravate these tensions and crises, pose multiple threats to the long-term stability and future prospects for Venezuela as well as the broader region. These factors may add up to a reaction by the national armed forces (FANB), with the eventual support of several civilian sectors (including government supporters and members of the opposition), to address violently the different conflicts that the Venezuelan society is facing as part of Chávez' legacy. Whilst the municipal elections of December 2013 were held without any significant episodes of violence, the current crisis has erupted as a result of shortages and scarcity, the rampant inflation, the repression and persecution of the opposition, and the uncontrolled insecurity, as well as the repeated claims of corruption among high-ranking officers of the Government. Altogether, these have spurred social unrest both among Chavistas and sectors of the opposition. Historically, and in particular since the 1989 "Caracazo" popular turmoil, the armed forces have avoided any interventions that may imply a violent confrontation with the population. However, the unforeseeable consequences of the current social outburst may significantly alter this position, with the potential involvement of armed groups of civilians and government-affiliated militias.

Read more at: http://www.cries.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/GPPAC_Alert_Venezuela_Final26Mar20141.pdf

                  Venezuela:  UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Speaks

The inflammatory rhetoric from all sides is utterly unhelpful and risks escalating the tense situation in the country,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay stressed. “It is time for all sides to move beyond verbal aggression and towards meaningful dialogue. This crisis will only be resolved if the human rights of all Venezuelans are respected.” 

In a news release issued by her office (OHCHR), Pillay also voiced deep concern at the reported excessive use of force by the authorities in response to protests, including Thursday in the capital, Caracas. She unequivocally condemned the violence leading to death and injuries, irrespective of the perpetrators, and called on all sides to renounce violence. 

Read more at: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headline-UN-human-rights-chief-urges-halt-to-violence%2C-inflammatory-rhetoric-in-Venezuela-20106.html?

                     OAS  SECRETARY GENERAL CALLS FOR DIALOGUE IN VENEZUELA

Concern is raised about supression of mediareports on the protests in Venezuela:

Meanwhile, the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, has expressed his concern over the possibility that new protests in the streets of Caracas “could lead to more acts of violence that would only further separate the positions of the government and the opposition and polarize to an even greater degree the sensitive political moment the South American country is going through.” 

Insulza appealed to "the responsibility of the government to avoid the use of force by police or related groups, called on the opposition to demonstrate peacefully avoiding provocations, and warned that, in that sense, the presence of certain leaders could set off incidents that everyone would later regret.”

In addition, Insulza emphasized the need for authorities to “respect the freedom of expression and for the media to be conscious of the influential role it plays at this political juncture.”

The OAS leader said that during recent days he has been in contact with foreign ministers in the region and that “there is full agreement as to the urgent need for a dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition, to define points of convergence and to allow political actors to discuss the most serious problems facing the country.” 

“It is crucial that all sectors understand that dialogue is the only tool in democracy to settle differences, however deep they may be,” he added.

Read more at:http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headline-Venezuela-government-restricts-media-coverage-of-protests-19939.html?

      Brazilians On The Move/ New Reforms Offered

                                                 Hugo Chavez Remembered 

 

By William Delahunt 

 October 30, 2012

 Article

The recent election in Venezuela offers an opportunity to improve the US-Venezuela bilateral relationship. On Oc. 7th, President Hugo Chavez was reelected to a new six-year term by a nine point margin. I — along with hundreds of other international witnesses — was duly impressed with the transparency of the electoral process and the enthusiasm of Venezuelans for democracy. Eighty-one percent percent of registered voters went to the polls! This turnout was remarkable when compared to the United States and other “mature” democracies.

Whether or not one agrees with Chávez’s policies, there can be no doubt that he won these elections fairly. There are so many checks and balances in the electoral system in Venezuela that there is virtually no room for fraud. The voter registry, the voting machines, the electronic ballot and the data transmission system are all fully audited by representatives of all the different political parties and independent observers.

Former President Jimmy Carter recently called the Venezuelan voting system “the best in the world.” He noted that the voting machines print out a paper receipt that voters can look at to verify that their selection was recorded correctly, and poll workers check those receipts against the electronic tally.

I was particularly struck by the atmosphere of peacefulness and mutual respect in the voting centers, where monitors from both pro-government and opposition groups were present. In contrast with elections past, the two main candidates manifested a similar attitude. Once the election authorities announced the results, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles rapidly conceded defeat, and he quickly scolded “radical” opposition supporters who insisted on alleging that fraud had taken place, despite no evidence to support their claims. Chávez also behaved gracefully, calling Capriles the following day to express his willingness to work together to mitigate the polarization that divided Venezuelans.

Most of Venezuela’s political leadership — following a tumultuous power struggle, during which a coup d’Etat and violent protests occurred — appear to have accepted to follow the democratic rulebook and be more tolerant of one another. This is an important step forward, and the United States should encourage Venezuelans to continue seeking common ground, rather than support one group over another, as has at times been the case in recent years.

Most importantly, over 55 percent of Venezuelan voters cast their vote in favor of Chávez. The United States should respect this outcome and seek to improve relations in areas where we can agree. Commercial relations between our two countries have generally been excellent, despite political differences, and both countries would greatly benefit from their expansion. 

Venezuela will no doubt continue to play a central role in the region’s new multilateral cooperation and consultation mechanisms, such as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Community of Central American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The United States, which has increasingly found itself isolated in regional forums, would do well to find ways to work with these new groups on important issues such as drug trafficking and energy cooperation. Improved relations with Venezuela would greatly facilitate this task.

Our government will certainly have important differences with Venezuela, particularly in the area of international relations. But we can agree to disagree, as we do with many other partners throughout the world. I am convinced that the Venezuelan government is prepared to respond favorably to such an initiative.

 Copied from Boston Globe.com .

Retired US Representative William D. Delahunt is chairman of the Venezuela-US Friendship Group

 http://www.world-mediation-centre.org/

 

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