Venezuela is currently beleaguered by an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. It is palpable. People are fed up with anything to do with politics. The country seems lost after over two decades of socialist rule.
To a great extent, the weight of this tragedy falls on the shoulders of the leadership that the international community crowned as the undisputed head of the Venezuelan opposition. They were at best mediocre and at worst accomplices. They were never up to the task and never had the real desire to liberate Venezuela. They deceived Venezuelans and deceived the world, which trusted them, welcomed them and exalted them.
The recent failure is the most bitter of all. The reason Venezuelans have submitted to their terrible reality is because nothing ever changes. Too many disappointments. Yet there is always hope.
María Corina Machado has been a coherent and timely voice for years. Without the millions of resources of Voluntad Popular and all the political machinery of those who made a business out of the crisis, she enjoys much more credibility and respect than those whom the world crowned at the time. And there she remains, in spite of so much. In spite of the fact that it does not seem wise, rational or convenient. Despite the personal sacrifices, which are unspeakable.
Today, March 24th, she took a step. In a video of several minutes, she bravely warned that world that in Venezuela there is a war. A war of tyranny, led by Nicolás Maduro, against an entire population. Recognizing that Venezuela is going through a conflict involves making several points clear: there can be no negotiation, no room for clean politics; the same logic as a kidnapping. It is the war of a regime against its governed; of a kidnapper against his hostages. And kidnappers, as Machado rightly says, are only treated with force and bullets.
Force is what is necessary, bullets is what is undesirable. Force is, for now, the pressure or the threat that eventually the bullets will come. And that is what Machado, who from Venezuela has continued to fight despite the threats she faces, demands from the international community, which has shown relative cyncicism towards the issue. The same cynicism that allowed the genocides Rwanda or Bosnia.
Machado’s step is decisive. There is no turning back after recognizing herself as one of the parties in a war, in this case where the people are being starved and humiliated. We must hope that this will help break with the hopelessness and docility of so many. There has been no revolution without inspiration. It is the responsibility of a leader. María Corina Machado took this step. It remains to be seen if she will be accompanied and if her cries, both brave and raw, end up merely as an echo in the distance.