International Media outlets have been awash these past few weeks with protests in Kiev and Bangkok, and these few days in Caracas.
Yesterday, the protests in these places appeared to be the only thing in the news, and were quite similar in content save for the number of casualties recorded.
In Kiev the protests have taken on a deadly dimension as it appeared like the anti-riot police have had enough of the protesters, amidst claims that protest leaders are been arrested and even tortured. The bone of contention bothers on whether Ukraine should sign a pact of an economic nature with the European Union or do same with Russia.
Although, Senator Kerry has opined that there’s nothing stopping Ukraine from signing treaties on both sides of the divide, the Russians seem not to be enthusiastic about that option, and even though they’ve not spoken against such a possibility, their body language suggests otherwise.
Interestingly, Ukraine benefits so much from Russia at present including subsidized gas which they definitely won’t get from Europe. This accounts for the popularity of the Ukrainian government’s policies among Ukrainians living away from Kiev in the villages and countrysides.
It isn’t out of place to suggest that those protesting in Kiev today are the educated Europhilic elite wanting to be like their counterparts elsewhere in the West. The government is very aware of this but unfortunately the majority it is counting on to pull the deal with Russia through is in the main not near as vocal as the minority causing mayhem on the streets of Kiev. I do not understand as yet the difference in what President Viktor Yanukovych is doing now, and what former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko did while in office, for which she was accused of abuse of power and embezzlement concerning a contract with Russian gas company Gazprom.
Moscow on it’s part appear to be doing everything within it’s grasp to keep it’s former satellites (under the Soviet era) within it’s grasp by all means possible, having lost so many states to the West, even militarily to NATO.
The situation in Thailand is similar to that in Ukraine, in that while the so called ‘enlightened’ in cities such as Bangkok were out on the streets protesting, the majority in the countryside appear to be at a loss over the reasons for the protests seeing that the policies of government have benefited them to a greater extent. They proved it a few days ago in massively passing a ”vote of confidence” on the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra by reelecting her back into power following snap elections on the 2nd of February in the wake of protests by opposition figures and masses to unseat her. She still would’ve won by a landslide had the opposition not boycotted the elections.
The opposition knowing full well what the outcome of elections will be demanded that she handed over power to an unelected body to run the country in the interim while she be probed for corruption.
Though their demand for her to step down hasn’t been met, the country’s anti-corruption body has declared that the prime minister has a case to answer in the government’s ‘Rice Subsidy Scheme’, which though lofty in conception and at inception appeared to have been implemented to the latter, now seems to have favoured some farmers over others, especially in those areas where government doesn’t have much support, amongst other reasons for which she currently engenders so much hatred from the opposition, besides the fact that they hate her guts, that of her brothers’ (a former prime minister) and her familys’.
Interestingly, unlike in past protests the military have largely steered clear of intervening, even wishing away such insinuations when such was raised by journalists and protesters, it’s only time however that’ll tell if this situation will subsist while the protests continues.
The case in Venezuela bears no semblance to the above as the opposition protesters appear to have met their match in the CHAVISTAS movement, which support President Hugo Chavez’ successor, Nicholas Maduro.
The elections that brought the incumbent into power was hard fought and Maduro won by a slim margin, despite the fact that the ‘much loved’ Chavez had just died.
The threat of arrest of the opposition leader by the President has done little in smothering the flames of discontent amongst the anti-government protesters who want to pull the government down at all cost.
The distrust that have always existed between the Americas and the American government was again played out with the expelling of American diplomats whom Caracas accused of fanning the embers of discontent amongst Venezuelans, by holding meetings with student groups opposed to the government. Though the Americans denied this, it appears the Venezuelan government has made up it’s mind on what to believe and acted already to the chagrin of the United States’ government. History of American intervention in the Americas also means that many will view American denials in stoking the flames of revolution in Venezuela with a pinch of salt.
The crux of the matter here is that the socialist policies enunciated under Chavez appear not to have been properly thought through, and even if Maduro survives this, it may not take long before they be upturned.
Whether the governments under intense pressure of these protesters will survive this is yet to be seen, but the violent nature these protests are taking is beginning to make a major crackdown inevitable and hence possible silencing of opposition voices to follow, with the possibility that those who have died would’ve died in vain looming large.
Did you just ask if I had a solution to proffer to both sides on the peaceful resolution of the crisis in all the cases presented above?
I will get back to you on that.