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The Civil Opposition present

By Luis Manuel Aguana

In the heat of this struggle to survive this regime, its official opposition and the serious economic situation we are living in Venezuela, I had forgotten the theoretical construction that I had begun years ago about the foundations of why we began this struggle from civil society. In August 2012, a few months before the Capriles-Chávez disaster, I wrote a note entitled "Civil Opposition” (see in Spanish in https://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2012/08/oposicion-civil.html). The term was defined there: "The Civil Opposition is civil society in its leading role in the changes, and its action in public affairs is manifested in its active participation and control of the main public actors. It will always be in opposition and will permanently remind those actors that there is an anonymous country that is affected by the decisions and public policies that are applied to citizens. They are the ordinary people who do not belong to parties but are conscious citizens who live in and love their country, NGOs that have their own civil spaces, opinion makers without ties or straw ends, who are day by day doing their bit to ensure that things are done well. If this decisive participation had existed before, perhaps things would not have gone so far and Chávez would not exist in the Venezuelan political scene".

It looks like this is going to have a lot to live up to in the next few months. After 10M we ran out of politicians. Juan Guaidó paralyzed the country and that expectant country waited for that day because "something would happen". And as we said several times, nothing happened. The only thing unfortunately relevant was the intervention of that dinosaur that has marked Venezuelan politics for several decades, Henry Ramos Allup, calling on everyone to vote in a parliamentary election in which only he believes, the regime and the collaborators who accompany him, I suppose thinking that we Venezuelans are still the same idiots who live in Narnia where there is no narco-criminal mafia governing the country. It will be because he is part of that mafia...

Since the Liberator recognized Civil Society in the Letter of Jamaica of September 1815, we Venezuelans have been searching for an appropriate location for this concept that seems diffuse. When we say "We are a small human race (referring to the inhabitants of the New World); we possess a world apart, surrounded by vast seas; new in almost all the arts and sciences, although somewhat old in the uses of civil society". I have always stated that Civil Society according to Bolivar's concept came first because the "uses of civil society" are nothing more than the civil and civic behavior that we all carry within us for the construction of a better and more just society.

As we are completely disregarded of the protection that our elected representatives owe us when they take us straight back to the regime's electoral slaughterhouse, there is no other way for those of us who identify with what we call Civil Society to insist on our proposals, and welcome new ones that come out publicly because something has to be done from our stands to somehow change the course that we consider wrong that these politicians are setting for us.

I have described from this tribune in several opportunities the proposal of a Plebiscitary Popular Consultation or Global Consultation of the Original National Constituent Alliance, ANCO, to achieve the Cessation of Usurpation. It has not been in any way easy to explain it, but we do not rest in making it as many times as it is necessary. Our proposal consists in getting the Venezuelans to formally express their will through a Plebiscitary Popular Consultation, administered by the same Civil Society, which will decide on the presence of Nicolás Maduro Moros in power, and at the same time invoke in it the presence of the Venezuelan people itself, without intermediaries, the help of the formal force of the nations in the case that it refuses to abide by the mandate expressed by the Venezuelan people in that Plebiscitary Consultation, making effective the compromise to intervene in the country on the occasion of the crimes against humanity that the regime is demonstrably committing against the population.

This Consultation must be IMPOSED from outside by the International Community as a solution to the regime and be willing to make it effective. In other words, it is an externally-internal solution. For this purpose, Civil Society would organize itself inside and outside Venezuela, not only to convince that International Community that it is a decisive solution because it comes from WE who are affected and that we have the constitutional right to do so above those who represent us, but also to count on the will of the Venezuelans with the help of international observation.

If we manage to get Donald Trump, President of the United States, to publicly express that his country is committed to helping to make effective the mandate expressed in that Plebiscitary Consultation promoted by Civil Society, not only will the resources come out to carry it out, but the formal use of force will be ordered by the international factors that have expressed that they would not use it on their own initiative. If the regime surrenders to the popular will - as it should be - the rest would be to negotiate with them the conditions for their exit. But if it does not surrender, then the expression of the citizen's mandate requesting an intervention of a humanitarian nature would work. That is where the UN Security Council would come in, with the unquestionable formal backing of a people who, in Consultation, are asking for help in evicting a narco-criminal mafia from power.

