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2019, a lost year?

By Luis Manuel Aguana

Intervention in the Roundtable of Analysis of the Pío Tamayo Chair on December 2, 2019.

Once again I would like to thank the Pío Tamayo Chair and the tireless Prof. Agustín Blanco Muñoz for this new invitation to debate Venezuela. Never as now is there a need for reflection, discussion and debate about the direction the country is taking. The work that this Chair has carried out for decades makes it an indisputable reference when it comes to making decisions. I wish that the political leadership would take into account what is discussed in this classroom in the Pío Tamayo Chair. Perhaps the results would be different from those we now perceive in the country.

On this occasion, the Pio Tamayo Chair brings us to an Analysis Roundtable with a topic of special relevance: "Balance of 2019 A lost year? What awaits us in 2020?" What a discussion! Evaluate what has been done, giving a rating, and predict what will come. Thank God I am here, accompanied by extraordinary teachers in politics, starting with Prof. Blanco Muñoz, who could evaluate this exam much better than me. I must begin by defining who is evaluated, in order to be able to respond effectively if their actions led to the loss of a year, if indeed that was the case, of the life of the country, understanding that what is referred to in the question of the lost year formulated by the Chair, is whether all Venezuelans lost a year in getting rid of this regime, so that the object of the evaluation must refer to those who had the responsibility before us to do so.

In this way, I define for the purposes of my presentation, that those examined today in this classroom are those who integrate what I have consistently called the official opposition, that is to say, those characters who, belonging to the so-called opposition political parties, were elected in responsibilities of political representation of the Venezuelan people, and their leaders are recognized outside and inside the country as those responsible for the decisions taken in representation of the Venezuelan population that rejects the regime of Nicolás Maduro Moros.

And whether we like it or not, it is the official opposition that decides for us the course that the country's opposition struggle should take against what we have considered a regime responsible for dismantling the system of freedoms and the institutionality of the Republic. It could be said that the official opposition is made up of all the members so called in the National Assembly, made up of the parties that call themselves opponents and that live there.

Once the evaluated person has been established, I will also define the object of the evaluation. Given the broad spectrum of topics on which to evaluate the management of a year of the opposition struggle - which are multiple - I will only evaluate on those topics to which I warned in my last note of the year 2018, published on December 31 of that year (see For an effective leadership in 2019, in  and which is summarized in five fundamental aspects on which the credibility of any leadership should be based in order to have the moral qualification to lead this struggle.

I didn't invent these aspects. They were suggested by Victor Lipman, world-renowned leadership specialist, contributor to Forbes Magazine and Harvard Business Review, in an article published in March 2018, entitled “5 Time-Tested Ways To Build Leadership Credibility (see in and which I will summarize below for the evaluation.

However, I must mention first, for the purposes of this examination held on 31 December last, with sufficient anticipation for the answers to be outstanding, that it was necessary for the new leadership that assumed the reins of the official opposition in the new year that was beginning, represented by these young people, to take these considerations into account because 2019 would be strongly marked by their decisions in the opposition leadership of the country. And I was not mistaken.

I was extremely concerned that many of these young politicians would not have had any real professional work experience, without a boss from whom they would have learned, before engaging in politics. They suddenly entered the university struggles of the street, the National Assembly, mayors and other positions of responsibility without first having gone through the forging that only gives the touch of professional training after a university.

That said, highlight the 5 aspects of building Lipman's leadership credibility, which we will then evaluate:

1.- Deliver results. On December 31, 2018, it was said that none of these boys would earn a credible position in public opinion if they did not present results. We are still waiting for the results of the Cessation of Usurpation after 11 months. Only for not having delivered results to the Venezuelans, the evaluated one is reprobated in this first aspect.

2.- Transparency. As Lipman said "Do you want credibility? You have to be honest with people...". Were the young people responsible for the official opposition sincere with the people? Definitely NO. The events of February 23 and April 30, 2019 openly demonstrate this. Instead of leaving the regime first, they tried to negotiate with him in a Dialogue Table in Norway and then in Barbados, and now they have decided to go to an election with Maduro in power. In this second aspect the evaluated one is reproved.

