Go Lean Commentary
Watching Venezuela now is like watching a “train wreck … in slow motion”.
Didn’t we just see this recently … in a land far-far away – Greece? If the Venezuela parallel with Greece continues, we will be able to accurately predict that “things will get worse before it gets worse!”
This is not just an academic consideration for Caribbean stakeholders, as Venezuela boasts a vast coastline on the Caribbean Sea; they also share a border with one Caribbean member-state, Guyana, and supplies the region with a lot of its oil. And just recently with its PetroCaribe initiative, Venezuela was one hope to help eradicate poverty in the Caribbean. But now Venezuela is having a tough time protecting its own self from the pangs of poverty.
Many people are now waking up – inside and outside Venezuela – to the harsh realities that a Failed-State is emerging in our neighborhood, right in front of our eyes. Unfortunately, we – the Caribbean – are all too familiar. Consider here how Venezuela’s political institutions are crumbling:
- The opposition parties refused to collaborate with the governing officials
- Riots in the streets
- Assassinations of government officials
- Economy in shambles
- Currency in disarray
- Cupboards and store shelves are bare – see Photo above
- Basic government services – social contract – are not being executed
- External parties – UNASUR – are coming in to intercede
See the news article here conveying this harsh reality in Venezuela:
Title: Venezuelan officials, opposition meet mediators over standoff
By: Ernesto Tovar
Caracas (AFP) – Venezuelan officials and opposition foes have held separate secret meetings in the Dominican Republic with a group of ex-world leaders seeking a way out of political crisis, officials said, as an ex-military reserve leader was shot dead.
Representatives of both sides of Venezuela’s political standoff met former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, former Dominican president Leonel Fernandez and Panama’s ex-president Martin Torrijos “in recent days” under the auspices of the Union of South American Nations, UNASUR, to seek a “framework for a national dialogue,” the organization said in a statement.
The mediating former leaders found “a desire for dialogue on both sides,” for which new meetings were proposed to “agree on an agenda that meets the requirements of each party and a method for engaging in national dialogue,” the statement said.
The meetings were the initiative of President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez tweeted, saying the effort “promotes peace, respect for the rule of law and the defense of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The main center-right opposition group Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) said in a statement that its conditions for the talks were the holding of a referendum over Maduro’s recall, freeing political prisoners, allowing exiles to return and “an end to prosecutions for political persecution.”
The opposition is also calling on the government to allow international relief supplies of food and medicine into the country and seek to end a crippling economic crisis “generated by official corruption and an economic model that is spreading misery.”
The three former leaders also held talks with Maduro and the opposition under UNASUR auspices in Caracas two weeks ago.
Publicly, the two sides could not be further apart.
MUD which blames Maduro for the economic crisis, accuses the electoral authorities of dragging their feet in processing their petition for a referendum on removing the socialist leader from office.
Although a survey last month showed 68 percent of Venezuelans want Maduro to leave office and to hold new elections, he has said the referendum drive has “very little support.”
Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, but its economy is reeling from the collapse in global crude prices.
Venezuelans are experiencing severe food and medicine shortages compounded by the world’s highest inflation — almost 190 percent in 2015, which the International Monetary Fund predicts will balloon to 700 percent in 2016.
Source: Yahoo/AFP Online News – Retrieved May 29, 2016 from: https://www.yahoo.com/news/venezuelan-officials-opposition-meet-mediators-over-standoff-020940920.html?nhp=1
Yet still, there are a lot of lessons for the Caribbean to consider from this crisis – a “crisis is a terrible thing to waste” declares the book Go Lean … Caribbean (Page 8). As a region with past and present Failed-States, we must not fail to discern these lessons.
For starters, there is a super-national organization that Venezuelan stakeholders are able to escalate to for mediation, the Union of South American Nations – UNASUR according to the Spanish-language acronym. A super-national organization – for mediation and conflict resolution – is also the goal of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). In both cases, the goal is to model the European Union. See details and VIDEO of the UNASUR organization in the Appendices below:
The UNASUR organization, as described below, is part of the Latin American integration movement, combining the efforts of the Andean Community and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur). This should be the primary strategy for mitigating Failed-State status in South America. While Venezuela is a sovereign state, they can still be held accountable to their neighbors in UNASUR; this would be a product of peer pressure and the threat of sanctions. Too bad this integration movement is not complete in its construct, as this would have been most effective in stopping this “slow motion train wreck”.
