An alternative agenda for Venezuela

By Luis Manuel Aguana

The regime's intention to bring forward the elections constitutionally established for 2018, regardless of the outcome of the so-called dialogue in the Dominican Republic, is already public, notorious and communicational. The desire to leave this regime as soon as possible has been confused with the desire to change a government constitutionally, and these are two completely different things.

The regime is using that first desire of the Venezuelans to continue in power, using the means we already know of kidnapping the electoral institution, the natural propensity of the Venezuelan to vote as a means of legitimate peaceful political change, and a committed opposition that uses the electoral argument as blackmail to continue taking advantage of the opposition spaces, indicating that this is the only way to peacefully solve the political problem of the Venezuelans. This confluence of factors has resulted in Venezuelans not being able to escape from this trap that has been going on for almost 20 years.

Venezuelans have once again fallen into the wrong dilemma between voting or not voting, led to that cunningly by this regime, when in reality the dilemma is between accepting or not accepting a deceptive solution to the Venezuelan crisis. On the one hand, the government wants the opponents not to vote because they have a hostage population blackmailed by food that will vote for them. On the other hand, the official opposition diminished by their condition as collaborators trying to survive, trying to convince us that if we are going to play into this regime, because "that is the only constitutional, peaceful and electoral way to change it". The result: Back to the vicious circle of legitimising criminals in the ballot box for another six years. I refuse to believe we're doomed to do that with no way out.

And when I say that it is two different things to leave this regime as soon as possible and change constitutionally to a government, I base my assessment on the fact that no election in Venezuela, whether it is advanced or not, is valid if it takes place within the framework of a National Constituent Assembly erected in an unconstitutional manner, and that it intends to constitute itself as a superpower above the Venezuelan electoral power to call elections. Anything that comes out of it, whether decisions, decrees, laws, calls for elections, appointment of officials, etc., are irritants, null and void no matter how much the pseudo-opposers of the MUD endorse them. Therefore, we cannot continue the institutional life of Venezuela without first dismantling that mamotreto that the regime imposed to perpetuate itself in power.

Any discussion about choices that does not take into account this tiny detail is, to say the least, collaborative. So it is not that we say "No and Yes" to the presidential elections, as Father Luis Ugalde pointed out in his last dissertation (see in Spanish “No y Si de las elecciones presidenciales”, at http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/columnista/las-elecciones-presidenciales_221353), is that elections cannot be held in Venezuela unless that unconstitutional National Constituent Assembly disappears, period.

I wonder why important political analysts such as the aforementioned one leave aside without discussing this "small" detail when that is precisely the problem we have in Venezuela. Do you intend to tolerate it and live with it, in the supposed case you will get to win? I think the reason for this is that many Venezuelans believe - and some with good intentions - that they can succeed in changing a regime of the characteristics of the current one only with elections, when what is needed is an alternative proposal that applies a procedure of constitutional restoration that fully develops Articles 333 and 350 of the Constitution.

And that is precisely the approach of the National Constituent Alliance. Who is the ONLY one who can politically dismantle Maduro's constituent parapet? The Sovereign People of Venezuela, who was violated that right on May 1,2017 with the unconstitutional Decrees 2,830 and 2,831. And only the Sovereign can dismantle it by means of a Popular Consultation, to which he must be called by all the living forces of the Nation, especially the Church and the Universities, the two most credible institutions of the country and which can be conformed as the main drivers of the solution.

The Catholic Church has already pronounced itself in this sense on January 12,2018 in its Pastoral Exhortation "God Will Consolidate His People", stating that civil society "assumes its vocation of being a social subject with its capacities to carry out initiatives such as, for example, that civil society carry out a consultation to point out the direction it wants to take to the nation as foreseen in our Magna Carta (Cf. Art. 71). (No. 6 of Pastoral Exhortation 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). The National Constituent Alliance fully embraced that approach and took action for that call, with the intention of making it a reality because we seriously believe that this is the right path for Venezuela's recovery.

So this Popular Consultation that we are proposing cannot be seen as a mere innocuous consultation that resulted in the 16J consultation, nor can it and should it be compared with it. It is part of a constitutional restoration procedure based on Articles 5,70 333, 347 and 350, and that a) requests the dismantling of a Constituent not summoned by its legitimate depositary, the people of Venezuela and annulment of all its illegitimate acts; c) empower the Constituent Assembly for an immediate renewal of public powers, starting with the executive branch and establishing a Transitional Government of National Unity, ending with general elections in the framework of a new constitution.

The national and international pressure derived from such an approach would lead to the convening of such a Popular Consultation rather than to give way to elections with sung results in favour of the regime, if it is welcomed by all those sectors that reject presidential elections that will not resolve the serious crisis we Venezuelans are going through and nor will it restore the rule of law in Venezuela.

We also hope that the international community will accept and press for this solution as the constitutional way out that they are asking for to force the regime to be properly counted and that it will define the political future of the country, and not an election that leaves out more than 4 million Venezuelans who have practically fled from Venezuela and who will not be counted in that cheating electoral process of the CNE, but in a Consultation that convenes them. This solution dismantles the unconstitutional suprapoder invented by the regime and puts the country back into a state of immediate governability, for the beginning of a stage of reconciliation, reunification and reconstruction of the country.

This alternative agenda for Venezuela is a constitutional, peaceful, electoral and democratic solution that we oppose to the dilemma of voting or not voting that is being imposed on us by the regime and its committed opposition as the only solution to the crisis. Venezuelans believe in the vote but we also believe, as Aquiles Nazoa said, in the people's creative powers. Let us put that hope into effect immediately.

Caracas, February 3, 2018

Twitter:@laguana