MUD Secretary General Chúo Torrealba, flanked by Argentina’s Nuncio and Papal envoy Emil Paul as Vatican representatives, the three UNASUR-backed former-presidents, and Jorge Rodríguez on behalf of PSUV, announced that a dialogue process will begin on Sunday October 30th in the Island of Margarita.
That was the eye-brow raising upshot from a baffling afternoon press conference that took longer to find online than it lasted.
It’s pretty telling that the members of the pro-government forces present in the negotiations were Jorge Rodríguez, Elías Jaua and Roy Chaderton: the radical civilian wing understood to be most closely aligned with Nicolás Maduro. The military-linked former governors who were most closely involved in halting the recall referendum (Diosdado-linked governors with military links like Francisco Ameliach and Francisco Rangel Gómez) were not there.
The opposition delegation was also…peculiar. Present were few, and there is still much confusion about just how cohesive this decision was given this recent tweet from HCR, saying they learned of the meeting when they saw it on TV.
Hoy 7 pm en #PreguntaCapriles hablaremos sobre temas de los cuales nos hemos enterado por la televisión
— Henrique Capriles R. (@hcapriles) October 24, 2016
Por TV me entero que algunos partidos de la oposición aceptan iniciar un diálogo auspiciado por UNASUR y Zapatero,sin participación de OEA
— María Corina Machado (@MariaCorinaYA) October 24, 2016
Enterándome por la TV del supuesto diálogo. Así sea con El Hatillo solamente, el miércoles vamos a la Toma de Venezuela. Dignidad ante nada
— David Smolansky (@dsmolansky) October 24, 2016
Mitzy. ¿Dialogar?, si, pero con OEA, con revocatorio por delante, canal humanitario ya, cese de acoso a medios, libertad de presos Politicos
— Antonio Ledezma (@alcaldeledezma) October 24, 2016
It gets worse…
Quién autorizó a Chuo Torrealba a reunirse hoy con el gobierno? el País se entera a través de los medios
— Carlos Berrizbeitia (@CEBerrizbeitia) October 24, 2016
Is every coalition falling apart?
Almost instantly, Diosdado took to the airwaves in his own press conference, denouncing yesterday’s breach of the AN session as a coup attempt. “We will not allow ourselves to be overthrown, we will use the same weapons as the opposition,” Diosdado said.
He also said the opposition should be grateful that Jorge Rodriguez heroically stopped yesterday’s “coup”.
Not to be outdone, and to add more confusion to our already rattled head-wrapping exercise of this shit hitting the fan-gate, Aristóbulo Istúriz also put in his two cents, announcing in a cabinet meeting on State TV that chavismo will protest tomorrow and “march to Miraflores.”
This is not the first time the Central Government has set the table for a dialogue — remember the Diálogo por la Paz in 2014? Gaviria’s attempt a decade earlier? But credibility is at an all-time low.
The opposition electorate wants to protest and trying to demobilize them now carries its own risk.
The situation remains fluid and confused. We’ll keep you posted.