A solution without the opposition

By Luis Manuel Aguana

From the recent article by Ricardo Hausmann (see D day Venezuela, by Ricardo Hausmann https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/venezuela-catastrophe-military-intervention-by-ricardo-hausmann-2018-01) we extract this important paragraph that deserves a necessary comment in Venezuela:

“As solutions go, why not consider the following one: the National Assembly could impeach Maduro and the OFAC-sanctioned, narco-trafficking vice president, Tareck El Aissami, who has had more than $500 million in assets seized by the United States government. The Assembly could constitutionally appoint a new government, which in turn could request military assistance from a coalition of the willing, including Latin American, North American, and European countries. This force would free Venezuela, in the same way Canadians, Australians, Brits, and Americans liberated Europe in 1944-1945. Closer to home, it would be akin to the US liberating Panama from the oppression of Manuel Noriega, ushering in democracy and the fastest economic growth in Latin America.” (the highlight is our).

That was precisely the mandate of the 16J and the support that the international community gave to the Venezuelans and the convenor of that Popular Consultation, the National Assembly, on July 5, 2017. What Hausmann says there is not in any way scandalous, especially because of the phrase “could request military assistance from a coalition of the willing, including Latin American, North American, and European countries”, since it places it as a possibility -among many- of action of an eventual government that would clearly be immediately pursued by the regime once it was designated.

That was the “booklet” solution. The constitutional way to give effect to the 16J mandate was to continue with the procedure of succession established in the Constitution after the Agreement of January 9,2017, but the Assembly “was afraid of leather” as I indicated in my note three days after that date (see The Tiger and Leather of the National Assembly, in Spanish at http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2017/01/el-tigre-y-el-cuero-de-la-asamblea.html). What will make Professor Hausmann think that things have changed? 

Indeed, this could have been a solution from 2016 when the National Assembly was installed with an opposing majority, it remained so in 2017 and still is in 2018. But for various reasons, the political leadership of the National Assembly ignored the possibility all those years. In 2016 because they got stuck in the solution of the Revocatory Referendum and in 2017 because the evidence suggests that they negotiated with the regime for a state of cohabitation, and now in 2018 because they want to "compete" in a suicidal presidential race with the regime, without changing the electoral conditions and with a National Constituent Assembly that would continue to rule even though in the supposedly denied they would win those elections.

The right question is not how to get out of the constitutional regime. Indeed, that would be a way if there were real political will in the official opposition coalition, which would really interfere with the regime and take the right steps by obeying the mandate that the people gave them on 6D-2015 and 16J-2017. But they won't, and that's the problem we have here. The right question is what would be a proposal to get out of the regime without the opposition, maintaining the solution equally constitutional.

But suppose they dare to do it. Given those steps that Professor Hausmann explains, Julio Borges as President of the National Assembly and in line with the line of succession, should be invested as Constitutional President Republic with the mandate to call elections in 30 days. However, that assumption of “could request military assistance...” could not be met because the regime would not allow him time to make such a decision since it would put him in prison and close the National Assembly. It would be crystal clear that this hypothetical government should escape and go into exile to constitute itself as a legitimate and constitutional Venezuelan government in exile immediately after that decision was taken and from there make effective that suggestion of Professor Hausmann.

But the MUD's political leadership has no intention of doing so, even if it has all the international support that no one else has ever had. So our hypothesis for a solution has as a fundamental premise that we cannot count on this political leadership as it is constituted as a representative of the Venezuelan opposition interests. Professor Hausmann's theoretical solution falls apart because those who would have had the obligation to carry it out would have put their own interests before the interests of the country, as they have shown over the last two years. And that is actually the serious problem we face.

So, what do we do? You will say to me “what you want is for the tiger to eat us” as that old song said. And I would say to you, that any solution that involves any of those political factors that are negotiating in the Dominican Republic is bound to fail to get out of the regime that way. We have to propose a different solution that does not involve them.

On October 28, 2017, from the National Constituent Alliance, we made a proposal that suggested that these political factors take a decision in favor of a constitutional solution to consult the Venezuelan people (see The solution resides in the sovereign people, in Spanish at http://ancoficial.blogspot.com/2017/10/la-solucion-reside-en-el-pueblo-soberano.html). It was useless but necessary. But we had to first formally ask them to proceed as constitutionally established. This convinced us that the solution does not lie in this determined opposition, and that we must act from the factors of civil society.

From that moment on, the National Constituent Alliance has been proposing that it be the people in Popular Consultation who decide the course of solving this political crisis, suggesting some very specific questions to ask the Venezuelan people, and that the people decide, achieving that regime allows the consultation (without CNE as it happened on 16J) with all the international guarantees, and respect the voice of the people in peace. How do we accomplish that? Strengthening and convincing all sectors of that solution throughout the country, but especially the international community outside the country.

That would be the real negotiated solution that would be achieved by putting enough pressure from outside on the regime so that the people of Venezuela would decide the course of their own history. It would be a solution without official opposition, which would prevent this negotiating spaces of participation and coexistence in order to survive. That the people decide in Popular Consultation.

If “agreements” come out of the Dominican Republic to wrinkle the crisis with presidential elections, what will happen is that this will take longer, as the regime will consolidate without solving the main problems, and the disaster will inevitably explode later on in everyone's face, taking the whole world, the government and its official opposition in the middle. There is still time to rectify...

Caracas, January 3, 2018