At the time, his decision to fast-track invocation of the OAS Democratic Charter without really having the votes to see it through seemed to paint OAS SecGen Luis Almagro as a somewhat rash diplomat.

A couple of weeks later, after Henrique Capriles met Argentine president Mauricio Macri in person and Venezuelan foreign minister Delcy Rodríguez had what looks like a combative face-to-face with John Kerry, it looks like Almagro was playing a deft long game instead. Quoth the Journal’s Juan Forero,

Mr. Kerry, though, said in his address to the OAS that the Obama administration stands with Mr. Almagro “in calling on the Venezuelan government to release political prisoners, to respect freedom of expression and assembly, to alleviate shortages of food and medicine, and to honor its own constitutional mechanisms.”

The secretary of state said that included permitting “a fair and timely recall referendum,” which the opposition is hoping to mount this year to remove Mr. Maduro from office and trigger new presidential elections.

“Venezuelans have the right to use constitutional mechanisms to express their will in a peaceful and a democratic manner,” Mr. Kerry said.

Eight days ahead of a new OAS meeting to discuss the Democratic Charter in relation to Venezuela, with the UNASUR mediation dead, with Maduro refusing to meet UNASUR advisors, and Argentina’s opposition to the charter invocation apparently overcome, with Delcy lamely complaining of ‘international bullying’ and the Supreme Tribunal taking a brave stance against Humanitarian Assistance the Venezuelan government has never looked more isolated in the hemisphere.

The next eight days will be critical to the denouement of the crisis. Strap in.

15 COMMENTS

  1. I would not be surprised if the “long game” includes the defeat of the activation of the Democratic Charter by the OAS. There are currently two doors open to the Opposition. One is the RR and the other is the Democratic Charter. If both of those doors are slammed shut at the same time, this would be the signal and proof that only extra-constitutional means (la calle and a transitional government) remain and that the solution can only come from within Venezuela.

    Maybe the Opposition has also contemplated Quico’s scenario in “Henri and the Challenge of Stability in Transition”.

    • “Maybe the Opposition has also contemplated Quico’s scenario in “Henri and the Challenge of Stability in Transition”.”

      Such scenario is basically the sandinist trap, the victory of chavismo as they achieved complete impunity for their big goats and ultimately keeping their grip on power on the country, yet, there’s still a mistake in his depiction of that scenario: He overlooked the fact that there’ll be people in the streets howling for chavista blood even as they’re killed by dozens by the new “revolutionary resistance”.

    • About a month ago, several opposition diputados came to Washington DC to meet with Almagro. They also met with a group of Venezuelan “civilians” to a session to inform about their travels and accomplishments.

      Delsa Solorzano told us that the strategy was NOT to invoke the Charter, but rather to use it’s invocation as a tool to pressure Maduro. She also stated they had “other” avenues to explore but was reticent about talking about that in an open forum, that indeed, counted with the presence of the standard embassy flunkie/spy. She was even kind enough to thank the gentleman for his presence.

      Invoking the charter is not a one and done deal. There are steps to be taken, hearings and all the blather that goes along with it.

      At many points along the way there are built in pauses in case an agreement can be reached.

      The fact that Ramos Allup announced he will be in DC on the 23rd (though now seems to be the 21st) for a session on the charter and Venezuela is another turn of the screw.

      Having had the chance to spend a few minutes talking to Mr. Almagro at a recent, non OAS shindig, I was left with the impression that he is the real deal, has a plan and is confident that there is a good chance to exert significant pressure on the Maduro “thugministration” (my word, not his!)

      There are a number of pitfalls ahead, and there is a chance that the result we want is not achieved, but at least he’s giving it all the effort he can.

      Thank God he’s no Insulza!

  2. I think Maduro has accepted that he will have to leave so he is now doing a mad dash to hand the reigns of power to the PSUV. Nobody likes him, not even Aporrea folk.

    If he doesn’t make it to 2017, then he is be bating a military takeover to leave as a victim. I guess in his commie mind he thinks of himself as Allende 2016 minus the suicide.

  3. We see Maduro suggesting the US and Venezuela reinstate diplomats, and that Kerry is sending Shannon to Caracas enter discussions with the Chavistas. But what shape might these discussions might take. Negotiations? When the Chavistas have refused to negotiate with anyone. The very idea of accounting for themselves seems impossible – whoever the opp calls to the chambers never shows up. Then there’s Delcey with her designer glasses, ruby red lips, string of pearls and double chin ranting about “meddling” whenever an opinion is even offered by outsiders. And her pathetic, petulant come-back to Kerry in the DR.

