Spanish – Since 2015, after the results of the legislative elections, the deck moved in favor of the opposition – or so it seemed. Dissident deputies were practically in control of the parliament. They felt increasingly strengthened and protected. In reality, they felt simply “more” -for the first time in 15 years- after conquering that nook of power that had been in the hands of Chavismo for three periods, now turned into a crown jewel in the hands of the opposition.
Even the most skeptical analysts believed or bet on this counterweight to confront the regime of Nicolás Maduro. The citizens who voted for them also experienced this strange feeling of…hope? Or a sort of certainty that Venezuela’s course would be different, very different, in that parliamentary period. There was no mistake in thinking so. But the sad fact of the matter is that the course was in the opposite direction to the one imagined. The blunders -which there were several- marked that rocky and somewhat truculent path in the parliament. And so, in this back and forth, five years passed.
Today, that tepidity, that lack of impetus, and indeed, that arrogant way of doing politics by the Venezuelan opposition coalition, which sat down to seek “dialogues” with the Chavista executioners, had a very high political cost: an internal breakdown. The Maduro regime will not miss this opportunity. And the people who voted for this proposal are not forgiven. The Venezuelan now charges the dissidents with interest. It shows an ever more palpable apathy towards any initiative from an interim government that is urged to keep its figure alive at all costs. Nevertheless, the result is predictable, and everyone knows it. Little by little, the legitimacy of its officials is evaporating.
Leaders divorced from reality
With this scenario, theories, and conjectures about the future of those who oppose Maduro and the country, in general, emerge daily. The opinion matrixes are inclined to the same thing: the reproach of their politicians. They feel cheated, swindled. This is what is heard in the street and is revealed by those who study the opposition’s behavior closely. Such is the case of attorney Juan Carlos Sosa Azpúrua, who, in an interview with the PanAm Post, said: “People are disgusted. These individuals are totally divorced from reality. There are no efficient policies in Venezuela, and we do not have the tools to confront that reality.”
That is why, one step away from being forgotten along with the proposal of Venezuela’s interim, the opposition must retreat. It must do so. Nothing that it proposed worked. The laws that he raised in the first days of the furor in the National Assembly were left behind. The reports, little more than forgotten, ended up becoming annoying yellow paper towers, accumulated in any warehouse gnawed by time and moths. In the end, nothing more happened.
The accusations are increasingly frequent, and the criticism is timely, reminding the opposition of what it won and lost in a flash. In this regard, Sosa Azpúrua pointed out: “These people were given the confidence and the opportunity to free the country. They had all the international resources at their disposal. They had the necessary financial and political support, both local and international. However, instead of doing what was necessary, they focused on carrying out several actions that were not aimed at that liberation that we needed on a peremptory basis.”
The jurist also described in detail the change in the discourse of the opposition politicians. He asserted that this group of parties ended up becoming “journalists of national events” since they denounced what is happening in Venezuela but did not outline the necessary plan to free the country.
“The liberation did not happen by holding elections that are impossible to hold, by doing so in the historical and socio-political context that we are suffering, but it was a different type of liberating procedure… We are suffering the sequestration by criminals who already have a price on their heads, but for the leadership of the opposition, they (Chavismo) can not only participate in elections, but they are also willing to co-govern, to make a joint government. That is unacceptable,” Sosa said.
The R2P wild card and the interim’s lie
The theme of “the liberation of Venezuela”, to which Sosa Azpúrua refers, was always on the agenda. However, now it is interpreted as a bait that attracted everyone’s attention to the conflict in the Caribbean country. Its execution seems to have never really been on the agenda. There was talk of steps, procedures, leaders with alternative proposals, and now it is associated with just a pot of smoke.
The most palpable example is the promise of the prompt activation of the so-called Principle of Responsibility to Protect. In fact, interim President Juan Guaidó asked the international community to invoke this principle in a teleconference at the 75th UN General Assembly in New York in September, but which Leopoldo López, one of the spokespersons for the interim government, recently dismissed.
This proposal was a flag that the interim made its own and took charge of promoting, following that sort of encrypted message that President Donald Trump alluded to as “all options are on the table” while talking about how to deal with the crisis in Venezuela. It was his favorite wildcard when he felt the Venezuelan society slipping away. Talking about possible international aid was the same as invoking the genie of the lamp. Too bad it was something with the same fantastic charge.
