Where's the debate?

By Luis Manuel Aguana

"Unfortunately, when we should all be working together for unity for real political change, there are many specialists in creating false expectations that have added to the frustrations of the Venezuelan people. There are even several candidates for presidents in exile appointed by the Tribunal. There is a fierce struggle for who is going to administer things.... And if we fight for the rule of law to be in force in Venezuela, we cannot promote the achievement of power by violating it, because we do not want to change it, or we must not change an autocratic and dictatorial power like the current one for another at the service of some interests. There are some who boast abroad of being financiers and who control the magistrates we appoint and put them at the service of very particular interests. For we are not at the service of those interests..." (see in Spanish, Asamblea Nacional sesiona en rechazo a las medidas económicas, intervención del Diputado Omar Barboza, Presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, cierre de las intervenciones, 21 de agosto de 2018, en https://youtu.be/GsTrD9xDZkI, min 1:14:35)

The controversy that the President of the National Assembly, Omar Barboza, made public - without anyone asking him - in his closing speech at the session of the Deputies on August 21, 2018, between the National Assembly and the legitimate TSJ in exile, for the appointment of a Transitional Government that will begin to put an end to the tragedy that Venezuelans experience, reminded me of a marketing maxim that has long been well known in business schools around the world, when it comes to locating the strategy of their companies when they lose the compass: What business are you in?

Indeed, when specialists say that McDonald's is not in the hamburger business, but in the fast food business, or Ford is not in the car business but in the transport business, you begin to understand a little what I am talking about. Barboza is telling us that the National Assembly is in the business' of putting governments in place, and we, on the other hand, are saying that the National Assembly and the other branches of government are in the business' of solving the problems of those who elected them. So it's all about who's best understanding their role in all this tragedy.

While it is true that the National Assembly is constitutionally responsible for immediately filling the power vacuum caused by the conviction of Nicolás Maduro Moros, it is no less true that by not exercising it with the proper opportunity, it is causing damage to Venezuelans. This would mean that we would demand that the National Assembly comply with this mandate immediately because it is its responsibility; or that the legitimate Supreme Court would assume it at the request of the interested parties through jurisdictional channels. That is, we Venezuelans put a judgment on those irresponsible people who put off a problem that requires immediate attention.

Some of us have closed ranks around the magistrates who were constituted as legitimate Supreme Court of Justice in exile, who were the object of enormous political persecution by the regime, and on top of that they are being mistreated by those who should be their main protectors, the deputies of the National Assembly. Barboza's words at the beginning of this note corroborate this. He calls them sold out and negotiators of a possible government in exile, focusing the discussion on the fact that they are undermining the legitimacy of the National Assembly to appoint that government, directly affirming that the magistrates are "at the service of particular interests".

In other words, it focuses the debate on who appoints that government when what is really important is that THEY APPOINT THAT GOVERNMENT IMMEDIATELY. If they were interested, they would have already done so because they have the constitutional power to do so, and no one is arguing with them, especially when the absolute fault for the condemnation of the corrupt Nicolás Maduro Moros was declared. But they have not done so for interests that are far from those of the people of Venezuela. Then the debate that really matters is lost there.

Where is the debate? The debate is whether Capriles is or is not corrupt because he has received money from Odebrecht; or is the debate on the political implications of a condemnatory sentence of Nicolás Maduro Moros for corrupt? Someone is very interested in not talking about the conviction of Maduro but the main debate is lost and only talk that the legitimate TSJ "mentioned Capriles" in documents that were not generated by the legitimate TSJ, nor by the Attorney General of the Republic, but for the evidence they sent in a closed package from Brazil, indicating that Maduro had requested 50 million dollars and only gave him 35 for the campaign where he was "elected", and where they are mentioned a group of characters of the regime with Henrique Capriles, who according to Euzenando Acevedo, in charge of Odebrecht's business in Venezuela, the latter also received money to ensure the presence of his company in Venezuela after the elections, because it was Capriles, and not another, the main contender of Maduro in those elections.

No other opponent could be mentioned because the only one who competed in that campaign with a chance to win was Henrique Capriles in that case of Maduro's corruption, and that needs to be investigated. The Supreme Court does not pronounce itself in this sentence for the innocence or guilt of any of those mentioned there, but only for the guilt of Nicolás Maduro Moros. So, what is the scandal of Henrique Capriles and his defenders? The only possible answer: to dismantle the conviction of Nicolás Maduro Moros and the refloating of the image of a dead politician.

Is the debate about whether it is the legitimate TSJ or the National Assembly that appoints the transitional government, or is the debate about replacing Nicolás Maduro with a final sentence of corruption, in order to immediately resolve the very serious problems that we Venezuelans are suffering?

The President of the National Assembly rants from the Secretary General of the OAS at that session of the National Assembly to confuse Venezuelans by saying that Almagro "was used" by factors that pretend to ignore the legitimacy of the National Assembly to appoint a government. But what Luis Almagro did was to defend the legitimacy of the decisions of the legitimate TSJ (which in the end the deputies admitted) and that if he did not do so the National Assembly would become an accomplice of the regime. That truth bothered those who already had the wall ready to shoot the legitimate Supreme Court in the National Assembly.

Thanks to the Secretary General of the OAS, the deputies did not dismantle the legitimate Supreme Court of Justice, which was what they intended to do, if we follow the tenebrous words of its President. This clumsiness would have saved the regime from the conviction of Nicolás Maduro Moros, and would have brought down the argument of a power vacuum put forward by the legitimate TSJ for the appointment of a new government, because the concern of the deputies was not to resolve the crisis, but to take over the next transitional government. But by deflecting the debate, the problem is left unaddressed, as it did, leaving the National Assembly with the path open to resolving this " annoying issue " of the transitional government to deal with whenever it suits them. But unfortunately things in Venezuela are not happening at the speed that the deputy citizens led by Omar Barboza want.

The return to school and the general activities that begin after August will unusually raise the temperature of social protest, making it imperative that urgent action be taken in relation to the Venezuelan situation. Only a National Emergency Government in exile could do so with the help of the international community. The sense of urgency of the opposition political leadership is far from that of the Venezuelan population. It seems that they don't get on the Metro or buses, or buy bread, or cut their electricity, or go to the supermarkets where the new salary is already exponentially multiplying prices to leave the new minimum wage far behind. If they believe that by not deciding the problem is over, the situation itself will decide for them.

Caracas, September 1, 2018