The useless Insulza

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OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza finally opened his pie hole with respect to Venezuela … and he should have kept his mouth shut.

In a letter long on analysis, Insulza whines, frets, and pouts about how polarized and difficult the situation in Venezuela is. He says that he usually keeps quiet because whatever he says will be misconstrued by the other side … without offering any solution to his conundrum. The whole thing is one long, sappy temper tantrum.

Let’s go to the tape:

This division explains the supposed amiguity (translator’s note: “supposed” ambiguity?!?) of governments, international organizations, civil society, and other actors who wish to help but cannot find a way to do so. If they do not condemn the government, they are “cowards” or “accomplices.” If they dare to criticize it, they are “interfering” or “allies of Imperialism.” The attitude from both sides is not conducive to a productive action on behalf of the international community to foster rapproachment and reconciliation. The initiatives being proposed wish to draw us into the polarization.

And on he goes, you get the gist.

Look Mr. Insulza, I know it sucks to have to deal with Venezuela. But you know what? It’s your damn job. If you weren’t too late into the game, perhaps you wouldn’t have a crisis on your hands to begin with.

The situation in Venezuela has been simmering for years. Back in 2002, your predecessor, Mr. Gaviria, spent months in Venezuela overseeing “dialogue” between the two sides. And what came of it? A couple of agreements that were completely ignored by the government.

Let’s recall what was agreed upon. Last April I wrote about this, and I said

Among other things, these documents stated that both sides, the government and the opposition, agreed to:

  • avoid “mutual recriminations, hurtful language, and any rhetoric that contributes or stimulates confrontation”;
  • form a Truth Commission to deal with the violence of those years;
  • reject insults or offense as a way of dealing with political differences;
  • call for peace and tolerance;
  • form an instance of permanent dialogue between the government and the opposition;
  • promote the disarmament of the civilian population;
  • form an independent, trustworthy, transparent, and impartial Electoral Council;
  • protect freedom of expression

Now tell me – ten years on, has the government kept its word on ANY of these points? And as these ten years went by without the government holding up its side of the bargain, with Venezuela’s political situation continuing to deteriorate month after month, why did you not speak up? Why did you not engage in quiet diplomacy to bring the sides to the table, to prevent the situation from escalating?

I understand that sometimes the opposition can be just as verbally harsh as the government. However, you make it sound as if both parties are equally at fault.

You fail to point out that, while rhetoric may be equally heightened, the problem here is not the rhetoric precisely. Fundamental rights are being threatened here, mostly by the government. The opposition has not limited chavistas’ freedom of the press. The opposition is not threatening chavista newspapers. The opposition does not have paramilitary goon squads terrorizing civilians. The opposition is not taking away vital services from areas where protests occur. The opposition is not restricting the government’s right to protest or hold rallies. And the opposition is certainly not beating the crap out of chavista legislators – which five-star restaurant were you gorging at while that was happening, by the way?

All of these vital considerations are missing from Ms. Insulza’s letter, because he is simply afraid of being called names by the bi-polar Mr. Maduro.

Mr. Insulza’s letter is too little, too late. His job should be to protect principles, not parties. His job is to foster democracy, not dialogue. Dialogue is a means to an end, but it’s not the only one.

As Henrique Capriles said a few days, Mr. Insulza is an embarassment to the continent. For the sake of saving the OAS, he should step aside and let someone else do the job he is clearly tired of doing.

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  1. that was fun!

    But c’mon, it’s not Insulza that sucks. It’s OAS that sucks.

    The OAS Sec. General’s job is to be a puppet, except one that has the hand of EVERY head of state in the hemisphere up its backside. It’s not an executive job.

    In a way, he’s doing his job exceptionally well…his position is the PERFECT mirror of the pusilanimous bullshit his puppet masters demand from him. Take it up with Dilma, with Cristina, with Enrique and Barack and Juan Manuel. Don’t take it out on the puppet.

    • I disagree, I don’t think the OAS Sec Gral is as hampered as you make him sound to be. That’s the story he’s been telling the press all these years, but you know what? He has enough authority to *at least* speak out on issues that are making a crisis escalate. If he sees Venezuela going down the drain, he needs to speak up before it’s too late and all he can do is write a letter throwing his arms up in the air.

    • OAS sucks indeed.

      For the record, don’t count on Obama neither, or Roussef. Even in the unlikely event that Obama decides to take action in Venezuela, many people in the US will be opposed, and he can not simply afford to waste his little political capital in an election year, now that Republicans are poised to take back the senate.

      bottom line , we are on our own.

      • I, for one, don’t want Obama to get too active on this issue, as it would reinforce the Chavista narrative.

        On the other hand, suspending visas for Chavista officials and investigating (or even freezing) their assets in US like bank accounts, mansions, corporations could be nice.

