Military intervention or strong dissuasion

By Luis Manuel Aguana

The message of the Secretary General of the OAS was very clear: “I said very clearly that we must always exhaust the path of diplomatic actions and that we must leave all options open, that no option should be discarded. From there, some manichaeist interpretations sought to change the axis of the discussion. The development was that we spoke of a military attack of violence, that we were in favor of armed aggression. That is not true…” (see in Spanish Mensaje de Luis Almagro sobre visita a Zona de Frontera Colombia-Venezuela, en https://twitter.com/Almagro_OEA2015/status/1041421553513058304). However, Almagro’s statements in Colombia were interpreted as meaning that the OAS Secretary General was in favor of a military attack, and the Foreign Ministers of the Lima Group immediately jumped out, rejecting a military intervention in Venezuela (see in Spanish El Grupo de Lima rechaza cualquier intervención militar en Venezuela

But what caught my attention the most was the strong reaction of all public opinion against the Declaration of the Lima Group, which certainly reflects the course of the prevailing public opinion in relation to the way in which the Venezuelan crisis should be resolved. And this merits a little closer examination, given that the need to explore the expression “all options” is taking on more and more body, given that the Foreign Ministers of the Lima Group have already expressed the position of their countries in relation to not intervening militarily in Venezuela.

And “all options” do not necessarily imply only the military option, although that option can also be studied by those countries. The people in Venezuela are very, very desperate. Without being able to buy a minimum of food because of a scandalous hyperinflation, without medicines, without medical attention, without water, without electricity, without basic public services because everyone has collapsed, any human being living in Venezuela that cannot sustain it, or leaves or dies. That’s how simple things are. And more and more people are unable to sustain it. Hence the mass exodus to neighboring countries.

And how does that stop? Going to the causes: overthrowing Maduro’s communist dictatorship. But is it that simple? Do we just bring in the multinational military from the outside? Even if the current of opinion points to a military intervention for humanitarian purposes, the result of that decision may be even worse. And perhaps that is not being visualized here because of the desperation we have in Venezuela.

We have already indicated many times that we are in a hostage situation. And the criminals have planted the site with explosives. If someone walks through the door they make them explode, they die and we die and of course those who get in. They prefer to do so because they are fanatics and want to prove an ideological point difficult to understand by those of us who did not understand that this was part of a plan that has been in execution for years.

The regime permanently trains armed paramilitary militiamen throughout the country, not precisely to attack anyone who invades us, but the Venezuelans themselves who oppose them. It is possible that they will be criminally activated against the same unarmed opposition population – whom they have already identified – when a violent confrontation begins. We are not talking about rational people but about ideologized fanatical Taliban. So, before taking a step that begins an armed confrontation, which would be a bloodbath impossible to quantify, I think the most responsible thing would be to continue exploring options, even if time is already exhausted or about to run out. There is always time to avoid violence.

As if it were not enough to deal with the armed paramilitary groups, and the threat that this represents for the civilian population, we still have to resolve the possible period of instability and subsequent anarchy in the country if there is no serious plan to return to institutionality. An uncontrolled fall of the regime that does not imply the participation of popular sovereignty, that endorses the actions of those who have insurrected to dismantle the criminals from power will be highly unstable, simply because many other groups will conspire to claim protagonism and privileges.

This type of groups generally ask themselves: Why them and not us? And that only ceases when the people decides who should govern. That’s why it’s essential to move public opinion to convince it that it’s sovereignty that decides on a consciously elaborated plan to be executed in order to fill the power vacuum before the regime falls. But for many power-hungry people that is not convenient. They prefer it to fall like a piñata: the one with the most strength, the one that picks up more candy from the ground, even if that is not convenient for Venezuelans.

More than a year ago I had stated that I was not against an intervention (see in Spanish Intervenciones humanitarias, en http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2017/08/intervenciones-humanitarias.html) if the “owner of the house” decides to call international 911 because the dictatorship is denying him the right to receive humanitarian aid. As Luis Almagro says, there is a responsibility to protect. And the “owner of the house” here is the people of Venezuela.

If the constitutional representation of that people is designated without further delay, the terms of that assistance can be defined immediately between our constitutional representation, that is, a National Emergency Government appointed for that purpose, and the international community.

If the latter, after an in-depth but extremely urgent assessment of the situation, decides that an intervention is required based on the principle pointed out by the late UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, according to which “The government of no country has the right to hide behind national sovereignty in order to violate human rights or the fundamental freedoms of the inhabitants of that country”, then the international community would not be acting unilaterally, but at the request of a legitimate Emergency Government, which will respond for what happens next.

But if, on the other hand, a group of countries decides to intervene on their own in Venezuela because they can no longer wait because of the damage caused by the Venezuelan situation in the region, the vultures that capture the decomposed smell of the remains of the Maduro regime will be competing to manage the country, with the consequent and certain future instability.

Which one do you prefer?

Now, if the legitimate TSJ and the National Assembly decide (as the National Assembly has apparently already decided) that they will not fill the power vacuum left by Nicolás Maduro Moros’s condemning sentence, the vacuum will be filled in the same way, by the imposition of the facts and without the control of anyone designated by the Venezuelan people or by their legitimate powers. A military-humanitarian intervention promoted by some international coalition will appear out of nowhere, with its corresponding Junta of Government that will decide the destiny of the Venezuelans, with the consequent risk of repeating the tale of the frogs asking for a King (see in Spanish Fabulas de Esopo http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2012/03/fabulas-de-esopo.html). The remedy can be worse than the disease. It happened to us once with Hugo Chávez…

But if there is an Emergency Government, it could perfectly decide that before calling international 911, we would “dissuade” the criminals who govern the country from submitting the fate of the nation to popular sovereignty, with all the relevant international guarantees, on pain of taking the last decision that represents a violent solution that would not be won by the regime or by chance. The people would be given a chance to pronounce on their present and future, in particular on how the transition process would be carried out, and the “owner of the house” would decide with the support of the entire international community to dismantle the system that has ruined us, as well as the regime’s discourse of an “imperialist invasion”.

Would the kidnappers who hold us hostage be willing to negotiate their way out with no dead to count through that mechanism? Because in an intervention there will be deaths from all sides, but if there is one thing I am sure it is that they would be the first ones. Will they really be willing to detonate the explosives, blowing us all up with them inside without first negotiating a way out? I think that the Lima Group and the Secretary General of the OAS could agree on this dissuasive version of the intervention.

According to the former Ambassador to the United Nations, Diego Arria, “the dissuasive capacity of a power, such as the United States, has not yet been used to the extent that it is possible and that it is more efficient… I believe that the best intervention for Venezuela is that of dissuasion… I repeat to you: the moment is one of strong dissuasion. The mafia used it: “I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse” (see in Spanish Diego Arria: “Ni China ni Rusia intervendrán por Venezuela”

https://es.panampost.com/orlando-avendano/2018/09/07/diego-arria-ni-china-ni-rusia-intervendran-por-venezuela/). It would be interesting to start working on “what would be the offer they could not refuse” that we would propose to them, but I am sure we would find one for the sake of rescuing our freedom and with the least possible cost in lives….

Caracas, September 18, 2018

Twitter:@laguana

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