    The Chavistas have always kept a closed camp with the widows blacked out. For a high ranking Chavista to step out into the light of day and actually face the world feels like a kind of defeat, a blow to their dignity. I hear the talk but it’s hard to imagine Maduro’s group giving anything but lip service to anyone. Right now they can do nothing but stall, and that, sadly, is how I see any future negotiations – a play for more time to do nothing.

    • My take on this is that the US has to dance through certain steps, if for no other reason than to say: “We reached out, we offered dialog, we offered normalizing relations, etc. etc.” in case the fit hits the shan.

      From Maduro’s standpoint, any time he can gain by delaying goes in his favor.

      At this point, getting to 2017 before the referendum, and/or the rise in the price of oil are the short term goals.

      The other day, Godgiven Hair stated that he was fine with a referendum in 2016.

      He stated that they could have Nicolas resign BEFORE the referendum, handing over to whoever is VP, and having Maduro appointed as VP.

      Come 2017, the new President resigns in favor of Maduro.

      And then, he said, go ahead and try to revoke him then!

      Given they have their own law firm (known as the TSJ) I have no doubt that if they wanted to pull this off they would face no legal opposition.

  4. “El TSJ venezolano declara inconstitucional la ley de emergencia de salud de la oposición” Crimes against humanity. I don’t wish death on anyone, but Maduro and co. may be providing their own rope.

  5. Onasur, OAS, OEA, UN, what a laughable bunch of bureacratic, useless clowns. Including Almagro.

    All talk, no action. Even when there are massive Genocides in Africa, Syria or the middle east. All talk. But they can barely move a few trucks of food. Sometimes.

    Almagro talks, only because that’s how he justifies his abundant salary, and his early retirement. Will he actually accomplish anything in Vzla or anywhere? Of course not. See if Maduro or Cabello care what he says. And most Venezuelans don’t read the internet or have any idea what Almagro says. Ask 20 Million Venezuelans at random what the “Democratic Charter” actually means, 19.95 Million will have zero clue, no idea. Heck, most Venezuelans don’t even know who Almagro is, or the OEA, or the UN.

    Much ado about nothing. Until people hit the streets and knock out the Chavista crooks out of power.

  6. En estos ocho días cualquier cosa puede pasar.

    Interesante es el carácter de urgencia que le esta dando Kerry cuando envía a Shannon a establecer una relación bilateral USA-Venezuela, que según Kerry, no entra en conflicto con las negociaciones-dialogo de Zapatero y camarilla.

    Tengo entendido que Shannon llego anoche a Caracas

  7. Credit where credit is due, both for Almagro, and Kerry. Almagro doubtfully has the votes to invoke the Democratic Charter, with Venezuelan-bought Petro-Caribe and other pana nations against, and Kerry’s conditions for realistically re-establishing diplomatic relations (freeing political prisoners/RR/independent Govt. branches), will doubtfully be met. But, the old college try would have been made (the Hail Mary pass?), and, everyone will diplomatically look good (and be justified in more forceful actions) when the shit really hits the fan in Venezuela….

  8. Que Passssso con Sr. Shannon. Can’t find any word on whatever came down or is coming down. I think that conversation will be telling about the future.

  9. What a load of rubbish!. We just won the vote to have Almagro´s conduct and attitude towards Venezuela evaluated at the next meeting. We won 19 – 12 with one absention and 2 absentees. On the same day Venezuela was elected to the UN economic and Social Council with 177 votes out of 183 – indeed we are isolated. What bullshot are you writing.

    I bet that Almagro either resigns or is demoted or fired son after the next meeting.

    Kerry rquested the meeting wuth Delcy. Not vice-versa. Shannon is coming to Venezuela son to open dialogue.

    BTW – don’t get into the same habot of lying about the proposed dialogue as it ws the MUD that did not show up for the second meeting with the mediators in Dominican Republic.

    Kerry an ask all he wants to reléase murderers and criminals; the recall and anything else he wants but these things will not happen.

    To wit: There will be:

    NO recall either this year or in 2017

    NO Consitutuent Assembly

    NO Maduro destitution

    NO Maduro resignation

    NO abandoning by Maduro of his post

    MO term limit amendement

    But there will be a trial of the AN Directors for usurping Maduro’s atrributes (Article 126 #4).

    The only options left open to the opposition are:

    More chaos; induced food shortages; electricity sabotaje; selective assassinations; more gaurimas under the guise of food riots; and now they cannot continue to run abruad for help as this avenue has been blocked by the TSJ. in fact, if the AN continues in this way it could be abolished by a TSK emergency measure due to continued conempt.

    Tome tu tomate with your lies, Quico. You know you have backed a loser ojnce again since the opposition has been incapable of unseating maduro after 3 years and six months of economic war.

    The only thing that can help you is some hamunaitarin bombing from F16 Tomcats.

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