The Venezuelan government and some opposition parties established the National Dialogue Table to reach a resolution to end the political crisis that has gripped Venezuela since neoliberal opposition leader Juan Guaidó unconstitutionally declared himself interim president of the country with U.S.-backing on January 10. The establishment of the National Dialogue Table between the Government and the Advanced Progressive Party by former presidential candidate Henry Falcón, the Movement to Socialism (MAS), the Solutions Movement and the Hope for Change Conservative Party led by evangelist Javier Bertucci, has changed the dynamics of the political crisis in Venezuela, especially since the signatories agreed on two critical points – possible elections and the denouncement of U.S.-led sanctions.
The five signatories agreed that socialist deputies be reinstated to the right-wing dominated National Assembly, along with the formation of a new National Electoral Council (CNE), to work with the Justice system to address the situation of detained politicians, the rejection of U.S. economic sanctions, the defense of Guyana Esequiba territorial dispute, and the roll-out of the oil-for-food exchange program.
This cooperation between the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela led by President Nicolás Maduro and the mostly right-wing opposition will prove to be a devastating blow to Guaidó who was only constructed as a U.S.-backed coup mechanism. With the opposition often disunited, they were always at least loosely united around a common goal of overthrowing the socialist Bolivarian Revolution that began after the ascendency of Hugo Chávez to the Venezuelan presidency in 1999.
The accession of career military officer Chávez to the presidency saw the beginning of what came to be known as ‘the Bolivarian Revolution’. The Chávez-led Bolivarian Revolution emphasized the redistribution of the country’s wealth by increasing the independence of the oil industry from international cartels. Importantly, Venezuela under Chávez became increasingly anti-hegemonic and opposed neo-liberalism and its institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Chávez also pushed for the economic and social integration of Latin America to make the region entirely independent from U.S. corporatist capitalism. This was to be achieved through initiatives like TeleSUR and The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Venezuela’s new-found sovereignty and majority control of its own oil since Chávez came to power has made it the target of U.S. aggression as the Latin American country threatens the control U.S. hyper capitalism has over the majority of the continent. Maduro replaced Chávez after his death in 2013 and continued the same economic and foreign policy of his predecessor. Because of this, the U.S. continues to employ all methods to stop the continuation of the Bolivarian Revolution.
With photos published last week of Guaidó smiling with two leaders of the dangerous Colombian paramilitary group, The Rastrojos, it is likely this triggered a move by the non-radical elements of the Venezuelan opposition. These images proved to be a turning point for the U.S.-backed opposition leader as not only do the photos show the intimacy Guaidó has with the criminal organization, that for years violated the Venezuelan economy and security on the border with Colombia, but it forced allied parties to be alienated from blatant criminality.
Los Rastrojos began in 2006 as a private army of drug trafficker and by 2009 had become, according to experts, the largest drug and terrorism criminal organization in Colombia. The narcoparamilitary group has a strong history of murder, drug trafficking and extortion. It certainly does raise questions against Guaidó, especially as he has openly called for a coup against Maduro and for foreign military intervention.
Therefore, Guaidó is just the latest extension of Washington’s attempts to stop the Bolivarian Revolution. However, with continued support from China and Russia, it can be argued that Venezuela would have collapsed under U.S. economic pressure. With Washington deeming Latin America to be “its backyard,” the increasing economic and military ties that Russia and China have with Venezuela has made the removal of Maduro all the more critical for the U.S.
The emergence of the multipolar world with the rise of Russia and China brings an end to U.S. unilateralism. This means that the two Eurasian powers can challenge Washington in its “own backyard.” However, as Guaidó has failed to topple Maduro through political and economic means on behalf of the U.S., and the latest revelations that he is connected to criminal organizations, among many other controversies including the embezzlement of funds, it is likely that the separation of these opposition parties signifies the beginning of the end of the latest bout of U.S. aggression against Venezuela that has persisted since January.
As the U.S. has failed to remove Maduro, Venezuela’s military ties and arms deals are only increasing with Russia and China. This suggests that the U.S. no longer has control of its so-called “backyard” as states are now capable of making independent decisions based on their states interests because of the rise of the multipolar world order. Therefore, this agreement between Maduro and the opposition can be seen as the beginning of the end of the U.S. dominance over Latin America.