A Popular Consultation as an alternative to face the destruction

By Luis Manuel Aguana
Intervention in the Pío Tamayo Chair at the Central University of Venezuela, 26-02-2018

I am grateful for this new opportunity to the Pio Tamayo Chair to convene me to discuss the future of Venezuela. And on this occasion to debate the question that the Chair has asked us: How can we organize a majority social force to confront destruction?

It is not for anyone a secret that the National Constituent Alliance has been and still is in the work of convincing the imperative need to convene the Constituent to discuss the country. But not to discuss any country, but a Country Project that we have proposed to Venezuela, and whose cornerstone is based on the decentralization of political power with all that this implies. And the discussion of that country is clearly resolved in the meantime its governance and governance situation.

With these ideas at the forefront and having our objective clear, we established a strategy to achieve it based on the participatory characteristic offered by the 1999 Constitution. This strategy led us to devise a form of organization to carry it out. And that is the order: first a proposal, then a strategy to develop it and then a structure to carry it out. This order was not invented by us but by the best researchers in the field of strategy of the world. That is, a proposal first.

Our proposal has existed for more than 15 years and is called Proyecto País Venezuela Reconciliada Vía Constituyente. The strategy is contained in a political document that we have published and that has been changing over time and due to political realities, entitled (in Spanish) “Bases Constituyentes, Propuesta de los Ciudadanos para la Reconciliación y el Cambio”. The organization and detail of its structure is suggested there and developed in the multiple documents written by the Alliance and discussed with different groups throughout the country in the last 4 years.

Thus we were going until May 1,2017, when everything changed for Venezuela: the regime of Nicolás Maduro summoned the Constituent Assembly without being constitutionally empowered to do so, electing and installing a National Constituent Assembly to its measure, illegitimate, irritating and unconstitutional. That, in our opinion, is the biggest problem facing Venezuelans today.

What was our initial reaction as a group that promoted a legitimate, original and popularly-initiated Constituent? Reject the grievance made by the regime, pronouncing ourselves on May 3 before this unconstitutional call of the government (see ins Spanish Pronunciamiento de la ANC ante el llamado a una Asamblea Nacional Constituyente del gobierno  http://ancoficial.blogspot.com/2017/05/pronunciamiento-de-la-anc-ante-el.html), under the following slogan "Let's counteract the force of the Original Constituent Power to the claim of power of a regime, who defiling a tool that only belongs to the Venezuelan people, tries to use it to subdue it, destroying its freedom!”.

Subsequently, on May 25, we delivered a communication to the Board of the National Assembly (see the communication received at https://tinyurl.com/yd8w2dqy) in the following terms: “Given that the National Government has ignored its Constitutional obligation to consult To Venezuelans, this matter of undoubted national importance, we ask that honorable National Assembly, current depositaries of the popular will, proceed to activate the constitutional device contemplated in Article 71 of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ... “. Immediately after, on May 26, 2017, we publicly sent a clear message to the Nation. "The People must be consulted now!" (See http://ancoficial.blogspot.com/2017/05/mensaje-de-la-alianza-nacional.html).

This formal request was translated into multiple meetings of the National Constituent Alliance held with the political factors that led to the National Assembly - Julio Borges and the Board of Directors of the National Assembly - between the dates of these communications and July 4,2017, until reaching the agreement of the National Assembly on July 5,2017 for the consultation that became possible on July 16,2017. In this sense, the Alliance again addressed the National Assembly immediately after the July 5th Agreement for the public signing of the document "Great National Agreement: Let the People decide! The Chacao Theatre (see communication to the National Assembly received on 7 July 2017 at https://tinyurl.com/y76a3qy2). All these steps have been documented and made known to Venezuelans as the events occurred, so those of us who proposed this course of action are now proposing a new alternative to the country.

