Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dialogue in Venezuela

Henrique Capriles agreed to talk to Nicolás Maduro on Monday. The way to do this, it seems, is to have an implicit agreement that each has the right to continue publicly hammering on the other. Neither can afford to look soft.

But it's still very unclear what the goal will be. Currently, the opposition's stance is all about Maduro's departure, which obviously is nonnegotiable. Maduro is all abou revolution, which is also nonnegotiable. "Dialogue" implies concession because otherwise you have only predictable monologue, which is what we've already got.

Don't get me wrong. Talking is good, certainly far better than the chest thumping we've been seeing. But following up on my post yesterday about the fork in the Venezuelan road, there are only two visions in Venezuela at the moment, and they're very hard to reconcile. I don't really see a "third way" that bridges the gap.

Insisting only on departure or only on revolution will likely create more violence. So what other options are there, and who can articulate them? With any luck, the meeting between Maduro and Capriles can somehow get them out of the rhetrical straitjackets they're in and point in that direction.


boz 9:07 AM  

Capriles gave a speech yesterday in Caracas and outlined specific agenda items including freedom and amnesty for political prisoners (student protesters, Leopoldo Lopez), a verified disarmament of pro-government paramilitary groups, a truth commission to investigate the deaths that have occurred in the protests and a demilitarization of Tachira. All of those are realistic demands for the protest movement to now make of the Maduro government.

Disarming the pro-government thugs would go far to help the original demand of student protests in early February: improved security.

Greg Weeks 9:14 AM  

OK, though none of those address the core divisions between the government and opposition. Great if they ratchet down the violence now, but real dialogue requires talking about the direction the country is taking. Otherwise you are back to square one.

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