In Venezuela, Military Intervention Is Not The Answer, Human Rights Expert Says

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio have suggested that the U.S. could take military action to address the crisis in Venezuela.

By Joy Diaz & Alexandra HartSeptember 6, 2018 11:58 am,

Venezuela is country in crisis. Hyperinflation means currency is worth almost nothing, and even the basics are unaffordable. There have also been major shortages of food and medicine, along with power cuts.

Now, talk of American military intervention in Venezuela is on the rise. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio mentioned it as an option just a few days ago. And U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also seemed to favor that option last month, when she spoke with Venezuelans in exile in Colombia.

Geoff Ramsey, assistant director for Venezuela for the Washington Office on Latin America, an advocacy group for human rights in the Americas, says U.S. military intervention is the wrong approach – and it’s an old-fashioned response. Instead, he says, America must involve other countries, including rivals like China and Russia, to come up with a way to address the crisis. 

“The sort of old way of doing things, of the U.S. unilaterally coming in and threatening military action, or even invading – as happened in Panama or Grenada before that – I just think the hemisphere has changed since the days of the Cold War,” Ramsey says.

He says the best way to defuse the crisis is negotiation among stakeholders.

So far, Ramsey says, the U.S. has largely played a productive role in Venezuela lately. Despite recent sabre-rattling from President Trump and other Republicans, he says the U.S. understands that a multilateral approach to the crisis will work best.

But a consequence of the crisis that many Venezuelans are fleeing, and arriving in other Latin American countries often without documentation. Ramsey says U.S. has failed to help Venezuela address the migration issue. 

“The next generation could be giving birth to children that aren’t recognized in the countries that they’re born in as citizens,” he says. “[They] aren’t able to prove their Venezuelan citizenship either. And there’s a real risk they could end up stateless.”

Written by Shelly Brisbin.