1.Has Georgia’s government country taken an official position regarding the situation in Venezuela?
Georgia recognized Guaido as an interim head of the government of Venezuela. The country’s official position is no surprise as it is always in a line with Washington’s and Brussels’ stance. There was only one peculiarly Georgian angle to this story. Since independence, Georgia experienced two ethnic/political conflict within its own territory as a result of which Tbilisi lost control on the breakaway regions – Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In 2008, the Russo-Georgian war escalated as Georgian military forces tried to regain constitutional control over South Ossetia. The war between Russia and Georgia lasted for five days and resulted in Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. The only countries that followed Russia in this were Nicaragua in 2008, Venezuela and Nauru in 2009, and Syria in 2018. After the war, Georgia’s foreign policy priority was to maintain the non-recognition status of these regions on the international level. The Venezuelan conflict and the US insistence to topple down the regime in Caracas were thus welcomed by Georgia as they found their rational interest in the recognition of Guaido. Guaido’s government officially promised Georgia to revoke the recognition of the independent breakaways. Georgian Ambassador in Brazil met Guaido in Bogota as to thank him for supporting the Georgian government’s position. A week ago, the Georgian minister of foreign affairs, David Zalikiani met the Venezuelan interim representative in Washington to continue the work on revoking the recognition.
2. What does this (fail to) reveal about Georgia’s foreign policy/international standing?
Georgia’s foreign policy position is not new. The government is fully prepared to do what Washington advise them. Any independence in foreign policy is absent as the government only sees geopolitical issues in a West vs. Russia binary and always aligns with the former.
3. Have left groups/parties/movements come forward with a position on Venezuela? If yes, what has their position been? What does this (fail) to reveal?
None of the left political groups or movements officially published the statement regarding Venezuela. All the information disseminated through media channels are pro-Guido and openly supports the coup. As the left is very well marginalized and muted, they are trying to avoid anything that can trigger more hostility towards leftism in generally. TV channels are openly against the Venezuelan government. They show images of starving people and attribute their suffering to the implementation of socialism in Venezuela. TV stations are a powerful ideological tool for small groups of oligarchy to marginalize ideas which endanger their class positions.
4. Do you see any parallels/differences in what is happening with Venezuela now to any moment in the development of state socialism in Georgia?
The global capitalist agenda is not new for Georgia and other post-Soviet space. We have been integrated into the capitalist cycle after the end of the Soviet Union. The promised agenda of liberal-democracy resulted in the accumulation of wealth in the hands of small groups of the elite. After the years, Georgia became one of the most unequal society in the former Soviet Union. The same was experienced by Venezuela after the start of neoliberalism. Chavez and Bolivarian socialism was the response to this unequal, shameful distribution of wealth and power. Now we see that global capital and local elite is seeking to revoke what Hugo Chavez and his supporters did for the equality and prosperity of Venezuelans. The intensity of neoliberalism as we saw in the post-Soviet space can be soon equated with Latin American standards. What we see today in Georgia is nothing but an outdated ideology of neoliberalism failing to deliver its promises.
Dato Laghidze is a civic activist from Georgia, interested in International Politics, human rights ,education.