Venezuela: a matter of routes

By Luis Manuel Aguana

From 15-O onwards, Venezuelans began to argue that they could no longer accompany an absurd position such as that of continuing to compete in elections with a partial arbitrator, even though the leaders were muzzling them to an electoral slaughterhouse. So much so they learned, that those whom we always tried to convince that the CNE was fraudulent and could not attend without conditions to another election, are the first ones who now reject the electoral organism even though they always defended that they would win regardless of government traps. It seems that they have already changed their position and that is an important step forward for what happens in the future.

But the most important thing that is beginning to change in my opinion is that now the issue of political change is not focusing on candidates, or elected positions. We are beginning to discuss routes, roads, formulas to get out of the regime. And why do I say this? Because precisely the famous "electoral route" that the MUD had sold us as a panacea to get out of these criminals who hold power in Venezuela is being questioned. We are already putting aside the Manichean argument that only with elections, let alone a few tricks, will we be able to overcome this terrible crisis.

Then we are now slowly falling into the right debate. Because if we talk about methods, procedures, and routes of action, then those who are going to execute them take a back seat. Once you decide what to do, you will then look for the one who does it best. It seems simple but extremely complicated for those who have historically rested the entire strategy of the opposition struggle to contain the regime only in changing electoral faces. It was necessary to take the country to a fraud of unprecedented proportions like 15-O so that the population would begin to understand the situation and think differently. Although it is still too early, we can discuss some of these routes. Let's see.

The first of these is what I would call the "classic route" that has been proposed to us since we have been led to vote with this corrupt system of the CNE. According to this route, the official opposition sells us that independent of the traps of the CNE, if we vote in a majority percentage and if we have all the witnesses at the tables, then there is no way that we can be cheated.

The basis for this route is the victory of the opposition in the parliamentary elections of 6D-2015. Although the "classic route" seemed to be unbeatable, the 15-O watered down, and now MUD spokespersons are now blaming abstention for defeat without any statistical basis. In my opinion, the opposition won the 6D-2015 election not precisely because the CNE was not prepared to steal the elections from us again (see Emili Blasco of ABC International, “El Alto Mando militar forces us to accept the great victory of the opposition in Venezuela”, http://www.abc.es/internacional/abci-alto-mando-militar-fuerza-aceptar-gran-victoria-oposicion-venezuela-201512070619_noticia.html?ref_m2w). From 2004 to date, the CNE has committed technical fraud in absolutely all elections, but the official opposition has systematically ignored this reality… until now.

Venezuelans bitterly tasted 15-O that if they insisted on this route without a profound change in the electoral system, the results will invariably remain the same. In this way, I find it difficult to get voters back into the polls unless a profound change is demonstrated to guarantee the people's votes. If the MUD intends to insist on the "classic route", they will have to change the authorities of the CNE from the National Assembly, with an impartial composition and swallowed up by the regime, something that I find difficult - if not impossible - to do in dictatorship. Not to mention that the MUD is still living with the regime. They even made the pretense of changing the CNE authorities but openly sabotaging the process of non-attendance to the National Assembly of an opposition party clearly in tune with the regime.

In contrast to the electoral “classic route” of the MUD, María Corina Machado of the Vente Venezuela party has proposed an alternative route that also involves the appointment of new authorities for the CNE by the National Assembly, but which will have to meet from abroad because they will be persecuted as the TSJ in exile, which was recently installed at the OAS headquarters in Washington, DC (see MCM: There is no exit through the electoral route with the CNE. https://www.contrapunto.com/noticia/maria-corina-machado-o-existe-una-salida-por-la-via-electoral-165561/).

This alternative route, which we will call the "exile route", requires that this new CNE appointed by the National Assembly convene general elections in line with the fulfillment of the mandate of the 16J Popular Consultation. This “exile route” leaves as a response to the crisis presented by the MUD disaster evidenced on 15-O, establishing a sequence of international events that will eventually lead us to a transition through a different path than to continue waiting for the change by the electoral “classic route” of coexistence with the regime proposed by the MUD.

In other words, once a Government of National Unity is elected by a legitimate CNE in exile, what is lacking would be to force compliance with this scenario through international pressure. Such international pressure could range from deepening sanctions that have been imposed on the regime for a few weeks now to a multinational humanitarian intervention force.

The scenario is similar, with its obvious differences, to the one presented in Panama when Guillermo Endara won the elections against the candidate of the Panamanian regime in May 1989. Endara was immediately persecuted by Manuel Noriega, then dictator of the country. That and the death of a U. S. soldier by Panamanian forces was the reason for invasion by U. S. troops. “On December 20,1989, while the Americans were bombing different points of the Panamanian capital, Endara was sworn in as Constitutional President of Panama, at a ceremony held inside a U. S. military base located in the Canal Zone” (see Guillermo Endara, at https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillermo_Endara).

Regardless of whether that was good or bad for Panama, that country was not in the situation of today's Venezuela, a country completely divided and destroyed by ideologized fanatics, which, although urgently in need of a change of government, also needs those authorities to be born from a process of reconciliation among its people, and not out of negotiations behind closed doors, but out of the decision of its own citizens. And that goes far beyond electing or appointing a new President of the Transition, since his stability would be null in the face of a dismantled country and with the seriousness of the problems that afflict us.

The effort to call elections via a new CNE in exile to provoke a Transitional Government is exactly the same as calling the people to solve their crisis through a Constituent Consultative Referendum that asks the Depositary of Sovereignty : a) whether or not it wishes a Constituent Originate process in peace - with proposed Commissions Bases - for the reorganization of the State and the re-institutionalization of the destroyed country; b) whether or not it wishes to revoke the Constituent Assembly of Maduro and its unconstitutional decisions; and c) whether or not it wishes the renewal of all Public Powers and the designation of a Government of National Union until the promulgation of a new Constitution with general elections. This route would guarantee the political stability of the country.

The last question would be in line with question No. 3 of the 16J Popular Consultation, only that in this case it would be a mandate, not only to the National Assembly, but to the elected Constituents, with which the National Constituent Assembly would not be disposing of the Public Powers on its own, but by express mandate in a Referendum of the Depositary People of Sovereignty.

This third route, which we have called the "constituent route", would also start from new CNE authorities as a fundamental premise, from exile or not, but also that the National Assembly should call this Constitutional Consultative Referendum through Article 71 of the Constitution, which could be called by a simple majority of its members for matters of special national importance.

As you can see, there is more than one proposal of "routes". And the last one is not new. It is nothing more than a variation of what we have proposed for years from the National Constituent Alliance because it is nothing more than the summoning of the Original Constituent Power to resolve the crisis of the country, emphasizing that it is from its very core that any Transitional Government should be born, not from a simple decision born of a political conciliabulo. And now, after the fraudulent Constituent of the regime, this “constituent route” becomes even more necessary after the illegal decisions that are already being taken by the National Constituent Assembly of Maduro.

It will not be a matter of personal protagonism, but of the political solution that best suits the country. It will remain for the Venezuelans to decide which route to continue independently of the driver. I will always be inclined to a solution that has no more of a leading role than we do, including those who don't think like me. But these processes must be driven by new leaderships that will emerge from the ashes of the 15-O disaster. Not only new routes are needed, but also those who plan and implement them. We're starting to be on the right track...

Caracas, October 20, 2017

Twitter:@laguana