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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Will the 2017 Glass Be Half Full in the Americas?
Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel says the New Year has started off with a bang, in the U.S., Russia, Syria, and Venezuela.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

2017 entered world stage under the sad and horrific shadow of the Aleppo genocide. And while new atrocities come to light every day as the Red Cross and other humanitarian institutions penetrate the ruins of the steamrolled city, the tragedy has drawn together the Arab World against Russia and its autocratic leader Vladimir Putin.

This could become the first step in a 3000 mile journey to limit Russia's influence in the Middle East. So far however, Russia seems to hold the Assad Administration at ransom. And while this situation prevails, the Syrian Civil War will serve Mr Putin's expansionary purposes.


In the Americas, however, 2017 seems to have brought a ray of hope in terms of democratic developments.

In the U.S., a move by members of the Republican Party in Congress to dismantle the Ethics Committee met the President Elect's cold shoulder who tweeted his displeasure with the move. Hours thereafter congressional republicans took back their decision while apologizing to the American people.

What made the episode remarkable was not only the speed of the correction but also the siding of President Elect Donald Trump with the principles of the U.S. Constitution that basically are: checks and balances. This is not only encouraging but clearly a great move by the President Elect.



In Venezuela, while the country now has as Vice President one of the individuals most sought after by worldwide law enforcement agencies on alleged accounts of document fraud and drug smuggling related crimes, two significant developments took place this year.

First The Vatican issued marching orders to the clergy in the sense that they must lead the battle to mobilize citizens support for a democratic regime substitution. This fundamental decision by Pope Francis seems to follow those of his antecessors John XXIII and John Paul II, who instructed Catholic hierarchy across the world to fight for democracy.

John XXIII, when siding against dictatorships ruling the so called Third World, indicated in his instructions to Catholic Curiae "The fact that authority comes from God does not mean that men have no power to choose those who are to rule the State, or to decide upon the type of government they want, and determine the procedure and limitations of rulers in the exercise of their authority." But he stopped short from incentivizing mass mobilizations against dictators.

John Paul II was less contained. Born and raised in Poland and having lived through World War II and the communist takeover of his homeland, John Paul II had no qualms in heading the resistance against communism worldwide. In his native land, the least kept secret was that of the Vatican support to Solidarity, the workers movement that succeeded in sacking Soviet rulers.

Student movements and pro-democracy groups throughout Central Europe also benefited from the Vatican support.

And who can deny the success of such interventions?

More recently, Pope Francis also launched a successful albeit quite limited campaign. By 2016 it was clear to him that the Province of Buenos Aires could fall prey to a Kirchner government-backed leader with alleged links to drug mafias. Pope Francis spent over eight weeks on the phone calling each head of parish in the Province of Buenos Aires to demand that on Sunday sermons it would be made clear to Catholics that should they vote for the government backed candidate, they would be surrendering the Province to drug mafias.

As a result, against all forecasts, Maria Eugenia Vidal PRO party candidate which also backed Mr Macri for the presidency, enjoyed a landslide victory. Ms Vidal's election catapulted Mr Macri's chances to win the second round of presidential elections given that 40% of the country's electorate resides in the Province of Buenos Aires.

These successful interventions by the Vatican bring hope to the almost lost cause of democracy in Venezuela.

The second cause to hold hope in Venezuela was the courage displayed by the new Assembly President, Mr. Julio Borges when clearly calling on the military to uphold the constitution.

And although Mr Borges stopped short of listing the consequences for their future wellbeing of supporting illegitimate and rogue states, his speech has made an impression. Now the handwriting is on the wall and this could promote second thoughts about the role of the military in Venezuela.

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.



Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

Beatrice Rangel: Rio -- Demystifying the Olympic Games

Beatrice Rangel: The Luddite Syndrome in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Venezuela's Unexpected Transition

Beatrice Rangel: We Now Have a Wider Canal But Has Our Wisdom Expanded???

Beatrice Rangel: From Brexit to Tesla, Progress is Made by Leaders!!!

Beatrice Rangel: As the World Goes Latin, Latin America Gets Logical

Beatrice Rangel: On the Difficulties of Fighting Barbarism in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Impending Age of Housekeeping!!!!

Beatrice Rangel: What Happened to All Those Rosy Forecasts for Latin America?

Beatrice Rangel: On Dialogue and the Rules of Geopolitics in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Ides of Wisdom in Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Populism

Beatrice Rangel: Three Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Trump, Lula, Kirchner and the Last Tupi-Guaranis

Beatrice Rangel: Time for Departures in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: A Contrarian View on the Panama Papers

Beatrice Rangel: Brazil's Lady in Her Labyrinth

Beatrice Rangel: Back to a Divided Home!!!

Beatrice Rangel: A Historical Take-Off in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: A Skipped Journey, a Reaffirmation and a Clearing of Path in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Demise of Civility in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Americas from Boutros Boutros-Ghali to Ban Ki Moon

Beatrice Rangel: The Pope's Difficult Stopover in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Farewell to The “Diplomacy of Reason”

Beatrice Rangel: 2 Diseases in Latin America -- Different Prescriptions, Very Different Outcomes

Beatrice Rangel: On Health Alerts and the Long Arm of Justice in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: When Crime Meets Glory

Beatrice Rangel: Playing Hansel and Gretel in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Good News/Bad News Starts The Monkey Leap Year

Beatrice Rangel: The Gifts of Christmas!!!!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Crying Wolf in Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: A 21st Century Tale of Two Cities

Beatrice Rangel: Are the Americas Ready for President Trump?

Beatrice Rangel: On Predictions of War & Global Confusion

Beatrice Rangel: Paris and the Return of Fear

Beatrice Rangel: Marijuana & Latin America's Next Trade Corridor

Beatrice Rangel: Of Burning Airplanes & Argentinean Tsunamis

Beatrice Rangel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Pride and Perjury in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Trompe L’oeils Proliferate in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Economic Consequences of Peace in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Colombia, the FARC & the Makings of Gangland in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen

Beatrice Rangel: When Ladies Hit 70

Beatrice Rangel: About Uninformed Elites and Gullible Leaders

Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: On the Many Ways Cecil Matters

Beatrice Rangel: Blue Moons Lead to Extraordinary Happenings in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: On Why Embassy Openings Do Not Necessarily Herald Different Policies

Beatrice Rangel: When Jupiter meets Venus

Beatrice Rangel: When Markets and Manners Crash

Beatrice Rangel: From Grexit to Exit, Contagion is in the Air

Beatrice Rangel: An Infuriated God & An Environmental Crusader Mark the Summer Solstice

Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome

Beatrice Rangel: The Ugly Americas

Beatrice Rangel: How FIFA Corrupted the Beautiful Game in the Americas and World

Beatrice Rangel: Could the US RICO Act Be Applied to Latin America?

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Withdrawal Symptoms?

Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit

Beatrice Rangel: Easter Miracles in Latin America and the World

Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity

Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox

Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care

Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves

Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters

Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???

Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks

Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls

Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE

Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!

Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!

Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way

Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?

Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?

Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths

Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil

Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace


 

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