By Luis Manuel Aguana
Intervention in the Forum-conversatory: “Venezuela Defeats the Regime and Begins Reconstruction, Let the People Decide the Path to the Cease of Usurpation”, Maturín, 20 July 2019
I begin by thanking Eastern civil society for this new opportunity to discuss proposals aimed at resolving the serious crisis the country is going through. And this crisis is not only economic, political and social, but also one of citizenship, values and proposals. The country is dying in the streets, without water, without electricity, without security, without food, and the citizens only contemplate the political leadership disputing public positions as drunkards do when they fight for an empty bottle. No proposals are debated.
They want us to accept without further ado the same electoral solution whose failure we have lived and suffered with the regime without concrete results for the Nation. They want us to wait a year for elections and then begin to resolve the lives of Venezuelans. More cynicism impossible! And even if elections were held, what good would it do if anyone elected could not solve the problems of the population because of an unviable country system, which constitutionally prescribes that regions are only given a crumb of the Public Treasury. So what solution is that for the people?
At ANCO we made a stop to actively disseminate our Constituent proposal to promote a Country Project -project through which you knew us- from May 1, 2017 when the illegitimate Miraflores occupies illegally summoned a Constituent without the approval of the Venezuelan people. We began on May 3 of that year to actively promote and institutionally propose a popular consultation to stop this unconstitutional call. And our proposal became the policy of the opposition when the Venezuelan people called for the historic Popular Consultation on July 16, 2017.
History has called us once again to go out into the country, this time to propose a variant of our principled desideratum, which points out that Venezuela’s destiny must irrevocably pass through a decision of the sovereign people. And what we are proposing now is a Plebiscite for the people to decide.
Because it is not Juan Guaidó, nor the National Assembly, but the Venezuelan people who must decide on the solution to be applied in Venezuela if the regime insists on usurping power. We are promoting a Plebiscite so that the force that only resides in the Depositary of Sovereignty is pronounced before the world ordering those who usurp the power that is only conferred by the will of the people, to hand it over in favor of Juan Guaidó, who has been constitutionally designated as President in Charge of the Republic on January 23, 2019. That is the procedure we are promoting, NOT elections with those of us unknown as power.
In ANCO, once again, we are the proponents of the same initiative of consultation with the Venezuelan people as a mechanism to guarantee the “cessation of the usurpation” of Nicolás Maduro Moros in power, and in the event that this mandate is ignored, it is the people who authorize the humanitarian intervention with international military backing in Venezuela. It is important to emphasize here that we only propose the instrument for the “cessation of usurpation”. The Transitional Government should be continued by Juan Guaidó as it was established on January 23 when he assumed the Presidency in Charge of the Republic until the call for Free Elections.
The political parties that are now negotiating with the regime in Oslo and now in Barbados have begun to use their communications machinery to make Venezuelans believe that we only have the electoral path left to resolve the crisis. And that solution, far from resolving it, deepens it. And it deepens it because one of the fundamental pillars that sustain the regime, and which has always been ignored by those who have cohabited for years, has not yet been resolved: the electoral system.
I have stated it many times before, and I will affirm it again today: THE AUTOMATIZED SYSTEM OF THE CNE OF THE REGIME CAN NO LONGER BE USED TO COUNT THE VOTES OF THE VENEZUELANS. That it is not enough to change the Rectors of the CNE, to update the Electoral Register, that a complete re-engineering of the electoral system must be done BEFORE MAKING ANOTHER ELECTION IN VENEZUELA! And that cannot be done with the regime in Miraflores! Just reading the Sentence, File No. SE-2018-001 of the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court of Legitimate Justice in exile dated June 13, 2018, of which I had the honor of being summoned as an expert technician (read Sentence in Spanish, in http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2018/06/tribunal-supremo-de-justicia-declara.html) gives an account of the gravity of the situation of the Venezuelan Electoral Power to the point that the High Court declared NULL the use of the Automated Voting System for elections in Venezuela, which merits a complete re-engineering of the Venezuelan Electoral Power.
