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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Carlos Alberto Montaner: Venezuela or How to Postpone the Crisis Using the Nicaraguan Model
Latin American genius Carlos Alberto Montaner on the Nicaraguan experience -- a potential way for the world to negotiate with Cuba for a way out of the current disaster in Venezuela.

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

They’re about to put Juan Guaidó in jail.

Nicolás Maduro and the Cuban intelligence are weighing up the decision.

The arrest of Edgar Zambrano, First Vice President of the National Assembly, is a general rehearsal for the arrest of President Guaidó. They are testing the waters.

Maduro and Raul Castro have come to the conclusion that it is not possible to control power with another center of authority on the loose in Venezuela.

I do not mention the Cuban “president” Miguel Díaz-Canel because he is the errand boy.

They plan to totally destroy the National Assembly, accusing it of “treason to the homeland.”

Madurism does not care that nobody believes it. The game consists in creating parallel alibis to “explain” the disaster. The Venezuelans escape from paradise confused by the siren song of the enemies. The truth does not matter. Only the story.

The Cuban regime is desperate, but draws its strategy to stay afloat. He needs the Venezuelan subsidy as Dracula needed the blood of his victims. The intelligence “apparatus” of Havana believes, at this point, that Donald Trump is a dog that barks but not bites. That’s why they handle him with kid gloves and reserve the heavy artillery against Marco Rubio, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Elliot Abrams.

The conclusion reached by Cuban intelligence regarding Trump has a certain logic.

If he wants to withdraw from the Middle East, what would be the point in sending the troops into Venezuela?

If he is capable of weakening NATO or the European Union, because he is convinced that his country pays the lion’s share and does not benefit at all, why he would play the role of “head of the free world” in Latin America when Latin Americans are the most affected?

If the chubby from North Korea is sometimes the rocket man and sometimes a reliable boy, why fear the White House tenant?

They already know that they are in front of a salesman who says anything, and threatens and kicks, but does not act.

However, Nicolás Maduro has the smell of the past. He came to the power in a sort of smuggling operation.

At the beginning of 2013, when Hugo Chávez died, the Cuban regime chose Maduro not because of his virtues, but because of his weaknesses.

It was the “turn” of Diosdado Cabello, but he was too independent a rascal who did not follow anyone’s orders.

Maduro, on the other hand, was obedient and would maintain the only thing that Havana was interested in: the supply of oil and the unholy moneys that were shared by the nomenclatures of both dictatorships.

Maduro must leave the game to save Cuban interests. Everyone already knows that the new man of Cuba is General Vladimir Padrino López, head of the Armed Forces, and the person who managed to abort the coup on April 30.

But how can the big change be achieved? One possibility is to convince the Lima Group, the United States and the opposition itself of the need to solve the crisis through the “Nicaraguan model.”

In 1990 the Sandinista dictatorship accepted to hold elections thinking that it would win, as almost all the polls indicated, including those ordered by Washington. But the unthinkable happened: Doña Violeta Chamorro won by a huge margin, as Don Oscar Arias had predicted to me after seeing the papers of Borge y Asociados, a modest Costa Rican company whose guess was totally right.

At that point, the Sandinistas had against them the majority of the population and the United States, but they kept the military apparatus, so they made an unseemly proposition that everyone eventually accepted. The Sandinistas would admit the defeat at the polls in exchange for remaining at the helm of the Armed Forces without the new government being able to control them.

In Havana they think that Maduro’s departure can occur in the same way with a variant: impeccable elections in which Chavism would be defeated, but Padrino López would remain in charge of the armed forces and the agreement of exchanging oil for doctors – a vital agreement for Cuba – would be respected, as well as the return to the sweet relationship between the two countries during the Obama era.

Otherwise, Cuba would unleash another Camarioca, another Mariel, another raft exodus on the United States, given that the island has plenty of potential migrants eager to reach U.S. soil.

I hope the United States does not succumb again.

Thirty years after the 1990 elections, Daniel Ortega continues to gravitate over Nicaragua and Socialism of the 21st Century remains in that country, in Venezuela and in Bolivia.

The problem cannot be solved with band aids, but with drastic measures.

Obviously, the Cuban regime is to blame.

Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.


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