All Eyes On Venezuela

Juan Guaidó and Leopoldo López in La Carlota with military deserters from the Maduro regime.

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, Havana, 30 April 2019 — The Americas awoke today with all eyes on Venezuela, an attention that extends to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and that keeps governments, citizens, exiles from that South American country, journalists and analysts in suspense. The world pulses today in Caracas, after months of tension and years in which the oil producing nation has been sliding down the slope of economic collapse, political authoritarianism and social deterioration.

The release of Leopoldo López and the call of Juan Guaidó to put an end to the “usurpation” have brought the Venezuelan situation to a turning point. In the next few hours the first steps could be taken towards a call for free elections or, to the contrary, a repressive blow – of unprecedented proportions – could be launched from the regime of Nicolás Maduro against those who demand his departure from power.

Beyond predictions or forecasts, the main actors of this political drama have reached a point of no return. The principal protagonist is a Venezuelan people weary of the inefficiency of the system, galloping corruption, inflation and the lack of basic products. A population that has seen its quality of life collapse and that has had to say goodbye, every week, to friends and family members as they emigrate to escape the crisis.

Also in the “cast” of this tragedy is starring young Guaidó, a man who has made a meteoric ascent in recent months, supported by the international community and by a good part of Venezuelans who have found, in the President of the National Assembly, hope for change. Now, accompanied by his mentor Leopoldo López, the passionate engineer is at the center of danger and of dreams. He could see out this day strengthened and borne on high, but his chances of arrest or assassination are also very high.

On the other side of the conflict, there is the Chavista leadership that tries to protect a regime that has allowed it to roam at ease throughout the country, lining its pockets. Ministers, officials and senior military officers who are supported by Havana, which has provided them with intelligence agents and advisors on the matters on which the Cuban political police are experts: the submission of a society and the surveillance of each individual. In the early hours of the morning, Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel was already on Twitter supporting Maduro and he is expected, throughout the day, to raise the tone of the official rhetoric against the Venezuelan opposition.

Both a tragedy and a peaceful exit are on the table. Each role in the conflict could bring influence to bear during the course of the day, but it is in the Miraflores Palace in Caracas and in the Plaza of the Revolution in Havana where the cruelty or peace of of this Tuesday will be decided. To that scenario we must add Washington, attentive to every detail and knowledgeable about everything that is at stake in Venezuela today.

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This text was originally published in the Deutsche Welle for Latin America.

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