The Venezuelan crisis won’t be solved in eight days, although Pedro Sánchez has set such a deadline for new elections to be held as he leads a weak common position of the European Union, entailing an ultimatum to convoke a legitimate electoral process or otherwise face the European recognition of Guaidó. But the political conflict initiated by Chávez; based on the inequalities caused by oil and the manipulation of leftist Caribbean populism; blasting propaganda for his new Bolivarian pillagers; illiberal at first then illegitimate later; finally turned tragicomedy by Nicolás Maduro, has produced a fracture in society and an economic crisis from which Venezuela will take years, sweat and toil to overcome.
Internal division and political chaos are not the only elements that have hindered a negotiated solution. In these long years of the century, the conflict in Venezuela has progressively globalized to become another piece of the geopolitical chessboard. On one side sits the United States, most of the main Latin American countries and democratic Europe, from which side they will continue play. On the other sits Russia, China and Turkey, who see in Venezuela an exchangeable pawn for a favorable solution to Syria and Ukraine, or for the bishop that is the trade war. Venezuelans have moved from the fringes and from hyperinflation to the world of global politics without having anything to put in their mouths.
Europe is now looking for a place of its own that is within the parameters of democracy but outside of American speculation that has one hand tied and Donald Trump’s as the other. A place that only Felipe González knows so well, which consists of choosing for a democracy, an economy and development instead of socialism and ruin. But fair means are only fair if situated between two evils. For that reason, the balance between democracy and non-democracy is not half democracy or the eight-day ultimatum. Otherwise, legitimate democratic restoration is the only way to go.
By José María Peredo
Professor of Communication and International Politics at the European University