Although many are dissatisfied with the Vatican’s efforts to mediate Venezuela’s political crisis, says Acton Institute research director Samuel Gregg, Venezuela’s Catholic Church is the one institution that has retained its integrity throughout two decades of a leftist-populist tyranny. What might this mean for a post-dictatorship Venezuela?
One of history’s less palatable lessons is that dictatorial regimes can stay in power a long time. We can talk endlessly about humanity’s insuppressible yearning for liberty, but if a government retains its security apparatus’s loyalty and the will to use force, dictatorships can be very resilient in the face of popular discontent.
The good news is that such regimes can also collapse at the most unexpected moments. When that occurs, the political calculus changes immediately. Alongside questions about how to mete out justice to those who have done terrible things, these countries also face the challenge of restoring a functional economy and a constitutional order that promotes freedom and the rule of law.