Lots of Venezuelans have been trying to get rid of a damaging regime since at least 1999. Time after time efforts failed. Lots of opportunities were lost because the democratic forces let corrupt or undemocratic people take the lead or because there was no union or planning. Sometimes we were let down by countries we helped in the past. The longest oil price boom we saw in the last few decades enabled Chavismo to consolidate power until division of powers was completely over and the judiciary and electoral authorities became complete tools of the regime.
Now people are desperate but they are also tired. Probably up to two million Venezuelans have emigrated in the last decade...many were among the best qualified the country has. And yet we cannot stop. We need to make sure Venezuela does not turn into another Cuba, Somalia or worse.
It won't be easy. It won't be easy because even among those who have always realise what an aberration the Chavista ideas were, even those who saw the criminal or psychotic record of Chavista leaders and the psychological games played do not often recognise some key socioeconomic realities...things like the fact Venezuela was never really wealthy, not in a sustainable way. Most Venezuelans do not have an inkling of what political debates actually are...the closest they have seen are US debates, which are a particular thing.
Let's start. And let's see how some of those ideas can go into the Spanish Venezuelan sphere.
Chavista honchos have a lot to lose. They will do anything even if that involves all kinds of criminal acts in order to remain in power. A lot of people have discussed about the need to pardon these criminals like democratic forces did in South Africa or Chile. The thing is whether we are dealing with people that reason like the autocrats of South Africa and Chile or those of Zimbabwe and Cuba.
We also keep hearing about Chavista criminals who call US intelligence agencies and cut a deal in order to run away before total collapse, confess in the US and leave a life of obscure safety and no more tension. We have seen already dozens of these characters. Leaving the main criminals alone hasn't done so much much to change the game.
I won't go into the "what to do with the criminals" just yet. I am not sure, I have to own up. I do think we need to talk about what we must do now to get them out of power whether there is some "amnesty for criminals" or a stronger stance towards them.
Rodrigo Linares is one of those Venezuelan bloggers who try to be constructive and discuss peaceful resistance. He analysis in his last post the exaggerated optimism of a specific Venezuelan commentator and he briefly mentions at the end we need to target 2018's elections from now on. I do hope he goes into more detail about that...from now on and we are able to get the debate going in our language, Spanish.
Chavista honchos think ahead and have a plan B, C, D up to Z. The Venezuelan opposition leaders have been mostly thinking very short term or, in any case, in a not very clever way.
I believe we need to openly discuss - and explain to the whole world - how Chavistas will block anything, how exactly they will do. We need to be creative and think what Chavistas will produce...and then openly - just as openly as possible - say how those actions can be averted no matter what.
I will go into that in a post this week.