Spanish – Venezuela is the region’s most democratically-ailing country, according to a report by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), which analyzes the situation in 158 nations.
The investigation reveals that the country, which is currently under the tyrannical regime of Nicolas Maduro, “is the only country in the world that has gone from being a democracy with high levels of Representative Government (from 1975 to 1996) to a non- democracy.”
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The report titled The Global State of Democracy 2019 warns us of the deterioration of democratic quality and the rise of populism in the world. It cautions that “the quality of democracy is eroding across all regions of the world, and its value is more contested than ever.”
IDEA further states that the decline of democracy in Latin America, Europe, and Asia is closely related to the rise of populist political parties on both the left and the right.
“The percentage of weak and fragile democracies has increased significantly in the last decade.” Meanwhile, in 2018, only 22% of democracies are high performing on all attributes, compared to 48% in 1980.
In some 20 years of socialism, Venezuelans have lost their fundamental rights, and Nicolas Maduro’s regime became a de facto tyranny.
Since Hugo Chavez first came to power, the government has been characterized by the violation of private property, the persecution of dissidents, the increase in political prisoners, the scarcity of goods and related services, and the censorship and closure of the media.
The number of companies that currently operate in the country is 2,500 industries, while when Chavismo assumed power, there were 12,700, which means that 10,200 disappeared following regulations that violated the free market, such as the Law of Fair Costs and Prices and the strict exchange control.
Furthermore, the case of torture against dissidents has been soaring in Venezuela. In the first nine months of 2019 alone, there were reportedly 55 torture victims.
According to the NGO Provea, most of the injuries inflicted on opposition members are blows, hitting with the butt of a rifle, electric shocks, crucifixion, kicks, and insults by officials of Nicolas Maduro’s security forces.
Moreover, 21 people died between the months of January and September 2019 as a result of torture by law enforcement officers.
Besides torture victims, 402 political prisoners are still being held in the South American country, according to statistics from the Venezuelan Penal Forum.
Confronted with restricted freedoms and rights, and an unprecedented economic crisis, Venezuelans have been forced to flee to other countries in search of a better future and democratic opportunities.
Estimates by the UNHCR and the government of interim President Juan Guaido indicate that by December 2020, the number of Venezuelans in exile could exceed eight million if there is no political change in the South American country.