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Tyrants do not capitulate through dialogue. They are overthrown

'The leaders of the Venezuelan opposition are under overwhelming international pressure to negotiate with the dictatorship.'

Los Ángeles
Juan Guaidó and his wife, Fabiana Rosales, in the National Assembly of Venezuela.
Juan Guaidó and his wife, Fabiana Rosales, in the National Assembly of Venezuela. REUTERS

The word "tyrant", from the Greek tyrannos, arose in ancient Greece some 2,800 years ago, applied to despots who usurped power by force. The first ruler thus dubbed was Giges, from Lydia (where the coin was minted for the first time), in the 7th century BC. 

Also before our era, in the Republic of Rome, there arose the word dictator: a strongman who, by order of the Senate, assumed all powers for six months. In the 19th century it was used again, but with the same meaning as in the case of Greek tyrants: for usurpers of power.

From antiquity down to today the bloodiest tyrannies and dictatorships, responsible for genocide, torture, and drug trafficking; and thieves sacking the Public Treasury, have never yielded power. Rather, it had to be wrested from them. Tyrants are deposed, executed, imprisoned, or die of old age in power.

There was never any real dialogue with Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin Dada, Franco, Slobodan Milosevic or Muammar Gaddafi - some of the bloodiest tyrants in recent history. Nor was there with Machado, Batista, Somoza, Trujillo or Stroessner. With the exception of Stalin, Mao and Franco, who died in power because no one removed them from it, the other despots mentioned were forcibly removed, and two of them were publicly executed by their own people: Mussolini and Gaddafi.

No Cuban has ever believed that Fidel Castro might give up his pharaonic throne due to negotiations with his adversaries, or that his brother Raul would either. If Pinochet did so, it was because he thought he would win a plebiscite.

After communications between dissidents and the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro in Barbados, the Government of Norway, official mediator, announced that it has established "a commission that will work continuously and expeditiously, in order to reach a solution, agreed to and within the framework of the Constitution. " A few days later they met again.

The fact is that the leaders of the Venezuelan opposition are under overwhelming international pressure to negotiate with the dictatorship. Juan Guaidó and his colleagues know that it is pointless, but that if they did not agree to sit down at the table they would be tarred as reluctant to engage in peaceful, civilized negotiations.  

It is not a dictatorship, but organized crime

Even before the dissemination of Michelle Bachelet 's report on the crimes in Venezuela, the dictatorship tried to exploit dialogue to give the impression that it was being unfairly judged, and that it was willing to negotiate. The devastating UN report, however, exposed the wolf in sheep's clothing

The document confirmed that in Cubazuela there is no conventional dictatorial regime, but rather an organized mafia organization. General Marcos Pérez Jiménez, the Venezuelan dictator before the democratic period that lasted 30 years, until the arrival of Hugo Chávez in 1998, was a teddy bear compared to Maduro, and he did not leave Miraflores as a result of a dialogue, but rather was overthrown in a coup d'état led by Navy chief Rear Admiral Wolfgang Larrazabal.

There are some moderate dissidents who do believe in the possibility of a negotiated settlement, but for believers and nonbelievers at the talks hosted by Norway, upon the initiative of Raul Castro, the problem is the same. A true solution to the crisis cannot emerged from them, but rather something like "the lesser evil".  

The dictatorship still stands, despite the sanctions, for two reasons: 1) control from Havana; and 2) because the chavistas went so far in their criminal dealings that they must cling to power so as not to end up in jail, or at The Hague, where Serbian ex-dictator Slobodan Milosevic, the "Butcher of the Balkans", died in prison.

The drift towards a failed state captained by outlaws was promoted by the Castros, not only to benefit from drug trafficking (one of the ringleaders is, apparently, Raúl Castro's former son-in-law Cuban general López-Callejas), but also because the more crimes and robberies the State committed in Venezuela, the safer subsidies and oil for Cuba would be, as the clan in Caracas would be forced to defend its power tooth and nail, on pain of going to prison.

Amnesty and continuity of the "Bolivarian revolution"

This is why, in the event the dictatorial leadership accepted surrendering the Government - not "revolutionary" power - it would only do so with an amnesty for them, a clean slate, tabula rasa, the chavista army being charged with the continuity of the "Bolivarian Revolution".

Leaving the army in power was what Daniel Ortega did in Nicaragua in 1990, when, despite Fidel Castro's insistent advice of not to hold elections, he did so because the polls indicated that he would win. Of course, Violeta Barrios prevailed, because the people lied in the polls, out of fear. There are witnesses in Cuba of Castro I's counselling Ortega not to hold elections, as the Cuban leader knew that he would lose.  Surely, Raúl Castro is advising Maduro the same way today: "No real elections, Nicolás. Just a bogus simulation. Remember Milosevic."

Two years before Pinochet also had great faith in the polls, and he lost a plebiscite. He expected to win, but received just 43% of the votes, and actually handed over power - something that Fidel Castro and Castro II would never have done. Pinochet ended up under house arrest, passing away with this status.  Former Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla was sentenced to life and died in jail.

Maduro and his henchmen are not only unwilling to give up power, but unable, because they are stained from head to toe by crimes against humanity that do not prescribe and that are punished internationally.

The real solution is through the use of force

In short, the only way to restore democracy in Venezuela is through the use of force, either via foreign intervention or a military uprising. But the latter is very difficult as long as Cuba controls the Armed Forces and intelligence, counterintelligence and repressive forces, and those seeing to Maduro's personal safety.

The only effective option, then, is the creation of a coalition of international forces, led by the US. This is was what happened in the Dominican Republic, when in 1965, to avoid the "Cubanization" of that country, troops from the US and Brazil, Honduras, Paraguay, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Costa Rican police, invaded that country.

But any military intervention should be ruled out, at least until November 2020. Trump would lose the election if he got involved in a war in which Americans died. Maduro is hopeful that, with the help of Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran, the US elections will dislodge Trump from power, and economic sanctions will be ended or eased.

With an international intervention or an internal military uprising unlikely, and in view of the talks backed by Norway, two future scenarios emerge: 1) Maduro promises to hand over the presidency in exchange for amnesty, leaving the chavista army intact and convening some "clean" elections, imposing a chavista leading; 2) The regime accepts victory by a "moderate" opponent, but one that is subordinated to the Armed Forces; that is, to Havana, and with amnesty.

Is there a "secret" scenario that even includes Maduro agreeing to surrender power, ending the "Bolivarian revolution", and accepting punishment for those responsible for crimes against humanity, including himself?

If there is not, just where do the talks lead? Does the international community want the opposition alone to give in, which represents the 26 million Venezuelans who have not yet left the country?

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