I thought long about whether to write this or not. The Carter Center presented today two proposals to the negotiation table. I am sure they are nothing new to the negotiation table, except that Carter is here and it is news. What is new, is a different style of negotiation than Gaviria’s, more upfront, with distribution of the proposals to the press and everything. (I wonder how Gaviria feels about it). Carter said Chavez would be amenable to either, but I am not. Basically, the two proposals include an end to the strike, rehiring of PDVSA workers, commitment etc.. One proposes a recall referendum on August 19th., the second a Constitutional amendment to shorten the Presidential period to four years, allowing reelection.
I don’t like the recall referendum. It takes too long, there has to be elections after it and, in some sense, there is nothing that is negotiated, give or take two months, that is the law. I can’t see why Chavez would like it either, he would not be able to run in the elections after it. I like the second proposal, amendment and then immediate elections. Only an electoral mandate can stabilize the country and establish some foundation for a different and peaceful Venezuela.