In short, I believe in dialogue when there is the knowledge that both sides have something to lose or win, and when there is a dutiful respect on the symbols attached to such difficult endeavor. Visibly the first criteria is not met here, and the second criteria, on symbolism, was f....d up from the start as I reported Sunday night. Thus let's see what the first 48 hours have brought.
First, the division of the opposition that existed all along became quite obvious. Clearly the fear of the regime was a thin glue that is meting fast as the regime pretends to dole out some goodies to those behaving nice (I am looking at you, UNT, who had the chutzpah to send totally discredited Timoteo Zambrano to the dialogue table!). Certainly Maduro wasted no time in exploiting the opening and tonight went on attacking and demanding jail against the remaining leadership of Voluntad Polar. For good measure he also called Capriles a drug addict. I suppose it takes one to know one, but I digress. I have put the infamous video of Maduro tonight at the end of this entry if someone has the stomach for it. We must note that Chuo Torrealba came strongly to defend the opposition union and Voluntad Popular, but I am waiting for UNT to do the same.
More worrisome is the reaction of the opposition followers where we find a HUUGGEE chunk so outraged by sitting down for a dialogue, any dialogue that it has sent into frenzy the keyboard warriors insulting Capriles, Torrealba et all in ways that remind me of chavista bots. But again I digress. The point is that the clumsy management of the dialogue, to qualify it generously as clumsy, is exacting quite a toll inside the opposition ranks. Note: a lot of those twitter/key board warriors are not going to lead open shirted, chest upfront, the march on Miraflores. But again, I digress, apologies.
Even though that negative mood was detectable already Monday the opposition today in the National Assembly called away two of its top anti regime agenda points: the trial against Maduro and the said march on Miraflores. There are merits for that: after all why would you march to overthrow a regime if you are sitting down talking to them? But maybe you could have prepared public opinion as early as yesterday. No?
So the regime can score so far the following: no recall election this year; the apparent blow out of the opposition; no trial for Maduro; no march on Miraflores; great photo ops for Maduro; a hapless if not outwardly complicit Vatican, US et al. Note that Thomas Shannon from State made a surprise visit today, as usual with no comments, and probably as usual with a bad outcome in the following days. When Shannon deals with Venezuela I start shivering in fear even if it is not Halloween. True, technically all the opposition initiatives are on the freeze until November 12 when it could all start again. But does anyone think that the unity of purpose will be recovered by then? Not me.
Since this is a dialogue surely the regime made a concession somewhere. A few political prisoners were released. 5 I think, it is not clear. And not the most notorious ones, And a few dozens were incarcerated in the preceding days anyway. So, Castro style, any release is always compensated for a new jailing, a constant prison population being a healthy tool to impress the populace. Note two interesting details: no Voluntad Popular prisoner released, while all the releases were done without judicial action proving that those unfortunate souls were mere hostages to the regime, jailed because I said so, released because I got bored with them (and quite frankly in the XXI century I cannot get away as easily with murder as any dictator could in the past century).
So far so bad. Unless, my wild hope, it is all because the opposition inner sanctum knows something we do not know, something that it cannot say. Maybe Maduro is about to resign? Maybe his military are going to depose him? Maybe the inner sanctum was told to wait a couple of weeks more and all would be fine and dandy? Maybe they were told that as soon as the US election is settled Obama will send a gazillion marines, the exact number depending on the number of votes Hillary gets?
This late in the game outside UNT I do not think that any opposition leader could have been bought. There are in for the fight even though differences exist. So clearly there must be a reason, a positive reason why reasonable folks like Ramos Allup, Borges, Torrealba have swallowed hard in the past two days to sit down and call a two weeks truce. Heck, one can even hope that the "division" with Voluntad is a show to distract chavismo.
But I doubt it. I hope to be proven wrong. Give me some sign MUD!
Discurso de odio. En plena accion. Deshumanizando al "enemigo"...vieja receta cubana. Lo grave es q rompe reglas acordadas entre las partes pic.twitter.com/koBB4JZrfR— Rocío San Miguel (@rociosanmiguel) 2 de noviembre de 2016