        Latinamerican presidents are going to need nudges from the parliament or the people, though.

      • Obama might as well do something useful for us, such as exercise its soft power on Brazil to try to convince them that is not good that Brazil tolerate this level of repression in Latin America. And with the dependence on imports, that would help, but is not that I believe in dialogue. But some international pressure would help. Obama should be at least a little risk and covertly for us, because after all, we will not ask them to come the Marines. Some support is reflected Wildest Insulza statements serve something.

  2. Response from Latin American governments has been pathetic. The weird thing is that Santos issued a very tepid remark and Maduro went full blown crazy against him, making Santos’ response look stronger than it was.

    But it gets worse within Colombia. Look at this statement from the main leftist party:

    It’s absolutely ridiculous. And their leader and presidential candidate is in fact quite a reasonable person, I was thinking of voting for her, but this just takes the cake, totally blinded by the idea that this is about ideology and sticking it to Santos and the gringos. And now she just supported Eva Golinger on twitter. Ugh, it’s soooo disappointing to see any sort of progressive alternative absolutely polluted by the chavista propaganda.

    /rant. (Fortunately my candidates for Congress have denounced the situation strongly, algo es algo)

  3. Oh boy… have I been waiting for this topic to emerge.

    Insulza is a respected diplomat, rather old to do something after this job. What does he have to lose? He could be brave and just condemn the things that ought to be condemned and then deal with any shitstorm that comes later. It could be his chance to make some history, leave a legacy, something.

    His insisting on remaining uncontroversial has rendered him irrelevant. If he’s going to wait until Washington, Colombia, Brasilia, ALBA and PetroCaribe condemn the repression… What’s going to be the relevance of him coming forward at that point? Just looking at him, as the first active OAS SG in ages to set foot in Cuba, his presence on the CELAC meeting was rather pathetic.

    Two quotes I have:

    Chavez on Insulza: “El insulso señor Insulza” “es un verdadero pendejo desde la P hasta la O” roughly ‘The bland Mr. Insulza is a true berk from B to K’. Even as a staunch antichavista, it’s hard for me to disagree with the man in regards to Insulza.

    “[He] missed a good opportunity to keep quiet”, as Chiraq might have said. Not because he shouldn’t speak on Venezuela, but bacause there’s no use for him speaking words that say nothing.

    • I suspect that Insulzas timid and erratic behaviour is due to the fact that he heads a very fragile organization , one which is threatened with extinction as latin american countries fall deeper in to that ethnonarcicism that finds proud pleasure in rejecting or scorning the anglo presence in any continental forum in which they participate .

      Now latam govts love parading their anti US stances , playing to the hilt their self celebratory role as former victims of an ‘overbearing and rapacious’ northern neighbor.whose many successes on all fronts they find offensive because of the contrast it offers to their many failures as a civilization .

      UNASUR and other lat american dominated international organizations are poised to take over the OAS former role as the symbol of continental unity and Insulza is gingerly trying to keep the organization from being roasted alive by its many latam enemies.

      Look at the way Cuba is toasted by all latam govt despite the terrible example it offers of how to fail at everything . So what makes them the toast of the town , the fact that have stood as the emplematic icon of lat am opposition to US power.

      Sometimes one despairs of being a latin american !!. .

      • That’s the thing. He has remained uncontroversial, maybe with the intention of keeping OAS together. But he has made OAS irrelevant. No crisis has been solved there, he hasn’t used his position to advance any agenda, he seems determined to wait until UNASUR and CELAC eat OAS lunch, starving OAS to death.

  4. What about all those rumors that basically Insulza said:

    “Look, I get it. But I want to be President of Chile, and I need the support of my (socialist) party for it, so, you are on your own”.

    • He’s too old! Being born in 1943, he’s going to be 75 in 2018, when Bachelet finishes the term she’s about to start. At 71, he should already be thinking about retirement.

      But then, that answer paints him in a worst light. He took a job in OAS to gain more prestige to run for President, yet he abstains from doing his current job because of his personal ambitions. If he’s no up to the job he should step down, and go back to Chile. He hasn’t been important in any crisis, Honduras was a Brasil-US-ALBA affair, Paraguay was MERCOSUR-UNASUR-ALBA, the Cuban suspension was lifted only for Cuba to snub OAS… I mean, what kind of references does he hope to use in his bid for president if he achieved nothing in OAS?

  5. He and the rest of the leaders in LatAm are ducking for cover in hopes that it will all go away and they can go about their business what ever that is. What does it take to get the point across besides packing the streets with protesters? Insulza is a fucken idiot to think that Venezuelans are a bunch of crillios who will just give into the most screwed up economy any government has come up with in generations. Nobody in their right mind wants to see Venezuela spin out of control. John Wayne made a movie about Venezuela called Hellfighters on the subject years ago. Look at the burning of the oil fields in the gulf war! The Venezuelan nuclear option?

