In early February 2016, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, head of the Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE), welcomed Lilián Tintori into her office. Tintori is the wife of coup leader Leopoldo López, responsible for several serious crimes and currently imprisoned for them. Receiving the wife of the coup leader, who herself is also involved in the coup, was a clear gesture of support to the attempts to overthrow the constitutional government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. In other words, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government, going against Mexican diplomatic tradition and the constitutional precepts of the country, took the public and categorical side of the ones responsible for the coup.
But two months later, Ruiz Massieu corrected the tremendous mistake and welcomed several Venezuelan legislative representatives, both supporters of Chávez and of the opposition, into her offices. She did not only welcomed people responsible for the coup, but people from both sides. In a speech, Ruiz Massieu allowed herself to call on both parties to dialogue and to find a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict in Venezuela. This showed a noticeable difference between early February and early April.
What happened? How can we explain the sudden return to the diplomatic tradition once abandoned? Did Ruiz Massieu suddenly realized that the Mexican government cannot take sides in a foreign conflict, but that it can intervene and must do so, if it does with the purpose of seeking peaceful solutions and establishing dialogue between the warring factions? Or maybe her change in behavior was due to the sour statements made by the Venezuelan foreign minister, who publicly reminded Ruiz Massieu of the participation of various agencies of the Mexican government in the heinous crime of the enforced disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College?
The latter, without a doubt, can explain the Mexican government’s change in position. But maybe the understanding that the coup has lost momentum, and that it will not be as easy to overthrow Maduro as Ruiz Massieu thought, had more weight. The unexperienced Ruiz Massieu would have said: Why sign yourself up for the costly moral and political support for an illegal cause, without a future and doomed for disaster and international disgrace?
The important thing is that Ruiz Massieu and the government that she poorly represents straightens out their mistake, in order to create a just, legal and noble diplomatic intervention. And it is important that they move away from violence to encourage a search for a peaceful solution.
In Ruiz Massieu’s new and plausible gesture, there is an evident loser. Those who seemed victorious for two months, are the defeated. The coup movement in Venezuela and mainly its most know instigator, Leopoldo López, are the defeated. From now on and before the obvious strengthening of Nicolás Maduro’s government, those in favor of a coup will have to search for power in the only way it is moral and politically correct: in the voting booths. But they already know that in the voting booths one can win and one can lose. And if one loses, they should continue working with citizens and not resort to criminally breaking constitutional order, like they wanted to and like the Leopoldo Lópezs, the Lilián Tintoris, the powerful transnational media and all of the leaders in Washington and Madrid clearly still want to.