How much “save Castro!” is part of the agenda about Venezuela?
I have written on and off about how vital Venezuela has become for the survival of the Castro brothers, and maybe their system. In the latest mention of this I was listing LatAm countries whose leaders cannot bear the fall of the Cuban regime as it would be a blow of their raison d’être. I need to come back on this with more emphasis after the words of Brazil’s ex president Lula calling upon Maduro to create a “coalition” government to bring Venezuela out of its current crisis (in English here).
Let’s start with the apparent sensible aspect of these words. In a normal country majorities are negotiated. Lula himself never had an absolute majority and has had parliament associates that he must take into account for setting the priorities of his administration. For all of Lula defaults, and he has many, he ruled as an apparent democrat. Or was at the very least forced to do so and play the game according to the rules. Even in countries where electoral systems favor a dual party system, coalitions do exist. The US is a big example when you consider that neither the GOP or the DEM are monolithic parties, but a coalition of interests agreeing on some basic points.
Thus Lula advice could seem sensible considering the deep crisis that Venezuela suffers. Unfortunately for him the PSUV, the regime’s official party was created with the firm intention to fuse together all the original parties that supported Chavez. That it failed to do so has not modified the Leninist bent of the PSUV and for them it is simply impossible to conceive a coalition. Their everyday practice, from town-halls to Miraflores Palace restate everyday that commitment to establish in Venezuela a one party system. For chavismo negotiations are at best punctual, within a strategy of gaining time while the final blow is readied. See the examples of 2002, 2003, 2004.
Also, Lula cannot fail to know that given the current situation of Venezuela, the opposition is unable and unwilling to enter into such a coalition whose sole purpose would be to spread to them the blame of 15 years of mismanagement. Even the soft belly of the opposition would agree upon such as scheme if the regime were to part with substantial amounts of of its power. The Venezuelan opposition is a democrat one and thus expect what democrats expect everywhere: in a political deal all sides get something.
So, was Lula daydreaming when he offered such as DoA proposal?
There are two options here, and they are not mutually exclusive.
Lula in fact sent a message to Maduro telling him that inside the frame of MERCOSUR his economic plans were nonviable and would lead to disaster, not only for Venezuela. So, either Maduro changes his policies or else. And if he does not know how to change them he should do a “coalition” government which may just mean the inclusion of some technocrats that would be allowed to work without major political pressure. Here, what matters the most, is that Venezuela finds a way to pay its debt towards Brazil. Since 2002 we know that Lula has cared shit about Human Rights in Venezuela and the rule of law.
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