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SPEAKER: Ambassador Diego Arria
Former Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations
TIME: 6 – 7pm, Tuesday 29th April 2014
VENUE: Committee Room C21, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
To attend please RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Venezuela is in crisis. Since early February 2014, a wave of anti-government demonstrations – the largest in a decade – has swept through the country. Initially concerned with high levels of crime – Venezuela has the fifth highest murder rate in the world – the demonstrations have since turned into a broader movement against the persecution of individuals involved in earlier protests as well as against the country’s dire economic outlook. Although the demonstrators demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, these issues are a legacy of his predecessor – Hugo Chavez.
What does the future hold for Venezuela? Will the nation be able to combat the culture of fraud and abuse left behind by Chavez? As President Maduro’s attempts to retain his position at the helm of power become increasingly desperate, we are seeing a worrying trend towards militarisation of the Venezuelan leadership and of the public discourse. At the same time, financial hardship coupled with sky-high inflation rates and constant deficit of basic goods is part of the daily reality for ordinary Venezuelans despite the country’s status as one of the world’s biggest oil producers. Both Venezuela’s political and the economic prospects are becoming more troublesome by the day, and what is worse, the situation in Venezuela is likely to leave a mark on the whole region.
By kind invitation of Gisela Stuart MP, The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to a discussion with Ambassador Diego Arria, Former Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations. Arria, known for having been one of the most vocal critics of the Chavez regime, will discuss Hugo Chavez’s lasting legacy on Venezuela and South America. In his words, “Chavismo as an ideology and a movement has consumed Venezuela”. Arria will thus outline the current political landscape of the country, shed light on what steps the opposition should take to provide a feasible alternative to Nicolas Maduro’s leadership, and identify the most crucial points that the international community should bear in mind in respect to the current situation in Venezuela.
Ambassador Diego Arria is a distinguished Venezuelan political analyst and former diplomat. He has served as Governor of Caracas, as Member of the National Assembly of Venezuela, and as Minister of Information and Tourism.
As the permanent representative of Venezuela to the United Nations in New York from 1991-93, Ambassador Arria served as President of the UN Security Council. He later served as Special Adviser to the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.
Ambassador Arria has been a Visiting Diplomatic Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and a Visiting Academic Fellow at Columbia University. He serves on the Advisory Boards of the International Crisis Group, of the Brandeis University Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life, and of the School of International Service (SIS) at American University.