By Luis Manuel Aguana
It is natural that people are skeptical of a new Popular Consultation. And it’s no wonder. After the swindle of the popular will perpetrated by the National Assembly on 16J, the old saying that the people assume applies: the person who is bitten by a snake is afraid of the liege.
However, the fact that the political factors of the National Assembly have not obeyed the people’s mandate on 16J did not invalidate the consultation as the political tool, to the point that it definitively set Venezuela and the world on the path of what the Venezuelan people want.
The 16J consultation had tangible political results around the world; so much the support given to the Venezuelan opposition was of such magnitude that it was possible to implement the mandate without any obstacle in the country. A government that emerged from the National Assembly on 17J would have had unquestionable legitimacy in the eyes of the world, and the Armed Forces would have had a hard time not obeying that mandate.
And even though the parties have hidden behind an allegedly “non-binding” law that is highly debatable in order to ignore what the people shouted and demonstrated with blood in the streets before the same consultation, the people expressed themselves clearly in relation to what they wanted: a rejection of the Constituent Assembly of the regime and an immediate change of government. This is still hanging over the heads of those who are still the main leaders of the parties in the National Assembly.
Any consultation with the people of Venezuela is politically binding. Here I’m not talking about the legal, I’m talking about the political. This is, of obligatory fulfillment by the convening political factors. It is the popular will of the majority expressed openly, in matters of national importance, through a vote in a referendum. Who are the parties, which are precisely the leaders of this will, to ignore an express mandate of this nature?
So the mechanism of the Popular Consultation is not the problem. The problem arises when, once the mandate has been expressed, its fulfilment is guaranteed by those who must carry it out. And for everyone there is no doubt that the 16J National Assembly was the leader and ignored the will of the people.
What should we do then? We must re-create the political stage of the popular force expressed at the polls, with a transparent arbiter as it happened on July 16, 2017, but with a completely different approach. On that day, this scenario was created, and the popular force was present, but no one channeled it towards the proposed objective, which was none other than the rejection of the regime’s actions and their replacement. We must now channel that popular force.
What happened on 16J-2017 was very similar to what happened on 11A-2002 although the results were not similar: The people expressed themselves in an objective and forceful way in the eyes of the whole world. On 11A-2002 the streets of Caracas were filled with people demanding the departure of Hugo Chávez and he responded with a massacre on Baralt Avenue. Faced with this fact, the Armed Forces as a whole pronounced themselves. And we are not talking about a battalion that rose up or that some Generals or Commanders decided that Chavez should leave, but the general consensus of all the forces whose main actors shouted “Homeland, Socialism or Death” days before in the parade of the Pro-Presenters. It is this force that we must once again express at the ballot box, but this time with a device to channel it.
If on 16J the deputies of the National Assembly hid behind legal euphemisms to ignore what the people ordered them to do, this time the people should expressly point out how and with whom this mandate should be carried out, making clear the route of action with precise questions to the Venezuelan people.
How should the Query be reactivated? The ANCO already made the request to the National Assembly on November 6, 2017 -as if there were no doubt- to activate Article 71 of the Constitution (see letter received by the National Assembly at http://ancoficial.blogspot.com/2017/11/carta-la-asamblea-nacional-06-11-2017.html). This communication is protocolary because it is the National Assembly that is the expeditious and first instance way to immediately activate this mechanism by simple majority, as it did on July 5, 2017. Last November we proposed 4 questions (see 4 questions for the destination of Venezuela, at http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2017/11/4-preguntas-para-el-destino-de-venezuela.html). At the present time the situation and the questions have changed, as has the country, but not the essence and the need for the popular will to be expressed.
Although we have reason to believe that the National Assembly will deceive this request, as it has already demonstrated, a change in the political attitude of the parties that produced the 16J cannot be dismissed, even though this is regrettably very unlikely because of their actions. We must not forget how unstable the political situation in Venezuela is.
If the National Assembly does not activate the plebiscite mechanism again, then it is the citizens who must activate this mechanism, and this new plebiscite will be called under the conditions established by the citizens. This is nothing other than the prerogative of citizen participation that the 1999 Constitution gives us in its Article 70, and was endorsed by the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice Legitimate Washington DC, November 30, 2017: “…therefore, any solution to the crisis that is sought in the political arena must be found within the mechanisms of popular participation enshrined in Article 70 of the Constitution, and never behind the backs of the people, with the primary aim of provoking an immediate end to everything that has generated the crisis that the country is going through…” (see Judgment of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic of Venezuela of 11/ 11/2017, in http://ancoficial.blogspot.com/2017/12/auto-de-ejecucion-de-sentencia-tsj.html).
If citizens decide to address the crisis in the country through a Popular Consultation that establishes within it the route through which the outcome of that consultation will be effective, then citizens will be making use of the established constitutional mechanisms, and responding to the frustration of the 16J. In the query is the answer. And that is precisely what the Alternative Agenda for Venezuela is all about….
Caracas, March 28, 2018