By Luis Manuel Aguana
The popular advice says “Dress me slowly, I’m going in a hurry”, trying to mean that things that are important for a good outcome cannot be dealt with in a hurry, no matter how hurried one may be. Yesterday the deputies of the National Assembly dispatched in a single session the “Draft Statute Law governing the transition to democracy to restore the validity of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” (see news in Spanish in http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/asamblea-nacional/aprobo-proyecto-ley-del-estatuto-transicion_268617) as if it were something trivial, being absolutely complex, and carried out with the intention of taking Popular Sovereignty out of the way (see complete document in Spanish of the Bill of Law of the Statute approved at https://tinyurl.com/y9nsa8jw).
At first glance it seems obvious that there is a need for a law to govern the transition process that we know we already have on top of us. But the problem is how to deal with it, since it will depend on its delicate balance whether or not we truly come out of the worst plague that Venezuela has had to live in all its life as a Nation. I am not going to repeat here the denunciation that I have already made in the previous note in relation to the “Agreement on the declaration of usurpation of the Presidency of the Republic by Nicolás Maduro Moros and the re-establishment of the validity of the Constitution”, approved on January 15 (see The 333 is me, en https://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/p/the-333-is-me.html) but I believe, after reading what was approved in the National Assembly, that this Bill is nothing more than a trap, a corrected and augmented version of that Agreement of January 15, 2019.
Even though a “pushed” path has been advanced to resolve the Venezuelan political crisis, if we have reached this point it has not been precisely because of the great strategies of the official opposition or the intelligence of its leaders, but because of the great pressure carried out by the sovereign people of Venezuela to resolve a monumental crisis that does not allow us to live. And I say “pushed” because first there was popular pressure to give the authorization to prosecute Maduro and declare the Constitutional Power Vacuum, then for Juan Guaidó to understand that he had to assume the responsibility as President in Charge since January 10, because the entire planet had already given him its backing, and now because the parties of that Assembly understand that they cannot dirty the plate from which they eat by trying not to let go of control so that that transition flows smoothly. I will try to explain this better.
The first question we must ask ourselves here is, is a transitional law required for the regime to leave, or is a transitional law required for WHEN the regime leaves? Note here the enormous difference between the two postulates because from there two completely different laws are derived. Is this a law with Maduro inside or without Maduro inside? Everything seems to indicate that the law that was approved yesterday in first discussion is a law with Maduro inside Miraflores. And that is unacceptable, and even less so with the unanimous support of the civilized world for Juan Guaidó’s Presidency-in-Charge, beginning with the support of the United States and the determined attitude of its President to evict the communists.
If the law assumes from the outset that Maduro acts as a usurper and continues in Miraflores contrary to all logic and possible legislation, then it is clear that there are articles such as 18 that promote incentives for civilian and military officials to “go overboard,” a system of “transitional justice,” and all that crap that comes with having half Maduro’s government in the transition, dictating unacceptable amnesties for a people thirsting for justice. The official opposition of the National Assembly must finally understand that Juan Guaidó IS THE CONSTITUTIONAL PRESIDENT IN CHARGE OF VENEZUELA, that the only thing he lacks is the necessary firepower in the country to evict the delinquent from Miraflores and Fuerte Tiuna. I have no need to describe here that you can have it whenever you want. And in the meantime, the margarita is being emptied, armed criminals are kidnapping children, murdering and imprisoning people to the point that in this single month there are the same number of deaths as in the whole of 2014 (see BBC World https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-39956976).
So why should we have a transitional law that supposes Maduro and his officials are in the country? Evict them! Now you can proceed. Guaidó already has enough support from a combined multinational force to do it. Maduro is already a military-police problem. But no, they want a law to negotiate with Maduro. Why? Let’s see, because the worst is not that.
The desire of the main political forces of the National Assembly is to seize politically the transition process, leaving Juan Guaidó as a disposable instrument for these purposes. It is not in their interest to allow young Guaidó to conduct the process for as long as necessary, but only to last the 30 days stated in Article 233, regardless of whether Maduro WAS left to negotiate his departure, and then to form a Provisional Government that no side is established in the constitution, knowing that it is impossible to make an election in the stipulated time That is why they speak of an “itinerary” that “liberates” and then forms a “provisional government” to then hold free elections (see Articles 2 and 26).
But Article 233 of the Constitution is very clear. The President of the National Assembly becomes the President in Charge of the Republic. What happens is that they don’t want it to be Juan Guaidó, whom the Venezuelan people with their monumental pressure invested as President on January 23rd. And why don’t they? Because they got an outsider who is now, without them having planned it, in all the plans of all the newspapers in the world by the work and grace of the Venezuelan people. A political problem was created for them that they are now trying to control and they are not doing anything but violating the Constitution that they claim to defend, kidnapping Article 333.
But as I indicated in my last note, Venezuelans are 333. The 333 is me! If Juan Guaidó cannot technically call an electoral process with all the guarantees in those 30 days because he would have to do so with the trapped structures of the regime, then he must call a process of Popular Consultation to ask the Venezuelan people whether or not it grants him the time he requires to remake the electoral system, as established by the legitimate Electoral Chamber of the TSJ in its historic ruling of June 13, 2018, which establishes a Manual Voting System with deep purging of the Electoral Registry and the clean appointment of the Rectors of the National Electoral Council. It is the sovereign People of Venezuela who must decide if Juan Guaidó stays or not, not the National Assembly. We decide.
All of the foregoing, not to mention the fact that the people grant them, in the same consultation, the time to implement the necessary economic, social and humanitarian measures, ensuring the political stability of the country, in order to carry out these elections in peace and security. I believe that would be in everyone’s interest. That is why the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, warned the parties in an interview conducted by Fernando del Rincón to respect the constitution in that process, leaving Guaidó as President (see in Spanish Entrevista a Luis Almagro y Julio Borges en Conclusiones CNN 30 de Enero 2019 https://youtu.be/xW8c6KdiOrQ): “We miss a lot and it would be a legal nonsense to go another way in this regard…” said Almagro giving full support to Juan Guaidó lead the process until the election of a new president.
So, a Transitional Law to be passed once Nicolás Maduro is freezing with Cilia Flores in Russia, would be substantially different from a law where it is contemplated that we are negotiating with him still in Venezuela, which is what is stated in what they approved. What they approved yesterday is a trap set up for the Venezuelan people to distort their decision of the 23E. If the 1999 Constitution is respected as it should be respected, that transition must be carried out, whether or not the parties of the National Assembly, which the Venezuelan people constitutionally decided to carry out on January 23, 2019, want it or not. Then they should kill each other to gain access to the government, because that is their constitutional prerogative, but they should do so competing fairly and with all the guarantees in an election called by Juan Guaidó, President in Charge of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
I end with Almagro’s words at the end of that interview: “…and the people are definitely the highest legitimacy we can have in politics. And we hope that the people will prevail in order to achieve the institutional solutions that Venezuela needs. It’s that people who have more power than people can think…” “…it is the people who are sovereign, it is the people who are going to recover democracy in Venezuela, it is the people who are going to overflow the institutions that have not yet adapted to the democratic system, it is the people who are going to seek solutions to the humanitarian crisis, it is the people who are going to respond so that there will be free and transparent elections. It is that Venezuelan people who have never bowed down and with whom we all have to be consistent. We all have to maintain the commitment to support him on all occasions…” Almagro has it very clear, it is the people who decide! It is time that this Transitional Law corresponds with the decision that the people must make…
Caracas, January 31, 2019