Jimmy Carter plans trip to Venezuela
What could go wrong? A lot, if you consider the former peanut farmer and president’s last intervention in Venezuela.
Joshua Goodman of AP reports on Carter’s expressed interest in going to Caracas:
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is expressing concern about Venezuela's escalating political crisis and wants to meet with leaders on both sides in an upcoming trip.
Carter, a mediator of past political conflict in the deeply polarized South American nation, made the offer in private letters he sent this week to President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
Expressing "grave concern" about the loss of life in recent protests and the risk of more conflict ahead, Carter in the letter to Capriles said that for dialogue aimed at easing tensions to succeed both sides must "send signals of their willingness to alleviate the present state of tension."
For the opposition, that means making clear its commitment to act within constitutional limits and strongly reject violence, the Nobel peace laureate wrote. In turn the government must guarantee the right to peaceful protest and impartial justice for jailed protesters.
"It is difficult for elected officials from opposition parties to resolve differences when they feel threatened and persecuted," Carter wrote.
Venezuelan blogger Daniel Duquenal has posted an open letter to Carter, begging him not to go:
Please, desist from your trip: you have absolutely no credibility in Venezuela. Here is why.
Your last actions in Venezuela have had disastrous results for the democracy here. When these became obvious you remained strangely silent for years, and only suddenly you wake up again. I will summarize just three of them that would require from you the most sincere apology and attempts to make amends if we are ever to consider you seriously again.
You promoted in 2003-2004 a discussion table so that we would go to a recall election. We should have never had to negotiate on that since it is a constitutional right. But your "negotiation" gave in fact the ability to the regime to manipulate the conditions for that right as it pleased, resulting not only in electoral fraud but also into the Tascon List which it is still in application today. I have yet to read an unambiguous stern condemnation of the Tascon List from your part. In case your forgot, the Tascon List was the list with the names of the millions that signed for a recall election and who since have been actively discriminated against by the regime. Also, the members of that table that you were supposed to protect have done poorly since, without a word of protection from you. In short, your lenience toward Chavez then was a nice stepping stone for the abuses that came later.
You called very early, too early, the result of the recall election of 2004 as fair. You always refused to look at the statistical evidence presented by many people that questioned the quality of the result. By doing so you gave an argument to Chavez supporters around the world that this was the "best" electoral system even though with time even the Carter Center has come to acknowledge some problems. Following this laxity we got an outright stealing of election in April 2013 that we are waiting, by the way, for the Carter Center to at least make a strong "exhortation". In short, your blind eye to early electoral violations have not only allowed for Chavez autocracy to consolidate but has allowed Venezuela to lose free and fair elections altogether.
A few months after the recall election you interceded so that your friend and noted narcissistic opportunist Gustavo Cisneros would not be hurt too much by Chavez after his initial opposition. Maybe you wanted to keep fishing pabon in peace with him? Whatever that meeting was it started with the political self neutering of Venevision network, which was followed by the closing of RCTV, its main business competition and little by little in the end of freedom of expression and information on the air waves of Venezuela. Have you ever expressed regrets? Cisneros certainly has not. In short, you are in part, large part maybe, responsible that in Venezuela today we have lost freedom of expression.
Based on these three items I shiver at the thought of what future calamity your announced visit would bring to us. Maybe the validation of concentration camps so that protesting students could cool off for a few years while not endangering themselves or the community?
Hat tip: Monica Showalter