Text: The United States should [plan] on the condition that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ensures all future elections are free and fair.
Conditioning economic engagement on free and fair elections solves the Aff and ensures stability and improved relations
Christy 13 - senior policy analyst at the Foreign Policy Initiative (Patrick, “Obama Must Stand Up for Democracy in Post-Chavez Venezuela,” US News, 3/15/13, http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/world-report/2013/03/15/after-chavez-us-must-encourage-democratic-venezuela) //JG
Washington must realize that a strategy of engagement alone will not ensure a renewed and improved partnership with Caracas. Failure to realize this will not only undermine whatever influence America has in the months ahead, but also send a troubling signal to Venezuela's increasingly united political opposition. The Obama administration should instead pursue a more principled policy towards a post-Chavez Venezuela. In particular, it should: Pressure Caracas to implement key election reforms. Venezuela's opposition faces formidable obstacles. Interim President Maduro will use the government's near-monopoly control of public airwaves, its established networks of political patronage and last-minute public spending programs to bolster his populist agenda. Washington should stress publicly and privately that any attempts to suppress or intimidate the opposition runs contrary to Venezuela's constitution and the principles defined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which was adopted by Venezuela in 2001. To this point, José Cárdenas, a former USAID acting assistant administrator for Latin America, writes, The Venezuelan opposition continues to insist that the constitution (which is of Chavez's own writing) be followed and have drawn up a list of simple electoral reforms that would level the playing field and better allow the Venezuelan people to chart their own future free of chavista and foreign interference. Demand free, fair and verifiable elections. Although Venezuela announced that a special election to replace Chavez will be held next month, it is important to remember that elections alone do not make a democracy. Indeed, Chavez long embraced the rhetoric of democracy as he, in reality, consolidated executive power, undermined Venezuela's previously democratic political system and altered the outcomes of election through corruption, fraud and intimidation. [Read the U.S. News Debate: Given The Current Deficit Crisis, Should Foreign Aid Be Cut?] The Obama administration should make clear that free and fair elections, properly monitored by respected international election observers, are essential to Venezuela's future standing in the hemisphere and the world. Likewise, Secretary of State John Kerry should work with regional partners—including (but not limited to) Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Mexico—to firmly encourage Maduro's interim government. A unified regional voice would send a powerful signal to Chavez's cronies in Caracas and longtime enablers in China, Iran and Russia. Condition future diplomatic and economic relations. Corruption and criminality were widespread under the Chavez regime, as high-level government and military officials benefited from close ties to corrupt businesses and international drug traffickers. Yet to date, the Obama administration has done little to hold Venezuela's leaders accountable.
They’ll say yes - Maduro has “extended an olive branch” to the US – now is key for coop over democracy
Daly 5/27 – CEO of U.S.-Central Asia Biofuels Ltd. and writer for oilprice.com (John, “Venezuelan President Maduro Offers Olive Branch to Washington,” oilprice.com, 5/27/13, http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/South-America/Venezuelan-President-Maduro-Offers-Olive-Branch-to-Washington.html) //JG
To say that U.S. relations with Venezuela’s former President Hugo Rafael Chávez grew increasingly strained would be an understatement. But Chávez succumbed to cancer on 5 March, and the winds of change are blowing through Caracas. Why was Chávez in Washington’s bad books? His choice of allies, which included the Russian Federation, Iran and Cuba, but worse still were the social programs that Chávez implemented to benefit his people, which were socialist in nature, anathema to Washington’s proscriptions. But, tying the U.S. and Venezuela together like Siamese twins is – oil. According to the U.S. Energy Administration, Venezuela is the fourth largest provider of crude oil imports to the U.S., averaging 930 thousand barrels per day. In its country report on Venezuela the EIA succinctly noted, “Venezuela contains some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world. It consistently ranks as one of the top suppliers of oil to the U.S. Venezuela is one of the world's largest exporters of crude oil and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. The oil sector is of central importance to the Venezuelan economy. As a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuela is an important player in the global oil market.” Venezuela has the largest conventional oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves in the Western Hemisphere and two years ago OPEC reported that of the organization’s 81.33 percent of the globe’s known oil reserves Venezuela had 24.8 percent, exceeding Saudi Arabia with 22.2 percent. According to