July 27, 2021

REASONS TO NEGOTIATE

Once again defenders of Democracy have fallen prey to the illusion of a dialogue with the hope that it might result in a change of regime. Venezuela is at present a country without a future. An oil rich country that as a consequence of a centralized government, rampant corruption, and flagrant ineptitude, has become an economic mess. Extreme inflation, lack of basic goods, loss of productivity, coupled with an expanded welfare program, will inevitably lead to chaos, bankruptcy, and/or a forced austerity program that will provoke a revolting populace. Venezuelan opposition united in street demonstrations that resulted in repression with the inevitable loss of life.

Anti-government protesters cover themselves with shields during riots in CaracasIn this context, with increased nervousness from the armed forces and mounting international pressure, Nicolas Maduro called for a dialogue. Under a democratic guise, and after tainted elections, the political reality is that the regime is an autocracy in which all branches of government are under a single control. What is the reason Maduro called for talks? There are only two basic reasons to negotiate. One is to find common ground, with a basic understanding of the other side’s point of view, and the other when your goal is to salvage a defeated position as it happens in wars. In Venezuela’s case, it is obvious that the country’s rulers do not desire any common ground as their only goal is to stay in power. With this in mind, the only goal they desire to achieve is the dialogue itself. It is common practice to try to gain precious time, when your situation is becoming untenable in order to regain strength.

What is the reason for Maduro’s foes to fall into this trap is less clear. Unfortunately, after the first talks the opposition has become tactically divided, the popular uprising led by the students weakened, and the dictator with assistance from his allies gaining the respite he needed. The future is grim, and the present political, economic, and social turmoil will continue and expand. Another great opportunity has been lost. Let us hope that the younger generation of Venezuelans that have sacrificed life and limb, do not lose hope and maintain their ideals with, if need be, new leaders. Let them receive strength and resolve, and be inspired by Theodore Roosevelt’s words; “We despise the oppressor, but we despise no less the coward and the voluptuary. No man is worth calling a man that will not fight rather than submit to infamy or see those that are dear to him suffer wrong”.

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