Aram Aharonian*

“It seems that the crucial question is whether the ANC and the National Assembly
can live together,” Aram Aharonian.

Millions of Venezuelans will vote on Sunday, 15 October, to elect the governors
of the country’s 23 states, in a poll where high abstention is expected. There are many
forecasts, but in reality they are 23 elections with different characteristics and situations,
although in most states only two options are presented: government or opposition.
Perhaps to cut the pace of the bourgeoisie who threaten to take most of the
opposition’s votes in the regional elections, the anti-Bolivarian radical and elitist sectors
came out again on Monday, September 25 and said they will not participate in dialogue
with the government in the Dominican Republic. Dialogue has really become an internal
problem of the opposition.
In the background of the dialogue agenda, the theme is one of “conflict of
powers” and the aspirations of radical opposition sectors to impose a parallel state in
the street as they intended to do on July 16.
They say that there will be dialogue only if they destroy the pending gubernatorial
elections. Translated this means that if they lose, and the government wins most of the
state governorships on October 15 and the National Constituent Assembly continues its
course, they will return to terrorism and destabilization indefinitely, seeking to achieve a
devastated land.
The Social Democrats of the Democratic Action Party, AD, was defeated by all
other political parties in The Democratic Unity Table, MUD, internal primaries. They are
treated like malcontents and rebels but the MUD needs their votes and also their
financing because it is AD who managed the resources which provided governments in
the past for years, foundations and NGOs from abroad, and not only from the United
The opposition hopes that the regional and municipal elections will allow time for
an incremental strategy for recovering forces, resources of power, unity and command
in a cross-party coalition of conflicting interests between the pragmatic-electoral sector,
radical sectors with Putsch-Insurrectional aspirations (civil resistance) and other entities
in an attempt to combine all forms of struggle, acording to a report from 15 y Último.
The MUD insists on an international strategy to isolate Venezuela with diplomatic
and economic-financial strangulation as the Bolivarian government tries to break the
siege with the support of Russia, China, Iran and those non-aligned countries which are
blocking US plans for Venezuela.
The MUD demands: reestablishment of the electoral schedule, including
regional, municipal and presidential elections; the release of political prisoners; the
lifting of disqualifications of opposition leaders ( e.g. Capriles Radonski); respect for the
independence of (intra) state powers; recognition of the National Assembly (nullified by
the Supreme Court) and immediate attention to economic and social emergencies.
The government wants an opposition that recognizes its validity, as well as an
opposition that attributes legitimacy and legality to the decisions of the newly elected
National Constituent Assembly, ANC. The opposition refuses to validate the ANC until it
obtains guarantees that it will not become a new sword of Damocles when presidential
elections will be held in 2018. For the Government, to recognize the National Assembly
would be to restore its legitimacy from its “current situation of contempt”, recognize the
decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice and accept the decisions of the ANC.
It seems that the crucial question is whether the ANC and the National Assembly
can live together, especially when the ANC was created as an organ of power that,
according to its own Constitutional Decrees, controls all Powers, including the
legislature. Thus, it demands recognition not only of its legitimacy but also of that which
can be negotiated in cohabitation of the two bodies.
Electoral Forecasts
The opposition often says they will win all of their candidates, and their advisers
assert, ”the government is not in a position to win any regional or presidential election.”
However, the opposition has always underestimated the government’s capacity for
electoral mobilization, with the exception of events in 2015, when 7,626,616 votes won
the majority of the National Assembly for the opposition.
Months pass, years pass, and the opposition leadership has failed to fulfill a
single one of its promises, while being complicit in the terrorist violence that hit the
country for four months this year. Worse still, they applauded the sanctions and threats
of invasion from Washington, revealing their treasonous positions for which in the end
they pay a price at the polls.
And as has happened so many times over these 18 years, if they do not achieve
their electoral objectives there is the possibility that the opposition will again denounce
the results as fraud. It is now part of folklore.
The more radical sectors, such as the group, Resistencia, will surely abstain,
which obviously will not be to the benefit of opposition candidates. A few weeks ago the
journalist and opposition activist Marianella Salazar said that “high abstention in the
(opposition) primary reveals a political action of repudiation against the MUD” and said
that it “lost its political capital and gave oxygen to the so-called Resistencia”, which has
been gaining ground.
Many of the results will depend on the performance of incumbant governors who
aspire to re-election and this also includes pro-government governors. But unlike the
disunity amongst the opposition leadership, the ruling Socialist United Party of
Venezuela, PSUV, and its allies show unity, proven organizational capacity and
electoral machinery and official media support.
But the biggest problem remains rampant in cities, towns and rural areas of
Venezuela: shortages and inflation to which has been added unprecedented retail price
increases during recent weeks preceding the elections.
Kicking The Dialogue Table
Beyond the postponement of the current dialogue, the government of Nicolas
Maduro and the opposition will have to reach agreements in the next nine months,
because next July the presidential candidates must be made known for elections which
the government has scheduled to take place by the end of 2018.
The truth is that there was not much information about the dialogue: some do not
report so as not to “burn” it, given successive failures since 2014, while others feel
“guilty” for sitting down to talk to those who had threatened to sack the government by
