When Model UN finally comes in handy

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Just so we’re clear, I’m now working for the International Relations Dept. of Comando Simón Bolívar. I’m a grunt, not a spokesperson, but still, I’m pretty proud of it. Here’s why:

Colombia Venezuela Capriles.JPEG-07c12

Venezuela’s oppostion, after a 14-year long international relations coma, has more to show for its past three weeks of foreign activism than Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro who, in case you forgot, spent 6 years as Foreign Affairs Minister and now has the whole Cancillería at his disposal.

How ironic.

Perhaps Maduro’s comments yesterday, right after claiming the Colombian Government was plotting against him, might shed some light on his frustration: “I know what diplomacy is in this world, because I’ve practiced it and because Comandante Chávez taught me.”

Sigh…. Dios mío dame paciencia. 

First of all, Nicolás, your stint at the Venice Film Festival does not count as diplomacy.

Second, Chávez was never exactly much of a diplomat.

Ever since the April 14th elections, Capriles has made no secret of his intentions to take his cause beyond the institutionally-crippled Venezuelan borders. It was to be expected that national bodies such as the CNE and the TSJ would shamelessly stonewall the MUD’s recount petitions and legal challenges. “We must exhaust all domestic resources before we take our cause to the International Community,” Capriles stated.

Up to now, “taking our cause to the international community” has been the Venezuelan political equivalent to filing a police report when your bike gets stolen: everyone knows it’s a lost cause, but you go through the motions almost as a matter of ritual.

But taking your legal woes to international courts, while cool and all, does not a foreign-relations agenda make. Foreign affairs means working it: lobbying governments and negotiating alliances in sophisticated but pragmatic ways, in order to build up support and exert gradual, subtle pressure towards achieving your goals. It means building your own little parallel cancillería – and that’s something the opposition hadn’t really tackled, well … ever.

Anyone who’s been to a Venezuelan consulate abroad knows that the propaganda machine behind “exporting the revolution” is formidable. A simple flexing of the PDVSA muscle was reason enough for any mildly concerned foreign government to think twice before siding with the opposition.

Learned helplessness, along with being too busy just surviving domestically, were reasons enough for the Venezuelan opposition to put its international effort on the backburner. And it took a bunch of opposition legislators getting the &%$ kicked out of them – literally – for a proper international movement to be born.

Following Diosdado Cabello’s ban on opposition legislators’ right to speak on the floor of the assembly, and the ensuing National Assembly brawl, opposition MPs embarked on an international tour aimed at garnering solidarity from fellow parliamentarians.

To date, 17 delegations of MUD representatives have met with legislative colleagues throughout the continent and in Europe, shedding light on the abuses of power that took place following 14-A, openly confronting Maduro’s regime, and owning their place as a proper and empowered opposition.

Given that Executive Branch officials (Foreign Relations Ministries, for example) in other countries will rarely agree to meet with Venezuelan opposition reps, fearing needless reprisals or diplomatics gaffes, this whole Parliamentary Diplomacy initiative is as novel as it is smart. In countries where Separation of Powers is a fact and not a mere formality (basically every nation in South America except for Venezuela), Legislative Branches have no problem welcoming delegations of fellow parliamentarians and holding meetings that don’t represent an affront to their respective countries’ foreign policy.

In addition, the legitimacy that comes with being an elected representative of the people is a de facto passport into any bilateral parliamentary meeting, opens doors to invitations and conferences with other important figures in foreign countries, and, perhaps most importantly, media buzz.

So for the past three weeks, Venezuelan opposition MPs have been busy traveling the hemisphere, drawing unprecedented attention to their cause.

And then…well, then Capriles went to Colombia and met with the President. And he’ll be going to Brazil, Peru, Chile, Mexico, and so on and so forth.

Now, I understand why some might might view foreign relations as a pointless, idealistic endeavor that does little to imperil the regime, because nations respond to economic incentives and diplomacy is just hot air and photo-ops.

But let’s recap the Venezuelan Government’s response to all this futile traveling:  Maduro’s reaction to Capriles’ meeting with Santos was ridiculous, improvised, and callow. Way to show them who’s boss, Nico.

And, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a 12-member-strong swat team delegation of PSUV diputados was deployed to shadow the MUD´s every step, calling itself the “International offensive for the defense of Nicolás Maduro´s legitimate Government.”

I think this last sentence bears repeating. The PSUV Venezuelan Government deems it necessary to spend precious dollars to “defend the legitimacy of President Nicolás Maduro.” And in order to do so, they are sending an official delegation (financed, mind you, by the National Assembly) to every country the MUD travels to.

The opposition has taken to politicking abroad because it’s become nearly impossible to operate domestically, and they’re finally being proactive in whatever sphere they can find. But I never thought I’d see the day when the Government started acting like an opposition…to the Venezuelan opposition.

What was that line again, Maduro, about having learned all you know from Chávez?

1 COMMENT

  1. Emiliana, I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I applaud your decision to join he International Relations bureau of CSB. I am not a diplomat or an expert on international relations, but I would like to help in any way I can. I am pretty good with statistics and mathematical modeling, if there is a need for surveys, analysis or the like. The University of Michigan has some experts in Venezuela and its Political Science department is pretty good. You can contact me at morac@umich.edu

  2. “But let’s recap the Venezuelan Government’s response to all this futile traveling: Maduro’s reaction to Capriles’ meeting with Santos was ridiculous, improvised and callow. Way to show them who’s boss, Nico. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a 12-member-strong swat team delegation of PSUV diputados is deployed to shadow the MUD´s every step, calling itself the “International offensive for the defense of Nicolás Maduro´s legitimate Government.”

    That´s the most important thing, if Maduro was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the world really looks at him as the legitimate president of Venezuela and not the village fool they can hustle for money, he wouldn´t had created an “International offensive for the defense of Nicolás Maduro´s legitimate Government” to hound the MUD everywere they went. This shows he is above all else, nervous, really nervous.

  3. That’s all great. Still, I hope they finally build a shadow cabinet IN Venezuela, just like the Brits do or the Germans. I have said that to the PJ previously: they need to have several people specializing in topics such as economy, education, environment (yes, believe me: it pays), technology going around in Venezuela. 4 to 6 would do the trick. We don’t need to shadow the 39 ministries and cabinets of Madurismo.

    It cannot be regional caciques on one side and Borges with his well-minded but Morpheus-friendly presentations in Caracas. People with a national face should be moving around in Venezuela. Occasionally they can go abroad as well, as Capriles needs to spend more time now in Venezuela…less he becomes as irrelevant as the English-speaking Belorussian opposition (I definitely hope that won’t happen)

    • I think the same, a shadow cabinet is what is needed. Make your differences and critics clear to the public. Show why you are the better option.

    • I’ve always thought the same; every opposition should always have a shadow cabinet like the Brits have.

      As for the international effort, the legislative angle is probably their best bet as most executive branches usually do not meet the opposition, except for when there is an election or when the host government is actively and overtly hostile to the other nation’s executive. The executive meetings usually take place at a lower bureaucratic level, when they do take place.

  4. Funny links Emiliana, the one of Michael Moore is for the anthology of Chavismo. My suggestion to Maduro is asking one of those reps when they are abroad go to an office store and pick a name tag that says “el presidente” for his tricolor jacket.

    Hello Toripollo are you reading this, the only only way you can be legit your presidency is to follow up with the audits and clear the air that everything was fair and square with the elections.

  5. “I know what diplomacy is in this world, because I’ve practiced it and
    because Comandante Chávez taught me.”

    Saddam Hussein. Moammar Gaddafi, Osama bin Laden
    Why did you leave us? now that Ripe needs your all?

  6. I don’t mean to be a hater, but how is this gonna help us at all? The so-called international community couldn’t care less about Venezuela. Assad has been killing his own people for over a year and no country has been willing or able to do something about. Why should it be any different in Venezuela’s case? Moreover, as long as Maduros has the backing of China and Russia, he doesn’t have much to worry about…

    The only player in the international community that might have some clout is the US, but we are not a priority for them by any chance. If anything, we will fade into oblivion as gringos frack their way into energy independence.

    People need to stop believing the answers to our problems lie somewhere outside our borders….

    • The Syrian resistance would be in a completely different place if it wasn’t for international support.

      Do you think Pinochet called for elections just because? Or the international pressure played a role?