In fact, in the 2004 South American Summit, representatives of these twelve South American nations participated:
- Members of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN): 1 L
- Members of Mercosur: 2 L
- Other members:
1 These countries are also considered to be associate members of Mercosur.
2 These countries are also considered to be associate members of the Andean Community.
C Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state
L Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) member state
M Accessing member to Mercosur
Source: Retrieved May 31, 2016 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_South_American_Nations
The leaders of these countries announced the intention of modeling the new community in the mold of the European Union, including a unified passport, a parliament and, eventually, a single currency. The then Secretary General of the Andean Community – Allan Wagner – speculated at that time that the advanced union like the EU should be possible within the next fifteen years. Based on these experiences in Venezuela, this integration movement is a “day late and a dollar short”.
The actuality of Venezuela is more than just a cautionary tale for the Caribbean, it is also a Caribbean problem. In addition to the presence of Caribbean Community member-states of Guyana and Suriname, many aspects of Venezuelan life parallel those of the Caribbean in general and in specifics – see these previous blog-commentaries:
Being at the brink of disaster, at the precipice, is perhaps the only time communities are willing to reform and transform. This reality is what inspired the book Go Lean…Caribbean to serve as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The events of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis was the trigger for the composition of this book. Will Venezuela now use this crisis to forge change for its society?
Will the Caribbean forge change by just “observing and reporting” on Venezuela? There are many lessons to learn and the Caribbean community is urged not to ignore. The lessons learned, and codified in the pages of the Go Lean book can now be enhanced with the examination of the realities of Venezuela. This examination must consider the reality of the economic, security and governing aspects of Venezuelan society and the resultant consequences on their neighbors.
Like the UNASUR initiative, the Go Lean roadmap calls for a confederation of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean into a Single Market of 42 million people so as to leverage the governing burden across a separation-of-powers: a federal government and member-state government. This allows a new response to national crisis (economic, security and governance). This vision is at the root of the Go Lean roadmap, embedded in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12 – 13):
x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety.
xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.
xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.
xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.
The following details from the book Go Lean … Caribbean are the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies necessary to effect the turn-around of the Caribbean societal engines – to learn from failing communities (like Greece and Venezuela):
|Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices||Page 21|
|Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Money Multiplier||Page 21|
|Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future||Page 26|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Turn-Arounds||Page 33|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good||Page 37|
|Strategy – Vision – Confederate all 30 Member-States into a Single Market||Page 47|
|Strategy – Mission – Build and foster local economic engines||Page 45|
|Strategy – Mission – Fortify the stability of our mediums of exchange||Page 45|
|Strategy – Mission – Dissuade further Brain Drain||Page 46|
|Tactical – Confederating a Permanent Union||Page 63|
|Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy||Page 64|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Federal Government versus Member-States||Page 71|
|Implementation – Assemble all Member-States||Page 96|
|Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change||Page 101|
|Implementation – Foreign Policy Initiatives at Start-up – Relationship with Venezuela||Page 102|
|Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid||Page 115|
|Planning – Ways to Model the European Union||Page 130|
|Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices||Page 134|
|Planning – Lessons Learned from 2008 – The Global Financial Crisis||Page 136|
|Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy||Page 151|
|Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs||Page 152|
|Advocacy – Better Manage the Social Contract||Page 170|
|Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage||Page 218|
|Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights||Page 218|
|Advocacy – Ways to Re-boot Cuba – Marshall Plan Tactic for Failed-States||Page 236|
|Advocacy – Ways to Re-boot Haiti – Marshall Plan Tactic for Failed-States||Page 238|
|Appendix – Caribbean Failed-State Indicators and Definitions||Page 271|
Unless mitigated, Venezuela will become a Failed-State. We hope that the country, and their South American neighbors can secure their society to assure peace and the protection of human rights.
