As the international community continues to pile pressure on Col. Moammar Gadhafi to leave Libya, one friend is standing up for the isolated dictator. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, a longtime ally of Gadhafi, has offered to set up a "peace commission" to end the crisis in Libya. Chavez, who thinks the U.S. is overblowing the revolts to justify an invasion of Libya, has proposed a round of negotiations with Gadhafi, South American, and European leaders. The Arab League signaled it would consider the plan, but the Libyan rebels gave it a "frosty" response. Could Chavez really help?
Chavez is no mediator: A successful negotiator must be patient, objective, and dispassionate, says Joel D. Hirst at The Huffington Post. "None of these principles appear to be the natural strengths of President Hugo Chavez." It's clear that the Venezuelan leader has "waded in" to this dispute simply to "help a friend hold onto power," not to find a way to end the bloodshed.
"Should Hugo Chavez mediate in Libya?"
It might be the only chance for peace: Chavez is far from an ideal go-between, says Ian Black at The Guardian. But it's hard to think of anyone else whom Gadhafi would listen to. The two are "old comrades," and have much in common — "revolutionary political views," eccentricity, and a knack for generating controversy. Chavez's "vague" offer of help hasn't impressed the Libyan rebels. "But it was the first sign of a diplomatic exit from the impasse."
"Gadhafi is in dire need of help from his old comrade Hugo Chavez"
Send Gadhafi to Venezuela: Many in Venezuela consider Chavez's relationship with Gadhafi to be an "embarrassment," says Jasmina Kelemen at The Christian Science Monitor, and the international community views it as a sideshow. Yes, it would be a "foreign relations coup" if Chavez could bring peace to Libya, but "few expect it to happen." A better solution? "Let Gadhafi pitch his tent on one of the beautiful islands off of Venezuela's Caribbean coast."
"Hugo Chavez stands by his man, Muammar Gadhafi. But can he bring peace to Libya?"