  6. Latinamerican Cooperation is a joke, why do you even make a blog entry about this?

    Expecting chavismo to honor the agreement and not wipe their behinds with those points is as foolish as expecting them to honor the constitution, or the bible, or human rights or a letter delivered by students.

    This is not a democracy, this is a Dictatorship.If you do not kneel and kiss the ring you’re an enemy.
    If Insulza doesn’t say “Maduro is the rightful heir, the best thing that could’ve happened to the Venezuelan people,and to LatAm and the Caribbean, and to the World and the galaxy. Ave Chavez!” he’s already a fascist. Dammit, has anybody learned anything from XXI Century Socialism?

  7. Pan-American institutions are so much weaker than the European, when it comes to protect citizens against Human Right abuses from Governments. Its not only a problem of the personal, but idiots like Insulza do not help. 95% of the political spectrum praises the negotiation gig of german Socialdemocrat Frank Walter Steinmeier (×360/konjunkturpaket-bundestag.jpg) yesterday to Ukraine.

    This taking account that the international perception of Madurismo is declining even on the left. The supporters of the regime tune a bit down their discourse, even on the far left critical voices come forward . Progre-author Isabel Allende, who lived many years in Venezuela openly, supports the protests ->

  8. You have to remember that Insulza is a chilean socialist and, like most chilean socialists, they feel “close” to el chavismo… Insulza mistrusts the opposition, it is very likely that he trully considers it to be a “far-right” movement. His letter shows disdain for what happens in the country, after so many clashes with both sides he probably doesn’t even care to be informed so he only follows his instinct. He is, in that sense, no different than the FECH members, just full of pop politics.

  9. The most important event for Venezuela abroad will be the elections in Brazil later this year. If the opposition wins (espcialy if it is Aecio Neves), it will have consequences for the OAS, Mercosur and even the stance of the US government. Remember that Chavez was way, way lesse radical while FHC was the President of Brazil. Once Chavez’s pal in the Foro of São Paulo, Lula, won the presidency things realy started to deteriorate.
    As for the elections itself, the chances of the opposition are better than they look right now. The economic situaion is deteriorating, the government aproval is falling, Roussef is not charismatic, the World Cup has become a lianility and a major risk and there is the possibility of an energy crises because of the dorught in most of the country. Let’s hope they win…

      • I am curious now…you disagreee about the possibility of the opposition winning or about the impact that this might have on the situation in Venezuela? Or both?

        • Both.

          First, I see little chances of the opposition beating Dilma. Brazilian opposition is so divided that a Neves victory is a tough sale. Yes, Rouseff has lost popularity but recent polls still show her as favorite and by a landslide, specially if running against Neves and Campos.

          Second, Brazil has little-to-no influence on Venezuelan politics (aside from electoral consulting). When Lula became President (2003), Chavez had just finished dealing with a coup d’etat and a general strike. He had that little cute lamb attitude he used when retreating to regain strength. And, Maduro is no Chavez.

          • The polls right now are useless. There will be no landslide, of that you can be sure.

            As for the influence in Venezuela, I think that if Brazil takes a less suportive approach towards chavismo, the US, the OAS and Mercocur will also change their tune.

            Well, we will see…

  10. It’s curious how the latin-american left has been transformed into something that looks much more like a right-wing conservative movement that a supposed progessive one.

    I mean, just look at it, they suck up to oil money, interfere on everyone else’s internal affairs while bitching and moaning when another country dares to even make a lukewarm statement about their own and, except for a few countries, they haven’t even discussed issues like gay marriage, legalization of pot or abortion (Things that you know, actual left-wing governments try to get done)

    The only thing that unites the failed states of the ALBA and their useful idiots on Venezuela’s oil payroll is their gringo hate. I’ll give it to them tho, it’s a great excuse, having the most powerful nation on earth shitting on your oh so democratic government, but at the end of the day, it is still an excuse to not take the blame for any bone-headed decision you make.

  11. Chavez, Maduro and company are the biggest traitors in the history of our country< they have raped my beloved country and our people, The have given Venezuela to the Castros. Also to blame are the former super-corrupted governing parties for 40 the previous years, AD and Copei. They ruined the country and opened the door for Chavez to come up into power as a liberator (wolf in sheep clothes). Now those remaining from AD and Copei (Enrique Capriles, Diego Arria, Henry Ramos Allup, Antonio Ledezma, etc) are waiting for the people to fight and take Maduro out so they can recapture power and continue raping the country. I support Leopoldo Lopez… descendant of our founding father Simon Bolivar and from Cristobal Mendoza, the first president of Venezuela.


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