VENEZUELA, WAG THE DOG

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Never before I had seen Juan Guaidó in his public appearances appear in the background, as can be seen in this picture (just returned to Venezuela). Along with the tension that many faces (and hands) reflect, it is a different image from the one that has us accustomed, showing the role of main protagonist and always on the front line. Anyway, it’s just a picture, a moment, isn´ it? or not?

The analysis of nonverbal communication has much to say about this picture, but the truth is that the future of Venezuela will be decided within the country itself, on the streets and in its official institutions, and not through international pressure , which is still aimed at wearing down Nicolás Maduro’s regime, leading to a deeper isolation, is not enough. This last effect has in opposition to the allies of the regime, which try to balance the balance.

The crisis

The Venezuelan crisis has evolved over the last decade, and has evolved in a negative way. It has become a multi-faceted crisis, polyhedral since it has several faces: social, economic, political, geopolitical, institutional and humanitarian. And its scope of influence stopped being regional to become glocal.

In these last weeks a perfect storm has been formed, where a united opposition together with the strategy of international isolation and sanctions against the Nicolás Maduro regime, is what is generating that internal mobilization of the Venezuelan society and that in function of its resilience and momentum will cause the derailment of the regime with its institutions and armed forces.

The two axes

The support to Juan Guaidó: immediate reaction, the first to recognize him was Donald Trump. The Lima Group then joined, with the exception of Mexico and Uruguay (the Montevideo Mechanism), Guyana and Saint Lucia, which, advocating dialogue, did not even recognize Guaidó and did not end up asking for new elections. Then El Salvador, caused by the change of government in the country. Of slower reaction was the EU (International Contact Group), with the exception of Italy and Austria (closer to Russia) and Greece (by ideology).

The support to Nicolás Maduro: the historical block of Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua. Iran and Turkey. China and Russia. An important counterweight.

Wag the dog

The truth is that the arguments put forward by the Venezuelan regime based on the fact that they want to steal the country’s oil are, at least, weak. The United States is practically self-sufficient with its fracking and shale oil. More important is oil for China.

On the other hand, neither does the United States think of a military intervention for sure, betting in a visible way with international sanctions blocking oil assets, which is really where it hurts them. Rather they seem to distract attention from their current internal problematic.

Turkey seeks to increase its presence in Latin America and Venezuelan gold, in addition to the rejection of the United States. Like Iran.

The economic interests merge with geopolitical interests, where Russia takes advantage of its strategy of hindering and eroding the different US administrations.

Conclusions

Although Venezuela has powerful allies such as China and Russia, the fact is that regional support for Chavismo in the last ten years has been decreasing, mainly due, on the one hand, to changes in Latin American governments, leading to isolation gradual, natural and democratic, and on the other hand, to the serious economic and social crisis that plagues the country (hyperinflation, lack of medicines, shortage of food). This initial economic and social crisis has led to a humanitarian crisis (resulting in more than three million emigrations), institutional, political and geopolitical. This isolation has been boosted and strengthened in recent weeks by the international support of the US and European economies and most of the Latin American countries that, with their exceptions, have found their antagonism with other major economies such as China and Russia, Turkey and Iran, in addition to the historic Cuba-Bolivia-Nicaragua trio.

Starting from an assumption of international “balance” between forces and resorting to a physical simile, whereby two equal and opposite forces cancel each other if they are acting on the same “object”, they are the local social atmosphere created together with a united opposition, the streets, the officials, the institutions and the army will decide the future of Venezuela, more than the International Contact Group, the Lima Group or the Montevideo Mechanism, which, although necessary, are insufficient in themselves. We hope that the picture above, which includes a precise moment, is just that, a moment.

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