The Berlin Wall and Venezuela … 1/28/21

Muro de Berlin3

The result achieved by the failures of the opposition and the regime’s skillful efforts has led to the dismantling and division of the bulk of the opposition parties. Now there is disappointment, hopelessness, there is no apparent way out of the terrible situation in the country and there is no leadership on the part of the political parties. However, on 11/9/1989 when the Berlin Wall fell, the political situation in Eastern Europe was much worse than the one in Venezuela now and also the economic and public service conditions were much less critical. Worse than disappointment, there was absolute certainty that the regimes were unshakable. They had total control of the political situation, the countries were not like Somalia, there was no organized opposition and no one expected what happened. It wasn’t obvious, but the economy was cracking and as some of the allies began to fail the hidden cracks expanded rapidly. In Venezuela, the economic and social situation will continue to worsen, the regime is monopolizing the political sphere and the discontent will now have to be resolved internally. The allies who support them are also being forced to deal with the Navalnys that will appear in the world. Tearing down the Berlin Wall was very difficult and yet it still happened.

The need for political parties

Over time the regime managed to create an illusion of democracy with frequent elections and most of the political parties bought into it. In addition, it has limited the economic ability of political parties and politicians and thus the way to divide them was made much easier. The political parties, almost without exception, were focused on running elections and abandoned all grassroots work. The illusion was that the regime was crumbling due to its poor handling of the economy and you had to be in the right place to proverbially wait for the apple to fall from the tree of power. When it was not the economy, there were those who dreamed of a foreign invasion, without the necessary local pressure being applied. There was never, incredibly never, a Plan B. The reality is that there was not an agreed Plan A either, each party was on its own (sometimes even on more than one side internally) and the objectives and strategies were also contradictory.

You need to have political parties and leaders that people can believe in and are willing to take risks for. Tens of thousands of Russians could be seen on the streets for Alexei Navalny, risking repression, braving the cold, and knowing the few possibilities for immediate change. It will have to happen in Venezuela too. 

The negotiation in progress

The US effort to achieve regime change in Venezuela was serious from an action perspective, but it was also oversold. The regime was threatened by word of mouth, hinting at major actions that it seemed they never intended to apply. Now, the sanctions are losing effect and it shows in the sanctioned Venezuelan oil finding its way to China. In the EU, important forces are taking advantage of the United States’ focus on other priorities,  they urge dialogue in Venezuela to hold new elections and one finds facts such as the report that the EU no longer recognizes Juan Guaidó as Interim President. This possible negotiation, with those who have never negotiated and do not feel under pressure, has important representatives like Capriles who assures that the Venezuelan opposition must evaluate strategy and negotiate with Chavismo.

 

The European Union’s approach is the following: EU ministers asked the Venezuelan opposition to find common ground and seek dialogue and negotiation. They reiterated their support for the National Assembly elected in 2015 and that the “only solution to the Venezuelan crisis is to restart political negotiations and establish a process of dialogue and transition.” They expressed their concern for the “dire humanitarian situation in Venezuela, made even worse by the impact of COVID-19.” The EU Foreign ministers were very clear in what every group in the opposition criticizing their rivals has refused to accept. They asked for the release of political prisoners and warned that the EU is willing to sanction more individuals who undermine democracy, violate Human Rights or break the Rule of Law. 

About United States, it is important to emphasize that it would not be surprising if there were no major changes in its foreign policy, among other things, the vote to approve the appointments of the main international policy positions of the Biden Administration has had bipartisan support  in the Senate. 

Regional elections in 2021

The regime invited the EU to observe regional elections this year, after having recently “swept” the AN elections. The word on the street is that the G4 parties oil their machinery in election year and are willing and able to participate. These are weakened political parties, lacking unity, with doubts about the candidates, but with the certainty that the results are absolutely in the hands of the regime. However, should massive participation be achieved, pressure would be generated on the regime and would force it to recognize any regional victory. The next question is that once the election is won, will the regime allow the victor to govern or will it impose on him or her one of its famous “protectors” and retain financing? This situation would imply the beginning of a continuous struggle, with the Damocles’ sword of repression always at the ready and for which it is imperative to create a grassroots organization and prepare for a tough and risky task.

 

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