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Displacement of the opposition

By Luis Manuel Aguana

As I tried to explain in my previous note, Venezuela's problem is extremely complex (see The big puzle of Venezuela, in https://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/p/the-big-puzzle-of-venezuela.html) and as such it is very difficult to cover in a single attempt, the exhaustive explanation of all its pieces. I even tried to explain it, apparently without success, in the prestigious program Politically Speaking that is transmitted from the United States, conducted by Dr. Carmen Cecilia Perez through YouTube (see in Spanish Políticamente Hablando, Derrocar es Constitucional, in https://youtu.be/RE52QdHvO9k) where I expressed one possibility among others for the displacement of the opposition by decent people from civil society. But it will depend fundamentally on how we approach the macro problem of opposition displacement, understanding its different facets.

One of the pieces, perhaps the most important, of the whole puzzle is indeed the official opposition, to derive from it what the final outcome of the tragedy of the Venezuelans should be. The official opposition will deserve a complete chapter in the history of Venezuela in the next century, the 22nd century, as the one responsible for years of death and permanence of the most opprobrious regime that has passed through the Republic since its foundation.

Indeed, I have come to that conclusion after many years of denouncing the behaviour of the official opposition. At first I considered it wrong, if by that term we mean someone who has no correspondence between what he does and what he says. But my first harsh and indignant reaction was in relation to the behavior of the opposition pre-candidates in the face of the 2011 Census and their open submission to the regime of Hugo Chavez. And from that very moment I began to call them collaborationists (see in Spanish Los opositores de Vichy, in https://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2011/09/los-opositores-de-vichy.html).

Over the years my notes were aimed - and in particular those related to the electoral issue - at warning of technically irregular situations that for some reason in the opposition, and in the eyes of the citizens, were not being addressed. At first, and as I always do, I believed in the good faith (good is presumed, bad must be proven) of all technicians and politicians involved in the process, and it became increasingly difficult. It was impossible for them not to be aware of those warnings that clearly indicated that we were always going to an electoral slaughterhouse, repeating it once more at each new election.

On October 11, 2011, a full year before the Capriles-Chavez election, it said in a note "The complaints made by technical NGOs such as SUMATE or ESDATA are necessary but not sufficient. It is necessary that the political organizations take ownership of the problem that is being raised. We are going to lose the elections in the CNE if the accredited parties do not take this matter seriously. If they do and inform the voters what the actions are, beyond what the CNE says, that they guarantee that our votes will be counted, that there will be secrecy in our vote, that the votes of voters from abroad will be counted and that there will be no more votes than the REP indicates, after a respectable audit, then we can go confident that we will win this process. Otherwise they will be taking us to a slaughterhouse from which they will wash their hands of the fact that the government cheated, without having any way to prove it. It is now that they have to put their hands in that candle, not after they take out the eye of Saint Lucia. We still do not understand why the technical representatives of the parties accredited to the CNE have not said anything to the public about the bids necessary for the acquisition of this new electoral system and what implications this would have on the security of the secrecy of the vote and its auditing mechanisms". (see in Spanish Silencio Cómplice, in https://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2011/10/silencio-complice.html). This was ONE YEAR before the failure of 2012 and was compounded in 2013 by the death of Chavez and Maduro's fraud in April of that year and the lamentable and historic inaction of our faint-hearted candidate.

And just like that note you can review my entire blog in those years permanently making that kind of denunciations that were always dismissed by the opposition parties, whose strategy was never to leave the regime but to permanently live with it. For me this is not a new situation. The official opposition parties have always acted to coexist, not to expel the regime from power (see in Spanish Simbiosis, in  https://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2012/12/simbiosis.html), Anyone could argue with that, but the results are more than evident.

Any rational Venezuelan could tell me, but why that? Why would the opposition agree to live with the regime when they could be in power? Prior to the deepening of the devastation in Venezuela that we have witnessed in these last 3 years, where the levels of destruction have reached unimaginable levels, it was very easy to convince an unsuspecting opponent that the opposition was "working" to get out of the regime. Just look at the election campaigns for the National Assembly in 2015 where a deputy from Zulia promised that from having control of the National Assembly they would even dollarize the economy. And the Venezuelans believed them.

What has had to happen is what is horribly happening, where the population is locked up by a pandemic, going hungry and without services, without gasoline because they ended up with PDVSA, with a currency that is not worth anything, that even the vegetables are sold by the informal ones in dollars (in that if the promise of the Zulian candidate was indirectly fulfilled) and with the refusal of the official opposition with Juan Guaidó at the head, to confront the regime immediately, because they hold the Legitimate Government of the country, thus recognized by the whole world, requesting the institutional use of force from the International Community, which only they can ask for, so that Venezuelans begin to understand that with that legitimate opposition representation the regime will remain forever.