Because the truth is that- without belittling the incredulous- an initiative of this magnitude, proposed before the United Nations Organization (UN) or also before the Organization of American States (OAS), is not going to arrive by itself. Even less so, with a voice as inconsistent as the one that the interim has projected.
In this regard, Sosa Azpúrua explained some reasons why the obstacle to activating the principle of R2P is in all the international organizations, where the interim president, Juan Guaidó, has gone to ask for help.
“In reality, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a pure lie. To go to international bodies like the OAS or the UN is to enter a black hole from which one will never get out because those organizations are plagued by socialists who are on the payroll of the Sao Paulo Forum and this very regime. They have countries like Venezuela as members of the Human Rights Council. To resort to those entities is simply nonsense,” said the attorney.
And he is absolutely right. Venezuela was elected in 2019 by a vote in the UN General Assembly, where three candidates were to occupy the two seats corresponding to Latin America and the Caribbean within that Council. The winners were Brazil, with 153 votes, and Venezuela, with 105. In third place was Costa Rica, which obtained 96, reported BBC Mundo.
The irony is that later, in September of this year, a new UN report was released. It concluded that Nicolás Maduro, along with his ministers of the interior and defense, is responsible for crimes against humanity. An international mission commissioned by the UN to investigate the situation of human rights in Venezuela presented this report. Here, the joke writes itself. Going to organizations that recognize Maduro as president is the closest thing to hitting a concrete wall over and over again.
The real alternatives on the table
So, what would be a viable solution to end Nicolas Maduro’s regime? Before everything that is spoken of so hastily and enthusiastically today, there was a plan which was apparently ignored and furthermore managed from the realm of bureaucratic convenience. On this subject, Sosa Azpúrua indicated that a possible scenario of liberation is within reach, but a measure of rigor and real interest will always be necessary on the part of the local government, not only the United States.
“The liberation passes through a bilateral agreement with the United States, which has already expressed its immense interest in resolving the Venezuelan crisis that affects them due to the problem of drug trafficking and all the geopolitical presence that Islamic fundamentalism is having at the back door of the United States. Trump manifested his interest in doing what is necessary to achieve that liberation. But the responsibility must also fall on the transitional government of Venezuela, which must take executive decisions for this to be accomplished,” he elaborated on the subject.
Later, the expert said that a second step would be the signing of an agreement with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) to recover the jurisdiction of that organization in Venezuelan territory. From there, Sosa Azpúrua assures that the next stage will come to train Venezuelan officials under the protocol of said organization and to organize a release operation with the logistics and strategy of the U.S. Department of Defense, which, in his opinion, would be willing to make this initiative successful.
The priority: keep the opposition away from foreign assets
Stripping opponents of their functions as official representatives of Venezuela before the world is also an option. In fact, Sosa Azpúrua speaks of the possibility of demanding from international bodies that they continue to have possession until a legitimate power arrives and, in the meantime, the assets must be retained by the international community.
The reason, according to the expert, is to keep politicians away from the resources that for almost two years have arrived in the country the sum of which would exceed two billion dollars- and which unfortunately have not been converted into goods for Venezuelans but “so that some leaders can make a living as princely bureaucrats, living off humanitarian aid, which is now used as an operating budget to pay for their living and housing expenses abroad, guaranteeing themselves a golden exile.”
After justifying his arguments, Sosa Azpúrua also spoke of the damage that the officials of the Parliament did to the country during this legislative period by not specifying their tasks. This will also bring a discouraging result, centered on the lack of knowledge of the legitimacy claimed by the legislators. In his opinion, the validity of the mandate of the deputies is lost because they did not fulfill their functions during the time they were in power.
“Guaidó cannot continue to manage the country’s goods and assets abroad, but how do we prevent him from continuing to do so? Guaidó will continue to operate with his mafia called opposition, but that is actually the other side of the coin for the regime. The panorama is dismal, having Leopoldo López as the best chancellor of the regime,” he explained.
A clean slate?
Chavismo also has its share of the blame for the chaos that the interim is experiencing today. Statements such as those made by Leopoldo López, by setting aside the R2P after consultation and focusing on a coalition government with Chavismo, detract from the credibility of all the efforts that Venezuelans are making to leave the regime. In certain respects, they have also ended up stoning the hope and possibility of short-term change, even less so if there are no forces other than dialogue involved.
What is clear from all this is that a scenario where the opposition invites Chavismo to distribute goods and pardon those who led the country to the greatest humanitarian crisis will not work either. There is much for which the regime must respond, and no one should forget that. Never.