Consequently, any electoral solution in the terms proposed by the regime and the official opposition does not constitute a way out of the crisis. One must then turn to the very source from which the institutionality is born, which is none other than Popular Sovereignty, where that institutional cancer called CNE with all its machines and procedures is totally excluded, and return to the very principle of counting the votes one by one…
If the International Community insists on an electoral solution, it is because it recognises without a doubt that we must resort to Popular Sovereignty and count the votes in order to resolve our differences. But then we must convince them that we in Civil Society also believe in this way but not in the terms proposed by the regime and the official opposition. Convince them that a Plebiscite is also an electoral mechanism but with the difference that it can place in the hands of the people the transcendental decision to decide the continuity of the regime, but by means of the votes, in a peaceful and constitutional way, but supervised and without the intervention of the institutions kidnapped by Maduro.
Going to an election with the regime and its system implies that we tolerate its existence after having unknown it and we give it political belligerence by accepting the electoral results that come out of those elections, with a system that we know is corrupted beforehand. With a plebiscite in the terms stated here, it would not be like that, and why not? Because it is precisely a matter of submitting to the consideration of Original Popular Sovereignty the transcendental decision about the very existence of the regime -whether we want it or not-, with all that this implies, including its expulsion from the political life of the country. Do you realize the difference?
But you may ask yourselves, how to bring the regime to that judgment of the sovereignty of the people? Obviously it is by no means easy. It is clear that it will not wish to count itself vote by vote and in an open and supervised way by the International Community, knowing that it will lose the popular judgment. It is there where the external pressure of all the friendly countries, especially that of the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, the government of the United States, the governments of Colombia and Brazil, must begin to be exercised with greater depth in order to force it to be counted in those terms and not in others. The international community must be the first to be convinced of this solution, increasing and deepening the sanctions already applied, until the regime agrees to go to a Plebiscite.
At the moment, the countries that support us are pressing for sanctions, but only for the regime to return on its own to respect for the Constitution, something that has not happened and will not happen, but which has undoubtedly affected them, with its consequent weakening, without breaking the dictatorship. With the plebiscite solution, pressure from the international community would be concentrated on a single purpose: that the regime accepts to be counted in a plebiscite. This would increase the pressure in a decisive way because it would be a focused pressure directed to a single and clear objective, and not to a diffuse and general one as is happening now, giving a unified direction to the protests that occur in Venezuela with a clear demand to the regime: that they be counted in plebiscitary terms.
The Plebiscite would be held with the collaboration of civil society and the political parties that so decide, without the intervention of the CNE, not only because it is corrupt to the core but also because this instrument does not fall within its constitutional competence (Art. 70), so that its conduct would also be much more agile and immediate than an election -as was demonstrated on 16J-2017-, always relying on the support and supervision of international organizations (OAS and EU). By increasing the pressure exerted from the outside to the inside, and from the very bowels of the country, the regime will begin to ask to “negotiate” the terms of its submission to the will of the people. That is where the only possible negotiation with them would begin: that of the terms of their exit.
But how would it be done for the regime to comply with the outcome of that Plebiscite? The answer to that question goes hand in hand with the acceptance of the instrument: of not fulfilling the popular mandate emanating from the ballot boxes of that Plebiscite, the people would be giving the necessary legal basis to the world for a humanitarian intervention to enforce the Sovereign’s decision, not having the International Community any way to avoid the fulfillment of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to Venezuela according to the terms conceived in the General Assembly of the UN in 2005. And to achieve this in the most expeditious manner and with the collaboration of the only legitimate power in Venezuela, the National Assembly would have no more excuses to refuse to approve the presence of foreign forces within the country to support what the people decided in the plebiscite, through its attribution established in the Constitution in Article 187, numeral 11.
A plebiscite is a solution that opposes negotiations with the regime by an opposition determined to cohabit in order to ensure their permanence in the structures of power. It would give continuity to the promise made to Venezuelans on the 23E to put an immediate end to usurpation.
However, the plebiscite solution is not magic. It takes work and effort, both nationally and internationally, to convince many people. The proposed plebiscite is intrinsically much more than a mere popular consultation, as it has been pretended to show in order to disqualify it. It is the most expeditious mechanism to put an immediate end to the suffering of the people, which politically expresses the best strength we have against the regime and the one it fears, which are not the weapons or the soldiers but the People’s Sovereignty that resides only in you. It is not the interim government of Juan Guaidó that has the support of the world. The people of Venezuela are the ones who have that support, and this has been repeated countless times by the International Community. The only thing left for us to do is to call on that people to speak out. I hope I have convinced them to begin to do so…
Thank you very much…
Maturín, 20 July 2019