In order to get out of the terrible political, economical, and social crisis that the country is facing, we have been proposing and building an alternative, the Patriotic Government Junta.
Since we made this proposal on 12 May of last year, we have received support, comments, and criticism. That is the idea, to put forward a proposal which must necessarily be adjusted and enriched, but which has clear principles and objectives.
For us, the constitutional basis of our proposal is a starting point. The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the product of a long process that involved nationwide discussions and needed a democratic consensus, which was approved by the majority in the elections held on 15 December 1999. After years of political destabilization, coups d’état, and oil sabotages, the Constitution was able to prove itself as an effective instrument for the resolution of the country’s internal conflicts, through the referendum held on 16 August 2004. President Chavez received 54.36% of votes in favor of his continuity at the head of the government, and since then the Constitution as well as the laws which derived from it have been accepted by all political, social, and economic forces in the country. This allowed us to have governability, and economic and social developments until 2013, when President Chavez died on March 5.
That is why, in this paper (the first in a series on the Patriotic Government Junta) we will address some constitutional and political considerations about the proposal. Later, we will discuss the programmatic and operational elements of the proposal, but we believe that any proposal put forward to overcome the serious crisis we are experiencing will need to be framed by the Constitution and be respectful of our national sovereignty.
Of course, our proposal goes against the current of the forces that are fighting over the power of the country, since it goes beyond their economical interests, as they struggle, both nationally and internationally, to thrive or continue to thrive for their own benefit. Patriotic Government Junta is an alternative for the majority, which indifferently carries on its shoulders the weight of the crisis; this proposal vindicates participatory and protagonist democracy, as well as the sovereignty of the great absentees: the people.
The proposal is also addressed, in a very special way, to the Bolivarian National Armed Force, since they have the constitutional mandate to ensure compliance with the Constitution, and the preservation of the national sovereignty, both of which have been violated and endangered for a long time.
Furthermore, the Armed Force is the body that has the monopoly on violence and is an institution that, in spite of all evident problems, derived from its support of Maduro’s government. The Armed Force embodies a deep-rooted Bolivarian military doctrine, which is an inexhaustible source of example, inspiration, and political principles necessary to solve the crisis in the interests of the country.
Today, our citizens are held hostage in their political will by two factions of the right – the one that represents the Maduro government and the one that represents the Guaidó – both with immense power and resources to act.
Fear and violence have been imposed on the country, not only by the government, which we have denounced and will continue to do so, as it reveals the essentially fascist nature of its actions, but also by the extreme opposition, which uses intolerant language that leaves no room for any kind of political reflection. An inquisitorial opposition, which accuses and condemns, assuming the role of judges, which slanders at all costs and which proposes to its political base the disappearance of Chavismo at all costs.
The scenario of the «annihilation of the opposite» raised by both «Madurismo» and «Guaidócismo» has closed the door to any discussion. Politics with a lowercase «p» is advancing by tweet and by the iron grip of the media. The «judicialization of politics,» the permanent threat of imprisonment, violence, persecution and revenge, paralyzes thought. The exodus, the difficult living conditions, the absence of basic services, the hunger and the establishment of a police state in the country have demobilized the people.
I must reiterate that this proposal of the Patriotic Government Junta is a Venezuelan proposal; its own, based on our experience of the overthrow of Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958. I am referring to Patriotic Government Junta presided over by Fabricio Ojeda, which was able to bring together all of the political forces of the time, together with the military, to overthrow the dictator. But it is not at all a question of changing the current political situation, to return to the Fourth Republic. It is necessary to reestablish the political, economic and social conditions that we had at the time of the death of President Chávez; a fact that marked the country’s debacle. Because the presidential election of 2012 was the last one where programmatic theses were debated in society, with full guarantees and freedoms, and where the people supported with an important majority the Plan of the Nation and the leadership of President Chavez. All subsequent electoral events were marked by the emergence of a supervening situation, such as the 2013 election, the elections for governors and the legislative elections.
Already the process of election of the National Constituent Assembly and the reelection of Maduro are highly questioned in their legitimacy, by the absence of political guarantees in the country and the lack of reliability of the electoral body, following the departure of the company Smartmatic.
The objective of the Patriotic Government Junta is to lead the country for a period of between 18 months and 2 years, leading to the creation of conditions for elections to be held and for all of the powers of the State to be legitimated.
The principles on which the Patriotic Government Junta bases its actions are established in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, starting with its preamble and throughout its articles; especially Title I on Fundamental Principles, which enshrines the values that govern it and which therefore constitute the reason, the spirit and purpose of the institutions, the public authorities and the structure of the State, among others, as are participation, sovereignty and respect for human rights, as the only way to achieve the end, which is none other than the establishment of a social State based on the rule of law and justice.
