“Venezuela without Maduro is a Venezuela that could be a country with plenty of opportunities. A country that first of all need to be safe, especially for young Venezuelans. A country that could again explore oil, but also could diversify its economy. A country that could be one of the best countries to visit in the world because of our tourism potential. And at the same time…and I’m not exaggerating when I say this, the day that Maduro will be out of power will be a day of celebration, not only for Venezuela, but for all the world.”
— David Smolansky
Venezuela has been in a death spiral for years. The country have been devastated by political repression and economic depression; its people suffer from hunger, malnutrition, shortages of food, medicine and, perhaps worst of all, opportunity. The numbers tell the story: 9 million malnourished, 90% of the country’s 28 million live in poverty, and more than 5 million have fled.
David Smolansky, our guest for this episode of New Thinking for a New World podcast, is one of those who have fled. He was chased from his elected post of mayor of El Hatillo municipality and avoided prison only by seeking political asylum in the United States. Listen as he imagines how his country can—he believes, will—go from a failed, kleptocratic state to a prosperous democracy.
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ABOUT OUR GUEST
David Smolansky is the special envoy of the Organization of American States to address the Venezuelan Migration and Refugee Crisis. He has visited more than 10 countries promoting policies to protect 5.5 million Venezuelans who have fled Maduro’s regime.
He is a former mayor of El Hatillo, Caracas where he led a decrease of 80% of kidnappings and his administration was recognized internationally for its transparency.
Smolansky has been living in exile since 2017 after Maduro’s regime ordered illegally his arrest for being one of the leaders who called and participated in non violent protests demanding guarantee of human rights and restoration of democracy.