From Kiev to Caracas

Opinions |Author: Vasil Stefanov | February 24, 2014, Monday // 14:10|  views

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro called for political dialogue with the opposition, just 5 days after ordering the arrest of its leader Leopoldo Lopez.

What happened in between, to provoke this sudden change of course?

Nearly 10,000 km away, in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, violent demonstrations left scores killed. Following these events, the Parliament removed President Viktor Yanukovych, opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was freed from prison, and early elections were scheduled.

Parallel to these events, Venezuelan police responded with brutal force against student protesters in Caracas, leaving 10 people dead.

I am far from thinking that Maduro's plan to sit on the negotiation table alongside his fiercest critics was the result of an enlightening dream he had.

The turbulent events in Ukraine appear to be seeping their way into the decision-making of Venezuela's Socialist leader. Relatively less experienced than Yanukovych as a President, Maduro is evidently making calculations regarding his self-preservation.

For both, Russia is a key ally. However, Ukraine being a next-door neighbor, Moscow's focus seems to fall on Kiev.

Maduro has every right to fear that if events in his country get out of hand, Russia will not have his back. After all, it failed to save Yanukovych.

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Tags: Ukraine, Venezuela, Viktor Yanukovych, Russia, nicolas maduro, Caracas, Kiev, Moscow, protests, demonstrations, Yulia Tymoshenko


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