3.- Don't avoid difficult decisions. I said in that note that the whole of 2019 would be extremely difficult but that the worst thing they could do was avoid difficult decisions and not face them, even if it cost them their freedom. Well, they did the opposite. They avoided at all costs, not even discussing in Parliament, transcendental decisions such as the approval of Article 187, Numeral 11 that gave the authorization to the countries that wanted it, the military accompaniment of the humanitarian aid necessary for Venezuelans. In this third aspect the evaluated one is reprobated.

4.- Demonstrate consistency in your behavior. Ask yourselves if the official opposition has behaved consistently. That is, if you have kept the word pawned. Answer: a resounding no. This is demonstrated by the October 1st Agreement of the National Assembly where they announced a new route that disappeared the trilogy announced on January 23, "Cessation of Usurpation - Transitional Government-Free Elections". In this fourth aspect the evaluated is reprobated.

5.- Guide with the example. I said at this point last year that people would not believe in anyone who did not give the example. However, the allegations of corruption were hidden, being conducted in exactly the same way as the Maduro and Chavez regimes. With the bursting of the Cucutazo corruption pot, the recent denunciations of the former Ambassador appointed by the Government in Charge in Colombia, Humberto Calderón Berti, about the irregular handling of the official opposition parties in the appointment of the executives in Monómeros Colombo-Venezolanos, S.A., and now the advanced corruption scandals in the Comptrollership Commission of the National Assembly, publicly exposed in the portal. (see in Spanish ¿Necesita lavar su reputación? Se alquilan diputados para tal fin, en, It is relieved of all evidence that Venezuelans are with the official opposition to exactly the same "musiú with different cachimbo" as it was stylized in the past, that is, the regime and its opposition are the same, with all that that implies. Needless to say, in this fifth and final aspect, the person being evaluated is more than disapproved.

Having failed the leadership of the official opposition in this fundamental matter which is the credibility of leadership, what is left for the rest? Anything they try to do, even a charity like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, will be doomed to failure because it will not have the backing of Venezuelans.

To the question, was 2019 a lost year? Indeed, after the evaluation of each of the 5 objective aspects that were warned well in advance, we Venezuelans lost the year 2019. On the contrary, it means an effective advance for the regime, since it can sustain itself one more year in power. Now, what does 2020 have in store for us?

Venezuelans don't have it easy in 2020. Demonstrated as it is that we are facing a monster that is not only outside but also inside our home, we must then close ranks around what we have as safe. I am not going to mention here the names of valuable Venezuelans, not only in the field of politics but especially in that of civil society - inside and outside the country - who have warned of the need to gather urgently around leaders who effectively represent those of us who urgently want to get out of this problem. You know them. The realignment of the country around these characters is a vital necessity for freedom, and anything that must be done to place them in the immediate future in the line of succession and constitutional power as protagonists of a new stage of the opposition struggle for the recovery of freedom in 2020, is completely mandatory.

In this sense, proposals such as the Popular Plebiscite Consultation of Venezuelans with the designation of a Council of Government of National Unity, with the incorporation of sectors of Civil Society by direct means, or the consultation for the convocation of the Original Constituent as is being proposed in Chile, are solutions proposed by the Original National Constituent Alliance, ANCO, and that must be urgently reviewed with the corresponding seriousness by all Venezuelans.

In the renewal of the opposition leadership is the key not to lose also next year and those who come after. I will not ask for more reflection from the parties of an official opposition that, from an opposition Comptroller's Commission, issued certificates of good conduct to the criminals of the regime who trade with the hunger of our people. If we citizens do not undertake the struggle to immediately change the political leadership of the Venezuelan opposition, starting with Juan Guaidó, through the mechanisms guaranteed to us by the Constitution, the year 2020 will definitely be worse…

Thank you very much...

Caracas, December 2, 2019


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