Patriotic Government Junta is an instrument to guarantee the respect and monitoring of such principles of participation, sovereignty, and protection of human rights, as well as the restoration of the validity of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the full political, economic, social and human rights of the citizens; the social rule of law and justice; and, the full sovereignty over the management of our political, military, and economic affairs, as well as our natural resources. In other words, the Patriotic Government Junta is an instrument to guarantee compliance with the Constitution, which is why it is a «sine qua non» condition that the Bolivarian National Armed Forces be represented in it at the highest level and be the arbiter to lead the country towards the objectives established by the Constitution, preserving governance.
The Constitution establishes that «the people of Venezuela have the right to disregard any authority that contravenes democratic values and/or principles, or guarantees or undermines human rights», and to this end, it enshrined the «Revocatory Referendum» as an instrument of the exercise of proactive and participatory democracy. Maduro Government is responsible for the worst crisis in our contemporary history for the violation of the fundamental human rights of citizens, of our Constitution, and sovereignty. It has blocked the possibility of activating the mechanisms established in the Constitution. He is determined to remain in power at all costs, with a loss of «authority», based on the fact that he is not fulfilling the purpose for which he was elected; and even his presence in power, his obstinacy to remain in it, and his manifest inability to lead the country, has led the Republic to a situation of such weakness that it risks being attacked by foreign forces.
The above does not mean that we should hand our country over to the extreme right, which is the option represented by guaidó, that is, a segment of society with a lot of economic and international power, which will not be able to lead it in its reconstruction process, not only because its leadership is artificial, without experience, and demonstrated capacity to govern, but also because its programmatic base expressed in its Plan País returns us to the most neoliberal approach of the Fourth Republic, where oil and the management of our economy are handed over to the transnational factors that support them politically.
This political-economic program that is expressed there, was already executed in Venezuela at the end of the Fourth Republic with the disastrous results that we all know, and that had its dramatic expression on February 27, 1989, with «El Caracazo». No one wants a country that is guarded by foreign forces and a government that is not sovereign in its decisions. Hence the need for the Patriotic Government Junta, an inclusive body of all political and social sectors of the country, which can lead us to the restoration of popular sovereignty.
Patriotic Government Junta can be called, via «referendum», as contemplated in the Second Section of Chapter IV: Of the Political Rights and the Popular Referendum of the Constitution), which would give it the legitimacy granted by the popular decision.
It is urgent to agree on this way to activate the Patriotic Government Junta, the country is at a defining moment. It is not necessary to go into detail about the need to change the current state of affairs in the country, but what should be mentioned is that a very dangerous international scenario is taking place, which may have traumatic consequences that will mark our future forever. We completely disagree with a military invasion of Venezuela by foreign forces; we do not support it, nor will we ever support it, not only for reasons of principle and patriotism, but because we will never compromise on the violation of our sovereignty over our territory, that is, regardless of the country in question, the forces or the reasons invoked for such an action.
Likewise, we reject foreign interference and meddling in our affairs. We consider inadmissible the presence of foreign military forces within the armed forces of our country, as well as any incursion or foreign military action, be it limited or «surgical.» Truly as a Venezuelan, I do not understand, nor can I share, the position of some sectors or leaders who openly call for foreign military intervention in Venezuela. History will judge these positions and world experience indicates how traumatic this type of situation is and the tragedy that it means for all inhabitants, regardless of their political position. Our problems must be solved by ourselves; sovereignty is an inalienable principle.
Among the international power factors that are in dispute in Venezuela, and that have the possibility of triggering an action of this kind, it must deprive the wisdom and intelligence enough to understand that a situation like Libya, Iraq, or Syria, in a country as complex as Venezuela, is not convenient for anyone, no matter how many circumstantial political interests there may be at this moment. Here, it is more important to think about «the day after» and to understand that, Chavismo as a historical block (which is not the same as madurismo), is a reality in the country and that it is deeply rooted in the people, as has been demonstrated in all these years.
I invite the popular forces, the citizens, the Chavistas, and the opposition, the immense majority of the country, to participate in the proposal of the Patriotic Government Junta. The crisis and the actions of madurismo have disrupted, from their very foundations, the popular organization and the network of spaces for the debate of political ideas that had been formed, both by the political parties and by the social organizations. Therefore, we must make a greater effort to achieve the reunification of forces and a critical mass that thinks and acts with a high awareness of the great challenges we face as a country towards the future.
We have to leave aside selfishness, fear, subaltern interests, but above all, hatred and intolerance, both of the traditional elites, who grew up under the shadow of the Fourth Republic, and those who have grown up under the shadow of the maduro government world.
It’s time to put revenge aside, in this «eye for an eye» that will leave us like a country of the blind. Today is Palm Sunday, I am far from my country for reasons of political persecution, but with my heart always in it, remembering the descent, one day like today, of the «Palmeros del Ávila», or accompanying my grandmother to mass with the Virgin of the Valley, it is the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. My best wishes to everyone in these difficult and dangerous times.