14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 2 September 2015 — The paranoid frenzy of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has reached delirium levels, and now, in the midst of the crisis taking place on the border between his country and Colombia, and in the course of his untimely visit to Vietnam, geographically removed from the diplomatic cloud of dust he provoked, he appeared on Hanoi national television and took the opportunity to accuse Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, of “turning a blind eye” to the campaign which – he claims to have proof — is being orchestrated in Bogota to kill him.
What began a few years ago as innocent conversations with a bird Maduro claimed to be the ghost of his tutor, the late Hugo Chávez, has ended up becoming a sequence of hallucinations about a true international conspiracy to assassinate him – since he is so famous and important — and destroy the Bolivarian Revolution, as if he himself hadn’t wholeheartedly taken on responsibility for that task.
In addition to all this, he is calling for Latin American and Caribbean nations to help Colombia confront the last decade’s flow of “humanitarian exodus” of Colombians to Venezuela, as they flee “from drug trafficking, paramilitaries, war, famine, homelessness and inhumanity.” Maduro chose to be discreet about the increasing emigration of his nationals to the United States and other destinations, as well as shortages, rising poverty, violence, insecurity and the power of armed groups known as “colectivos” in Venezuela, who kill, terrorize and repress with total impunity.
Meanwhile, the Colombian President has accused his Venezuelan counterpart of causing the humanitarian crisis on the border, by deporting (“repatriating”) over a thousand Colombians settled in Venezuelan soil in that area, and also precipitating the exodus of another 7,000, who chose to return to Colombia rather than to suffer the same fate as their compatriots.
Maduro chose to be discreet about the increasing emigration of his nationals to the United States and other destinations, as well as shortages, rising poverty, violence, insecurity and the power of armed groups known as “colectivos”
At the same time, it has become known that Colombian authorities are prepared to grant citizenship to Venezuelans who are a part of the Colombian families deported by Maduro.
In the midst of such a delicate situation, which must be settled at the September 3rd meeting of the Union of South Nations (UNASUR), after Colombia’s failed request for a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of American States (OAS), analysts are wondering how the diplomatic conflict between the two governments will affect talks on the peace process between the Colombian Government and representatives of the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) being held in Havana, in which the Venezuelan government is acting as mediator.
Another conjecture tat intrigues public opinion is the role the government of Cuban General-President Raúl Castro will play in the conflict, given the close relationship and influence which, according to rumors, Havana supremacy brandishes over its Venezuelan counterpart. In any case, the absence of a clear official statement on the Cuban position on this conflict raises a few eyebrows.
However, it is known that the Palace of the Revolution octogenarians are masters of conspiracy, and generally choose to wait out the course of events and possible outcomes before making statements in order to adjust the tone and commitments according to their own interests.
Presumably, in sharp contrast to the chaos of the Venezuelan president, the Cuban General-President will try to maintain a reasonable balance.
However, it has also come to light that Cuban doctors on missions in Venezuela have received guidelines to act “in defense of the Bolivarian revolution” in case of an armed conflict and, according to the official Cuban media, Cuban doctors who carry out their professional duties in the border area of Táchira are continuing to provide their services without interruption, despite the “state of emergency” declared by President Nicolas Maduro, counter to the irregularities that have taken place from this conflict.
Nor is difficult to guess on whose side the sympathies of the leadership of the Cuban power rest, especially when there are reservations about the possible role it played in the steps taken by the Venezuelan president regarding the closure of the border there. In any case, Venezuela remains an important card to the Cuban government as long as there is no verified effective progress in its new relations with the US, and as long as the long-awaited investment of foreign capital in Cuba has not taken place.
We mustn’t forget that the forces that oppose “normalization” and the lifting of the embargo between the circles of political power in the US hang, like the sword of Damocles, over the controversial process of talks between Havana and Washington. Presumably, in sharp contrast to the chaos of the Venezuelan president, the Cuban General-President is trying to maintain a reasonable balance, weighing every step. A collision against Colombia and its allies may be as risky as turning its back on Chavez’s deranged heir. Because, as clearly as an old Spanish proverb indicates: A bird in the hand is worth more than a hundred in flight.
Translated by Norma Whiting