I AM a Venezuelan woman married to a Scottish husband and I have enjoyed living in your beautiful country for more than a decade.

I read the article written by David Pratt (Who are the good guys and bad guys in Venezuela? Sadly it’s not that simple, February 8). For the first time in my life, I am writing a letter in rebuttal.

Mr Pratt, it seems, is not sure who the good guys and the bad guys are in Venezuela? “Ask Venezuelans themselves and they’ll only too quickly point out how long their suffering and hardship has been going on. For decades the country has suffered under the rule of the strongman...” Mr Pratt, let me invite you to come and speak to the burgeoning Venezuelan expatriate community in Aberdeenshire and we will be only too happy to explain the true facts about the “suffering and hardship”. Since 2013, Venezuelan GDP has fallen by 50%. Our worthless currency has this year seen inflation of more than a million per cent. Most hospitals have no running water. Over a tenth of the whole population has fled, anywhere. My own niece has recently taken a one-way flight to Cartagena, Colombia. My sister is considering emigrating to Chile. People are desperately hungry and they are succumbing to the most simple maladies. You cannot buy pet food and indeed some people actually live off dog food. All of this in one of the most well-endowed countries on Earth.

Mr Pratt is simply wrong about the strongman tradition in Venezuela. Before the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, there had been no military strongman in Venezuela since the fall of Marcos Pérez Jimenez in 1958. While Hugo Chavez was fairly elected in 1998, he proceeded to trash democratic institutions, and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, has no legitimacy. Given that there is no legal president, the appointment of Guaidó as interim president pending free elections is entirely legitimate as provided under Venezuelan Constitution Article 233. There has been no “coup” in Venezuela.

Let us just catalogue what the Chavista revolution has done to Venezuela and let your readers decide who are the “bad guys”. Chavez/Maduro bitterly divided the country, destroyed any respect for the rule of law (which in turn destroyed business), corrupted the electoral system, enriched themselves and their cronies, utterly ruined the currency, imported Cubans to help control the country, destroyed what was as one of the greatest oil companies in the world (PDVSA) and caused the collapse of Venezuelan oil production. Uncontrolled crime now makes Venezuela one of the most dangerous places on Earth. To cap that, they supported the poison of Islamic terrorism and the Communist subversion. However, if Venezuela ever had an “immigration problem” then they cured it, as no-one in their right mind would ever go the Venezuela that now is. Additionally, the “Maduro diet” has solved any obesity crisis that Venezuela ever had (it does not seem to help Maduro himself).

Yes, Mr Pratt, we certainly should pay close attention to those who are shouting about a “coup”. Well, we have on Maduro’s side: Cuba, Russia, China, Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. Maduro’s supporters have contempt for liberty and freedom of expression. On the other side, we find the USA, Canada, most of the Latin American countries, the EU Parliament, the UK, France, Germany and the SNP. The “good guys” I think are fairly obvious?
via email