Español“You were given a choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have the war.” This famous phrase, by Winston Churchill, refers to one of the biggest and most shameful examples of political surrender in history: the Munich Agreement of 1938, in which British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain handed over Central Europe to Adolf Hitler.
Churchill’s phrase and the shameful negotiation that inspired it came to my mind immediately when I read the deal between Nicolás Maduro‘s military regime and the Venezuelan opposition represented by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD).
More than a deal, this is a text that confirms beyond doubt the inexplicable weakness and evident mediocrity of those who have led Venezuela’s movement of democratic opposition (MUD) against Maduro’s dictatorial regime.
The document can be summarized as follows:
- The opposition recognizes that Venezuela’s economic crisis has been caused by sabotage and by an “economic war” waged by the United States against the country.
- They accept more government “monitoring and auditing” instead of a return to free trade and free markets as the best means to end the massive scarcity of food and medicine in Venezuela.
- They accept that the National Assembly is disobeying the Supreme Court, a body packed by Hugo Chavez and obedient only to the governing socialist party, in calling for a recall referendum against Maduro.
- They accept that the election of three congressmen from the state of Amazonas is null and void, thus admitting that they do not have enough votes to impeach the president.
- The document does not mention freedom for the regime’s political prisoners even if Carlos Ocarís, a MUD representative during the negotiations, has stated that “detained persons” will be freed very soon.
“He who has eyes should see,” the late Hugo Chávez used to say very often. Today, this phrase is appropriate for anyone who has doubts about the competence of those who claim to lead the Venezuelan opposition. They surrendered all principles and they gave in on the most essential points of the negotiation.
- Read More: Is Venezuela’s Maduro Looking to Nicaragua as a Model for Future Elections?
- Read More: Venezuela: Food and Medicine Shortages Are a Government Policy
During the previous months, many authors at the PanAm Post have commented on the opposition leadership’s mediocrity and their lack of strategic vision. Henrique Capriles, a two-time presidential candidate, and his MUD minions chose mere posturing instead of taking concrete actions. The brave and indomitable María Corina Machado has said that the MUD confuses non-violent resistance with pacifism. Now we see that the MUD’s interpretation of non-violence really means surrender.
Some of us thought it was strange that the opposition, after their overwhelming victory in the congressional elections held on December 2015, failed to take advantage of the new legislative session in 2016 to use its two thirds parliamentary majority to retake the reins of power and corner Maduro, both legally and before world public opinion. We didn’t understand the MUD leadership’s outright pusillanimity. Why did it propose irrelevant laws about real estate and minor economic matters instead of spending crucial time on facing the country’s principal problem: Nicolás Maduro’s turn toward dictatorship and the country’s utter economic and social destruction?
By the middle of the year, we warned that, once again, Henrique Capriles had proved himself incapable of facing a merciless, unscrupulous enemy. It was evident that, like Chamberlain in 1938, his pacifism would lead to capitulation. This was confirmed on September 1, when the opposition surrendered its last remaining advantage by failing to follow through on massive demonstrations against the government. The shameful text announced on Saturday only confirms what most citizens expected after the failure of recent protests to pressure Maduro to yield anything of substance.
The MUD and its main leaders—Henrique Capriles, Carlos OcarÍz, Julio Borges and Henry Ramos Allup— have lost all credibility. They are unburied political corpses. Their burial will be confirmed when political prisoners Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma regain their freedom.
We cannot conclude without mentioning the Vatican’s sad role in Venezuela during the last few weeks. For the first time in history, a dictatorship gains strength and legitimacy thanks to the Vatican’s support. In Venezuela, Pope Francis has obtained peace, but merely the peace that reigns over cemeteries.