By Luis Manuel Aguana
I imagine that when reading the proposal of the National Constituent Alliance to convene a Consultative Referendum so that the sovereign people can decide what to do with this country (see The Solution resides in the Sovereign People, at http://ancoficial.blogspot.co.id/2017/10/la-solucion-reside-en-el-pueblo-soberano.html), the first reaction of many people was: What? Another Consultation? Another Constituent? The popular saying goes that “who’s afraid of a snake biting is afraid of a liana” and it’s natural that this is the first reaction. But when you’re in a labyrinth, you have to climb into something to be able to appreciate it from above to know where to go out. And that’s what we did.
In the Alliance we came with a clear planning that we made to all political sectors of the country: let us convoke the Constituent Assembly through the means that the Constitution gives us! And let us enforce compliance with what the Sovereign dictates through as much street pressure as possible. That’s why it was worth dying on the streets, not for someone to be governor or president. If it wasn’t for pathetic reasons, it would be laughable: the only one who listened was the regime and used it to flee forward, unconstitutionally summoning a Constituent that now even sworn in opposition governors. It looked like we worked for them.
Nobody listened to us. And maybe it was impossible for people to do so given the noise of the speakers that had the main leaders calling for a recall referendum to “get Maduro out”. Clearly, no one could compete with that. Constituent? Some nuts asking for that when we want to get the government out? In the paroxysm of what people want, it is very difficult to think if the immediate is right there. That is how the regime and its opposition has annoyed us, not to say the least.
But who has been screwed up, in order to continue with the same word, from all this tragedy that is not yet over? The political parties? The regime? The political leaders? No. We are all Venezuelans. You and I. The parties are still there, trying to see how they survive with a new election of mayors, and the budgets of those mayors to pay for militancy and support. And how do we look there? Venezuelans have to continue to steepen the regime with annualized inflation that according to the International Monetary Fund is estimated to close in 2017 at 1.660% (See news of 4-10-2017, IMF estimates that inflation will close in 2017 at 1.660%, at http://www.finanzasdigital.com/2016/10/fmi-estima-que-inflacion-de-venezuela-cerrara-el-2017-en-1-660/). It sounds easy, academic. But that means we no longer earn enough to eat. Simple. This is without taking into account the serious problem of medicines and treatments that sick people have to take every day and can no longer acquire.
And like all Venezuelans, we have to eat and the sick take medicine every day, we don’t understand why the parties and their leaders continue to prolong our agony, indicating that with another election we solve this problem, which, as you can understand, cannot last another day. So it is we who have the problem and we must solve it. We can’t keep waiting for someone else to solve it. But there are some “details” to fix first. Let’s see.
The regime has already made a Constituent. It is unconstitutional and at the same time it is a reality even though it is not recognized for that reason, neither by us nor by the international community, and it is there doing things that must be revoked by restoring the rule of law in the country. But the only one who can constitutionally restore this problem is the people whom the regime has violated that right.
We could talk about a coup d’etat to restore legality. But here it is not about who is stronger to prevail. Because if that were the case, the regime would be “right”. It is not the reason for force, it is the force of reason, which is the foundation of civilized nations. But what it does-or should do-strength is to back the legal, the constitutional, that is, the reason.
It looks like a play on words but it is not. The fact that those who have force at this moment, are backing the “no reason” or the illegal and unconstitutional, does not mean that the reason has disappeared and must at some point be imposed with the backing of the force, any force. That is why it is necessary to say that it is what must be done based on reason, legal and constitutional, even when those who are responsible for fulfilling what is right for them do not do it.
Based on the foregoing, we first conclude that the right violated to the Venezuelans to decide whether or not we want a Constituent Assembly should be restored. Here the Alliance is being firm and clear: we are not asking it to become a constituent outside the will of Venezuelans. What we are asking is that the people decide if they want it, which is a very different thing. And we particularly want it for two very important reasons: 1) to initiate a true process of reconciliation and national reunion that guarantees peace and national unity, discussing a new country in which to live together; and 2) to give the mandate to the National Constituent Assembly to execute what has already been decided by the people in Question No. 3 of the 16J Popular Consultation: renewal of the Public Powers and appointment of a Government of the National Union. In this constitutional way, a new National Constituent Assembly would not be attributed a right that only the people have to remove or put governments and public powers.
However, in order to reach that point, if we want to resolve this problem immediately, the National Assembly of the opposing majority must do two things as soon as possible: 1) designate a new National Electoral Council, equitable and transparent, to guarantee Authentic Elections; and 2) use the simple majority they have to convene a Consultative Referendum in the terms indicated in Article 71 of the Constitution to convene that Consultative Referendum with the new CNE. And when we speak of an equitable and transparent CNE that guarantees Authentic Elections, we are not referring to any arrangement that puts that CNE in the hands of the regime, but rather a composition that gives Venezuelans confidence to go and vote.
You will say, “that is impossible. The regime will not allow a balanced CNE “. But that should not stop the deputies from designating them as they should, in the same way as they appointed the Magistrates who now dispatch from the OAS headquarters in Washington, DC. I am sure that there will be capable and decent Venezuelans who run for Rectors of a legitimate CNE. That is the fight that the deputies must continue giving in favor of the restoration of freedom and democracy.
Once these new Rectors of the CNE are appointed, the roads for that Consultative Referendum will be opened, if the National Assembly approves it by simple majority. But if it does not do it, nor does it appoint a new CNE that guarantees equity and transparency, we will choose the constitutional way to force that Consultative Referendum, collecting 10% of demonstrations of will, because we have the constitutional right to do so, and keep those signatures until there is a CNE that does guarantee our will. You will say, and when would that be? And the answer remains the same, when we oblige ourselves civically in the streets and by all the constitutional means, or as the 16J was done, creating a political situation that reveals what the true will of the majority is.
Will the Deputies of the National Assembly be willing to accompany us on this route? They should do so if they understood the recent message from Luis Almagro, when he was awarded the Francisco de Miranda Prize at the Inter-American Institute for Democracy: “… having an independent judiciary is the way forward. Have a National Assembly constituted according to its constitutional powers, assuming its constitutional powers, assuming its institutional responsibilities, because that National Assembly has a responsibility today, after the installation of the National Constituent Assembly, to appoint a new National Electoral Council…” ( see Luis Almagro at the Inter-American Institute for Democracy, https://youtu.be/JBc1_f8CQAQ minute 8:18).
If they don’t take it, “God and the Fatherland will sue you…” as the oath that they once swore says. It is not a matter of waiting around to see if the parties take their responsibility and decide whether we die of hunger or disease. We can’t wait any longer, it’s about our life. The solution, therefore, lies with us…
Caracas, October 30, 2017