Venezuela’s Peace Talks Are a Scam — And the U.S. Is Buying It
After more than two months of street protests in Venezuela, the Obama administration has placed its hopes on a spurious “dialogue” between the government and members of the organized opposition. As the Obama administration stands by, however, the chances that the crisis can lead to any positive change in Venezuela are fading.
The government and members of the opposition have just agreed to sit down for another round of negotiations, ostensibly to end the protests, which suits President Nicolás Maduro just fine. Though opposition representatives continue to plaintively seek some sort of meaningful redress for their grievances, the government has other ideas: While the talks drag on, security forces and armed militants, known as “colectivos,” wage a low-intensity war of attrition to wipe out the last of the protestors that have vexed the it since mid-February. After that, if all goes to plan, it’s back to the business of building “21st century socialism.”
So far, the negotiations have only produced nebulous agreements on a Truth Commission, improving citizen security, and returning to constitutional procedures in electing certain government officials.
That the government was intent on blocking any meaningful agreement was evident from the start. It refused to release opposition leaders who had been jailed sans due process following the outbreak of protests — including Leopoldo López of the Popular Will party — to join in the talks. The government has also dodged any responsibility for the marauding colectivos, who have been brutally attacking citizens protesting in the street. Instead, Maduro claimed the opposition was initiating the violence and his “supporters” had a right to defend themselves.
Maduro set this tone for the talks at the outset, proclaiming, “The bourgeoisie will never regain political power in the homeland.”
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