By Carlos Alberto Montaner
I am told that Nicolás Maduro is deeply depressed.
His country’s situation is extremely serious and there is no relief for the crisis.
It will get progressively worse.
He knows it. He has even thought of committing suicide. “The Cubans” are very concerned with that possibility.
He would not be the first Latin American ruler to do something like that in the 20th century. In 1954, Brazilian Getulio Vargas shot himself in the heart. During Augusto Pinochet’s coup on September 11, 1973, Salvador Allende used the submachine gun that Fidel Castro had given him to kill himself. On July 4, 1982, Antonio Guzmán Fernández, the Dominican president, locked himself in a bathroom and shot himself in the temple.
All three of them committed suicide because they thought they had no “tomorrow.” That’s the key to the decision. They believed, and they were somewhat right, that the ordeal would have no end.
Jorge Rodríguez, a psychiatrist, is the most concerned of Maduro’s accomplices. He has asked to preside over the National Assembly as the last effort to steer the process. If Maduro kills himself (or is killed) Rodríguez would move to Miraflores to rule over the remains of Venezuela.
After all, Rodriguez has been cheating since the 2004 revocatory referendum.
Venezuelans perfectly remember how at 8 pm the quick count at the electoral polls, carried out by a very prestigious firm, revealed that 60% had voted to revoke Chávez, who was only supported by 40%.
But at 4 am, while the country slept, the results had magically been reversed and Jorge Rodríguez, on behalf of the CNE, proudly announced it. It was the first time that electronic machines had been used to commit fraud.
Poor Jimmy Carter believed it and endorsed the monstrosity from the Carter Center in Atlanta.
The sanctions of the United States and of half the planet, including those of the very circumspect and discreet Switzerland, were closing the circle relentlessly. The last episode was the most serious. Four ships run from Greece – Bella, Bering, Luna and Pandi – but with more than a million barrels of gasoline from Iran sent to Venezuela, were detained on the high seas and the oil taken to Houston, Texas, and the funds taken by the U.S. Treasury, as revealed by the expert Russ Dallen.
There is no money whatsoever in the Venezuelan coffers. There is no credit or ability to pay what is owed. Maduro can’t even trust the Bank of England. More than a billion dollars in gold bars, while this metal’s price rises, have been provisionally confiscated because the ruler recognized by the United Kingdom is Juan Guaidó, according to Her Majesty’s High Court.
That means that the U.S. strategy is paying off. It was started by Obama, who was genuinely concerned about the ties between Venezuela and Iran, when the price of a barrel of oil was around a hundred dollars, and it has been followed by Donald Trump, now that the barrel is less than half that value. This shows Maduro that it is useless to dream with a possible Trump defeat in the November 3 elections. The policy is bipartisan. If Biden wins, it wouldn’t make a big difference.
The U.S. has figured out how to defeat almost all of its enemies without firing a single shot. True, it must put all its financial weight on the effort. It is not worth saying “but Cuba has not been defeated by the embargo.” If the United States had insisted on it with the same strength as against Venezuela, surely the results would have been different.
Elliott Abrams, the U.S. diplomat in charge of coordinating government measures against Maduro’s Venezuela, is encouraging the opposition to join. The goal is to assemble a common front in the event that Maduro has decided to immolate himself in free elections because it is impossible to rule the country due to lack of resources. Maduro only had 30 million dollars a few days ago and insufficient gasoline to cover even the most urgent needs. The purpose of that union is to tell Maduro that they would agree to participate in the elections, as long as they are organized by Luis Almagro and the OAS.
As we are talking about a gruesome regime (to understand the intensity of the disaster, you must read Castrochavismo Internacional: 20 years of ambition and destruction, compiled by academic María Teresa Romero) it should be considered to what extent it is necessary to agree with the narco-dictatorship to turn the page. Nobody has the moral or legal authority to decree an amnesty, but following the Spanish example after Franco’s death, it is possible to negotiate a temporary amnesia of eight or ten years and then ... whatever God wants. ©Firmas PressCarlos 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 Sin ir más lejos (Memories), published by Debate, a label of Penguin-Random House.