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¡You’re fired!

By Luis Manuel Aguana

I wish to begin this note with a question from the last paragraph of the previous (see Guaidó and Trump’s speech, in where I wondered why Guaidó would return without an answer to our crisis. And maybe the question was misphrased. Already Donald Trump told the world in his "State of the Union" that he would immediately address our problem. More official than that is impossible. Obviously he didn't say how he would do it but surely something released Guaidó and his team in the White House off-camera. And here I'm going to allow myself an exercise in logical inference, since I wasn't there and I don't have any informants at Guaidó's side who can tell me what is going to happen after Guaidó returns to Venezuela.

I think that logically the White House should have addressed the total failure to date to remove the regime due to the mistakes of the opposition, largely due to the problems faced by the interim government of Guaidó of being subject to the arbitration of 4 parties, which as a sack of cats, operate contradictorily and make it difficult to have a coherent strategy against this regime of thugs. All of them have the most varied interests of wanting to rule before having left the regime. It should be noted that Venezuela is the only unresolved failure of Trump's foreign policy after the shining successes of China, North Korea and Syria. And that gringo doesn't like to lose. Remember "You're fired!" from the Trump TV show? I think some of that would go through his head...

Without being interfering, Trump must have "suggested" to Guaido and his interim government a strategy completely aligned with what the U.S. government has already announced: zero elections of any kind with Maduro in power and zero cohabitation with the regime. This is very similar to what we, from what has been called the "radical opposition", have shouted until we are tired of it and this line coincides with what Maria Corina Machado has insisted on in Venezuela, and Antonio Ledezma and Diego Arria abroad. In other words, a 180-degree change in what they have been doing and that has failed.

Had this been Trump's "suggestion", it must not have pleased Guaidó, who was initially more inclined to follow the line of Henry Ramos Allup's "authoritarian enclave" doctrine, and committed to that party to the core. Would that be the reason why AD and UNT said nothing about Guaidó's enthusiastic reception in Trump's speech to the U.S. Congress? Guaidó's visit to the U.S. could apparently be marking the beginning of a reordering of the opposition in Venezuela.

I also wondered that Guaidó could not return to do the same as in 2019 and before his departure for that tour. As I indicated in my previous note, if we continue in this way and nothing happens, the result would be the same as last year: a total loss of credibility and call. And that can't happen anymore. Trump would not be making this effort of support like the one deployed this week without there being a return in concrete results in the direction of the fall of the regime. Consequently, Guaidó's strategy upon his return to Venezuela has to be different, or else our main ally will abandon him. And why do I say this? Because somehow the U.S. government -my inference- must have made it known to Juan Guaidó during his official visit that if he followed the path he was on, he would abandon it and seek to solve the problem with or without it, preferably with him.  So logic indicates that things have to change, and change radically.

And taking the exercise a little further, Guaidó would then have to get closer to the line of those of us who think that there cannot be more negotiations or elections with the criminals and focus on strategies and actions that complement in Venezuela the U.S. line of "drying up" the regime, because if one thing was clear in that visit it is the commitment of the United States with the Venezuelan people to break and crush the Maduro regime in the short term.

And how would you do that in practice? By separating the interim government from the G4, by asserting the independence of the President in charge from his party ties (which are not only with his party but with the rest of the coalition) and by creating spaces for the serious and official presence of political individuals who inside and outside Venezuela have had the same line as Trump, even if those who still believe that going to a Maduro election will let them "keep the spaces" are upset. What is happening right now in the National Assembly is a clear example of that. In this way Guaidó will have to lead a "new opposition" that excludes the cohabiting and openly negotiating factors of elections, giving serious space in his interim government to the radical opposition line whose only objective is to expel the regime, away from the people within his government who have done him much harm. This will purge the opposition by generating credibility and confidence in the United States.

This will define who is and who is not serious about Maduro's removal from power, sending a clear message to the Trump administration that the interim government can guarantee the creation of immediate objective conditions in Venezuela for Maduro's fall. At this point, we would submit for the consideration of those who lead this new political reality of opposition, ANCO's proposal for a Popular Consultation Plebiscite, no longer as a formula to achieve the commitment of the International Community to intervene, among other things because this was already officially expressed this week by its most powerful exponent, the United States, but as the fundamental political trigger of maximum strength for the Venezuelan people to express constitutionally their unified support in favor of those who are leading the process for the recovery of freedom and their most categorical rejection of those who have destroyed our country. That would be Maduro's definitive "You're fired!", no longer by Donald Trump's decision but by the will of all Venezuelans.

Caracas, February 7, 2020


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