By Luis Manuel Aguana
Events are going very fast in Venezuela. On January 10, Congressman Juan Guaidó, by not assuming in a firm manner the First Magistracy as literally ordered by the Constitution in its Article 233, left a bitter and disappointing taste in Venezuelans. I reflected that disappointment by affirming that it was not convenient for us to have that representation that did not assume its historical obligation (see https://twitter.com/laguana/status/1083439128623136770).
However, in less than 24 hours the timid tone changed. Perhaps because of pressure from Venezuelans for not having made the announcement and the decisive support of the International Community to the National Assembly. This note had a completely different orientation when I initiated it, and that I changed after hearing the speech of the President of the National Assembly, during the Open Cabildo convened for January 11, 2018, where Deputy Guaidó, and now President In Charge expressed: “I adhere to Articles 333, 350 and 233 to achieve the cessation of usurpation and call free elections with the union of the people, FAN and international community” (see Official Note of the National Assembly, in http://www.asambleanacional.gob.ve/noticias/_juan-guaido-me-apego-a-los-articulos-333-350-y-233).
Immediately the International Community closed ranks in support of the expected decision, beginning with OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro: “We salute the assumption of @jguaido as Acting President of #Venezuela pursuant to Article 233 of the Political Constitution. He has our support, that of the international community and of the People of Venezuela” (see Luis Almagro’s tuit in, https://twitter.com/Almagro_OEA2015/status/1083780923026477056?s=03). Better international support impossible.
Likewise, the firm support of the Legitimate Supreme Court, expressed through its President, Magistrate Miguel Ángel Martín, for the decision of Guaidó Deputy to assume his responsibilities as President in Charge of the Republic (see communiqué of the Legitimate Supreme Court in https://twitter.com/TSJ_Legitimo/status/1083864710024441857).
We congratulate the decision of the Deputy and now President in Charge of the Republic, Juan Guaidó, to take this fundamental step for the recovery of freedoms in Venezuela. From this modest tribune, the President in charge will receive all the support and collaboration possible, in terms of ideas and suggestions for the success of his administration. It is never too late to do the right thing. Now is the time when the hard road to recovering freedom begins, and we will not know when it will end or in what way.
All these manifestations of support for Guaidó’s decision could only materialize after he assumed his constitutional responsibility, not before it had occurred. Nor could there be support from any sector of the country -and especially from the Armed Forces- or from the International Community, if the President of the Assembly did not accept to assume the position to which the Constitution obliges him. Consequently, there could not exist any collective responsibility of the Venezuelans to remove the dictator, as Guaidó requested in his speech of January 10, to put an end to this serious situation in Venezuela, but a very personal responsibility of the one designated by the Constitution, if before he did not assume the leadership to which he was constitutionally obliged.
Once this is understood, things begin to move, not only on the side of the opposition but also on the side of the regime. Fundamentally, the latter could unleash a hunt against Juan Guaidó and his party, which, although expected, would constitute a serious error since it could precipitate what they precisely fear is nothing more than the Armed Forces turning over. However with a criminal regime anything could happen and we must be very clear because the equation could change in hours, if not minutes.
However, the regime will continue to make progress. Some have wanted to indicate that they do not need to close a National Assembly full of collaborators. That is debatable. The regime needs to legislate to pursue its plan of communist destruction, and deputies, collaborationists or not, are an obstacle to that. The new President in Charge will have to accelerate any action they have in mind because time is short and the date will be marked by the illegitimate National Constituent Assembly that announced having a new Constitution ready by the end of February (see Draft New Constitution would be ready in February”, in Spanish http://efectococuyo.com/principales/proyecto-de-nueva-constitucion-estaria-listo-en-febrero-segun-hermann-escarra/).
In other words, the strategy of that Statute for Transition devised by the political scientists advisers to the National Assembly Directive will have to produce immediate results long before that sweep that already has a date. I don’t think the time will come for them, so they will have to rush decisions. Now the game is different with the regime because there is already a President in Charge and that was not in the plans of the parties that wanted to put a brake on the push the country has for an immediate change. The country forced the existence of a President in Charge just as much as it forced the authorization of the trial of Nicolás Maduro in the National Assembly, and the official opposition parties know it.
Therefore, the negotiation that some factors of that official opposition are beginning to have with the regime in order to negotiate again some “elections” in the same conditions as those that have been had until now, can spoil the beginning of a possible political, constitutional, peaceful and electoral solution that begins with the Presidency of Juan Guaidó. They must remember that they are not dealing with politicians but with criminals. New elections cannot be accepted, and even less so with the regime, if they do not conform to the June 13, 2018 ruling of the Electoral Chamber of the Legitimate TSJ, which orders a new manual Electoral System, with thorough cleaning of the Electoral Registry and the renewal of the Electoral Power adjusted to the Constitution, in any new electoral process in Venezuela.
Hopefully, Juan Guaidó will not become another disappointment for Venezuelans like the Revocatory Referendum of 2016. It seems that hope for a peaceful solution is being reborn and I will not be the one to ruin their optimism. Venezuelans have given a new opportunity to solve the crisis to the route of the President in Charge, convinced by those who until recently did not deserve the slightest confidence. If there is another disappointment, the game and the players will have to change. The good and the bad of that, is that we will know very soon …
Caracas, January 12, 2019