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Changes, words and politics

By Luis Manuel Aguana

Just as I loved science fiction in my younger years -and still do-, I'm fascinated by politics fiction after I'm old. Both somehow make the things they present real. It is the exercise of the concept of "self-fulfilling prophecy", being something that ends up being realized because you want it. Those old enough will remember how in the 1960s all science fiction series presented videotaped phone calls as normal at a time when the telephone networks were just passing off dial-up phones in developed countries. In Venezuela we only had rotary phones. Now portable video calls are commonplace like in the futuristic cartoon series "The Jetsons" and "Star Trek," even better because they're free.

I remembered that it was from the extraordinary political fiction film of 2002, "The Sum of All Fears", starring Morgan Freeman and Ben Affleck, that the phrase "Be careful what you say, words have a habit of turning into politics". 18 years later, the United States still fears and has prepared itself to prevent the explosion of a nuclear bomb of terrorist origin on its territory, as the film very well exposes as a certain possibility, which would be the beginning of an atomic war of unpredictable consequences.

That is why everything that is expressed, written and discussed on social networks, which is the new framework for national and global information, will sooner or later end up becoming politics, just as video phone calls and so many other wonders described by science fiction became reality.

In Venezuela we have not even begun to debate how we would like our political future to be, beyond the commonplaces provided by an absolutely devalued political class and its new protagonists, who have learned all the bad habits from their mentors who still live off Venezuelan politics, to the misfortune of us all.

At the dawn of a new political dawn in the country, which with the favor of God Almighty should be very close, from the first day after the departure of those who have led the misfortune of Venezuela, what we see in our immediate future is those who were associated with the regime (and beware if not the same criminals disguised and mixed with those who claim to be opponents). That is what I unfortunately see in our immediate future. Nothing so far tells me that it won't be like that, regardless of who ends up displacing Nicolas Maduro Moros from power, either from outside or inside.

And it is not too difficult to predict that the G4 will take control of the next transition, with traditional political factors putting people in that government completely in line with the power strategies of the major parties. Sounds obvious, doesn't it? And also logical. None of the parties that control the official opposition will want to be left out of what happens after Maduro's departure. But what about us? I'm talking about civil society calling for substantial change. For the vast majority, the official opposition will be satisfied with restoring the comfort of a country that existed before the Chávez disaster in 1998. And many would consider that "enough" given the impressive state of destruction achieved during these last 20 years. And "it would be enough" many would say. But it would be a new deception of extreme gravity because Venezuela and the world have changed in all these years of massive internal destruction.

To begin with, where would the money come from to try to return to the "status quo" of 1998, without the oil industry - in Human Resources, organization and equipment - that we had in that year and the international markets that were lost because of that destruction? That Chinese vase broke irretrievably. The old political leadership of the official opposition - and I say old because everything is old - will try to sell us a government plan to manage a completely destroyed building. That is as if what they are offering you, after the destruction of your home by a brutal earthquake, is a plan to live indefinitely in air-conditioned tents without lifting a finger to build a new one. Or worse, they offer to build the same house without the slightest change in its architecture to prevent it from being destroyed by a new earthquake in the future, without giving you the opportunity to dream what the new one would be like, because in the end you have to do it all over again.

Well, from today I start dreaming about my new home because the one I have is completely destroyed. And I am not going to allow those who take power after Maduro to avoid it by trying to return to a past that will never happen, whether it is due to interests, corruption, ignorance in the management of public affairs, or simple lack of love for Venezuela. I'm going to dream about the video calls of the 1960s because that's the future I want. And since words have a habit of becoming political, I submit to public discussion some issues of fundamental importance that in my opinion should become a reality and mark the country where the new generations would live. We must discuss the Big Change that the country needs in the window of opportunity that opens with the transition of Venezuela after this tragedy.

