The worst that can happen to democracy in Venezuela at a time like this is an opposition rift. It would be a total disaster
Unfortunately, an agreement was not reached between the government of Nicolás Maduro and the democratic sectors of Venezuela during the talks held in the Dominican Republic. Reports have shown that those who rule the country were never willing to come an understanding. The intentions of the Maduro regime were revealed thanks to a proposal made by the attending foreign ministers as José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the former Spanish Prime Minister, looked bad in the eyes of the public opinion. Definitely, this character must be left out for the forthcoming talks, which we hope will take place sooner rather than later.
We believe that the Opposition launched this initiative with a failure of origin: its delegation was not made up of all the factors it should have from the beginning. It seems to us that necessary efforts should have been made to ensure the presence of members from other opposition parties such as Causa R (Cause R) and Avanzada Progresista (Progressive Advance). However, having added a technical commission made up of top level representatives was a good move.
We find that the performance of delegation members was pretty good, yet we believe that they failed to communicate what they were doing and to confront the repeated lies from government spokespersons. We understand that at times they had to consult each other in order to adopt a position, but having blatantly exposed the incessant lies of Jorge Rodríguez, the Venezuelan Communications Minister and chief negotiator for the Government, was a very bad move.
Worst of all, no agreement was reached and a presidential election will be held in April. Participating or not is the first issue here. We initially encouraged participation, but the decision to bar the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) opposition coalition and some of its parties such as Primero Justicia (Justice First) and Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) from the presidential election, makes us reconsider the situation. We continue to believe that there is a big chance to defeat the Government through votes; that the vast majority of Venezuelans want to get out of this mess through peaceful and democratic means.
In any case, we hope that whatever the decision is the result of a political analysis made with the brain and not the liver. That everything is well discussed. That whatever the agreement reached is a unitary decision. The worst that can happen at a time like this is an opposition rift. It would be a total disaster.