HAVANA TIMES — I hadn’t wanted to comment on what is happening in Venezuela, primarily because I am prone to writing on Cuba’s problems more than foreign ones. And secondly, because as always our media only gives one version of the events and I don’t want to err inappropriately.
Since explicit expressions of rejection of the government of President Nicolas Maduro began on January 23, starting with a peaceful march of students and became guarimba (as Venezuelans call street protests) I noted the harsh tone used by the president to refer to anyone that opposes him.
Loss of life and property damage has been the balance of these brawls between Chavistas and adversaries. Things went a bit far and both sides resorted to violence, which seems to be inevitable in this country, almost divided in half.
When the media began to cover these clashes international public opinion became vocal according to which side you receive communion from.
While it is true that there was an entire media campaign from the right and its allies within and outside the country to exaggerate what was happening, the government’s media also divulged what was convenient.
From the moment they spoke of a possible intervention (in my opinion unnecessary), the president had no choice but to lower the tone and invite all parties to a peace conference.
Much of the opposition (the less extreme part) heeded the call of the government and are now engaged in trying to contain the outbreaks of violence. Fortunately the wave of excesses has declined.
But the tone of Maduro is still a little rough. He likes to hurl pejorative adjectives at his antagonists. He makes threats and appears a little paranoid, because any president, foreign minister, artist or whoever says something the ex-bus driver doesn’t like he throws a fit and breaks off relations.
In one of the meetings of the Peace Conference, someone reproached him for having used the term: we are going to tame you, referring to the rioting students. He also talked at some point of sending tanks out in the state of Táchira if necessary (no one told me this this, I heard him on Telesur TV).
Hopefully Venezuelans can resolve their differences without more violence. But clearly in diplomacy Maduro has a long way to go; he will have to modify his harsh tone.