Viewpoints on Energy, Geopolitics, and Civilization
James Stavridis / Bloomberg: Venezuela's
Endgame Is Closer Than Maduro Thinks
Hour of truth?
The regime wants direct talks with the U.S. Washington should reject the offer.
“Crunch time” sounds a lot better in Spanish. The expression is “la hora de la verdad”; literally, the “hour of truth.”
As Venezuela spirals deeper into chaos and starvation — especially the countryside beyond the capital, Caracas — that hour of truth is near. The challenge for the U.S. and the rest of the hemisphere is to help bring an end to the corrupt, incompetent regime of President Nicolas Maduro without further bloodshed or economic collapse.
Things have been rocky for the democratic opposition leader, Juan Guaido, since he declared himself president a year ago. Although he received the backing of more than 50 nations, his stock took a hit in April when a U.S.-backed negotiation to unseat Maduro failed.
But more recently, and contrary to conventional wisdom , he is having a resurgence. Guaido beat back a ham-handed attempt by the government to throw him out of his legitimate leadership role in the National Assembly, the last organ of government not under the regime's control. (Maduro, with assistance from Cuba and Russia, still reigns over the security services, the armed forces and the intelligence networks.)
This week, Guaido went on an international roadshow to press his case, defying a travel ban levied by the Maduro government and putting himself at great personal risk. The first stop was in neighboring Colombia to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and foreign ministers from the region. Then he flew to Europe, meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, appearing before the European Parliament in Brussels, and then heading to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His goal was to lay out a case for more international pressure on Maduro.
So far, EU countries have taken some steps, such as sanctioning individuals close to Maduro, but have shied away from the types of broader economic measures taken by the U.S. In particular, Guaido asked the Europeans to stop purchasing “blood gold”; with heavy sanctions on the oil industry costing the government billions in revenue last year, gold exports have become Maduro's lifeline. It's clear that the regime is increasingly worried. While Guaido was making his case abroad, agents from the Venezuelan intelligence service reportedly raided his offices.
Maduro, meanwhile, has indicated a willingness to undertake direct negotiations with the U.S. This is something Pompeo should avoid. The confrontation needs to be taken out of Venezuela-versus-the-U.S. mode and viewed comprehensively, as a disagreement between Venezuela and the rest of the region over legitimate democratic norms.
International enthusiasm for Maduro is fading, with some nations that have supported him — notably China and India — not appearing as enthusiastic of late. The countries of the Organization of American States, with a few exceptions, oppose Maduro and are calling for negotiations over a free and fair election by a date certain. A round of such talks, held in Norway under European auspices, collapsed — but the idea needs to be revived.
Any resolution needs to involve getting both sides to the bargaining table and agreeing on a timetable for elections under the supervision of legitimate international observers. The OAS is crucial to achieving this. It could appoint a figure to manage the crisis, much as the United Nations Secretary General often appoints a special representative to hot spots around the world.
The humanitarian crisis must also be addressed immediately. While the U.S. may be expected to carry the heaviest burden, the process should be managed by either the UN or the OAS. All aid should be delivered under the auspices of international teams and go directly to the Venezuelan people, not to corrupt government agencies. The UN has a great deal of experience in settings like this, notably in Haiti, and is up to the job if supported by regional nations such as Colombia, Brazil and Chile. Unfortunately, the Maduro regime has repeatedly refused to permit a humanitarian mission.
All negotiations should be held in a neutral country, probably best in Europe, and sponsored by the European Union. (The talks that failed in Norway occurred without sufficient pressure from the outside world.) This is where the U.S. can be most effective: arranging additional international sanctions to get Maduro's side to the table. As a further inducement, Latin American neighbors could offer financing and expertise to get the stalled Venezuelan oil industry back toward functionality.
This is not the time for the 82nd Airborne Division to parachute in to the rescue. Having once commanded the U.S. Southern Command – charged with all military activity south of the Mexico border — I know that the old sentiment, “Yanqui go home,” remains central to the political zeitgeist of Latin America and the Caribbean. But it is “la hora de la verdad” for a unified regional approach, a push for humanitarian relief, and a carefully graduated ladder of economic punishments and inducements.
We invite you to join us as a sponsor.
Circulated Videos, Articles, Opinions and Reports which carry your name and brand are used to target Entrepreneurs through our site, promoting your organization’s services. The opportunity is to insert in our stories pages short attention-grabbing videos, or to publish your own feature stories.
James Stavridis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is also an operating executive consultant at the Carlyle Group and chairs the board of counselors at McLarty Associates. ”Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published by Bloomberg, on Jan. 24, 2020. All comments posted and published on Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of Petroleumworld.
Use Notice: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues of environmental and humanitarian significance.
We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
PW 300.000 plus request per week
Hit your target - Advertise with us
All works published by Petroleumworld are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.Petroleumworld has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Petroleumworld endorsed or sponsored by the originator.
Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated. Petroleumworld Copyright© 1999-2018 Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.
We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ stories by anyone provided it mentions Petroleumworld.com as the source. Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors.
Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated.
Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments, share your thoughts on this article, your feedback is important to us!
Petroleumworld News 01 27 2020
We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.
Send this story to a friend Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
By using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.
Any question or suggestions,
please write to: email@example.com
Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8 +/ 800x600 pixels