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The big puzzle of Venezuela

By Luis Manuel Aguana

Venezuela's problem is extremely complex, to the point that sometimes when I say that some piece of this complex chess must be moved in a particular direction, some observer thinks that a mistake is being made or that move looks contradictory to what has been proposed so far. Well, it doesn't. The chess that is being developed in Venezuela is not easy to develop at first sight because a number of variables are involved, the result of which every day shows us the losers or the winners of this struggle that we have against a regime that we cannot get rid of if we make a mistake in any move. A wrong movement can delay the resolution of our tragedy for years.

What do we analysts do? Try to visualize, as in chess, many future moves - ours and the opposite - to choose the best move, even suggesting some that look contradictory to the previous one. That's why you can't see this chess move by move but in the broad context of the strategies that must be applied to finally win the game. That is why it is necessary to explain, not a move itself but the complete suggested strategy. At this point it is no longer important whether that strategy is revealed or not because the opponent - the regime - has revealed which one is theirs for a long time (among other things because they are applying it to us), and those who have not said which one is ours - that is, the opponent - is unfortunately because they have none, and they implement moves that are like blind men's sticks, resulting in the enemy increasingly asserting his position, perpetuating himself in power.

Let us explain then what this is about so that you can understand a little more of what I am talking about.

Let's look at the problem we have as a big puzzle of many disordered pieces that we must put in place to be able to see the picture they contain as a whole, and that has not been shown to us, unlike ordinary puzzles. Each piece has part of the picture and since you don't know what the whole picture is, you can spend years trying to put that together. And we're an important part of this game, so if we're not told what role we're going to play, then we'll be going around in circles for years, thinking in a way that contradicts the overall strategy.

After many blows, comings and goings, failures and frustrations, we Venezuelans have reached the following regrettable objective conclusion, shared by all the opponents of Venezuela, including the official opposition: we cannot do it alone. This is not a simple sentence. That conclusion cost hundreds of deaths in the streets and in the dungeons of the regime. But we could have arrived at that shared proposition much earlier if the stubbornness of those who lead the official opposition's sainete had not insisted on a path that they could not sustain until the death and exodus of the Venezuelan family was evident.

Having said that, the objective becomes to make effective the help of those who have the necessary strength outside our country to achieve the displacement of the power of Nicolas Maduro Moros and his criminal narco-terrorist regime. And that is where our serious problem lies today, because every Venezuelan has his own interpretation of that phrase.

Juan Guaidó and the G4-MUD coalition, the latter led by Ramos Allup, have insisted that they do not want a military intervention in Venezuela, understanding that "we cannot do it alone" in a different way than the rest of the Venezuelans who believe that this regime only responds to force. They think that international aid should be manifested in a different way, that is, with threats, sanctions against the regime's officials and its front men, decisions by the US justice system against them, etc., without any movement involving armed violence. The international community, with the United States and the heads of the OAS at the helm, have indicated that they are not in favour of armed humanitarian intervention (because all humanitarian interventions are).

The revelation of the famous Operation Gideon seemed to indicate a change in that Guaidó/G4-MUD position, but we soon realized that it had been another botched operation similar to that of April 30, 2019, with a corrupt general and double agent of militant Chavismo at its head, and in which many Venezuelans truly committed to freedom were victims. The reality is that Venezuela does not have anyone at the head to make effective the proposal "alone we cannot" in the only way that the regime understands: by force. And it materializes it in a sufficiently credible threat to provoke substantive changes in the increasingly compromised Venezuelan reality. In the face of the socialists' devastation of our country, we Venezuelans have the right to legitimate defense, making our slogan of "Overthrowing is constitutional" our own (see Overthrow is Constitutional, in  

Now, there are only two ways in which a humanitarian intervention can take place in Venezuela: a) that the International Community does it on its own as was done in Bosnia or Haiti due to the tragedies of those countries and the international context of those times, or b) that the Legitimate Government, which at this moment is presided over by Juan Guaidó, assumes that task, organizing a government in exile, making use of the resources and recognition it now possesses. Let's analyze both.

In the first case, for the International Community to decide to come with the blue helmets, or to mobilize an international coalition armed on its own by some countries to Venezuela, a decision of the UN Security Council must be taken. And if that were to happen, it would be because the worst tragedy of Haiti or Bosnia occurred here at the time (in my modest opinion we are already treading on that ground), or the COVID-19 has wiped out half the population with a view to contaminating our neighbours, or we are a proven threat to the national security of the Americans. In any case, that would not depend on anyone in the opposition, and would be based on doing nothing in the hope that the situation in the country would worsen to that point. And that would constitute an unlimited irresponsibility of the official opposition (they already qualify).

