Suscribete a TICs & Derechos Humanos

The negotiation of a kidnapped country

By Luis Manuel Aguana

For those who may have been confused with the title of this article, I am not referring to the negotiations that are now trying to carry out with the regime the factors that have been enemies of getting us out of this nightmare but of living with it. Once again Rodríguez Zapatero, now renewed with the help of the new Spanish socialist government, has returned to try to convince the international community, starting with the European Union, that the Venezuelan solution will pass because Maduro will remain in a negotiated manner with the official opposition. Now it is not only Rodríguez Zapatero but the Spanish government itself, when its Chancellor says that "it is not opportune to investigate the crimes against humanity in Venezuela because that could negatively affect the possibility of a negotiated solution to the conflict". What a horror! (see in Spanish And on top of that they also take care of Lorent Saleh, now turned into a goodwill card of the tyranny of Maduro. Never before had a liberation had so much compromise stench.

I refer with the title to how to negotiate the delivery of a country of the world's largest hostage kidnapping situation which it is a victim (see Venezuela: the world's largest hostage kidnapping situation, at In a whole country subject to a hostage kidnapping situation, as in our country, the magnitudes are different from those involved in a common hostage kidnapping case. In the case of a country, the magnitudes involved change the actors, but not the situation. Let's see.

According to security specialists, hostage kidnapping has three stages (see in Spanish Etapas en una situación de rehenes, en which can be summarized as follows, taking them to our country: a) a mafia of criminals managed to take over the government and kidnapped people and property; b) negotiation with the kidnappers to avoid a minimum of harm to the hostages "by framing them in a mental attitude favorable to the peaceful solution" listening to their demands; c) pressure for the outcome (he takes me or I take him, Carlos Vives dixit).

Although in the terminology of specialists a kidnapping is not the same as a hostage-taking (see in Spanish, in practice historically has referred as such to this crime that comes from another: “From the point of view of police science, one must learn to distinguish between hostage-taking, hostage situation, robbery with hostages and kidnapping itself. When news reports around the world announced how a subversive group had stormed the Japanese embassy in the city of Lima, Peru, they often referred to the event as a kidnapping, when in fact it was a hostage-taking for political purposes. The place of confinement was clearly defined, in the eyes of the authorities, and the petitions were political in nature”.

In Venezuela in one way or another we are all hostages, active or potential. The assets are those that are already in the dungeons of the regime, and the rest of us are potential because we all have a number that can make the regime effective at will if it is affected in any way by someone else's permanence in power. That is why we affirm our hostage situation in our own country. Moreover, if we are not victims of the regime's security forces, we are victims of the gangs controlled in some way by the regime. On the other hand, Venezuela's resources are also under the disposition power of those who have made them by the force of the Republic's weapons, and not by the democratic consent of Venezuelans. That clearly defines our hostage situation.

Bearing in mind then that: a) we are kidnapped in our own country by a heavily armed group; b) the population is not in a position to oppose this situation under penalty of torture and death; c) some groups negotiate "opposition" privileges, collaborating so that the hostage situation continues with a democratic disguise before the world, in exchange for cohabitation and negotiation of spaces for crumbs of power; d) the regime is preparing to change the constitution through kidnapped electoral mechanisms, in order to consolidate and legitimize this kidnapping situation in a "legal" and "constitutional" way, so Venezuela needs an urgent outcome of this hostage situation (to reach stage 3), but this defined in these terms has not even begun stage 2. In other words, despite the consummation of a kidnapping of persons and property, the remaining two stages of a hostage situation have not yet begun.

Let's do a hypothetical exercise.  If the second stage were to begin, that is, the negotiation for the liberation of Venezuela, who would be the "police negotiator," with enough external dissuasive power to change the situation, and who would be the spokespersons for the kidnappers? What would the kidnappers ask for? On what basis would the "police negotiator" negotiate?

There are no previous experiences in the world that match the Venezuelan situation. Although the regime hides behind communist ideology as the basis for its outrages, basically what we are perceiving here is a criminal business with planetary ramifications. The drug business and all its derivatives, such as money laundering on a world scale, which is added to the financing and export of terrorism, make our country an extraordinary enclave for all groups that wish to break the established democratic order of the West.  Nothing less. This cannot be a tolerable situation for the international community in the hemisphere.

Given this extremely complex situation, the international community in the hemisphere must directly assume this problem and immediately establish a negotiating team to act as "police negotiator," with sufficient power and dissuasive force to subdue the kidnappers. What would be negotiated here? A mechanism for the establishment of an Emergency Government in Venezuela that puts an end to the hostage situation of its inhabitants.  With whom would that be negotiated? With Nicolas Maduro and his close circle? I don't think so. That should be negotiated directly with those who really have the power that sustains the state of things in Venezuela, starting with the countries that give them international support - including Cuba - and the military that sustain the regime. Do you think this proposal is illusory or scandalous? That negotiation would save the Venezuelan people many lives and pain. The size of the continental problem that Venezuela is causing escapes any magnitude that has occurred in the past and deserves creative solutions of the same caliber.

And how would that Emergency Government be arrived at? Going to any election with the CNE as proposed by the collaborators? If it weren't so serious, it would be laughable. It is not possible at this moment to have any institution in the country, particularly the electoral one, because they are completely corrupted in the eagerness of the regime to remain in power; that is why it is necessary to go to a scheme of supra-national electoral technical support that comes from the hand of international organizations as guarantors of the transition, all this supported by Venezuelan civil society. This would be a fundamental component to be contributed by the negotiating team. It is necessary to reconstruct absolutely the entire institutional apparatus of the State, resorting to the very basis of all democracy: popular sovereignty.

This negotiating team must demand that the kidnappers in Venezuela allow the popular expression in their primary conception and that they submit to its opinion. What do you think the criminals who hold power would ask for back? The same thing Chávez asked the military on April 11, 2002: guarantees for his life and that of his family, with the security of not being prosecuted. Whether they are given them or not will depend on the force imposed on the negotiation.

Until now, the International Community has done what the protocol that governs a conventional dictatorship has dictated, sanctioning its protagonists, but this has not been enough. The sanctioned perpetrators have entrenched themselves in the country doing more harm to the population. I think we are already late to enter the second stage of the hostage situation. But who should take the initiative to start? Definitely the initiative must come from outside, and before thinking about sanctions to the country as suggested by former Ambassador William Brownfield (see in Spanish El Impulso , one of the most authoritative and heard diplomatic voices of the United States for Venezuelan and Latin American affairs, and let this "fall apart" with the consequences that has for us, hemispheric international actors, beginning with the United States, should consider playing an active rather than a passive role in this situation that also affects them. It is time to begin the negotiation of a kidnapped country.

Caracas, October 19, 2018


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