That is why I have always said that the FIRST thing is that all factors be convinced of this initiative as a POLITICAL SOLUTION first of all, to THEN work on convincing those who can make it effective outside the country. To anticipate the question that some may be asking themselves as they read these lines, we have made the knowledge of this initiative known to the President in charge Juan Guaidó for months, without any response.

Explained again our proposal, I will now respond to many supporters about the coincidences or not of our plebiscitary proposal with a new proposal from Civil Society that has recently come out on the initiative of Dr. Andrés Mezgravis, well known for his previous proposal of the application of TIAR to the crisis in Venezuela. According to his "Guidelines for the organization of Civil Society" (see Twitter thread from @amezgravis https://twitter.com/amezgravis/status/1235705379037818891), In both proposals the Cessation of Usurpation is sought, with which there is coincidence with the fundamental objectives of the Plebiscitary Popular Consultation, although the way expressed in point No. 2, "by the only possible means: obtaining MILITARY ASSISTANCE", is optional in the Consultation because that will depend on the result and the reaction of the regime before the popular mandate. We are not planning a Popular Consultation to shoot down the regime (although many of us would love to). It is to assert the sovereignty that only resides in the people to decide whether or not to continue with someone we do not want in power because that is provided for in our Constitution. The Consultation would be the most refined expression of the principle of Self-Determination of the Peoples, so defended in the International Community.

Reading the new proposal very carefully and listening to the interviews carried out with its promoters, I see it with much sympathy for two fundamental reasons: a) we wish to make the voice of Civil Society heard above those who have forgotten their role of political representation of Venezuelans; and b) it would be an important step for citizens to make effective the provision established in Article 5 of the Constitution of the direct exercise of sovereignty, above the indirect representation held by political parties.

Electing in some way (we will see that below) members of Civil Society on behalf of Venezuelans to act nationally and internationally to achieve "military assistance" to get out of Maduro's regime, is a natural reaction to the disaster put in place by the leadership of the political parties. However, we must not forget that Civil Society is NOT the replacement for political parties. The work of citizens is in control of what they do with our representation. We must be very clear about this. However, it is perfectly valid that before the unleashing of that function of the parties for innumerable reasons, most of them associated to corruption, the Civil Society acts in defense of its survival and of the integrity of the country proposing temporary formulas until this political function of genuine intermediation of the parties is reestablished in democracy. We therefore welcome this new proposal.

Now, before going into how they would propose to achieve that representation of the Civil Society, I would like to clarify a little the "how" of the Plebiscite Popular Consultation by virtue of the fact that there is still much ignorance about that aspect of the Consultation, to the point that I was surprised by the answer that Dr. Mezgravis gave to our friend José Domingo Blanco (Mingo) in his program in relation to the Plebiscite. When asked if he knew about the plebiscite proposal of ANCO, represented by Dr. Blanca Rosa Mármol de León and myself, the interviewee dismissed it arguing that "...it would be very cumbersome from my point of view to do it in the way it is being projected fulfilling a series of legal formalities, which in my opinion has been one of the main obstacles to organize the civil society. We cannot think of an electoral process to organize civil society when we know that this is impossible. It can take more than a year to restore the electoral register. To carry out a formal election where the voter goes to deposit his vote in a box if he decides to do it manually and not electronically, because we also know that this will be exposed to the actions of the collectives and all this type of thing that we have already lived for 20 years” (see in Spanish RCR750, Por todos los medios, 11-03-2020, interview to Dr Andrés Mezgravis, in https://youtu.be/Ufk6_dR-l_o min 55:00)

I must confess that I was disappointed to hear that explanation, not only because it does not in any way conform to what we proposed but because if Dr Mezgravis has not yet understood our proposal, what can we expect the rest of the Venezuelans who do not have his level to understand? This response creates confusion and misinforms people about what we are actually proposing. And it's not his fault, it's ours. We have not been able to explain it well, despite the infinite hours, publications, articles, and interviews, that we have done since we started with the subject, when Maduro called for a Constituent without having the constitutional quality to do so.

