A political solution

By Luis Manuel Aguana

In a scene of the extraordinary film production "The Patriot", when it was debated in an assembly in Charleston, South Carolina, to go to war or not with the British to make the United States independent, Benjamin Martin, the personage carried out by Mel Gibson, was against going to the war with the English. He said clearly: "This war will not be fought on the borders or in the isolated fields, the battle will come to us. The children will see it as it is up close and many of them will die ... ". The participation of the citizens in that war ended up being imposed and Martin had to get in full, losing two of his children in it, not because he was looking for it but because the war found him. He did not want the war but he could not do anything to avoid it.

The so-called "Junquito Massacre" where former CICPC Inspector Oscar Perez and his group of armed resistance against the regime of Nicolas Maduro lost their lives to the regime's security forces and an armed group of the parish "23 de Enero", has triggered an unexpected chain reaction by the regime, but also exacerbation towards a violent exit from this nightmare that has been going on for almost 20 years.

Many Venezuelans already believe that there are no alternative solutions to violence to end this serious state of affairs in Venezuela. The creation of an opinion matrix that points to the multiplication of groups similar to those organized by Oscar Pérez goes precisely in the sense of a violent "solution" to the conflict presented to us before a regime that seeks to subjugate the Venezuelan people through the use of force. It is clear that the regime has no choice but to massacre the opponents in order to impose itself and keep us all in a state of panic because they unconstitutionally use power. That's what a dictatorship is all about.

However, some Venezuelans do not allow themselves to be led by this threat to argue that the solution to this conflict cannot and should not follow the path that the regime tries to impose, which is none other than the violence unleashed. In the field of violence, they will always have the advantage because they illegally dispose of state violence at will, which by its very nature must be unlimited because the final care of citizens must rest on it. But with institutional violence in the hands of an outlaw regime, the result is what we saw on January 15 in El Junquito.

Why do you think that the conflicts in the world are being resolved from the political arena? Because apart from the sequel of death that comes from not doing so, the violent solution is not lasting. There is always someone unhappy when the imposition is by reason of force and not by force of reason. And that is why the general convention is that those who hold institutional arms worldwide must be subordinate to civilian power and not the other way around. That is the great conquest of civilization.

But when, as in our case, things are turned upside down and out of control, with institutional violence being left in the hands of those who behave criminally, one of the most common natural reactions of people is to solve the problem with more violence, when precisely going down that road is to try to put out a fire with gasoline.

However, we still have the problem. How can we solve it without resorting to violence? Is a constitutional, democratic, peaceful and electoral solution to the problem possible? The regime holds the institution of voting hostage, which is the fundamental instrument for resolving conflicts in a democracy. Without a vote administered by an independent entity and not controlled by the government, it denaturalizes its purpose and instead of being an instrument for conflict resolution, it becomes the most useful element of authoritarianism to legitimize the institutional kidnapping of the country.

Regrettably, the degree of moral and institutional degradation to which the official opposition has reached means that the regime plays with them to the permanent electoral exercise at its whim, bringing them to that terrain at its discretion and under its conditions. Venezuelans once again witnessed an illegal call for a presidential election with conditions in which the government has every chance to win again, thus prolonging the suffering of a people who do not see how to "get out" of this misgovernment without making use of violence.

The Venezuelan political leadership has been unable to produce a statehood solution capable of driving the outraged population out of this tragedy, once again subrogating itself to the designs of a dictatorship that uses the vote to bolt itself to power. They are the first to speak of primaries and pre-candidates to "compete" in an arranged election, under the auspices of an unconstitutional National Constituent Assembly. What can you get out of there? Clearly more hunger and frustration for Venezuelans.

What can we Venezuelans do? Going to vote for that chanted fraud? To go to that electoral carnival that has covered up a massacre that Venezuelans still don't overcome? It is time to listen to other solutions emerging from the most respected institutions in society and which are already making themselves known.

From the Exhortation of the Venezuelan Bishops in the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference on the occasion of the celebration of their CIX Plenary Ordinary Assembly held on January 12 (http://www.cev.org.ve/index.php/noticias/273-exhortacion-de-la-cev-en-ocasion-de-celebrar-su-cix-asamblea-ordinaria-plenaria-dios-consolara-a-su-pueblo-isaias-49-13), we extract this point of extraordinary importance in this dark hour where Venezuelans do not know what to do:

“6. The increasingly serious difficulties of understanding between the government and the political opposition, in the absence of a common point of support that is respected in reality, such as the current Constitution, require the people to assume their vocation of being social subjects with their capacities to carry out initiatives such as, for example, that civil society carry out a consultation to indicate the direction that they want to give to the nation as contemplated in our Magna Carta (Cfr. Art. 71). If this right were to be denied or if initiatives to realize it were hindered, only two possibilities would remain: definitive loss of freedom, with all its consequences, or actions of resistance and rebellion against usurping power. It is the organized people who have the last word. Together with the majority of Venezuelans, we hope that political leadership and civil society will present a credible and feasible country project.”

The Venezuelan Catholic Church has already indicated a possible course. Why don't we go through it? It remains for us in civil society to implement this solution, assuming our responsibility as a social subject with the capacity to crystallize this initiative. We already did it once on 16J-2017. We must now substantially improve that experience, but this time by ensuring its effective implementation. How to do this is perfectly possible, but we must work intelligently for it.

That is what is called a political solution to the problem, and that is what the international community has been waiting for a long time for us to be able to channel the aid they want to give us fervently. From outside friendly governments will not send us weapons to resolve this conflict. And those who bet on a violent way out will bitterly prolong the suffering of the population. We must hurry, let's not expect the war to find us because we did nothing to prevent it...

Caracas, January 24, 2018