Thinking of Venezuela – Putting the Puzzle Together

In the last post on Venezuela, I shared some of my thoughts on what is going on in the country and how complex it can be to truly understand such situations through media.  The process is one of mining different media sources for reliable information and insights, and putting all the pieces of a puzzle together.

And just like any puzzle, you cannot go through this process mindlessly.  What I would like to share here is a very simplified framework of analysis that can serve as a guide.

In analyzing any social unrest, there are some key questions you need to ask.  They include:

  • What are the issues / grievances this movement is trying to address?
  • Who is this “movement” composed of?  Why do they care?
  • What are the outcomes the movement is seeking to address their issues?
  • What methods are they using? Are they violent or nonviolent?
  • What domestic and international factors affect the situation?

So let’s apply these questions to Venezuela now.

Chart 3-11-14

Again, this is a simplified picture, but asking the key questions enables us to carefully examine information we find and construct our voice.

To me, after going through this exercise, my main question shifted. It is not the question of whether or not I support one side or the other anymore.  Rather, it is about imagining the best solution for the people of Venezuela. 

When is it legitimate to try and overthrow a government? If the concerns the protesters are raising about economy and crime are real, is the change in regime the best way to improve the situation? These are difficult questions that have been debated, but they need to be answered.

And ultimately, I believe only the people of Venezuela can decide what is right.  I hope that the international community can offer help in facilitating the process, rather than becoming an obstacle to it. Moreover, the people need to become wise to go beyond their immediate interests, class divide or political ideology.

This is about their future.

I believe it is far too risky to leave the world’s future in the hands of politicians. People must be wise and take action themselves to create peace. – Daisaku Ikeda

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