I want to make a special point about COVID-19. I believe that this pandemic is important but anything we can actually do against it can only be done in freedom. The real pandemic of Venezuelans is the unresolved regime of Nicolás Maduro Moros, which if it continues, will cause much more deaths than COVID-19, as it has been until now in our country if we don't solve it first.

In the second case, the interim government is doing absolutely nothing to assume the responsibility that we Venezuelans gave it on January 23, 2019, in order to achieve the famous "cessation of usurpation. And in the hypothetical case that they did, by appointing a crisis cabinet, with high-level diplomacy and a military high command included, it would be up to them to convince the countries that support them to accompany it to an armed incursion, with Venezuelans at the head, for the liberation of the country. They would have to reach political and military agreements with the nations that want to accompany us and generate a critical mass of men and women to proceed to recover the country. They would have to get some of our neighbors to lend them part of their territory to start recovering ours by force of blood and fire. That is the struggle that would be posed here.

In view of the above, those who are asking for the approval of the 187#11 Constitution in the National Assembly, and with that the external forces will magically come to free us, get down from that cloud. That would indeed be a move of the whole chess game but it happens because Guaido and the official opposition assume that they must conduct a process of liberation with all its consequences. In this framework, what has been done internationally with things like TIAR or R2P would be worthwhile, but they would be useless if the governments of these countries do not see that we are not taking the first step to free our territory.

So it is in this context that the use of anything that helps us gain support for our cause comes into play, an opposition that clutches up from outside and shows that it is organized, but above all willing to fight, and not be fought over, in a consolidated diplomatic and military opposition strategy capable of displacing Nicolas Maduro Moros from power. It is that and nothing else that would build the credible threat we once talked about. If the regime sees that you have an army capable of removing it from power with very high probabilities of success, that's when negotiations come. It is here where there can be two possible courses of action: 1) that you do not negotiate anything and go straight to the expulsion of the regime with an open conflict, where everyone would intervene; or 2) the regime accepts that the People's Sovereignty be convened to generate a Transitional Government because at this point there is no longer the legitimacy of anyone to access power in Venezuela beyond force. And that is the point that we should reach. That has been ANCO's proposal for the expulsion of the regime in case the International Community had bought the idea of sanctions versus Popular Consultation.

Going back to the beginning, if this is the complete game or the complete figure of the puzzle, how can we reach the end with any chance of success if those who must play it on our side are already "bending their legs" for a host of known reasons? Then we should think about a previous step to recover for the Venezuelans the legitimate opposition representation that gives this "government in exile" the necessary support from the Venezuelans to understand each other with the International Community and to reach the end. That is why I took the liberty of suggesting a move that would involve the participation of the qualified civil society demonstrated in those parliamentary elections to dislodge this "broken bat" leadership that has been discredited after 5 long years of parliamentary opprobrium. There may be other moves that do not involve disputing the regime's elections, the leadership that is legitimate in the eyes of the world to the official opposition, but they will be more difficult to endorse immediate legitimacy, and whatever they may be we must prepare them now.

Yesterday, May 29, the U.S. Department of State announced its support for Guaidó after the Supreme Court of Justice's decision to remove him from office (ver In Defense of Democracy in Venezuela, in and where “urges all parties to consider the Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela as a pathway towards a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Venezuela..”.

In my modest understanding, the United States is not landing on the problem of Venezuela and continues to insist on its Framework for Democratic Transition which the regime rejected outright, and will end up accepting as legitimate the outcome of these parliamentary elections if the official opposition contests them, as they are in fact negotiating with the regime. Why not do so if AD, PJ and UNT accept it, even if VP is outlawed? If that happens, how does Guaidó's position stand there after those elections? Will he continue to be President in charge? Will that American defense of the legitimate National Assembly continue when its term actually expires in December? Or will everything be illegitimate for Americans after those elections, except the Guaido government? We can't keep that forever!

The truth is that time is running out and we do not see anything in that official opposition that yesterday obtained new support from the United States that will help us to make the regime go away. Take a good look at the game now from above. The puzzle is just beginning to take shape. It will be up to us to put the pieces in place.

Caracas, May 30, 2020


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