This sequence of tweets starring MUD Executive Secretary Chúo Torrealba is, I think, the ultimate reductio ad absurdum of MUD’s public line about dialogue. Chúo begins by noting the way the government is now fighting the dialogue facilitators, and how the process lays bare their brutality. Some lady retorts, reasonably enough, that that brutality was amply obvious without or without a dialogue table. And Chúo shoots back that it was obvious to her but…not to the Vatican.

“Now they’re living it in their own skin,” he tweets. “The Dialogue table was worth it.”

Makes sense. You’ll recall the opposition’s campaign promises, last year, that if elected they would spare no effort to…educate Pope Francis on the government’s brutality. Right?

When we pointed out that it didn’t make much sense to bank on the catholic guilt of a gaggle of drug-dealing Marxists who imprison doctors for receiving donations of medicines, MUD’s retort was…an incoherent mess. 

It’s an evident bit of non-sense…the opposition mission was never to lay bare what’s already bare, it was to put an end to this ruinous government. Vatican mediation was sold to us on the premise that it didn’t require us to believe in the government, only to believe in the pope.

The pope, as everyone knows, has no armored divisions, he can’t compel compliance. His influence on the government is a matter of moral suasion, and to morally suade you need a counterpart that’s morally suadable. When we pointed out that it didn’t make much sense to bank on the catholic guilt of a gaggle of drug-dealing Marxists who imprison doctors for receiving donations of medicines, MUD’s retort was…an incoherent mess.

Now, with dialogue sputtering towards failure, the new line was that it was all worth it because it taught the Pope a valuable life lesson. Sure, it’ll leave the government in power for another two years, at least, but hey, an old mister in Rome now really knows what we’re going through, so it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. Right?

This line is so aggressively dumb the real wonder is that Chúo actually put it down in words for the world to see.

They were desperate for some way to defuse the situation, and Vatican mediation offered that face-saving exit.

Incoherent excuses aside, the real reason Chúo, Timoteo Z. and Ocariz/Borges dragged us to an obviously doomed dialogue was that they were convinced a militant strategy on the streets would backfire, leave a bunch of people dead, many more in prison, peter out in weeks and solidify the dictatorship’s dictatorial bent. They were desperate for some way to defuse the situation, and Vatican mediation offered that face-saving exit. They didn’t go for it despite the fact that it demobilized us, they went for it because they wanted to demobilize us.

It’s not an analysis I share, but it’s coherent, and honest, and imaginably even right. (Counterfactuals being what they are, we’ll never know what might have been.) I’d respect them if they leveled with us and said as much. But this form of “it was worth it” excuse-making is just sad.

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