What a disaster the recent UNASUR visit to Venezuela has become.
If you don’t know, UNASUR is the main international body for South American nations. A brainchild of Hugo Chávez and his allies, the body has struggled to gain international recognition. When they announced they were traveling to Venezuela to help foster dialogue, few in the country were optimistic.
The visit was one hot mess from beginning to end.
First off, the Colombian Foreign Minister – desperate to avoid angering the Venezuelan government, lest they derail a peace deal with the FARC that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has wagered his legacy on – said that they would forego any attempt to “destabilize” Venezuela.
Because, y’know, nothing says “stability” than leaving things as they are: Ledezma and Leopoldo in jail, Maduro in Miraflores, and the people standing in line outside supermarkets. Oh, the sweet taste of “stability.”
Well, Ms. Holguín should know that in the opposition the number one goal is exactly to destabilize. The current situation is intolerable, and so is stability.
Then came Ernesto Samper a former Colombian President who was once denied a visa to the United States for his links to that country’s drug dealers. Mr. Samper said that some in the Venezuelan opposition wanted to overthrow the government, and … that in Venezuela there is a complete separation of powers.
Oh, and in the process, he let it slip that Parliamentary Elections in Venezuela would be held in September, something our CNE has yet to confirm or deny, or even clarify.
The UNASUR ministers then met with a portion of the opposition including Henrique Capriles. They reiterated the common position that there can be no dialogue without the prior release of political prisoners. MUD head honcho Chúo Torrealba was incensed at Unasur, tweeting sharp criticism at the group.
I’ve long argued that Venezuela needs foreign diplomatic intervention if it is to find a way out of this mess. Sadly, after UNASUR’s heavily political, partial visit – which Telesur labeled a visit “to investigate a coup plot against Venezuela” – the LAST thing Venezuelans want is for more foreigners to come into the country looking to strengthen the government.
UNASUR blew its credibility with this visit, and that is regrettable.