state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) figures, Venezuela currently has 77.5 billion barrels of oil reserves, the largest in the Western Hemisphere. PDVSA has a production capacity, including its strategic associations and operating agreements, of 4 million barrels per day, the highest production capacity in the Western Hemisphere. To fund his social programs, Chávez was determined to bring the country’s oil sector under government control, putting him into direct conflict with Washington’s belief in free markets. Venezuela’s oil industry had been under private control until 1974, when Venezuela nationalized it, setting up PDVSA. Venezuela’s oil production is centered in the Orinoco Oil Belt, which analysts believe contains the world’s largest reserves of extra-heavy oil, with an estimated 300 billion recoverable barrels. In the 1990s PDVSA began a so-called “oil opening,” where it allowed more and more foreign private companies to extract oil, via majority shares in joint ventures and the operating agreements. But difficulties began with Washington in February 2007, when Chávez announced a new law to nationalize the last remaining oil production sites that are under foreign company control, to take effect on 1 May. Under the law, which allowed foreign companies to negotiate the nationalization terms, earlier joint ventures, involving ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, Statoil, ConocoPhillips, and BP, were transformed to give PDVSA a minimum 60 percent stake. The process completed a government initiative begun in 2005, when the Chavez administration transformed earlier “operating agreements” in Venezuela’s older oil fields into joint ventures with a wide variety of foreign companies. Thirty out of 32 such operating agreements were transformed, with most foreign companies accepting the new arrangements, but ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips refused, instituting lawsuits for compensation that continue to this day. The policies had repercussions in the diplomatic sphere. On 28 June 2010 President Obama nominated Palmer as U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela but three months later Chávez announced on his weekly TV program that he would not allow Larry Palmer to take up his post after Palmer told a US senator that morale in the Venezuelan army was low and that members of Chávez's government had ties to leftist FARC Colombian rebels. On 28 December Chávez flatly refused to accept Palmer because of his derogatory remarks and the following day the U.S. revoked the accreditation of Venezuelan ambassador, Bernardo Álvarez Herrera. And there relations have remained until now, even as oil sales have continued unabated. But Venezuela's new President, Nicolás Maduro, is now seeking to break the diplomatic logjam. On 19 May, during an interview with Venezuela’s Televen television channel, Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said, "We are going to remain open to normalizing relations with the United States. The first thing would be to resume diplomatic representation at the highest level," adding that Venezuela is "interested in further deepening and cultivating a friendship with the U.S. people." To be sure, there are still many roadblocks in the way – quite aside from the rhetorical sniping, the U.S. has yet to recognize Maduro’s election, and there remains that pesky issue of compensation. But an olive branch has been extended, and Washington can lose little by at least listening to the country with the Western Hemisphere’s largest energy reserves. If they do not, then Caracas always has China, which is interested in trade more than ideological rhetoric.
Free democracy is key to Venezuelan peace – the alternative is mass civil unrest
Llosa 13 – senior fellow at the Independent Institute (Alvaro Vargas, “The post-Chavez era has already begun,” The Globe and Mail, 1/10/13, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/the-post-chavez-era-has-already-begun/article7130425/) //JG
Does this mean Mr. Maduro will prevail? Only in the short run. Beyond that, the regime is doomed. No one commands the control and popularity that Mr. Chavez enjoyed. The economy is dismal: Inflation is running at 25 per cent and an imminent devaluation will fuel it further. There was no economic growth in 2011 and, last year, it was artificially generated thanks to a colossal fiscal deficit (amounting to more than 16 per cent of GDP). Government debt is 10 times larger than when Mr. Chavez came to power. The populist mirage that has made it possible for Venezuelans to fill up their gas tanks for less than $1 and to import ever-increasing amounts of goods and services while producing little will end sooner rather than later. Social conditions, including the fourth-highest homicide rate in the world, necessitate that the populist machinery run smoothly. If it doesn’t, with the Chavez charisma out of the way, there will be little love left for the minions. Whether the opposition will get a fair chance anytime soon is another matter. Mr. Maduro and Mr. Cabello could stick together for a while. Terrified of score settling, the military could fire on the populace should the streets fill with anti-government demonstrators. And it can’t be ruled out that one of the leaders vying for control will make overtures to the opposition to negotiate a transition. Whatever the case, the messy post-Chavez era has begun while the caudillo nears judgment day in Havana.