Roberta kills dialogue

Thr truth commission!
Thr truth commission!

The MUD announced it was “suspending” its participation in the Unasur-sponsored dialogue process. And yes, in case you were wondering, the sarao at Miraflores was not a one-time thing, since apparently there had been several more sessions. The mere fact that many did not know it was an ongoing thing … says volumes about its impact on people’s lives.

But I digress. The MUD decided it was in no MUD for dialogue (pardon the pun), and so it finally decided to call the whole charade off. The reasons given were the expected: heavy government repression, and weighty government interference in the “truth commission” that is supposed to investigate rights abuses.

The thing is … that all of these factors were present when they sat down to talk. Therefore, the skeptic in me is not convinced.

To me, the real reason for the breakup doesn’t have to do with the government’s usual, expected intransigence. What tipped the MUD inside the MUD (sorry!) was the virulent questioning it received on the heels of Roberta-gate.

Just like any politician threatened by her base leans towards it, the MUD is worried that its legitimacy is being called into question. Therefore, it is willing to throw a bone to the radicals in order to appease them for a while. The end result: no more tequeños in Miraflores. Just say you’re doing it for the kids.

As you can imagine, the MUD isn’t burning their bridges entirely, they are merely “suspending” their participation. Still, whether or not dialogue gets back on track will depend on internal opposition dynamics as well as government openness to flexibility.

It’s funny, though. No amount of calls from inside Venezuela could get the MUD off its tracks. It took one slip of the tongue from Ms. Jacobson, one session in the US Senate, for the MUD to change tactics. For once, chavistas may be right: the opposition’s strategy … is decided in Washington.