The political play-book unfolding in Venezuela is starting to look depressingly familiar. The house arrest and removal of opposition politicians, the violent put down of protest, and Nicolás Maduro’s recent moves to secure what amounts to ultimate power, are events I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with. If there’s one thing we don’t need right now it’s another dictatorship, even if our own so-called democracy comes frightening close to that on many levels.
So it’s disappointing to see Corbyn return to his previous demeanour of equivocation when asked to condemn events in South America. In many ways I can see echoes in his responses to questions on the situation there and his less than forthright support for our continued membership of the EU during last year’s referendum campaign. After witnessing another more powerful and direct side to Corbyn’s character during the election earlier this year, it’s disheartening to see him once again dodging questions and giving half answers on something as straightforward as this.
Totalitarianism and Oppression
But while we may be witnessing totalitarianism taking tentative root in Venezuela, there’s already a well established family tree of despots that our government supports elsewhere in both word and deed.
Another nation whose worth is also measured in barrels of oil and where western powers have also historically meddled in order to secure a fulsome supply of the black stuff that so much of our modern economy is based on.
A state that the British government enthusiastically supplies with a well stocked and plentiful arsenal of modern weaponry, regardless of the fact that it is then used to blow the arms and legs off children in neighbouring states – not to mention the fact that huge amounts of British-made weapons sold to the Saudis inexplicably find their way into the hands of terrorist groups such as Islamic State.
A country that also actively oppresses it’s womenfolk on the grounds of Muslim tradition in ways that are routinely criticised when displayed by other ostensibly Muslim states.
A government that refuses to recognise any form of LGBT rights, and views homosexuality and transgenderism as immoral and indecent activities, punishable by imprisonment, fines, corporal punishment, whipping and even execution.
A country that mistreats it’s workforce and shows little, if any, concern for workers rights or safety.
A state that actively endorses some of the cruelest forms of medieval torture and punishment and savagely suppresses free speech.
I speak, of course, of Saudi Arabia, ruled by an absolute monarchy where the King rules and makes laws by decree and is both the head of state and government – an unelected leader and de facto dictator that Theresa May has been ardently glad-handing without any hint of criticism of his despicable activities both at home and on the world stage.
British Police Involvement
Moreover it’s recently been reported that the British government may even have directly assisted the Saudis in their suppression of peaceful protest with training from British police believed to have helped Saudi agents to arrest more than a dozen people now potentially facing execution.