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The price of freedom

By Luis Manuel Aguana

There are those who think that Venezuela's intervention began some time ago. It was not a matter of waiting for the Marines, nor for some hidden formula of economic strangulation of Maduro's regime. No. It began with the direct embargo of the regime's accounts and personal assets in the United States, through their inclusion in the lists reviewed by international banks to avoid movements of funds that go against U.S. security, to a very well-designed embargo to protect Venezuela's assets within the United States.

Trump's government is playing seriously for the exit of the regime, but unfortunately our opposition counterpart who, even having heard the decision of the American government through its official spokesman, John Bolton (see John Bolton in Spanish, “El tiempo del dialogo se acabó, es tiempo de la acción”, in insists on continuing a dialogue that has already died but which they refuse to bury (Guaidó: Bolton nunca dijo que el dialogo había terminado, in

Immediately after the announcement of the embargo against Venezuela, those in the opposition and the regime who are effectively mourners of that measure jumped on the grounds that it would aggravate the situation of Venezuelans. They do not speak of their interests. They talk about what will affect us, not what will happen to them because of one of the main side effects of that embargo: companies doing business with Maduro's regime will put doing business in the United States at risk because they will also be subject to sanctions (see in Spanis “Bolton habla sobre el congelamiento de activos del régimen de Venezuela en EEUU”, in In other words, companies will have to decide whether they prefer to do business with the regime or run the risk of no longer doing business with their customers in the United States. What a problem for the regime and opposing bolichicos! 

No one could say that this will not affect the immediate goods and services that in one way or another we Venezuelans receive. Of course it will affect us! And it will affect us very soon. And the regime will try to victimize itself by saying that "it is because of the Americans" that we find ourselves in this situation, when we all know that it is they who have robbed and robbed the country. But there is one question we should ask ourselves first, as the former Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Nations, Diego Arria, did well in a recent interview: "What price are we willing to pay for our freedom? (see in Spanish Aló Buenas Noches – EVTV 08-07-2019

The exit from the regime will not be free and this decision announces that we will all receive in our homes very soon the first draft for the payment of that freedom that unfortunately most believe to be a gracious concession of the Universe. Although we Venezuelans have certainly been paying for the increasing gravity of this crisis with the blood of our youth on the streets and the massive exodus of our children abroad, it is no less true that opposition behavior has a lot to do with that spilled blood and that justified exodus. Clumsiness, together with the inexperience and ambition of political leaders, has criminally prolonged this tragedy.

And that does not escape those who observe us from the outside, who are now making increasingly harsh BUT INDEPENDENT decisions as a result of the behavior of an opposition leadership that does not sympathize with the suffering of the majority of the population. That is why some of us are calling for better political leadership in the face of the regime, and more in keeping with the urgency of our situation as a people.

But it would be one thing for us to get a draft from abroad - and all those that are necessary - because we have agreed on those payments, and another very different thing is for it to come to us as a result of the clumsiness or a management product of the interests of others who do not want to get out of this situation, with the consequent permanence of the regime. That is unacceptable.

I would be willing to pay to affect my quality of life as a Venezuelan who lives (or lives badly) in Venezuela if I am fully convinced that with those payments I obtain liberation, or at least I am in the right and safe direction to obtain it. I believe that Venezuelans would be willing to make such a sacrifice if our leadership were to seriously commit that action is agreed upon and reaches what we are demanding as a people that is nothing more than the exit of this regime and its criminals.

And that brings me to what's happening now. At present, it is completely clear that there are two exclusive proposals on the political table: a) the one promoted by the White House to gradually but consistently increase sanctions against Maduro's regime and its corrupt environment; and b) the one promoted by the official opposition headed by Juan Guaidó to dialogue and try to reach electoral agreements with Nicolás Maduro Moros. Either it's one thing or the other, that's why they are exclusive. If the U.S. rejected the path of dialogue, why does the official opposition insist on a dialogue rejected by our main ally?

If the United States is carrying out those measures, it is doing so in the certainty that Maduro will end up breaking. But one thing is a break provoked outside Venezuela without the participation or consent of the official opposition, which is heading in a different direction (the dialogue of the European left), and another very different thing is if the Americans do it with the authorization of the Venezuelan people. In other words, if the people decide in a Plebiscite Consultation to be willing to pay or not the consequences of those actions of the International Community, by virtue of the fact that their own representation goes in another direction.

The terms of the exit and transfer of power of Nicolás Maduro Moros could be defined in this Consultation. But the consultation would also decide whether we Venezuelans agree that countries should raise the cost to the regime of remaining in power, whatever that cost may be. In other words, that Venezuelans decide directly to assume the price of freedom in exchange for those countries committing themselves to help us make the exit from the regime effective if the people so decide, as a guarantee that this suffering will make sense. As has been proposed by the clumsiness of the opposition, we will now begin to assume it without any retribution.

From this moment on, Venezuelans will begin to feel the consequences of the embargo. But we will be doing it without having decided anything, and even worse, as a consequence of the clumsiness of others. We will be passive subjects of a decision that occurred outside our borders, without our participation. That is why we insist that this escalation of sanctions and measures, which can perfectly reach a humanitarian intervention with foreign military accompaniment, not be a decision of anyone other than the people of Venezuela, consulted in Plebiscite. Otherwise we will not be managing what will happen in our own country because we will be subrogating it to people who will come out of where we least expect it once the regime falls. That's why I would long prefer that the people of Venezuela, to be the ones who decide, not only the price of our freedom but also what will happen next. What do you prefer?

Caracas, August 9, 2019


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