Habemus Colloquium!!!

Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel looks at the promises and perils of dialogue in the Trump camp as the President Elect forms a "team of rivals" and in Venezuela, where the team of rivals -- the Government and the Opposition -- continue talking at Vatican mediated talks.

Two mind-blowing news events marked the week of November the 7th through the 11th.

First came the results of the U.S. elections which sent the world in a spiraling wave of astonishment, as all polls and surveys proved to be deadly wrong.

Then along came the results of a dialogue between representatives of the Venezuelan government and sectors of the opposition.

Again, astonishment settled in.

The first communique seems to be a rubber stamping of the government procedures which besides being unconstitutional clearly are brutal. Indeed, they remind us of the famous dictum by Genghis Kahn “The Greatest Happiness is to scatter your enemy and drive him before you.” And scattering of enemies was surely done both by Mr Trump as well as the Venezuelan Government!!

Both developments have interesting repercussions for the hemisphere that are worthwhile recording.

First, they have either promoted or been based upon dialogue.

Dialogue in Venezuela was promoted by, among other international actors, the Holy See which responded to the growing humanitarian crisis. Dialogue is what election results have triggered in the President Elect camp ever since November the 8th.

And dialogue is perhaps the most valuable asset produced by civilization. It indeed serves the ideal of aggregating interests and solving disputes without having to resort to Mr Kahn’s practices. But for dialogue to have beneficial properties it needs to pursue clear and attainable goals.

The significance of setting goals is particularly important under deteriorating conditions where every living being seeks survival and thus is ready to kill for a loaf of bread.

This principle is being observed by the President Elect of the United States who has engaged important leaders of his country and the world in diverse dialogues with very well defined objectives. With Henry Kissinger, he dealt with world geopolitics and the means to create world order under the principles of balance of power. With the prime minister of Japan, President-Elect Trump discussed his views on the TTP.

The principle however seemed to have been obliterated by representatives of the opposition in Venezuela who sat at a negotiating table like one sits on a porch to chat with grandma.

Everything and everyone was contemplated and thus no breaking ground took place.

In a sense the exercise was positive for the government, as it badly needed an easing of popular pressures to prevent violence from erupting. The opposition, on the contrary, seems to have walked away empty handed unless the rumor about the liberation of political prisoners is accurate in which case this would be a game changing event.
Going forward we shall see the fruits of both dialogues taking place on the Northern and Southern shores of the Caribbean Sea.

Should the President elect discover its properties, he could perhaps adopt it as his vehicle to success in public policy formulation. Then the U.S. could truly overcome its current economic and political stalemate.

Should representatives of the opposition in Venezuela learn from this bitter experience and begin to set clear goals to the Holy See brokered dialogue and design a strategy to achieve such goals, then Venezuela could come out from its current predicament. Otherwise it will just muddle through to closer resemble Haitian history.

Published by Latin American Herald Tribune on November 21st, 2016.