A perverse, tragic and unending poker game in Latin America

November 30, 2007

I always found
the perverse ballet between Chavez and Uribe surrounding the hostage
negotiations to be fascinating. Here are two people who deal with each
other only because they have to but have very different goals,
accepting each other in order to achieve their own goals. The mystery
was why Uribe agreed to Chavez’ mediation. The third party, the FARC,
was tougher to figure out: What did the FARC want? It could be money;
it could be the ability to use Venezuelan territory at will, it could
be looking to even take advantge of the Bolivarian revolution to expand
its role in wealthier confines, the only question was why they did not
try  to help Chávez more along the way.
was clearly looking for fame. What else is new? That is what he strives
for, the limelight, the spotlight, the center of attention. He was
either looking for some sort of big impact before the December
referendum or trying to get his name nominated for the Nobel Peace
Uribe on the other hand was in my
opinion trying to see if the movements and logistics required by the
FARC to give Chávez evidence or more importantly, release the proof of
life, would force the FARC to commit an error and capture some of them.
Clearly, Uribe wished he would actually catch someone big in the
The FARC on the other hand have proven
to have some sort of hidden agenda, proving what I always believed,
that while Chávez has few scruples or regards for human rights, he is
as we say in Spanish “a breast feeding baby” compared to the FARC
leaders. Simply look at the cruelty in the way they hold hostages, kill
people and make the lives of the hostages and their families miserable
for years. They are truly cruel and terrorists and would not hesitate
to overrun Chavez if they could.
But the
question remains: Why didn’t the FARC deliver the required poof of life
in time? If the videos and pictures date as far back as October 23d.
why wasn’t at least part of it delivered to Chavez’ hands in time for
his visit to France? Allow Chavez to have some success but keep him on
a leash. Was there something Chavez asked but did not deliver? Maybe
the FARC are simply too independent to be impressed by the leader of
the Bolivarian revolution, even if they like to live off his wealth.
the end we will never know. Chavez got desperate and tried to bypass
the rules. Uribe broke up with him and suddenly (or coincidentally, who
knows?) they capture some underlings of the FARC with the material
Chávez wanted. To Uribe and Sarcozy, Chavez mediation seems to be over,
he had his time, he had his opportunity, but did not deliver and it has
been proven the FARC was toying with him. Thus, now Uribe and Sarcozy
can move forward on their own and deal with each other directly.
it is clear to me Uribe was toying with Chavez and his naïve believe
that his own interests and those of the FARC were aligned, I am not yet
sure what hand the FARC was playing or even trying to play in all this.
In the end, it is the individuals and their
families that are hurt by all of this, from the politicking to the
games, a sad game of political poker in which human beings, from Ingrid
Betancourt on down, are simply incidental figures to the ideological
and geopolitical games that mean little to the average citizen of Latin
America and their daily lives. It is in some sense part of the tragic
magic realism that seems to dominate our lives in the region, in the
name of ideologies while our people go hungry and without rights.
It is a perverse, tragic and unending poker game.

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