Socialism is either the unluckiest political movement in the history of political movements, one that just happens to keep intersecting with the careers of monsters, or there is something about socialism itself that throws up monsters. There is nothing wrong with Venezuelans, and nothing unusual about them: Here at home, our own progressives dream of imprisoning people for holding unpopular political views , nationalizing key industries, and shutting down opposition media . They have black-shirted terrorists attacking people with explosives on college campuses for the crime of holding non-conforming political views. And they aren’t averse to a little old-fashioned Stalinism, either, provided there’s a degree or two of separation : Bernie Sanders, once an elector for the Socialist Workers party, remains the grumpy Muppet pin-up of the American Left.
Thus the presence of respect can help transform conflicts, by providing opportunities that did not exist before. At the same time, the absence of respect can lead to conflict. What makes men like Bill Richardson and John Kamm succeed in negotiations and dialogue where many other fail, especially in their dealings with cultures other than our own? What makes them different from others? Both cite respect to be their main secret. Recognize respect to be a basic human right , treat individuals and states with dignity, and you will receive a more sustainable response. The relationships so established will be based on mutual trust and respect, and hence is likely to last. In contrast, if you browbeat your enemies (or both sides if you are the mediator) then even though the goal may be attained, the relationship will be resentful, and backlash , more than stable peace is the more likely outcome.
Venezuela's spatial landscape is clearly demarcated between the urban and the rural. The city of Caracas, with its 4 million inhabitants (almost a fifth of the country's total population) is the emblem of a modern elite and European-style existence. Meanwhile the rural homesteads of the llanos, Andes, and Guiana Highlands represent a farming way of life with a more traditional subsistence strategy. The recent influx of rural migrants (both from Venezuela and abroad) has impacted the urban landscape, especially within the ranchos (lower- and middle-income Simple homes with a flaring oil well in the background, Cabimas. Oil is Venezuela's most profitable export product. urban housing). Modern ideals and the escalating Americanization of Venezuelan culture have increasingly diminished the presence of traditional rural customs in the city centers.