Sinn Féin and Venezuela
Sir, – In these times it is edifying and reassuring to see that Sinn Féin considers that the health of democracy in the Republic of Ireland is on a par with the health of democracy in the Republic of Venezuela and that the recent re-election of Nicolás Maduro as president of that country was “open and democratic”.
Mary Lou McDonald, who alerted us to that fact, is no doubt also aware that Venezuela sits on the world’s greatest oil reserves (300 billion barrels), that inflation in Venezuela in 2018 was 1.3 million percent, that in the last five years 3.5 million Venezuelan citizens have fled their country as economic and political refugees, and that political, army and police oppression of citizens in that country is arbitrary and brutal.
One hopes that the Sinn Féin representatives who attended the recent presidential reinauguration of Mr Maduro paid their own way and were not guests of a nation where a month’s wages just about buys a half-dozen eggs – for those that have jobs that is; the unemployment rate in Venezuela is 40 per cent.
One acknowledges of course that Sinn Féin is expert in the democratic process, as exemplified by its continued refusal to represent its constituents in the democratic parliaments of Stormont and Westminster at a crucial time when Sinn Féin votes might actually make a real difference to ordinary decent people who just want to get on with their lives. – Yours, etc,