It is as if one boxer punches the other and then proposes to start the conversation. The defeated boxer shook his black and blue head, knowing that the referee was missing and the bell would not ring. Venezuela’s opposition to socialist Nicolas Maduro has never been weaker since he took power in 2013 from left – wing populist Hugo Chavez. Nevertheless, delegates from both camps will meet this Friday, with an experienced Norwegian mediator.
Negotiations will last until Sunday, with another round scheduled for two weeks later. Michael Benfold, a professor of political economics at the IESA Management Curriculum in Caracas, sees the talks as an opportunity, despite the uneven starting points. The latest one for the poorest country in the north of South America: ‘Venezuela needs these talks. If this fails, we will be further isolated. Then the rest of the world will stop completely. ‘
That world has been together for a while now, Benfold says. US President Joe Biden joins the European Union, and it appears that the two Western powers are ready to ease sanctions in exchange for measures for democratic restructuring in Venezuela. This was a day and night difference with Biden’s predecessor Trump, who threatened military intervention and instead amassed a permit.
The question is when the process can be considered successful. A rude group that sees each other in hatred of Maduro expects a map towards the ‘fair and transparent elections’ that the opposition and the international community see. Maduro hopes to persuade the United States to remove its barriers so that Venezuela no longer relies on a few ideologically friendly countries for trade. The ruling socialist regime in the world’s oil-rich country imports petrol from Iran.
Maduro seems unlikely to allow his opponents even an inch apart. Two-and-a-half years ago, Juan Guido, who was declared the “legitimate president,” was able to stage a major popular uprising. But the parliamentary speaker misjudged the army for not heeding his call. Since then, the opposition has lost every move against the president. Efficiently, Maduro divided his enemies and sidelined them one by one.
Last fall, he invited opposition leaders with one hand to run in the parliamentary elections, while the other put his own puppets in the main opposition. Opposition groups called for a boycott of the by-elections, but former presidential candidate Henrique Gabriels appeared to be in talks with the government over the release of political prisoners. In the end, most of the opposition was at home. The parliament – their last palace, which they miraculously captured in 2015 – was again in Maduro’s hands.
The robbery already seems to be for the president, but there is still much to be won in Mexico, says Professor Benfold. “Obstacles are not so important, the regime has learned to live with the obstacles. Maduro seeks recognition for his government and hopes that these talks will further divide the opposition. These are two steps to Maduro’s ‘fair and transparent’ re-election in 2024: Creates.
There is the question of why Maduro’s enemies allow themselves to be put under this cart. According to Benfold, this is the only way left for the political arena. Strong opposition parties also agree that negotiations are inevitable. It turned out that the desirable was not possible. ‘Politicians like Gabriels were already ready for talks, and political scientist Quide joins to reclaim his leadership role.
Andres Antilleno, a sociologist and criminologist at Venezuelan Central University, said 28 million Venezuelans who were poor and hungry each year under Maduro had lost faith in the government and the opposition. Venezuelan people see their politicians as drunkards fighting in an empty bottle. The biggest gains for ‘Mexico’ may be in practical matters, says Antillano: a little more economic space for the population, a little more money for basic needs, the start of the vaccination campaign.
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