Time for Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to Venezuela

By Luis Manuel Aguana

If there is one thing on which all Venezuelans agree today is that after April 30th things are not the same. As Tiby Lucena would say, they are irreversible, like the results where the opposition always lost after turning them over in the CNE. I never knew it was more irreversible, whether the results or the way they cheated the will of Venezuelans.

When Juan Guaidó and Leopoldo López appeared in that video accompanied by a group of soldiers in a place that did not turn out to be the La Carlota Air Base, as had been announced, but the bridge of the Altamira distributor on the Francisco Fajardo Highway in Caracas, I imagine that they would know that they were taking an irreversible step, that they could not turn back, and that from there things with the regime would not be the same. Moreover, if they were going out that way, it was because the Cessation of Usurpation had already been resolved, because after the massive distribution of that video at 5:30am, I was hoping that half an hour later the flight of Maduro and his main accomplices would be announced in a Sacred Cow from Maiquetía or any other airport in the country.

But no, what they threw was a bet! A bet that we later learned from U.S. officials that it had been negotiated with three of the main commanders of madurism in the regime  (see in Spanish, EEUU reveló que altos mando chavistas negociaron con Juan Guaidó la salida de Nicolás Maduro, en https://www.infobae.com/america/venezuela/2019/04/30/john-bolton-vladimir-padrino-maikel-moreno-y-hernandez-dala-creen-que-maduro-debe-dejar-el-poder/) waiting for those criminals to "keep their word," removing the usurper. I put it in inverted commas because you have to be very credulous -not to say very pendejo- to expose life in that way, betting that those scoundrels would not send them a battalion to annihilate them on that bridge, at that time when there was no one but them in the place. They would have done it and it would have been catalogued as a suffocated military uprising, and Guaidó and López would have swelled, along with the few soldiers who were there, the murder statistics of the regime of Nicolás Maduro Moros.

As expected for anyone, the criminals did not keep their word. But Guaidó and López are not just any person, they are the main heads of the Venezuelan opposition movement. The President in Charge and the main political leader of his party candidly trusted Vladimir Padrino, Iván Hernández Dalá and Maikel Moreno, the Holy Trinity of the repression of the tyranny of Nicolás Maduro Moros. And that's not just any bullshit. I think it was too monumental a mistake to let it go unnoticed.

Anyone who has approached the work of Ramón J. Velásquez or Enrique Tejera París, or better yet, met them personally - something that was not very complicated in the Venezuelan political world - could have learned a little about the political history behind the military uprisings that have taken place in Venezuela. Without having a manual on how to make a movement like that, it could be deduced from that minimal knowledge that if you throw a stop of that type and go out in public to say that the donkey is black it is because you have the hairs in your hand. The case of Chávez in 1992 is classic. We didn't know who was responsible for the uprising until they subdued the ringleader - at that moment the unknown Hugo Chávez - to order those who had not surrendered at the Maracay Garrison, and were still pouring lead, to lay down their arms. In other words, military control of the country is achieved first and then control of the government. Chávez not having military control of the country was subdued and imprisoned.

When we have said that only the terms of their exit should be negotiated with Maduro and his henchmen, it is not understood that it is in order to negotiate with them the shared control of the country or a co-government with the castro-chavismo-madurismo, but because they have been defeated militarily, and to avoid further bloodshed, only then are the terms of their surrender discussed with them. That is what happened with Chávez on 4F-1992. In other cases in history, such as in 1958, the military was already in control of the country when people took to the streets. It's not that the people had to be on the street for them to take control of the situation. It is not the people who provoke the departure of a regime, it is the pure and simple force of arms. And if you don't have such a force, you can't evict anyone from power, even if they have it in usurpation in an illegal way. A government does not fall with the "promise" that someone gave to change sides, no matter how high it is in the pyramid of the regime. It is because you already moved troops having the certainty of having greater firepower than your enemy and achieve their surrender, then you make the corresponding announcements. That's where the "bet" is.

I mistakenly thought that this primary manual of military uprisings in Venezuela was the knowledge of the official opposition leadership, and I am powerfully struck by the fact that having access to all the professional knowledge that exists at their disposal in this matter, it has not been used. That says a great deal about those who intend to lead the country in the future. And it is clear that after the failure of the attempt, all military personnel involved in the process will immediately be identified and neutralized by the regime -understanding what that means in this tyranny- as it happened after the Galactico's brand new return on April 13, 2002. What happened on April 30, 2019 cannot be repeated with the same military protagonists, including Padrino and Hernández Dalá, because that action, as we said at the beginning, is as irreversible as the electoral results of Tiby Lucena.

But a very important aspect of this complex plot is the statements of Elliott Abrams, also reported in the same news item: "For his part, Elliott Abrams, the U.S. special envoy for Venezuela, pointed out on Tuesday that Trump's government did not take part in these negotiations between members of the Venezuelan opposition and Minister Vladimir Padrino to overthrow Maduro. "The U.S. was not part of those negotiations, the negotiations were between Venezuelans," Abrams told a group of journalists at the State Department. "In the last month or two, there have been some interesting negotiations between Venezuelans, within the regime and outside about a return to the Constitution, Abrams explained”.

The United States is not and should not be in charge of any strategy that the official opposition chooses to leave the regime of Nicolás Maduro Moros. However, it was difficult for them to agree with this, but I imagine they would say something like: "they are black and they understand each other," to the point that they immediately went ahead to turn what was clearly a failure into an opportunity to undermine the bases of trust among the members of Maduro's high government. According to connoisseurs, it is highly unusual for a White House security adviser to make such direct statements about those issues that fall within the purview of the State Department. It is possible that the future of that Trinidad denounced by Bolton will be very uncertain in the next few hours.

And Guaidó is saved from the regime's immediate response - although that remains to be seen - because the United States, even though it is aware of this movement and of the way in which the facts were handled, still continues to support -thanks to God- the hope of change of the Venezuelan people, still embodied by President Encargado Juan Guaidó. However, after an eye pulled out, Saint Lucia is no good. What they did has no turning back and there is no other choice but to move forward. The regime knows that it is not the official opposition that it has to fear after this, it is the U.S. government. And that makes it extremely weak but at the same time very dangerous for us.

"The legitimate TSJ has asked the international community to apply R2P and stop the genocide in Venezuela through an international military coalition on a peace mission" (see tuit of @TSJ_Legitimo, in  https://twitter.com/TSJ_Legitimo/status/1123997735890370568). This is precisely because the regime will from now on increase the commission of crimes against humanity against opponents in Venezuela. Those failures have those consequences. This position of immediately applying R2P in Venezuela has been fully supported by OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro in a meeting with the President of the Legitimate TSJ in exile, Dr. Miguel Ángel Martín. (see tuit in Spanish from @Almagro_OEA2015, in https://twitter.com/Almagro_OEA2015/status/1124357267212705794).

The legitimate Supreme Court of Justice has maintained a very serious position after this new failure in the "breakdown of the Armed Forces" attempted by the official opposition and perhaps it can be demonstrated to the US government and the international community in general, that if there are serious Venezuelan politicians who can assume state responsibilities such as those needed to lead the country, dismissing once and for all any interlocution unprepared to face this dark hour in Venezuela. Too many people have already died as a result of this improvisation. If it is already very serious to accept that the problem surpassed the local capacities to solve it, imagine if the driving is also not up to the circumstance. The time has come for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in Venezuela.

Caracas, May 6, 2019

Email: luismanuel.aguana@gmail.com

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