EDITORIAL Venezuela’s Manufactured Border Crisis

NYTSEPT. 2, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 8.12.35 PMLate last month, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela declared a state of emergency in areas that abut Colombia, shut down the border and ordered a mass roundup of Colombian immigrants. In a decree issued on Aug. 21, he warned that drug trafficking, contraband and rampant violence along the border made it necessary to suspend basic rights, such as public gatherings and demonstrations. After Venezuelan authorities evicted Colombians from their homes, some dwellings were marked with the letter D, meaning they would be demolished.

There was, in fact, no crisis requiring these extraordinary measures along the border, where Colombians and Venezuelans have coexisted amicably through good times and bad. The whole thing was phony, a crisis manufactured by an increasingly unpopular president who is desperate to shore up support for his party ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for December.

Mr. Maduro’s popularity dipped to 24 percent in July, reflecting growing public dismay with government policies that have led to soaring inflation, a severely devalued currency and worsening food shortages. To ward off a bruising defeat at the polls, Mr. Maduro has jailed prominent opposition politicians and ordered that others be disqualified from appearing on the ballot.

Mr. Maduro’s go-to boogeyman has been the United States, which he’s accused of working underhandedly to oust him from power. But as relations between Washington and Caracas have marginally improved, Mr. Maduro has chosen to deflect attention from the country’s problems by picking unnecessary fights with his neighbors. Earlier this year, hereignited a long-dormant territorial dispute with Guyana after learning that Exxon Mobil had discovered offshore oil reserves in Guyana’s waters, asserting a right to as much of two thirds of Guyana, a tiny country of roughly 800,000 people.

Mr. Maduro then turned his attention to his western border, where his antics have disrupted an important commercial corridor, separated families and displaced hundreds of people from their homes. As Venezuelan security forces began searching home to home for Colombians the government said were in the country without authorization, hundreds of Colombians fled on foot across the border, some waddling across a muddy river, carrying a few belongings overhead.

Colombian officials have sensibly refrained from a war of words that could increase nationalist fervor in Venezuela. Mr. Maduro, meanwhile, has been characteristically glib. Last week Venezuelan television showed him doing shoulder presses on a gym machine that looked too small for his stocky frame. Smiling broadly, he challenged a prominent Colombian politician to a fist fight. Mr. Maduro should focus on the actual fight at hand: at the ballot box. Further alienating his neighbors will only deepen Venezuela’s many problems.

Editorial de New York Times: La fabricada crisis fronteriza de Venezuela

El diario estadounidense The New York Times dedicó su editorial de este miércoles a la crisis humanitaria que se vive en la frontera colombo-venezolana, desde que el presidente Nicolás Maduro decretó el estado de excepción. Según el reconocido medio, la medida es un ‘montaje’ de Maduro, de quien dice: ‘está desesperado para reforzar el apoyo de su partido’ antes de las elecciones parlamentarias del próximo seis de diciembre.

Post y Times acusan a Maduro de fabricar disputa con Colombia

Los diarios estadounidense elogiaron el manejo de la crisis por parte del gobierno colombiano. Post asegura que el contrabando es generado por las políticas económicas de Maduro y no por los ciudadanos del país vecino

The Washington Post y The New York Times publicaron este miércoles par de editoriales en los que critican la crisis fronteriza entre Colombia y Venezuela. Ambos diarios coincidieron en acusar al presidente Nicolás Maduro de fabricar la disputa con el país vecino.

Times afirma que la popularidad del mandatario nacional cayó al 24% en julio, lo que refleja la creciente consternación pública con políticas gubernamentales que han llevado al aumento desmedido de la inflación, una moneda gravemente devaluada y el empeoramiento de la escasez de alimentos.

“A medida que las relaciones entre Washington y Caracas han mejorado marginalmente, Maduro ha optado por desviar la atención de los problemas de su país provocando peleas innecesarias con sus vecinos”, expresa el periódico neoyorquino al recordar la disputa territorial entre Venezuela y Guyana.

El diario asegura que la crisis con Colombia ha interrumpido un importante corredor comercial, separado familias y desplazado a cientos de personas de sus hogares.

The Washington Post señala en su editorial que Maduro provocó una crisis con Colombia. Su gobierno populista parece encaminarse hacia una gran derrota en las elecciones legislativas previstas para diciembre, si el voto es libre y justo, agrega.

Asevera que el contrabando es común en esta frontera, sin embargo, destaca que no es culpa de los colombianos, sino de las políticas económicas “desastrosas” del ejecutivo nacional.

Critica que la Organización de Estado Americanos (OEA) sea incapaz de hacer frente al atropello del mandatario nacional. Arremete también contra Barack Obama: “Se ha limitado a una expresión tibia de ´preocupación´ por la degradación de la situación humanitaria”.

Los dos rotativos coinciden en elogiar el manejo de la crisis por parte del gobierno del presidente colombiano, Juan Manuel Santos, de quien el Post afirma que ha reaccionado con moderación ante la “provocación cínica” de Maduro.