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Abstention in times of collaborationism

By Luis Manuel Aguana

I had decided not to enter into the discussion about voting or not voting in the 15-O elections so as not to add fuel to a fire that I consider completely manipulated and irrelevant. But there are some arguments in which they “get you in” even if you don't want to, because even without giving any opinion they already assign you one. And in this case, since it is the same opposition that demonizes those of us who consider that the option of not exercising this right now (emphasizing the right now) is completely personal and individual, I feel obliged to intervene because I believe that despite so many blows there are still many confused people who defend foreign positions without sitting down to analyze this political fact with their own heads.

Without intending to rewrite my last note of the year 2012, dedicated precisely to this topic because of the cake put on by our official opposition in the elections of 7-O of the same year (please read especially “Abstentionism in times of dictatorship”, at, I will try to explain - again - this position, not with the idea of influencing anyone's decision to vote or not to vote, but so that whoever has made their decision in one way or another does so with the best possible knowledge of the facts.

It said in that 2012 note that abstention in a democratic context was not the same as abstention in a non-democratic or authoritarian context. According to the definition of CAPEL (Centro Interamericano de Asesoría y Promoción Electoral), a specialized program of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, electoral abstentionism is defined in different ways to be interpreted according to the regime where it occurs (see CAPEL, Diccionario Electoral, Primera Edición, Costa Rica, 1989

“Electoral abstentionism arises from different perspectives in democratic regimes and authoritarian regimes. In the former, it may imply the existence of political currents that do not form part of the normal political game, although it generally responds to individual impulses or motivations that are fully respected and assumed even when they exceed certain percentage limits. In autocratic regimes, in which special emphasis is placed - sometimes adulterating the figures - on achieving the highest electoral turnout rates, non-participation is considered the public expression of an opposition and is exposed, in addition to legal sanctions - since voting is considered a duty rather than a right - to other social ones.

In other words, according to this definition in the CAPEL Electoral Dictionary, the official opposition demonizes the Venezuelan electorate of a reaction that is completely natural in authoritarian regimes. Again, and as in 2012, the abstention shown in an authoritarian regime such as that of Hugo Chávez at the time and in the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro now has a different meaning than that of a democracy. And again, this meaning internationally is that of civic protest.

To place in opposition those who wish to vote with those who do not wish to do so for the international reasons set out above is, to say the least, an act of misery and abject manipulation of a collaborationist opposition that needs those votes as a place with purposes that go in the same direction as the regime's purposes: survival.

A population manipulated with something that is completely sensed and sacred by all Venezuelans, such as the institution of the vote, will not be in a position to fight for what is truly central as the immediate solution to their problems, because precisely this manipulation tells them that if they do not vote they will not be resolved. And the saddest thing is that having done so massively and above the same expectations of the official opposition in December 2015, we are in a worse situation than that moment. Then the problem seems not to be that we support the leaders of this opposition, but rather what they do with the mandate given to them. The 16J is a familiar sample of that.

They are asking us to vote again, and some will be convinced to give it to them. I respect that. But just as they are given the power to lead opposition actions, so too must their results be demanded. In my opinion, the most regrettable results we have not been able to achieve since the last election. Opposing parties now need our votes to maintain their client infrastructure. He needs to pay militancy. Yeah, it sounds tough. Many of these boys dressed in opposition colors are paid by the payrolls of opposition governors and mayoralties in the same way as the government does.

This kind of symbiosis, where I live from you and you from me, places Vichy's collaborationism, as Ambassador Diego Arria says in his last and clarifying article of the New Herald (see "Vichy in Venezuela? as a survival guide to as place above the peremptory needs of Venezuelans, leaving aside the pivotal struggle that we ALL must be doing to get out of this regime. That symbiosis is not new. I had already addressed that long time ago (see symbiosis, in where the main problem is not to leave the regime but to survive with it.

But the most serious thing in this particular moment of the Republic is something that escapes everyone's eyes. Oppositionist collaborationism in this survival process will reach its climax when, having "won" the governorships that it pursues, it puts the last nail to the cross of the Venezuelans by recognizing the fraudulent Constituent of the regime in exchange for those governors, not won by them but by the confidence that Venezuelans had when they voted for them. Greater betrayal will be impossible.

The regime doesn't care about those governors what it wants is the opposition recognition of its Constituent (see El País “Maduro transforma las elecciones regionales en un reconocimiento a la constituent” With that recognition, you'll neutralize anything you've earned. That which seems clear to the Spaniards of El País, is not so clear to those of us in Venezuela who are fighting each other over an empty bottle that the regime has already drunk with Henry Ramos and Julio Borges.

Dear friends, this coming Sunday the fate will not lie in the outcome of those votes, but in what the opposition leaders who were given the confidence to solve the problem of Venezuela will do with that result. If they sell us, both those who voted and those who did not, we will know what to expect...

Caracas, October 13,2017


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