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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Caribbean Geopolitics Rejects Somaliazation of Venezuela
Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel reveals what machinations led to the release of Leopoldo Lopez by the Maduro regime in Venezuela.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

The world was not fully awakening to what was a post-U.S. Independence Day weekend when computer screens went ballistic. Leopoldo Lopez, the world's best known political prisoner after Aung San Suu Kyi, had been sent home in an unexpected move by the Maduro Administration in Venezuela to trade imprisonment for home detention.

The move sent shock waves through the world, especially given that it was preceded by a brutal attack by government-backed mobs on the National Assembly on the very same day that remembrance of the country's Independence was taking place.

The incident prompted a worldwide rejection that left the Maduro Administration isolated and reeling.

Several phone conversations took place between the highly questioned president of Venezuela and his remaining diehard allies: Cuba and Russia. Both seem to believe that lest an international negotiation takes place, the country will drift into a collapse that could send up to 5 million people to the Caribbean Basin which includes U.S. territory.

And neither current inhabitants of that waterway nor its allies seem to stand ready to defray a cost directly attributable to the Venezuelan regime mismanagement of economics, politics and international relations.

An international mediation spearheaded by Canada and supported by Spain thus took hold.

The departure point of the effort was the memo signed by both the government of Venezuela and the opposition back in December 2016 under the auspices of the Vatican.

The document provides a framework to build a negotiated agreement that brings the country back to freedom and stability and eventually prosperity.

The Vatican Memorandum is to the future of Venezuela what the Tesoro Beach Agreement was for Central American peace. It has all the elements to bring together a country that up to now has been steadily marching towards a state dissolution similar to that experienced by Somalia beginning in the 1980's.

For those unaware of the whereabouts and recent history of Somalia it will suffice to remind them that besides being run for almost two decades by crime gangs, the country was the base for the most effective pirate fleet of the 20th and 21st centuries.

But Venezuela is not at the Horn of Africa where only 6 coastline countries are located. These nations are mostly deserted and, except for Saudi Arabia, rather poor.

Venezuela is located at the center of the most southern Caribbean border sharing with at least 10 countries that coastline. Moreover, Venezuela's Paraguana Peninsula dominates the Eastern Caribbean from the times of the Spaniard colonization and could effectively block sea traffic coming out of Colombia. Further it also dominates the entry to the Panama Canal.

Given world trade trends, the Caribbean Basin is set to fuel about 35% of world GDP. This economic lifeblood would flow from the merger of the Transpacific and Transatlantic trade corridors. And it would nurture the U.S. economic retooling.

A catastrophe in the Caribbean is thus not tolerable and this possibility seemed to be on its way to materialization when the government backed goons attacked the Venezuelan congress. To be sure, the attack reminded policy makers in the hemisphere of the significance of this modern-day Mare Nostrum.

The Caribbean is key to the America's prosperity, as it provides the hemisphere with protection from hostile invasions from extra regional powers; with energy both from fossil as well as solar and wind sources; with fertile lands to produce energy and feed people; with a center of trade that enhances national GDPs and with a population diversity that enriches culture.

Catastrophes, thus, have no place in the Caribbean and the international community began to seriously back the Vatican Memorandum which contemplates as first and confidence building measure of the liberation of political prisoners. Mr. Lopez being the most conspicuous of them all.



Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.



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