The blow is brutal but it is so. The reasons, thousands. But they can begin with the cancer of political corruption that existed before 1998 and of which the regime is nothing more than its metastasis. The official opposition and the regime are the same with different nuances since long before 2004. Look at that association referred to in depth by our late friend Eric Ekvall in 2012 (see in Spanish Eric Ekvall – Elecciones Presidenciales 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSa0kgHgcjs). As a result of this truth as a temple, I arrived at a first conclusion years ago, initially on the technical electoral side: until we get out of the official opposition we will not get out of the regime.

And on the basis of that first and fundamental conclusion that Venezuelans are already beginning to understand in its due crudeness and depth, we must act. Strategies aimed at displacing the regime could not be carried out without first taking into account that the enemy is inside. If Venezuelans insist on continuing to elect the same people who still have us in trouble as our political representatives to the world, we will never get out of it. And that is where this issue is fundamentally centered, in the legitimate representation of the opposition. Until now, the legitimacy recognized by the world for all those who have betrayed the will of the Venezuelan people time and again has been born from the votes. The deputies of the National Assembly, starting with Guaidó, drew their legitimacy from the 6D-2015 elections.

With a new parliamentary election coming up, what are we going to do? After the U.S. government's recognition of Juan Guaidó and the legitimate National Assembly in the State Department's May 29 communiqué (ver In Defense of Democracy in Venezuela, in https://translations.state.gov/2020/05/29/in-defense-of-democracy-in-venezuela/) and “urges all parties to consider the Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela as a pathway towards a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Venezuela..”,  I have no doubt that the Americans will recognize the result of the next parliamentary elections if that opposition agrees to go to that electoral process with Nicolas Maduro Moros in power.

Now, given that Juan Guaidó would be the obstacle to that because the regime is getting ready to outlaw Voluntad Popular (VP) and begin the hunt for its leaders, the next step for this pseudo-opposition constituted after that in G3 (AD, PJ and UNT) would be to negotiate with the regime to go to those elections. Henry Ramos Allup already established this opposition policy in March (see in spanish Ramos Allup: Debemos prepararnos para elecciones parlamentarias y presidenciales, in  https://www.elnacional.com/venezuela/ramos-allup-debemos-seguir-presionando-para-que-haya-elecciones/). So we Venezuelans should not be surprised that in the face of such coincidence of the opposition with the regime, the Americans say amen because that is what they themselves proposed of that government-opposition union in their Framework for Democratic Transition for Venezuela.

In the face of this, we Venezuelan voters can only do two things to try to prevent this sold out opposition from representing us again: a) Completely delegitimize that election by not going, like on May 20, 2018 (repeating what we did in 2005), with the difference that the main parties would go to that election; or b) try to compete in that election with honorable citizens from civil society to contest the parties for those positions of political representation. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

If we are not going to vote en masse, it will still happen as it did in 2005, the parliament will be left in the hands of the regime with some opponents of the parties that participated, aggravating the situation for everyone. Civil society would try to delegitimize this parliament but it would be equally recognized by the international community, further prolonging the suffering of Venezuelans. If we try as civil society to compete with the political parties, there would be a distant possibility that the opposition vote would shift towards those candidates given the disastrous opposition experience of the last 5 years in parliament, but this movement would divide the opposition vote against the regime's candidates, given that there are still many Venezuelans who still believe in the opposition political parties despite this disaster (although the most appropriate qualification is not that). Neither option is easy.

Ideally, the official opposition would really align itself with the objectives of removing the regime from Miraflores and this is not what has happened in 5 years, no matter how much majority it was given on 6D-2015. And we are about to repeat the experience, without saying the worst: the next parliamentary elections will be held with the regime still in Miraflores and a tricky CNE negotiated in the National Assembly by the regime with the dissident opponents, with Luis Parra at the head. All this is just around the corner. My final question to you would be, what is the least bad thing? It is not me who should answer that, but each one of you, I only expose the problem.

The central problem then is that we Venezuelans achieve a legitimate opposition representation that is internationally recognized, and that can decide with our allies what is the nature of the solution - violent or peaceful - that should be applied to the narco-terrorist regime of Nicolás Maduro Moros and the criminals who accompany him. So far we don't have that. And not having it, to continue talking about 187#11, R2P, and TIAR is a real waste of time because these are the alternative routes of an interim government that is really in office. And Juan Guaidó has not even proposed to form a government to decide either that or anything else, beyond settling for being President of the G4, so we are in diapers to even glimpse a solution from the hands of this mediocre opposition leadership. That's why the first strategy of those of us who feel sorry for Venezuela, must be to displace that official opposition and relieve them of their international legitimacy, so that they can then begin to take the real steps to confront the regime in the most appropriate way, violent or not, so any strategy in that direction will be completely welcome?

Caracas, June 2, 2020

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

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