And for example, what minimal changes am I talking about? What would the architecture of that new house where we would live be like? I will describe above only some of the rooms (reference points) to see if you like the model. Later we could see the detail of each one:

·         The representation of the people must control the Executive. It can no longer be tolerated that any President of the Republic who comes along does whatever he pleases with the Venezuelans and the Public Treasury. No President can create or eliminate Ministries or manage budgets at his own discretion, or remove us from international Agreements without the consent of the people's representation. His power must be reduced, cut up and handed over to the Municipalities and States, establishing a new Federal Pact;
·         State representation in Parliament must be restored. This means restoring the Senate of the Republic and giving it full control over the promotions of the Armed Forces and the final approval of laws. That cannot remain in the hands of any President of the Republic;
·         Municipalities and States must have the economic and political capacity to provide the quality of life that their citizens demand. Power must come as close as possible to the citizens and this is only possible by reversing the pyramid of power. The autonomy of States and Municipalities must be established as soon as possible, so that citizens can take control of their destiny in every corner of Venezuela;
·         The States must rethink how many Municipalities they should have according to their population reality, starting by converting the current Parishes into Municipalities. It is not possible to continue living with a citizen reality of 335 municipalities throughout the country and expect good public services. Caracas must have around 30 municipalities to be properly managed in all its services;
·         The oil industry needs to be thoroughly rethought and new terms for the distribution of income that are completely different from the current ones. The industry must be Energy and each State must control at all levels its own resources, including oil and mining, by establishing its contributions to a federal fund. If it has more, it will contribute more to the Federal Pact;
·         All land must have an owner. There cannot be a single meter of land in Venezuela that is "property of the State", except for those decreed as natural conservation areas and they would not be "property of the State" but of all Venezuelans, as a result of environmental protection laws; 
·         An URGENT change in the criteria for citizen representation in Parliament is required. Members of Parliament must be real representatives of their states, not of the parties they serve in. That the representation of the States in Parliament should leave the Legislative Assemblies and rotate throughout the legislative period. We must break the dictatorship of the parties over our people's representatives. The parties would only have the option of representing the people for the posts of Deputies, Governors and Presidents of the Republic. The Mayors and Councillors would be exclusively from the field of Civil Society;
·         By redoing the role of the States and Municipalities, the nineteenth figure of the Constitutional Situation should disappear because each State should contribute, not be contributed, to a federal fund that supports services common to the whole Republic such as the Armed Forces or Investigative Police of federal rank (which could be the CICPC);
·         Education, Justice, Health and the Police must be at the level of States and Municipalities, with common national guidelines. Water and electricity should be controlled and guaranteed locally;
·         Justice must be federated and each state must support and have a final federal instance, a Supreme Court of Justice, with a system of independence of judges to the point of thinking that they are indefinite (for life) until they prove that they do not deserve it, through strict anti-corruption controls; and a judicial career system as closed and strict as that of the military. This would be the only way to guarantee justice for all.

These are some of the rooms in the new house I want for my country. They are not all there and some of them are just ideas that should be discussed and improved in that rethinking of the country. "We have to rethink VENEZUELA. We have to REINVENT DEMOCRACY. We have to REFOUND THE COUNTRY" as our ANCO communiqué of March 28, 2020, the Big Change (

Have you seen any political factor in Venezuela talking about these transcendental issues that would affect our lives in the future, in this tragic hour when we are all in the middle of the countryside crying because our house is destroyed? No, have you?

A unique opportunity opens up to us NOW THAT EVERYTHING HAS BEEN DESTROYED to project a new home for future generations. If we don't draw it, describe it, and less discuss it, it will never become a reality. If video calls hadn't been introduced to people in the 1960s we wouldn't have them today. I may not see those changes, but maybe if my granddaughter, and all the grandchildren of Venezuela, who I hope will be living in this beautiful country, which I still consider the best in the world, at that time. For that reason, and that reason alone, it is worth continuing to work stubbornly for that change expressed in those words to become a political reality…

Caracas, April 17, 2020


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