      There isn’t a silver bullet. It is not all local nor just international. You have to do many things, at the same time and do them well for a long time. Here is the challenge.

    • ala,

      Does this really need to be spelled out? At some point, once the total case has been made for the illegitimacy of the Maduro government, power will have to be seized in a “people power” revolution. When that happens, the new Government will need international support to acknowledge its legitimacy. We cannot go through what Honduras went through.

    • Ala, I agree with you 100%, Venezuelans are under the false impression that anybody outside of the country will do anything to help remove Maduro and his cronies from power, the only people that can do that are VENEZUELANS…. themselves, the country can continue being abused and destroyed by this group of mafiosos forever, it does not matter how much information the rest of the world gets about Maduro’s dictatorship, that changes NOTHING… The real way out of this mess is taking the streets and not turning back…(like the French revolution, they really got rid of the Royals in France!!)

  7. And when the PSUV delegation reaches each country on the heels of MUD, how will they answer the simple question, “Why don’t you simply audit 14A including the Cuadernos to prove the elections legitimate”? This simple question can not be answered in any way that will ever be deemed as a valid response.

  8. Actually one of the political innovations that define the chavista variety of dictatorial government is precisely a thorough and purposive utilization of (petro-)diplomacy to defuse any threat to international legitimacy. They’ve been doing it very effectively since the beginning.

  9. This coming Monday morning it’s Maria Corina Machado in DC @ CSIS.
    8:30AM for all you early risers.

    I am glad to see this movement of opposition parlamentarians going all over the place to explain what has happened and what will happen.

    As Capriles explained in Colombia, this needs to be done because in countries where the powers a truly separate they think that the Supreme Court, or the CNE will rule fairly.

    Opening their eyes is, as Emiliana points out, a bit by bit process that builds towards the desired result.

    • We plan to attend. We support Maria Corina Muchado! She has more bravery in her small toe than Chavez, Maduro, and Cabello had in their entirety..

  10. Not sure if the above photo was taken by MUD photographer or not, but I must say, its composition and the one showing Capriles shaking pink-shirted Santos have been well executed. Kabooom!

  11. Emiliana
    As I have been a critic of the foreign policy of the government from a proletarian internationalist viewpoint and know the players pretty much worldwide , I can say without a doubt you been reading too many of your own NGO’s press releases. The viewpoints of many outside the country I understand very well because I have been doing it over a decade while you were still in prep school and y’all are losing the campaign that counts and that is with the masses worldwide hands down not some media outlets nor bought off politicos. The Mud-ites can travel the world a thousand times and never improve their standing, in fact its getting a lot worse as the heat from the grassroots gets hotter.

    Anyway good luck on your new job while you have it.

    Rojo Rojito

    Cort

    • Cort: I suggest you market your *proletarian internationalist viewpoint* to your *worldwide players* so that these provide you with accurate information on accommodations at the 23 de enero. You really don’t want to reveal your ignorance again on these pages. #FreeAdvice.

      • Oh, its sooooooo much more fun when we can actually help him. Especially at the reasonable price of $1100 ex-airfare!

        I would advise one thing: bring your own toilet paper. #protip #protp

        http://bolivariannyc.wordpress.com/

        Day 2 and 3: Visits to urban agriculture sites and other community initiatives in different communities in Caracas, including 23 de Enero, El Valle, and Petare.

    • Let’s say you’re right, it will soon be irrelevant; in spite of the propaganda, censorship, coercion, and bribes, the masses in Venezuela are slinking away from the Chavernment more and more every single day.

      Come and see for yourself, just be sure to bring bullet proof body armor and a weeks supply of toilet paper.

    • The weird thing about the Socialist/Communists/Marxists is that no matter how badly their social experiments go astray and no matter how badly they fail, they still cling to their utopian ideals. Without one single example of a long-term stable society succeeding based on these principles, they insist on taking over the whole world and applying them universally now.

