Suscribete a TICs & Derechos Humanos

Marches as a complement

By Luis Manuel Aguana

I would like to ask a question that sounds obvious: who would not like a change of President in a peaceful way through free, fair and transparent elections? That's like my grandmother used to say, dead, you want mass? Everybody wants that since the first time we tried to remove Hugo Chavez with a recall in 2004 when it was due in 2003.

After hundreds of deaths on the streets and in hospitals as a result of the violence that has been imposed on us in all its forms, it turns out that this is now the offer of the official opposition. That is, Maduro would simply say, I'm leaving, I can't take any more of the gringo sanctions! And that's it. Usurpation is over! And the problems are gone. Unfortunately the world doesn't work that way and even less so with narcoterrorists.

The official opposition is preparing to appoint the new rectors of a CNE negotiated with the regime in a Preliminary Nomination Committee appointed with deputies from both sides, both seeking different objectives. The first, to be prepared for an immediate election after Maduro leaves (which would put us all in the first frame waiting for an event that may never come), and the second looking for the parliamentary elections that both - or at least a significant part of the official opposition (AD-UNT) - are looking for by the end of 2020. In any case, everyone is preparing for an electoral event.

And I wonder what we missed? Because as far as I know, absolutely nothing has changed except the promise after Guaidó's trip abroad that sanctions against the regime and its criminals will continue. And they have. The first applied to Rosneft Trading, the Russian company that commercializes Venezuelan oil since PDVSA ceased to exist for the world internationally. That leaves us with an infinite field of possibilities, but a very probable one: that things will continue to get worse for Venezuelans without the regime moving an inch from Miraflores. Ask the man at Mazo Dando if he cares that Venezuelans will go hungry and suffer more hyperinflation because Trump is imposing a blockade on the Venezuelan coast. They'll still be laughing their asses off, living off the smuggling of our riches - better than Cuba, which is now over 60 years old!

And you'll say, "This guy's negative! What does he know? Guaidó negotiated with Trump that Maduro would leave, now it's his turn to mobilize people!" I find it very difficult to see people mobilizing as they did before, not only because they left the country, but because there is no leadership capable of inspiring that. Guaidó stopped being one... My apologies for the mistrust. My point here is that the problem is still OUR problem, not the Americans' or Trump's. We cannot continue in an attitude of indefinite waiting, no matter how many promises Trump has made to Guaidó. We have a responsibility to do something big that will change the current state of things, beyond simply asking people to go out and march in the streets. That has to have a purpose!

The economic crisis has hit the population very hard and the official opposition has made sure that people lose confidence in them. I don't doubt that there is still some level of mobilization and support in the streets, but not to the point of achieving the necessary and sufficient critical mass for political change, no matter how many sanctions appear along the way. If it continues to try the same thing, the regime will continue to do what it does best, which is to attack anyone who shows their heads, killing young people in the streets, with the consequent return to the vicious circle that we all know. Einstein was not wrong in his judgement, and the same results will therefore be obtained.

What to do then? Something different. The opposition has the obligation to do something different to mobilize a massive rejection of the regime by the population and to generate that internal pressure that they asked Guaidó for at the White House, beyond the few demonstrators in the streets that they can raise. And here I am not saying that we should forget about the street mobilizations in protest of everything that is happening in the country. I'm saying that we need to add something completely new and different to achieve that critical point needed for the change we need.

In March 2014 I published a note -in fact it is the most read on my blog so far- (see in Spanish “Caída inevitable”, in where I reviewed the research of Dr. Erica Chenoweth of the University of Colorado at Boulder (see Dr. Chenoweth's lecture at, which showed that during the period 1900-2006 Nonviolent insurgencies around the world were twice as likely to completely triumph over those where violence occurred. The research revealed that NO insurrection had failed during that period (1900-2006) after the active and constant participation of only 3.5% of the population, with successful insurrections having historically been counted with much less than that percentage.

Now, if we look at the approximate figures of the population of Venezuela after the mass exodus calculated at around 5 million people, we are left with about 25 million people in Venezuela. Do you think that the current political leadership of the opposition will inspire around 1 million people to take to the streets in an active and constant participation, as the researcher indicates that it should be done? Let's be serious. The best numbers were obtained in the years of maximum active protest in the streets, beginning in 2002, when that number was counted in each march, without any exodus.

The highest peaks of protest counted by the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict took place in 2014 (9,286) in a consistent increase since 2017 (9,787), 2018 (12,715) and 2019 (16,739) (see in Spanish the Annual Report Social Conflict in Venezuela 2019, at These numbers indicate that people have not remained calm and may be the spark for a major conflict but that has not been enough, even though the conflict has almost doubled in 2014.

I have made this previous statement of reasons to make the official opposition politicians understand that a citizen-administered plebiscitary popular consultation, which we have proposed from ANCO, would put no less than 4 million people on the streets of Venezuela in a civic act, assuming that 3 million of the 7 million voters counted within Venezuela in the consultation held on 16J-2017 have left. However, this consultation would not leave out the Venezuelan diaspora, and would make present in the civic protest the thousands of people who for obvious reasons would not go out to march due to age or physical conditions, and for those same reasons have not left the country.

In this way, the cry of civic protest that we would give to the world demanding the departure of the satrap would be on the order of 10 million people. That is much more than calling for marches in deplorable conditions of credibility even if these are not exclusive. We can -and must- do both things: a great Plebiscitary Popular Consultation, and then go out to the streets -and not leave them consistently- demanding the world to help us make effective the fulfillment of the result of the popular mandate with all the protests and marches we wish. The marches would be the necessary complement of that Plebiscitary Consultation! That would put us all on the same page and with a common purpose: to massively demand the fulfillment of our mandate as a people.

If the political leadership cannot put 1 million people on the streets now every day as in the past, if it can help civil society to convene it for a civic event of this magnitude in the world. The political effect created by a plebiscitary popular consultation that expresses the feeling of 10 million Venezuelans living in Venezuela and outside the country, would go around the planet, and would be of such magnitude that it would be in the position of being the trigger we all expect for the political change of the country, giving the international community a support impossible to ignore to act in Venezuela.

The Consultation and the marches in protest of the fulfillment of its result would be among the actions that if we can do without waiting for Trump or anyone else, it could give him the political and popular support necessary to act and back up the President in charge in his exercise of power, beyond Article 233 of the Constitution, and would give us the weighty arguments to request with firmness and in one voice, the help of the necessary force to evict the tyrant and recover freedom. I still don't know what they' re waiting for...

Caracas, February 25, 2020


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