The all-encompassing tragedy devouring Venezuela has been front page material for over a month. Thus, nobody was particularly surprised when three world leaders discussed the matter this past week with a 6 hour relay between the three statements.
President Trump opened fire at the press conference held in the midst of the official visit by President Juan Manuel Santos from Colombia by describing the ongoing economic meltdown cum fierce government repression as "People don't have enough to eat. People have no food. There's great violence. And we will do whatever is necessary, and we'll work together to do whatever is necessary to help with fixing that, and I'm really talking on a humanitarian level."
Next was Vladimir Putin who described the situation in Venezuela as a humanitarian crisis while offering to send food and medical supplies and calling for elections to resolve the dilemma.
Finally, it was Emmanuel Macron's turn. France and its European allies consider of utmost priority to bring violence to a halt in Venezuela and tend to the humanitarian crisis. A credible international or regional mediation effort should be set in place with a view to establish a dialogue conducive to stabilization.
Would these statements have taken place earlier in the horrific crisis or before the UN Security Council 's meeting on Venezuela, one would have thought that they were off-liners.
These are comments made by world leaders on a pressing issue to give the impression they are on top of world affairs but not intending to act upon the specific comment. We thus need to figure out what triggered these perfectly orchestrated comments.
And ... the answer is Geopolitics!!
Indeed, whether we like it or not, after many decades of treating Venezuela as a Caribbean nuisance, its feats have finally earned the country an entrance into the hall of world geopolitics.
A complicated global chess game has just started with Russia and the United States involved in an opening played by President Trump and responded by Mr Putin with what is dubbed by chess players as Sicilian Opening. This effective move is described by chess experts as "having a combative nature; in many lines Black is playing not just for equality, but for the advantage. The drawback is that White often obtains an early initiative, so Black has to take care not to fall victim to a quick attack."
Such quick attack could come from a move by the U.S. to -- once the OAS removes Venezuela's seal of democratic quality -- declare at the U.N. Security Council the need for the international community to step into the humanitarian crisis.
And from that point perhaps the Caribbean nation will finally receive the international attention that the largest oil reserve in the world deserves.
The problem with geopolitical chess is that it can take as many as 400 positions after the initial moves by White and subsequent Sicilian opening by Black. Meanwhile, civic society in Venezuela will continue protesting with the Maduro regime ferociously repressing them and valuable young lives lost forever.
The remaining question is what are the triggering factors of this ultimate chess match.
First comes Russia and its never-ending search for imperial identity. After the fall of the Soviet Union the country embarked on a soul-searching exercise to determine what were the reasons behind the meltdown of their empire.
And the answer of course was: "it's the economy stupid!"
As Yeltsin's lack of stamina to address the sources of economic rebuilding produced internal discontent, Vladimir Putin entered the scene with a new economic design.
He would recover part of the lost land through energy and that became the Russian diplomacy mantra.
Europe today depends on the good moods of Mr. Putin to secure access to natural gas.
Time for Macron to enter the game. His thinking goes along the following lines. It is much better to depend on whimsical Caribbean bureaucrats than on fierce Vladimir Putin.
As nobody seems to be able to tell what will happen next year in the Middle East, it is a safer bet for Macron to play the Venezuelan card early.
Finally, comes the US that is slowly but surely realizing that Making America Great Again demands relative stability in the region and that this will never happen while a bunch of armed drug trafficking thugs control Venezuela.
Thus, the U.S. moves at O.A.S. and the U.N. The game will inexorably end with a regime change -- but the game could stretch over several years or even a decade.
By Beatrice E. Rangel