However, it was not possible with all this to stop the regime in spite of the fact that we got in the middle of it with a proposal that was not in the plans of the MUD. But the political factors took advantage of it and used the votes of that Popular Consultation to go to negotiate with the government for a general election against the clear mandate of the people on 16J. However, between 16J and 30J the regime, clearly hit by the result of that consultation, sent its hired emissary, former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to negotiate with the official opposition an indefinite suspension of the 30J constituent elections. That opportunity was foolishly dismissed by the opposition. And why is that? Because they were not prepared to negotiate a Constituent process but neither did they call those who were in a position to do so. They did not know anything about the Electoral Bases, nor were they prepared for the structuring of a process of this complexity, closing themselves to the possibility of giving way to a hegemony that the regime later consolidated with an electoral fraud on 30J.

Where are we now? In a false dilemma between going or not going to a presidential electoral process with an unconstitutional Constituent in office above all the powers of the State. And there are still those who wonder whether or not to go to that announced fraud. The dilemma isn't whether or not to go to the elections, it's whether or not to accept that fraud and what to do about it.

We are in a University and a Chair for serious and in-depth discussion, therefore we must respond academically and professionally. Faced with this Chair's question of how to organize a majority social force to confront the destruction, our response is a proposal and strategy to the country that opposes the electoral solutions of political opposition, with a creative alternative that gives practical, peaceful, constitutional and electoral responses to Venezuelans, with an immediate implementation.

In this sense, the proposal continues to be to CALL THE CONSTITUENT, but this time in a legitimate manner, restoring to Venezuelans the right violated on May 1,2017 to decide whether or not they wished to go to this process, offering the country a broad and participatory Electoral Bases, dismantle through a sovereign consultation the unconstitutional mamotreto of the regime and all its decisions, and give that new Constituent Assembly the mandate of dismissal of all public powers and appoint a Transitional National Unity government until the approval and election of new powers in the framework of a new Constitution. We have called this new proposal "An Alternative Agenda for Venezuela" (see ANCO's Manifesto in Spanish at http://ancoficial.blogspot.com/2018/02/manifiesto-gran-alianza-por-la-consulta.html).

Last February 22nd, the National Constituent Alliance and its consultative body, the Superior Constituent Conference, called for a Great Alliance for this new Popular Consultation with the intention that we all coincide in a single declaration of principles: ¡Let the Venezuelan people decide!” The fundamental difference between this consultation and the 16J consultation is that it is incumbent on those who must make their results effective, which is none other than the convenor, on this occasion very different from the previous one: the people of Venezuela. If Venezuela and the friendly countries that have supported us in this crusade to restore the rule of law agree on this new alternative, the results would not be long in coming. All the national and international pressure would be directed to that single declaration: That the Venezuelan people decide their destiny in a Popular Consultation, leaving the regime in the dilemma between killing us all, peacefully gathered in the streets or accepting the decision of the sovereign people, negotiating their exit. And there, not only would the government decide what to do, but also the Armed Forces. This solution has no date and may be before or after April 22, the day on which it is intended to call for electoral fraud.

On November 30,2017, the legitimate TSJ established at OAS headquarters in Washington DC responded to an appeal introduced by the National Constituent Alliance in these terms:

“Because the country is plunged into a profound social and economic crisis that has affected the normal life of its citizens, it is appropriate to activate the civil and peaceful resistance decreed by this High Court in accordance with articles 333 and 350 of the Constitution, which makes it urgent to produce the changes required by Venezuela to restore the validity of the Constitution and therefore of democracy in Venezuela, Therefore, any way out of the crisis that is sought in the political arena must be done within the mechanisms of popular participation enshrined in article 70 of the Constitution, and never behind the backs of the people, in order to provoke the immediate exit of everything that has generated the crisis that the country is going through.” (Item No. 3 of the Order to Execute the Judgment of October 25,2017, http://ancoficial.blogspot.com/2017/12/auto-de-ejecucion-de-sentencia-tsj.html)  (Our Highlight). This sentence is transcendental because it indicates, in other words, that any way out must involve consulting the sovereign people. This proposal is therefore politically and legally supported. It is up to us to make it effective for the recovery of liberties in Venezuela.

Thank you very much....

Caracas, 26 February 2018

Twitter:@laguana