For Dr. Mezgravis and the rest of the Venezuelan people: we are not calling for a popular plebiscite to "organize civil society". We are calling it to make a statement and decide on the usurpation of power in Venezuela. And as far as "legal formalities" are concerned, nobody like Dr. Mezgravis, being a lawyer, should understand that we cannot say that the Venezuelan people voted for something in a legitimate way without auditable physical support that it was indeed the Venezuelans who voted for it. That is the case everywhere in the world except in Venezuela. For this we have designed an immediate technical formula that substantially improves the consultation carried out on 16J-2017, with which the reconstruction of the Electoral Registry would begin. We can use the current RE as long as there is a MANUAL VOTING AND SCRUTINY and we purge the RE in the process. That was what the Legitimate TSJ decided in its sentence of June 13, 2018. And that is in no way "cumbersome" as was demonstrated on the same 16J-2017 with more than 7.5 million manual votes counted in one day, and organized in two weeks. It was also demonstrated that the Civil Society can organize and carry out manual elections without the intervention of the Electoral Power and give the results immediately.

But the most important thing, as I mentioned before, is that if this Plebiscitary Consultation is held it is BECAUSE THE REGIME ACCEPTED IT as a solution IMPOSED by the International Community to the Venezuelan crisis, not before. Hence, when this Consultation is held in Venezuela, there will be no groups that will prevent it because it will be the regime itself that will tie up its dogs. That will not come out of ANCO or anyone here in Venezuela. That is why we are mobilizing to address important international factors to explain this solution well, which is as we have already said A POLITICAL SOLUTION to the problem. The new proposal does not go in a direct sense like the Popular Consultation for a Plebiscite, but it makes an intermediate step to select new actors to work in favor of a military intervention in Venezuela, to achieve the same thing that the Plebiscite would achieve in one step, which in my opinion is not in any way negligible, although it is longer.

Having made this important clarification, I understand that the new proposal involves the election of civil society representatives through electronic mechanisms using social networks (RRSS). It would be a contradiction in terms if I were to agree to that mechanism having been one of the technical witnesses to the Ruling of the Legitimate Supreme Court that annulled the Electronic Vote and Scrutiny in Venezuela. That is why the Referendum proposes the use of the MANUAL VOTE AND SCRUTINY with technological support to immediately make known the results, which are perfectly auditable. From now on I tell you: we already have the technical solution for this Plebiscite. What remains is to organize the people to vote and to organize the tables and the centers, inside and outside Venezuela. And that depends on the Venezuelans, here and abroad. That is where the new proposal can be very useful as a complement to a citizen consultation.
The technical solution that we have designed can be used, not only for the Popular Plebiscite Consultation but also for an election of Venezuelans inside and outside the country to represent the Civil Society. We make this technical solution available to this initiative, so that both proposals could be complementary. We are open to carry out this discussion as soon as possible because at the end of the road both proposals will benefit the search for a solution to the serious problem that afflicts us as a people, from the hand of the citizens themselves.

Things did not turn out as we thought in 2012 when I wrote "...if things do not turn out as we think and Chávez wins, -dixit technical fraud-, accepted by this political opposition, then we will see a very different scenario. Who will stay to "throw a truck" of will to this country? Answer: the Civil Opposition. Those of us who will always be there and who will not let this country go down the drain because some politicians sold it. No, it's not a call for anti-politics. It's a call to play real politics. Not that which led us to this cliff and which served as a justification for a military coup in 1992 to break his oath. This Civil Opposition will have the forms that the circumstance merits and it will mimic in its best form to recover democracy. God willing we don't have to get there, but if we get there, we will be there…” Well, it happened exactly like that, we arrived here after so many years and we are still here. They sold us out and will continue to do so because that is how the official opposition has historically worked, with and without Guaidó. Now, the Civil Opposition has made its presence felt in its best form with formulas to recover freedom and democracy. Let's use them! It will never be too late to do so.

Caracas, March 12, 2020

Email: luismanuel.aguana@gmail.com
Twitter:@laguana

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