methods, good, bad or worse.
Negotiations that began in the Dominican Republic deal with two scenarios,
short-term and medium to long term scenarios. The first scenario is coexistence in the
remaining months of the presidential term of Maduro, with required approval by the
National Assembly of new borrowings and indebtedness among the two sides and an
agreement on the pending gubernatorial elections and timetable for presidential
elections which have been delayed until the end of next year.
The central objective of the opposition to produce a new round of negotiations
seems to be that the government must agree to step down if it loses in next year’s
presidential elections, while the priority of the ruling party would be to reach a
coexistence agreement – much better a peaceful one of course – for the next
presidential term, 2019-2024.
Despite what MUD leaders say at the microphones (which is only understandable
as is said under strong pressure from U.S. officials), the opposition party that seems to
be in favor these points is Acción Democrática, AD, and those who are in general lines
of agreement, Un Nuevo Tiempo or “A New Time”, UNT, as well as Avanzada
Progresista, or “Progressive Advocate” (from Henry Falcon, governor of the State of
In the meantime, representatives of government and opposition political
organizations and technicians from the National Electoral Council, CNE, have finalized
without any objection the audit of data in voting machines, part of the electoral
timetable, within the set of guarantees for the transparency and reliability of the electoral
system, with a view to the regional elections next Sunday, October 15.
Reckless Attitudes
But there are leaders of other parties within the diverse Democratic Unity Table
who have not issued their endorsements, perhaps anchored in the hope that
Washington’s financial blockade and economic war might overthrow the government.
Primarily these intransigent parties include Primero Justicia, “First Justice,” Henrique
Capriles Radonski, former presidential candidate (now banned by the Supreme Court
for 15 years from running for political office for having commited crimes against the
state); current president of the the National Assembly, Julio Borges and of Vanguardia
Popular, Popular Front, headed by Leopoldo López who is under house arrest (also
convicted of crimes against the state).
Analyst and political leader Leopoldo Puchi points out that these groups – who
have participated in the talks but have not expressed it publicly – may think that the
2018 presidential elections will be held even without a previous agreement on
coexistence, in “a reckless attitude of ignorance of the political realities, which can be
very costly for the country”.
Of the opposition organizations, those who have expressed themselves more
sharply against the negotiations have been Vente Venezuela (led by María Corina
Machado), the Episcopal Conference and the self-styled Resistencia.
As the government busily seeks political stability for economic recovery,
opposition sectors, including the Catholic Church hierarchy, have an agenda for the
short-term destabilization of Maduro’s government.
Cardinal Urosa Savino called for postponing dialogue until after the results of the
regional elections.
“Gubernatorial elections are important to establish the beginning of the change of
government in the country. Now we should not debate whether there is dialogue or not
“(…)” there are no guarantees or conditions for dialogue”.
Analysts like Luis Vicente León (Datanálisis, “screenwriter” for MUD) have
indicated that with the dialogue, “The opposition can get some things, but not Maduro’s
resignation.” Gokai Moreno says that the topic of dialogue and elections could be part of
an agenda to rebuild Chavismo’s democratic politics, as it will also require dialogue
towards its own bases to prepare them for the complex economic scenario of 2018.
According to political scientist Leopoldo Puchi, these organizations for dialogue
work fluently with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain, the Spanish
Socialist Workers’ Party and with the Dominican leaders, headed by ex-president
Leonel Fernández, all facilitators of the negotiation.
It’s interesting that the dialogue seems to be endorsed by the government of
U.S. President Donald Trump, who indicated his support for the mediation of Danilo
Medina and Rodríguez Zapatero. According to a statement issued by the U.S. State
Department: “The United States reiterates its call for a complete restoration of
democracy in Venezuela. We support serious negotiations that in good faith achieve
this goal”.
Following Washington’s example, chancellors of twelve Latin American countries
who demand the overthrow of Maduro, welcomed the rapprochements, but said they
should be developed with international support, “good faith”, “objectives” and “clear
In a statement issued in Bogota, the foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil,
Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama,
Paraguay and Peru recognized “the initiative of the Dominican Republic to bring
together the Venezuelan government and opposition, as well as the decision by both
parties to invite some other countries to accompany this process.”
At the international level, two types of movements can be identified: one that
insists on Venezuela’s political-diplomatic isolation by the right wing bloc in the OAS, the
US and its European allies in Brussels, and the other to promote dialogue with
verification of guarantees, agreements and results, from the UN, the Vatican (not the
hierarchy of the Venezuelan Church) and some other South American countries.
The opposition puts its chips on the election of governors, and concur (for now),
knowingly, that it will not be easy to overcome the abstentionist apathy of its followers. If
it does not win, it has three options: to declare fraud, to return to street terrorism or
finally, to sit down and discuss politically the problems of the country, as having been
part of the problem, but also in the future, part of the solution.

Photo Caption: Thousands of Venezuelans take to the streets of Monagas in support of
the Bolivarian process ahead of this Sunday’s regional elections.

*Vice President, General Director and Director at La nueva Televisión del Sur C.A..

Translated by Les Blough, Editor of Axis of Logic Original Source – Rebelión has
published this article with the author’s permission under a Creative Commons license,
respecting its freedom to publish it in other sources.


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