The protests continue. Off with their heads, says the Red Queen.
When Venezuela reaches the bottom, will she be able to get back up?
Daniel at Venezuela News and Views posted an excellent article on March 20th titled First day of the dictatorship, referring to March 20th as the first day. An article at My Way titled Venezuela moves swiftly against opposition lists many of the same regime perversions and begins,
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has used the military, legislative and judicial power consolidated during 15 years of socialist rule in a sudden series of blows against opponents who have spent more than a month protesting in the streets, knocking down their barricades and throwing dissident leaders in jail.
Thursday dawned with two more opposition politicians behind bars, one of them sentenced to more than 10 months in prison. And pro-government lawmakers had already started trying to jail another outspoken critic as well, moving to strip an opposition congresswoman of her legislative immunity from prosecution.
Maduro has been warning his rivals for weeks that they could soon meet the same fate as opposition hardliner Leopoldo Lopez, who was jailed on charges related to the Feb. 12 protests that initiated the wave of unrest, which has so far led to at least 28 deaths, most of them after Lopez was arrested.
Venezuela’s transition into a dictatorship has been progressive and continuous, so I would prefer to view March 20th as one more point on a spectrum, the final point of which is presently unknown. Be that as it may, it matters little whether March 20th was the first day or an intermediate point. We can, however, be reasonably sure that it was not the last point.
Daniel’s article delves into the Maduro regime’s continued repression of protesters, now increasingly against elected officials but with no reduction in actions against other protesters. I can’t in good conscience copy the entire article here and to focus on only a few of the regime’s actions would be to ignore the rest. All are important, and I encourage everyone to read the entire piece.
Here is the next to last paragraph, on which this article will focus:
And what about dialogue in all this mess? You would think that the regime would have the decency to “forget” about it since it started arresting right and left. You would be mistaken: in a dictatorship people are obliged to sit for a dialogue so they can accept the imposition made upon them. Maduro announced it so today. He said: “force the opposition to sit down to talk, to dialogue, to abandon its violent positions. We are going to have to force them in the best sense of the word”. Besides noting that Maduro has added a new meaning to “force” which he claims it’s good, we must wonder about his logical mental abilities. I mean, how do you dialogue with people that you are throwing to jail without even the appearance of a trial? [Emphasis added.]
Beyond that, how can there be a “dialogue,” when his own monologue is all that Maduro wants and intends to hear?
Israel vs. Palestinians, Venezuelan Opposition(s) vs. Maduro regime
The less aggravated conflict between Israel and the Palestinians comes to mind, along with an article at Israel Hayom titled Negotiating against ourselves. The Israeli – Palestinian negotiations have been unlike any that now seem probable between the Maduro regime and the opposition. The Obama Administration and many other world “leaders” favor the Palestinians over Israel by insisting that since the Palestinians will not make any significant concession, Israel has to make them. The “free world” (I exclude leaders of nations with Chavista-like governments, which have generally supported the Maduro regime) has shown little more than indifference and impotence to the situation in Venezuela.
Israeli factions could continue to negotiate with each other on how best to respond to untenable and increasing Palestinian demands, and perhaps diminish slightly the number they continue to oppose. Doing so only weakens Israel’s negotiating position with the Palestinians who — despite antagonisms among the Palestinian Authority (aka Fatah, which has its own substantial internecine rivalries), Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others — have persistently refused to drop any of their own demands. They simply add more. Perhaps factions within the Venezuelan opposition can negotiate with each other, but even should a strong consensus be reached around diminished demands, using that as a base for “dialogue” with the Maduro regime seems, at best, counterproductive. As noted in the article about Israel and the Palestinians,
In sum, there is nothing “final” about any framework with the Palestinians. They always “pocket” Israel’s concessions, and press for more as the price for “implementation” on their part or as the price of “buying in” other Palestinian factions. This has been the repeated pattern of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, after each of the Oslo-era accords. [Emphasis added.]
Similarly, Maduro would simply put all opposition concessions in his pocket, continue the repression and demand more concessions. And then more.
I don’t know what the Venezuelan opposition(s) should do. However, might it make sense at least to consider emulating the negotiating tactics of Fatah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad et al by presenting generally overlapping but sometimes divergent demands, varying principally in their intensity. Why not?