In an opportune and eloquent photograph, which made the world turn in just a few hours, the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, can be seen at the Venezuelan presidential residency greeting Frank Pearl, representative of the Colombian government, during the peace talks between Venezuela and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the second most important guerrilla group after FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia).
The beginning of a peace process was announced last Wednesday in the city of Caracas. The peace dialogues took place in Ecuador and peace talks were also done in Venezuela, Chile, Brazil and Cuba, a country that will be a guarantor with Norway.
No one can sensibly deny or downplay the importance of this or any other force of peace in the region, particularly in Colombia where the people’s armed uprising has been going on for more than 50 years.
To take this step, Juan Manuel Santos’ government needed to ask for Washington’s agreement. In Colombia, as everyone knows, a leaf doesn’t move from a tree unless it has permission from the occupying country. The adjective “occupying” is not free nor is it purely ideological. Remember that seven great U.S. military bases are installed on Colombian soil. By consequence, it is clear that the White House and the Pentagon, even though they are lying through their teeth, have not been able to object to Cuba and Venezuela’s participation.
And it is not less clear that for the international audience; in this case represented by Norway, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Venezuela, and the United States; that president Maduro is in the central character and the valid interlocutor in the transcendent diplomatic effort for peace in the region.
These facts clearly express that the efforts by the international media have not been successful in presenting the image of Maduro as cornered, without future, immobile or condemned by the planet’s public opinion. Four or five (or 50 or 100) protests in residential and middle class neighborhoods in Caracas and other Venezuelan cities (street violence elevated to delirium because of the imperialistic media, like proof of the Venezuelan people’s discontent with Maduro) are only, like the people say, will-o’-the-wisps, over-reactions or pyrotechnics magnified by the most right-wing and anti-people press in imperialist countries, Venezuela and other nations on the continent.
These will-o’-the-wisps of violent and bloody protests aren’t enough to overthrow Maduro. They serve to create an unstable social climate that paves the way for a military coup — like what happened in Chile to president Salvador Allende — or better yet for the Venezuelan plutocracy or a U.S. military intervention — like what happened in the Dominican Republic in 1965, in Granada in 1983 or in Panama in 1989.
Protests and transnational media demonizations are not enough to overthrow Maduro. And without throwing them aside, a military coup and a U.S. invasion are not seen on the horizon. The Venezuelan military bosses have already said that they will not allow for a break in constitutional order. And with Nicolás Maduro, with active and transcendent international presence, a future of Dominican Republic, Panama or Granada type U.S. military aggression is not expected either.