Venezuela’s beleaguered democratic opposition has survived two decades of brutal repression from the regime of Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro. Through much courage and suffering, and with steady support from the U.S. and neighboring Colombia, Venezuelans have continued their fight for freedom.
That fight is now at risk. In Colombia, the former revolutionary guerrilla Gustavo Petro has been elected president, and he has already begun making sweeter noises about Venezuela. He will drop Colombia’s recognition of interim President Juan Guaidó, leader of the democratic forces, and recognize Mr. Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate president. Bloomberg reports that an exchange of ambassadors will follow soon after Mr. Petro’s ceremony. After the Aug. 7 inauguration, will anyone be surprised if a meeting with Mr. Maduro happens soon thereafter?