  12. Emiliana…there are lots of venezuelans that even have worked in US congress with some US representatives, or in multilateral organism, not anymore, and in some ways there is not only the people in Miami, that maybe tend to be more like the loud ones but people like me that could or would be very happy to help the international front , where lobbeing is very important…and as roger Noriega ( although I don’t like the guy) tweet something that is true, lots of people see for example MCM just like SARAH PALIN…There are some Venezuelans in DC with experience, there, and they are worried, and I think they could help the cause… They were into international affairs or worked in Multilateral organisms…and without presence, we are being forgotten…Well Anyways, just wrote me if you want to connect, with people that could help in DC…And yes I know the lobby is horrible, the latin American departments are hideous places…I don’t even want to go there…

  13. Ah, I get free advice daily from many a contra and the Stalinist’s and most not so good but I can learn from anyone.Been to 23 de enero and other places. As for the body protection devices don’t use them ( have had those threats before, sad) and as for the toilet paper, I understand they found a whole warehouse full some capitalist hoarder saved like many other things.

    You know hitch hike down on the Pan American Highway but for some reason Colombian is more dangerous than most. Why is that?duh

    Maybe Emiliana can get me a cheap ticket from El Salvador!

    • “Threat”? It wasn’t a threat, comrade. Just some advice as you would be entering the murder capital of the world. Proles murdering proles at a depressing rate, all in this great revolutionary country

      • Jeez, Cort is such a prima donna. A bullet proof vest is good advice, yet he thinks its a threat. Not only that but he’s so deluded as to think he’s important enough that someone here cares whether he’s alive or not.

        As to Colombia, say what you want but it is safer than Venezuela.

    • Cort. If you want to make a case for hoarding, capitalist or otherwise, and its impact on shortages, citing a seizure of 2,500 rolls of toilet paper is hardly worth mentioning. I doubt Venezuela’s thirty million people are resting easy knowing there are another 2,500 rolls of toilet paper about to “flood” the shops.

      Then you go and say Colombia is more dangerous than most. That is true on a global scale but is it true when compared to Venezuela? Why don’t you make some graphs of the rise and/or fall of violent crimes comparing Venezuela to Colombia over the past 15 years. When you’re done, could you show them to us all? Thanks, you’re a dear.

    • Cort Greene,

      Funny, in other countries, hoarders are given discounts, and their activities cause no shortages.

  14. It’s interesting. Doing a thorough recount was too much trouble, but setting up a “International offensive for the defense of Nicolás Maduro´s legitimate Government” is apparently less trouble! But, I suppose I’m being the suspicious type?

  15. Emiliana, your pr department must be slipping:
    Speaking of illegitimate politicos and someone who should be in jail for being a coup supporter and a foreign agent.CIA Lackey, escuálido Maria Corina Machado will be speaking in DC on Monday , she must be picking up some more USAID money, eh.

    Estados Unidos ayuda a Colombia militares/económico(sin contar el Plan Colombia y 10 bases)2000-2014- add another trillion for Plan Colombia and who in the —- knows for over 10 bases ?

    $9,396,996,970.00 that’s over 9 trillion dollars not counting CIA Drug Cartel money, that is all black ops anyway! Never understood the foreign policy blunder of Venezuela being friends with the USA’s 51st State. But then I have been saying for years cut off the oil to the US ( cause them to go into a real depression) and kick out the over 400 US companies in Venezuela. That’s what a Proletarian Internationalist foreign policy would do…

    http://justf.org/Country?country=Colombia&year1=2000&year2=2014&funding=All+Programs&x=50&y=3

    • Venezuela has to sell oil to the US, as the US has the refineries capable of processing the type of oil found in Venezuela.

      USA may experience somewhat of an oil shock, although hardly what it would have 20 years ago or so. Venezuela, on the other hand, would fall apart within weeks. They would have no money to import everythng they need. Chavez wishes he could have cut off oil exports to the USA, which may have caused them to actually pay attention to him (his ultimate fantasy), but he couldn’t get around the fact that he was more dependent on US $$$ for Venezuela’s petrol than USA was on Venezuelan petrol.

      But you should be happy that Chavez’s “revolution” was largely financed with US money.

    • I’m having trouble following you. Are you suggesting the USA has given Colombia $9+ trillion over the past 13 years?

      • Yes, I’m a bit baffled by that as well….$9+ trillion is about double the entirety of US foreign aid distributions to all sources….ever.

        Its also, roughly, about 60% of this year’s GDP. Those wacky Americans sure are grateful for Sofia Vergara, I suppose.

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