The only option on the table

By Luis Manuel Aguana

Versión en español

I always try not to react immediately to situations that arise, because human beings always tend to make mistakes when we do. That is why the first thing I recommend, although I confess that sometimes I lack this principle, is to wait. However, things in politics have to do with the moment and the opportunity, and what happens every day in Venezuela escapes any logical reasoning and we cannot wait.

There are three ways to react to what happened last Monday, September 16, with the regime and a minority group of alleged opponents. The first is with the stomach, as expressed in the cartoon of Rayma, “Sentimiento Nacional” (National Sentiment) (see Venezuela really threw up in front of that because of the disgusting and nauseating thing that meant so much collaboration in front of an astonished people. The second way is with the heart, with emotion. Catharsis can be made by attacking through social networks the participants of that minority “opposition” of the parties Cambiemos, Soluciones para Venezuela, MAS and Avanzada Progresista of Timoteo Zambrano, Claudio Fermín, Felipe Mujica and Henry Falcón who represent only 9 seats in the National Assembly. And the third is with the head. That is, to analyze coldly what happened and act accordingly. I inscribe myself in this last way of approaching the problem, beginning by recognizing that the movement of the regime was an extraordinary laboratory play from which the official opposition must begin by learning lessons of political strategy.

What happened yesterday was the presentation in society of one of the most successful movements of the regime to seize the National Assembly, the only legitimate power on which rests the best structure that has been organized from the opposition to get out of the castro-chavista-communist regime of Nicolás Maduro, which is the only thing that has been able to harm them nationally and internationally.

In order to do so, it has used the stubbornness of the official opposition to play along with a dialogue that they never understood – nor wanted to understand – as one of the best tools to gain time in order to gain strength and attack with greater power against Venezuelans, and especially against those who still naively believe that these criminals will respect some negotiation. And he has also used the most dragging of the opposition political leadership that reappears after its debut on May 20, 2018, accompanying the regime once again to guarantee its permanence in power in exchange for political and economic favors. Don’t be surprised, then, about the mood of these puppets.

According to the statements of Timothy Zambrano himself, “the conversations between this opposition minority and the Executive were held for two or three months, time in which conversations were also developed with the representation of Guaidó” (see in Spanish El Carabobeño, In other words, three months earlier, while everyone was telling Guaidó and the interim government the mistake that it meant to negotiate with Maduro, the regime was negotiating with Zambrano behind the back of that dialogue table to dynamite the floor of the National Assembly and its negotiators. Did Guaido and his people really think that Maduro would intend to leave the government to reach an agreement with him, as a naïve Guaidó surprised off base declared before the cameras? They never had that intention. And I ask myself, who is guilty of this lack of foresight?

Working for the lifting of the “disrespect” of the National Assembly, the reincorporation of the deputies of the PSUV and resume the dialogues with Norway, but this time with the convenient opponents (if ever there were not) is nothing more than the opening of a new parliamentary conformation next year, where the regime, already in office in the National Assembly, imposes at the tip of green bills a new power structure within the National Assembly. Where will Guaidó and the Transition Agreement be? What position will he take, for example, Democratic Action or better said Henry Ramos Allup and UNT -which are the same but with a different cacique-, when the regime offers them a convenient position for their common interests? Will they leave Guaidó hanging from the brush? Think wrong and you’ll get it right…

There won’t be enough Guaidó supporters in that National Assembly when the regime arrives with a sack of dollars to buy consciences for the new legislature that begins January 5, 2020. When they enter, the “desacato” will disappear by magic of the leguleyos of the TSJ of Av. Baralt. Zambrano, Fermín and the rest are nothing more than clowns in this macabre circus of taking the legislative power out of our hands because of the stubbornness and impreparation of those who lead it.

Juan Guaidó must then begin to understand that the only ones who are with him now to immediately achieve the Cessation of Usurpation (if they still think about it) is none other than the people of Venezuela who acclaimed him on January 23. And from this date until the end of the year he will contemplate, like the rest of Venezuelans, the accelerated loss of the legitimacy of the power that the National Assembly once represented as a hope of emerging from the tyranny of Nicolas Maduro.

And when the regime has disappeared the last vestige of institutionality in Venezuela, the only way to restart this country will be by calling for Popular Sovereignty. Why do we have to get there so that Guaidó and the rest of those who accompany him end up understanding that the 1999 Constitution is deliberately built as participatory and not just as representative, as was the case with the 1961 Constitution? That Article 5 of the Constitution now allows the people to exercise their sovereignty DIRECTLY “in the manner provided for in this Constitution and in the Law” and that Article 70 establishes the mechanisms for doing so. Let’s not wait to get to the point to call the sovereign people.

If any opportunity leaves us this redefinition of the regime of those who are now “their opponents” is that the options of the Interim Government of Juan Guaidó were shortened and also indirectly the options of the allies of the International Community, starting with the United States. Now the Trump government will have to take action, as Roger Noriega closes in a recent article in the Washington Examiner (see Roger Noriega, Dont blame John Bolton for Venezuela, en For the past decade, conventional diplomacy failed to assess the nature of the Venezuelan narco-state, the significance of the Cuban invasion, and the interest of Russia and China in challenging Trump in the Americas. Diplomats failed to act effectively as Maduro stole a series of elections, cynical opposition leaders sold out democracy, narco-traffickers hijacked a government, and economic destruction and brutal repression forced 4 million refugees out of Venezuela. Now that Bolton has been sidelined, Trump will have to empower another leader to confront a well-funded narco-state that is destabilizing the Americas with drugs, terrorists, corruption, and refugees. Confronting this threat, forcefully and finally, is the only reasonable option.” (Our Highlighted)

But the force that we understand must be applied to this narco-state is that of the Constitution and the self-determination of the Venezuelan people. Juan Guaidó must summon the people as the definitive instance that recognized him as legitimate President, to a Popular Plebiscite Consultation managed by civil society to definitively resolve the usurpation of Maduro and to summon a Transitional Government, as has been proposed by ANCO and a distinguished group of Venezuelans, and that from there the corresponding decisions are derived. This is how it should be presented to the International Community in its trip to the UN, in view of the imminent disappearance of the only legitimate instance of the country. The Plebiscite became one day, by the work and grace of the regime and its puppets, the only option on the table…

Caracas, September 18, 2019