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Is it possible to dialogue with Hugo Chavez?

By Aleksander Boyd

London 02 September 2004 – A victorious Hugo Chavez tried to make peace recently with Venezuela’s middle class and the business chamber. He invited all to recognise his mandate and to get acquainted with the revolution. As a gesture of goodwill I wrote him a letter asking for information and expressing my willingness to form part of the reconstruction team of people that will be needed to lay the foundations of a stable and productive Venezuela.

Hugo Chavez is a very busy president and it would be foolish of me to expect a response to my communication. In contrast I recall having sent a letter to the UK’s Prime Minister Tony Blair once, by all standards another extremely engaged individual. On July 7 2003 -less than a week after receipt of my letter- I got a response signed by Steve Aust from the Direct Communications Unit stating:

Dear Mr Boyd,

The Prime Minister has asked me to thank you for your recent letter, the contents of which will be carefully noted.

Mr Blair has asked that your letter be passed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which has particular responsibility for the matter you raise so that they are also aware of your views.

Yours sincerely,
Steve Aust.

I know that Blair did not read my letter but at least someone took the pain to read it, pass it to the appropriate department and write a brief reply relevant to the points I raised. That is not the case in my country. The chamber of industrialists also took the bait and expressed they would be willing to dialogue with Mr Chavez, only to be scolded by Vice President Rangel and dual minister Chacon. That Chavez ‘won’ the recall and the results will never be changed everyone is sure of. His calls for reconciliation need to be upheld by the government though for 41% of the population opposing it is not a minority that should be scolded or ignored. Furthermore said percentage of the citizenry can hardly be classified as oligarchs or elitists ergo Chavez’ administration would be in a much better position to govern should a truce with opponents be agreed and honoured.

Me, I am expectant for the days ahead. A new opposition leadership has to emerge from this juncture and it can not be composed of political dinosaurs such as Teodoro Petkoff, Eduardo Fernandez or Claudio Fermin. We need untainted leaders without pending accounts and we also need a true commitment on the part of the government to allows us to participate.

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