As long as Cuba remains involved in peace talks, Venezuela will never return to democracy

Juan Antonio Blanco in Diario de Cuba:

Caracas, Between Oslo and Havana

Over the last few days we have heard voices praising, and condemning, what many call the “Oslo talks”. This always happens. There are always those with good intentions who believe that, “people come to understand each other by talking”. False.

Conversation, dialogue and negotiations are three different stages and exercises in conflict resolution and management processes. They are not equivalent terms. When parties to a conflict decide to sit down and talk, this may be for two reasons. One of them is when they have reached the conclusion that they should explore the possibility of moving towards an agreement because not trying is very risky or costly in terms of their public image.

The other circumstance is that they decide to talk in a calculated attempt to project a constructive image, to stall, to explore the divisions and weaknesses of their adversary and, finally, backstab those who came, in good faith, and ended up wasting their time.  This is what the capos of Cubazuela have been doing to the opposition, for years, with many corpses left along the way.

President Guaidó has stated that his representatives are going to Oslo to talk, specifically and indirectly (through the Norwegians) about a single issue: Maduro’s removal, in the fastest and least violent manner possible. And this is as it should be. But every extension of these risky conversations only favours the confusion sowed throughout the world by Cuba’s apparatus of disinformation. If the opposition wished to show its flexibility towards the representatives of an authoritarian, criminal, drug-dealing regime, they already have.

This time other voices have also appeared that insist on involving Havana as part of any negotiations aimed at guaranteeing a non-violent transition to democracy in Venezuela. Some believe that if Cuba is part of the problem, it could also become part of the solution. But, unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Cuba is the problem, not a potential partner for a solution

There are three key reasons that render Cuba’s sincere cooperation in this matter impossible.

One: The logic of Al Capone was not that of a diplomat, nor is Raúl Castro’s logic that of a democratic statesman. For him, Venezuela is a colony where he established an extractive economy and an extraterritorial logistic platform for his clandestine and criminal operations. From the perspective of Havana, Venezuela is the outer perimeter of its defence system.

Venezuela is not an independent, sovereign, peaceful state, where the rule of law reigns. No. The power elites of the two countries fused into a transnational criminal enterprise (Cubazuela), abandoned any commitment to the ideological dynamics of the Cold War and created a vast network of alliances with other criminal and terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah, controlled by Iran, as well as Colombia’s FARC and the ELN . Their real business now is the production and export of drugs, illegal gold extraction and trade, trafficking in arms and people, and money laundering.

Voluntarily negotiate the relinquishment of all that? Raúl Castro still believes that he has a better alternative to a negotiated agreement: ordering Maduro to hang in there.

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