Let's talk about intervention

By Luis Manuel Aguana

Or interference? Both terms have been used as synonyms by the opposition political leadership to mean the same thing: since there is no democratic possibility to displace from government criminals who have kidnapped the country's institutions, then foreign aid is necessary to do so.

At first glance it looks easy, just as we Venezuelans like culturally to solve problems. One day someone comes along, who obviously isn't us, and solves everything. And that's why it's also very easy to sell to Venezuelans. But it is very difficult to sell it to the international community, where one of the pillars of peaceful world coexistence is precisely the principle of non-intervention by states. That is to say, the rest of the countries do not get involved in the problems of any of them.

That principle has certainly been revised at the behest of what is now called International Humanitarian Law, where the barriers to the intervention of some countries in others depend on the respect that each people must have for the Human Rights of their citizens. Humanity cannot turn its back either when people are massacred within borders, adducing in their defense another fundamental principle, that of sovereignty.

The journey that the opposition is now making around the world is based fundamentally on the fact that the Venezuelan people are being massacred, and having no way of democratically avoiding that - that is, votes - requires a humanitarian intervention (or interference) by the international community. And when you sit down to explain that, it gets very difficult because the questions arise immediately: How is it that the electoral system is hijacked when you participated with that same system less than a year ago? How is it that the Maduro government kills the hungry people when we have seen them deliver boxes of food to the neediest population?  How is it that your armed forces have not yet intervened and why should we? How is it that there are some of you in the opposition who did come to the call for elections with that government that at the same time you say is a dictatorship? In the face of such a sea of contradictions, who on the outside is going to sacrifice something for us?

And although each of these questions has an answer - where the opposition certainly looks very bad - to explain to someone who is not Venezuelan centuries of our historical contradictions in the context of the urgency of death that we have, it is certainly extremely desperate and difficult. But that is the solution that the unique opposition that finally understood that Maduro does not come out with votes is giving us. But it is still an incomplete solution because even though we understand that part of this solution must come from outside, the Venezuelan is promised as the only instant solution to the problem, generating a hope of difficult materialization, and with a high probability of frustration and failure, because among other reasons it does not depend on us; and the more time passes, the regime gains time to consolidate itself, seeking to block this strategy with its international allies, something they have achieved until now.

When Muslims were being exterminated in Srebrenica, Bosnia Herzegovina, in the eyes of the whole world, the international community did not move an inch, not even after a report by former UN Security Council President Diego Arria, who called it a “slow motion genocide” (see Diego Arria in Spanish, On the Road to Srebrenica, at https://diariodecaracas.com/blog/diego-arria/en-camino-srebrenica). Not even humanity was moved by the thousands of people massacred there afterwards. Draw your own conclusions and think seriously about whether they will move for those who have died in Venezuela in comparison to that.

More recently, Syria's case with the regime of Bashar Al-Assad shows us that years of extermination and death within borders, for whatever reasons, and even with open attacks against the civilian population, have not determined an active intervention by the international community beyond global repudiation. It is now that the US government is "considering" a military intervention in Syria after the chemical attack on the city of Duma a few days ago, which left more than 150 dead and more than 1000 injured. So these things are moving in this way in the international community.

We have argued in favor of this intervention that this regime is a living cancer for democracy in Latin America and should be taken care of, under penalty of spreading like a fire over the entire region. That is the hidden metastasis of something that did not end up falling accompanying the Berlin Wall, and that was fed by decades of forgetfulness to our incipient democracies; and now we have to remove a tumor without killing the patient. But it is clear that we cannot do this alone nor can it be done without our participation. Hence, the approach must be correct.

Our problem is effectively being considered in international scenarios, and as we have seen, indirect measures are being taken to punish those who have caused the ruin of Venezuela. But what we cannot be wrong about as Venezuelans is that the total solution to this serious problem we have will not leave an office in Washington or anywhere else outside the country. A part of that solution will have to come out - so we do not want to see it now - first of Venezuela. And that is precisely what the countries of the international community are waiting for so that they can effectively support it. That Venezuelan part is not visualized by those to whom we ask for their support, and the only thing they have seen so far is participation in electoral fraud with the regime. I think we Venezuelans can do something much better than that.

The opposition strategy based on international intervention to replace the Maduro regime must be revised and corrected. The intervention must and has to be an important variable of the formula to leave the regime but not the only one, with a combination of actions within a strategic global whole that forces the regime to see that there is no other solution than its negotiated exit from power.

The approach based on the fact that Venezuela has become a geopolitical problem for our neighbors and for Latin America in general makes it more probable for the community of nations, especially for the Donald Trump administration, to make direct decisions against the regime, beyond what they have done so far. But the opposition must present a strategy whose development is first within Venezuela; and what is being done here must be strong enough politically for the world to support it.

In the National Constituent Alliance we believe that a fundamental step within this strategic framework of actions in Venezuela is to consult the Venezuelan people on the terms in which they wish to change the country. We have proposed terms that can perfectly well be reviewed by all and thus achieve the fundamental support of the sovereign for any action taken from outside the country. A definitive pronouncement by the Venezuelan people that indicates without a shadow of a doubt the way out of the regime may be the piece that the international community is waiting for, not to intervene and get rid of an illegitimate government, but to help us to definitively get rid of it.

Caracas, April 10, 2018

Twitter:@laguana