Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Boston Group Tries Dialogue in Venezuela

I am quoted in this article by Josh Goodman at the Associated Press on the under-the-radar efforts by the Boston Group to facilitate mediation in Venezuela (for background see this post from June). This time they are bringing in a professional mediator from Harvard (who once negotiated his own release from Recompa guerrillas!). Caleb McCarry, an aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is leading the effort.

Some thoughts:

--this is good news. There is a good chance nothing will happen but it establishes some precedent and there is at least some chance of progress. At this point, there is no progress at all, with all sides hunkered down while Venezuelans suffer.

--will the Trump administration sign on? We need that to give it more weight. Trump is always unpredictable but he has a drum beat of punitive measures from all around him. Marco Rubio will be all over this and I expect a critical tweet at any moment.

--If Trump signs on, this means the U.S. is actually playing a constructive role in Latin America for the first time in his administration. Low bar but still, that's also good news.

--But what happens when Bob Corker is out of the senate in just a few months? McCarry has a long history as a conservative political advisor on Latin America (check out his LinkedIn page) but someone else will be taking over as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


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