In Venezuela there is talk of dialogue. Once again. For the fifteenth time in 22 years of regime. Despite this, it seems that a certain part of the opposition has not understood anything; or, perhaps, they have understood it very well and it is part of their business.
The truth is that two decades after two useless processes of “conversation” between the regime and the opposition, the big loser has been the country, while Chavism has strengthened itself by gaining time, which is really the only thing that matters to it.
This time, the episode is worse: the regime is desperate for legitimacy and recognition, but, above all, it is desperate to have the criminal, illegitimate, usurper and genocidal labels removed from its face. To this end, it requires a docile opposition, willing to do so under the logic of electoral participation, in a context in which there is no political solution for Venezuela unless the Chavist regime is first removed. This electoral participation is as false as the regime’s intention or good faith in wanting a political agreement. The only thing the regime wants is to survive and remain in power. That is their goal.
So much that they have already publicly set out their demands: the sanctions to be lifted, their legitimacy to be recognised and that the assets of Petróleos de Venezuela and the Central Bank of Venezuela to be returned to them. Nothing more and nothing less, they are asking for the erasure of everything that has advanced a path of pressure and, above all, of the correct characterisation of his nature: criminal, usurper and corrupt. They do so loudly, humiliating the interim government and challenging it. In return? They are willing to give supposed electoral conditions for mayoral and gubernatorial elections that in reality are nothing more than agreed assignments to give a democratic veneer to a criminal conglomerate.
What is revealing about these demands is that they already present a very bad outlook for this new dialogue: everything the regime asks for is to stay in power, not to leave, and this is the big problem: any negotiation that does not start from the need to leave the regime and that, on the contrary, proposes that the regime stays in power, is a death sentence for Venezuelans.
The regime seeks to deceive the world into believing that it is willing to give in. In reality, for every concession they give, they want ten to be granted to them. The worst thing is that part of a defeated official opposition, dragging its failure behind it, is willing to do so. The regime, today, with a weak interim government consumed by its own mistakes and contradictions, has bought time. That time allows it to concede things that could be seen as significant – the release of some prisoners, allowing certain improvements in the electoral farce, etc. – and yet its position would be immovable from power. In other words, the regime pretends to believe that by removing sanctions, they will give conditions, when in reality they seek to remain without sanctions and without conditions for anyone. A game in which they gain recognition, legitimacy and, moreover, perpetuate themselves in power.
The regime uses its favourite geopolitical allies to exert pressure in the hemisphere and show that they are capable of imposing themselves, even when surrounded. They do it in Apure, on the border with Colombia, with the Russian military presence, while they give power and support to the Colombian guerrillas who are taking over our territory while the country shrinks and while the regime placidly cedes our sovereignty; and they do it with Iran, while Iranian missiles are received in Venezuelan ports as a way of threatening and saying that they are ready to force any “solution” whose result is to remain in power at any cost. Not to mention their allied cronies Zapatero, Borrell, the government of Pedro Sanchez and so many more. Meanwhile, the “brand new” opposition proposes to sit down with this regime to ask it to vote “freely”, demonstrating its inability to negotiate on the right terms, its surrender towards capitulation and monumental defeat in the face of a country that placed all its trust in the interim government, and corroborating its lack of assertiveness in convincing the world to act against a regime that is a threat and danger to the entire hemisphere.
This farce of dialogue will be no different from previous processes if those who represent the country and the opposition are the same, many of whom have seen being the opposition as a very lucrative business. Continuing to believe that we are dealing with politicians and not criminals will continue to lead us to the abyss, with the aggravating factor that on this occasion the regime will do the impossible to get rid of what has cost it so much over the years: its record. This, while Venezuelans cross the Rio Grande in Texas in desperation. That, while the victims are trampled on for the second time when impunity is proposed for a regime that intentionally destroyed a country. That, while the regime cries out to its loyal opposition to hold a “recall referendum”, leaving behind all vestiges of illegitimacy when the first of these “opponents” has to say “president” to the one who usurped power, in order to try to recall him and be outwitted in the attempt.
Of course, the solution in Venezuela will have to culminate in a negotiation, but a real one where it is clear what and why (the exit of the regime), who (reliable actors and guarantors) and how (through a series of preconditions that must be fulfilled and that must be forced with real pressure and assuming that the aim is to defeat criminals and not conventional politicians, assuming the real strength to impose things. As long as the criminal regime shows bullets and the opposition begs for votes, it will be the regime that continues to win thanks to the negligent attitude of an official opposition that, having had everything in the last two years to regain freedom, ended up becoming nothing and the mockery of a country.
As Winston Churchill said, “he who kneels for peace gets humiliation and war”. If we do not negotiate on the basis that the regime is criminal and that only its exit is acceptable, we Venezuelans will be the ones who end up defeated.