We also have near Failed-States in the Caribbean: Think: Haiti, Puerto Rico and Cuba; plus a host of countries just slightly behind them. We have to foster our own turn-around strategies for our region.
Venezuela is out of scope for the Go Lean roadmap; our quest is to reform and transform the Caribbean. The roadmap declares that the responsibility for fixing the Caribbean though must fall first-and-foremost on the Caribbean, its people and institutions. The effort is not easy; the Go Lean book describes it as heavy-lifting. But the returns will be worth the investment. This is true for Venezuela … and the Caribbean.
This is the goal of the Go Lean roadmap: to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. 🙂
Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.
Appendix – Union of South American Nations – UNASUR
The Union of South American Nations (USAN; Spanish: Unión de Naciones Suramericanas, UNASUR; Portuguese: União de Nações Sul-Americanas,UNASUL; Dutch: Unie van Zuid-Amerikaanse Naties, UZAN) is an intergovernmental regional organization comprising 12 South American countries.
The UNASUR Constitutive Treaty was signed on 23 May 2008 – [legally completing the integration between the Andean Community and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) nations] – at the Third Summit of Heads of State, held in Brasília, Brazil. According to the Constitutive Treaty, the Union’s headquarters will be located in Quito, Ecuador. On 1 December 2010, Uruguay became the ninth state to ratify the UNASUR treaty, thus giving the union full legality. As the Constitutive Treaty entered into force on 11 March 2011, UNASUR became a legal entity during a meeting of Foreign Ministers in Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador, where they had laid the foundation stone for the Secretariat Headquarters. The South American Parliament will be located in Cochabamba, Bolivia, while the headquarters of its bank, the Bank of the South are located in Caracas,Venezuela.
On 4 May 2010, at a heads of state summit held in Campana, 47 miles north of Buenos Aires, former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner was unanimously elected the first Secretary General of UNASUR for a two-year term.
At the moment, the provisional structure of the UNASUR is as follows:
- A permanent Secretariat is to be established in Quito, Ecuador. The Secretary General, with a two-year mandate, is to be elected on a consensual basis among the Heads of State of the member states. Former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner was designated the first Secretary General on 4 May 2010.
- The presidents of the member nations will have an annual meeting, which will have the superior political mandate. The first meeting was in Brasília (Brazil) on 29–30 September 2005. The second meeting was in Cochabamba (Bolivia) on 8–9 December 2006. The third meeting was held in Brasília on 23 May 2008.
- The Presidency Pro Tempore, is exercised for a one-year period on a pro tempore basis by one of the heads of state of each UNASUR Member State, the succession following alphabetical order. The first leader to occupy this position was Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. According to Decisions Reached in the Political Dialogue which was signed during the First South American Energy Summit.
- The ministers of foreign affairs of each country will meet once every six months. They will formulate concrete proposals of action and of executive decision. The President of the Mercosur’s permanent representatives committee and the director of the Mercosur’s department, the Andean Community’s general secretary, the general secretary of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) and the permanent secretaries of any institution for regional cooperation and integration, Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization among others, will also be present at these meetings.
- Sectorial Ministers’ meeting will be called upon by the presidents. The meetings will be developed according to Mercosur’s and CAN’s mechanisms.
- On 9 December 2005, a special commission was established in charge of advancing the process of South American Integration. It consists of 12 members, whose function is to elaborate proposals that will help the process of integration between the South American nations.
An Executive Commission, which was created by the II CSN meeting, was transformed in the Political Commission or Delegates Council, according to Decisions Reached in the Political Dialogue.
APPENDIX – VIDEO – UNASUR – https://youtu.be/rNjkr7y8-Kc
Published on Apr 16, 2016 – The Union of South American Nations, or UNASUR, marks its ninth anniversary this Sunday, April 17 with a 12-kilometer race in Ecuador with the aim of “bringing the regional body closer to the people.” The UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper resumed in a few words what the bloc is all about: “To promote peace, democracy and respect of human rights, as well as a Latin American integration. http://multimedia.telesurtv.net/v/una…