By Beatrice E. Rangel
The world was not fully awakening to what was a post-U.S. Independence Day weekend when computer screens went ballistic. Leopoldo Lopez, the world's best known political prisoner after Aung San Suu Kyi, had been sent home in an unexpected move by the Maduro Administration in Venezuela to trade imprisonment for home detention.
The move sent shock waves through the world, especially given that it was preceded by a brutal attack by government-backed mobs on the National Assembly on the very same day that remembrance of the country's Independence was taking place.
The incident prompted a worldwide rejection that left the Maduro Administration isolated and reeling.
Several phone conversations took place between the highly questioned president of Venezuela and his remaining diehard allies: Cuba and Russia. Both seem to believe that lest an international negotiation takes place, the country will drift into a collapse that could send up to 5 million people to the Caribbean Basin which includes U.S. territory.
And neither current inhabitants of that waterway nor its allies seem to stand ready to defray a cost directly attributable to the Venezuelan regime mismanagement of economics, politics and international relations.
An international mediation spearheaded by Canada and supported by Spain thus took hold.
The departure point of the effort was the memo signed by both the government of Venezuela and the opposition back in December 2016 under the auspices of the Vatican.
The document provides a framework to build a negotiated agreement that brings the country back to freedom and stability and eventually prosperity.
The Vatican Memorandum is to the future of Venezuela what the Tesoro Beach Agreement was for Central American peace. It has all the elements to bring together a country that up to now has been steadily marching towards a state dissolution similar to that experienced by Somalia beginning in the 1980's.
For those unaware of the whereabouts and recent history of Somalia it will suffice to remind them that besides being run for almost two decades by crime gangs, the country was the base for the most effective pirate fleet of the 20th and 21st centuries.
But Venezuela is not at the Horn of Africa where only 6 coastline countries are located. These nations are mostly deserted and, except for Saudi Arabia, rather poor.
Venezuela is located at the center of the most southern Caribbean border sharing with at least 10 countries that coastline. Moreover, Venezuela's Paraguana Peninsula dominates the Eastern Caribbean from the times of the Spaniard colonization and could effectively block sea traffic coming out of Colombia. Further it also dominates the entry to the Panama Canal.
Given world trade trends, the Caribbean Basin is set to fuel about 35% of world GDP. This economic lifeblood would flow from the merger of the Transpacific and Transatlantic trade corridors. And it would nurture the U.S. economic retooling.
A catastrophe in the Caribbean is thus not tolerable and this possibility seemed to be on its way to materialization when the government backed goons attacked the Venezuelan congress. To be sure, the attack reminded policy makers in the hemisphere of the significance of this modern-day Mare Nostrum.
The Caribbean is key to the America's prosperity, as it provides the hemisphere with protection from hostile invasions from extra regional powers; with energy both from fossil as well as solar and wind sources; with fertile lands to produce energy and feed people; with a center of trade that enhances national GDPs and with a population diversity that enriches culture.
Catastrophes, thus, have no place in the Caribbean and the international community began to seriously back the Vatican Memorandum which contemplates as first and confidence building measure of the liberation of political prisoners. Mr. Lopez being the most conspicuous of them all.Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.
Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet seriesBeatrice Rangel: Rio -- Demystifying the Olympic Games
Beatrice Rangel: The Luddite Syndrome in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Venezuela's Unexpected Transition
Beatrice Rangel: We Now Have a Wider Canal But Has Our Wisdom Expanded???
Beatrice Rangel: From Brexit to Tesla, Progress is Made by Leaders!!!
Beatrice Rangel: As the World Goes Latin, Latin America Gets Logical
Beatrice Rangel: On the Difficulties of Fighting Barbarism in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: The Impending Age of Housekeeping!!!!
Beatrice Rangel: What Happened to All Those Rosy Forecasts for Latin America?
Beatrice Rangel: On Dialogue and the Rules of Geopolitics in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: The Ides of Wisdom in Venezuela
Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Populism
Beatrice Rangel: Three Ladies in Distress
Beatrice Rangel: Trump, Lula, Kirchner and the Last Tupi-Guaranis
Beatrice Rangel: Time for Departures in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: A Contrarian View on the Panama Papers
Beatrice Rangel: Brazil's Lady in Her Labyrinth
Beatrice Rangel: Back to a Divided Home!!!
Beatrice Rangel: A Historical Take-Off in the Americas??
Beatrice Rangel: A Skipped Journey, a Reaffirmation and a Clearing of Path in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: The Demise of Civility in the Americas!!
Beatrice Rangel: The Americas from Boutros Boutros-Ghali to Ban Ki Moon
Beatrice Rangel: The Pope's Difficult Stopover in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Farewell to The “Diplomacy of Reason”
Beatrice Rangel: 2 Diseases in Latin America -- Different Prescriptions, Very Different Outcomes
Beatrice Rangel: On Health Alerts and the Long Arm of Justice in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: When Crime Meets Glory
Beatrice Rangel: Playing Hansel and Gretel in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Good News/Bad News Starts The Monkey Leap Year
Beatrice Rangel: The Gifts of Christmas!!!!!!
Beatrice Rangel: Crying Wolf in Venezuela
Beatrice Rangel: A 21st Century Tale of Two Cities
Beatrice Rangel: Are the Americas Ready for President Trump?
Beatrice Rangel: On Predictions of War & Global Confusion
Beatrice Rangel: Paris and the Return of Fear
Beatrice Rangel: Marijuana & Latin America's Next Trade Corridor
Beatrice Rangel: Of Burning Airplanes & Argentinean Tsunamis
Beatrice Rangel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Americas!!
Beatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Pride and Perjury in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Trompe L’oeils Proliferate in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: The Economic Consequences of Peace in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: Colombia, the FARC & the Makings of Gangland in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen
Beatrice Rangel: When Ladies Hit 70
Beatrice Rangel: About Uninformed Elites and Gullible Leaders
Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela
Beatrice Rangel: On the Many Ways Cecil Matters
Beatrice Rangel: Blue Moons Lead to Extraordinary Happenings in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: On Why Embassy Openings Do Not Necessarily Herald Different Policies
Beatrice Rangel: When Jupiter meets Venus
Beatrice Rangel: When Markets and Manners Crash
Beatrice Rangel: From Grexit to Exit, Contagion is in the Air
Beatrice Rangel: An Infuriated God & An Environmental Crusader Mark the Summer Solstice
Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome
Beatrice Rangel: The Ugly Americas
Beatrice Rangel: How FIFA Corrupted the Beautiful Game in the Americas and World
Beatrice Rangel: Could the US RICO Act Be Applied to Latin America?
Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!
Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress
Beatrice Rangel: Withdrawal Symptoms?
Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit
Beatrice Rangel: Easter Miracles in Latin America and the World
Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity
Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox
Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care
Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves
Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters
Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??
Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???
Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks
Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??
Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!
Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls
Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE
Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!
Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!
Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!
Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way
Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?
Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?
Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths
Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil
Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace