The country’s situation is totally untenable and morally unacceptable. The collapse of the economy, the destruction of our public companies and our productive and work capacities are clear evidence of an unprecedented and profound crisis. This, in addition to the decline in all social and human indicators, the rise in inequality, poverty, and the deterioration of the living conditions of the vast majority of our citizens are a direct consequence of the resounding failure of this corrupt and submissive government, the worst of our history.
Moreover, the country’s dysfunctional politics reflected on the psuv’s inability to rectify or remove the madurismo from power and on that of the opposition to reach agreements that allow for finding solutions above their group, economic, and personal interests, constitute a real crime against the people.
The apathy displayed by the power sectors in the face of the suffering of citizens, the violence, the intolerance, the handing over of the country and its resources, the violations to the national sovereignty, and the subordination to foreign powers is shameful and vile. The fact that over 3.7 million Venezuelans have fled the country, desperate, causing the separation of families and the uprooting of the future is painful. The violation of the Constitution and the laws, of the fundamental rights, particularly the human rights, has turned us into the country of injustice, fear, and abuse of the dignity of the people. This is morally unacceptable.
The situation needs to come to an end, it needs to be over. At this point, biases or group interests no longer matter. It is no more talk about “so and so”, it is the survival of our Homeland, its existence as the territorial political entity we have known thus far.
We have reached a breaking point in which each of us needs to give up their ambitions, fears, hatred or any other kind of issues and engage in the ultimate effort to overcome the mentality of annihilation of the rival and look ahead, leaving fear behind and rising to the various serious circumstances that we are currently facing.
We must emulate the determination of the patriots, of the Liberation Army, after the fall of the Second Republic, and the defeat of the Bolivarian dream in that terrible 1814. Determination and greatness that allowed, in those infamous times, a handful of them to return in 1816 to the country from Los Cayos, full of libertarian ideas, assimilated the mistakes, but willing to insist on the Homeland; and, even though they were a clear minority, they were able to reunify the Liberation Army, the patriotic side, that had been decimated by violence and fear. Then, Margarita, the Orinoco, San Felix, Angostura, Apure, Las Queseras del Medio, the crossing of the Andes, Boyacá, Carabobo, Pichincha, and Ayacucho would follow, until ultimately achieving immortal glory along with the independence not of a country, but of a whole continent.
Neither the madurismo nor the sector that leads the opposition has the greatness to step aside, to stop being the problem to become part of the solution. Their group interests, commitments, and lust for power are far more important to them than the fate of an entire people. Both groups have also integrated to their political culture a proto-fascist behavior, which prevents them to further their thinking beyond their own agenda; the intolerance, hatred, violence and revenge, the indolence with regards to the destiny of the rest of the country have become part of their behavior. This stopped being a personal trait of their leaders and became a way of doing politics; it is this trait that has led us into the abyss.
It seems that these sectors do NOT mind a grueling ending. Violence is the abdication of reason, it is the only way to run an adversary over with a tractor, and both factions seem willing to do so.
Those who instigate this outcome impose their own interests or circumstances onto the rest of the country:
On the side of the opposition, the “lords of war”, blind with hatred, while expectantly waiting for the looting, clamor for the invasion, for the interference. They hope that someone “clears” the field so they can enter and cash their own check and so avoid cause deaths themselves.
On the side of the madurismo, they know that long ago they lost the favor of the people, they know that they cannot run for elections because they would get destroyed; some others know that they cannot even leave the country without risking being arrested, but many others, the most toxic ones, the ones closest to maduro, work with both sides; they negotiate, make secret deals, fund both sides from Caracas, Miami or Madrid. There they are, everybody knows who they are, what they do, but no one dares to say anything; they are untouchable.
The real problem is that this scenario of permanent conflict, of the grueling outcome, is imposed by these minority but powerful factions onto the rest of the political sector through coercion, fear, blackmail, and repression. The madurismo has turned its government into a thug government run by the police. They do whatever they feel like with the justice, the Constitution and the laws. These are the characters that will go down in history as the executing arms of these outrages, and of so much human misery. They lie, accuse, discredit, persecute, and repress anyone who opposes them, to the point of political assassination. They are cruel because they seek to terrorize, to make the once hot hearts cold.
The extremist sectors of the opposition are equally violent and intolerant, these also accuse and harass. They only promise persecution, imprisonment, violence. Their messages and actions ooze hatred and revenge. They point fingers and accuse to destroy lives without the slightest care. They are capable of handing over our homeland to extreme right factions, calling other countries to invade and cover the country in blood, to kill Venezuelans.
Despite this, both groups agree on crushing or persecuting any politician or sector that offers a different option to theirs, whether from the Chavismo or the opposition. They even agree on joint actions, money can buy it all: paid lawmakers that remain silent before the corruption of the madurismo, travel and have their expenses covered to attack Chavez; constitutionalists of easy applause, always ready to lie and make accusations; journalist who long ago abandoned their work ethics, muckrakers willing to say anything; this is a sort of fauna of insane characters, some of whom are terribly crooked, who pour their hatred from the anonymity of the social media, devising “journalistic stories” disguised as “research papers”, those agencies at the service of foreign political interests, the “fake news” that precede maduro’s actions, his attorney general, the security forces, and a long infamous list.
Some people show fear, remain silent, turn a blind eye. I do not. Neither do the leaders of both sides of the political spectrum. Some of us pay with exile, infamy, and persecution; others have been execrated, disgraced, violated or kidnapped-imprisoned, and others have even paid with their lives.
However, I am convinced that the majority of the country feels strapped in a conflict that does not concern them, one in which they are not allowed to say a word. People are tired of the conflict; they neither care about twitter nor about the government or the opposition. They are tired, they want peace, quiet; they want to be able to work, study, eat whatever they want, have access to medicine, water, electricity, transportation, housing, safety, dreams, dignity, do as they please. They want to return to normalcy, be able to participate, speak out, not to be afraid, not to lower their voices, not to leave their land.
Many world leaders, countries, governments, international organizations, observe incredulous, how in such a short time, maduro has destroyed the country and its economy; how our young people flee from the Homeland, our people suffer; how is it that our country, until very recently prosperous and an example of “the extraordinary made everyday life”, is now the example of disaster, wrongdoings, injustices, despair.
Everyone wonders, how is it possible that the Venezuelan people, their political and military leaders, thinkers have subordinated themselves to these groups that hold them captive between the extremes of the same thing, subdued to the logic of conflict, to the decisions of the world powers? In a paralyzed country, which has lost the institutions and protection mechanisms of its people, its integrity, sovereignty, and future, this is a difficult question to answer.
We have been proposing for a while the formation of a Patriotic Government Junta as an alternative to this disaster and the dysfunctional character of politics.
The origin of this proposal dates back to our own experience as a country: the overthrow of Marcos Pérez Jiménez’s dictatorship, on January 23, 1958, by a civic-military movement, articulated by a Patriotic Junta, made up of all political factors of the country: AD, the Communist Party, URD, Copei, which was later joined by the military patriots.
Nobody set conditions, no sector was excluded. It did not occur to anyone to say “move over Pérez Jiménez, it is MY time”, not even to Fabricio Ojeda, who was chair of the Junta and the undisputed leader of the movement. It was a national, patriotic movement of civic-military unity to overthrow the dictatorship. It did not occur to anyone to say, “no, not the military”, or to exclude Admiral Larrazábal or the officers who took the final step to stop supporting Pérez Jiménez, despite the terror imposed by the National Security.
Of course, we certainly know that the situations are different. First of all, Twitter did not exist (if it had, the dictator would not have been overthrown), and neither did the media companies were so powerful to globalize their domination. The political leaders of the time were of much more stature than those of today: Fabricio Ojeda, Gustavo Machado, Leonardo Ruiz Pineda, Hugo Trejo, Wolfgang Larrazábal, Rómulo Betancourt, Jóvito Villalba, Rafael Caldera, among many others. Although the dictatorship had broad support among the economic elites, a National Plan, a project, a strong economy, and international support, and despite the fact that AD and PCV led a tenacious underground resistance, only the Patriotic Junta was able to depose the dictator.
Mistakes were also made: the Punto Fijo Pact, which excluded the Communist Party and the entire left, ended the civic-military union and betrayed the national and patriotic spirit of January 23, leading the country into the period of violence of the 60’s and to the loss of the IV Republic, where our country lost excellent opportunities for development and independence. Those were other times, other circumstances, but those mistakes and dangers are still latent for the day after maduro. The Patriotic Junta of the time, by all means, did not exist legally, it was an instrument used to overthrow the dictatorship.
However, our current Constitution, unlike that existing at the time which was later repealed before adopting that of 1961, includes fundamental elements to confer legitimacy to the Patriotic Government Junta. The first thing that needs to be said is that, at this time, both maduro and guaidó are outside the Constitution; everything they have done is unconstitutional and every day that goes by and every barbarity they announce are even more illegal and unconstitutional.
When the military leaders pledge allegiance to any of the self-proclaimed “commanders in chief”, they endorse the violation of the Constitution; they are neglecting their responsibility of upholding the Constitutional continuity, the internal order and the sovereignty of the Republic.
As Article 5 of the Constitution expressly says, the national sovereignty resides “in the people”. Nowadays, the people do not exercise sovereignty over their affairs, nor over the life and destiny of the homeland since they have been kidnapped and usurped by two “self-proclaimed” presidents which are applauded by their supporters, but who have not been elected by means of the universal and secret vote to occupy the office.
On the other hand, Article 333 of the Constitution makes it a duty of every citizen to do whatever it takes to restore the constitutional order, its guarantees, and rights, without any type of limitation or exclusion, in case these are being violated or neglected. The Patriotic Government Junta is, precisely, an instrument to restore the Constitution.
Our Bolivarian Armed Forces are struggling with a non-existent dilemma: it is not about maduro or guaidó, it is about assuming their responsibilities with the Constitution and the country. Are our military leaders aware that with their silence and by allowing such a dangerous situation to prolong in time, we are sliding towards scenarios that compromise the political and territorial integrity of our country? If, as our Bolivarian military doctrine proclaims, the arms of the Republic can only be used to defend our sovereignty and social guarantees, would it not be evident that those tenets are being betrayed by subordinating the arms of the Republic in favor of any of the power groups that are currently violating the Constitution?
I have read several proposals, including that of Professor Javier Biardeau, whom I truly respect for his ideas and balanced opinions, regarding the convening of a Consultative Referendum, as established in the Constitution. I agree, we would begin to regain legitimacy, but that does not solve the issue of governance. The result would be predictable, we all want a change of government; maduro would be removed from power by popular mandate.
Now, let us suppose that maduro is willing to do it as part of political negotiation and finally respects the results. Then, who would lead the government while the situation gets minimally stabilized, the elections are organized and the institutions reestablished? It cannot be any of the factions of the opposition, less so, the most intolerant and the one that is greatly rejected by the Chavismo.
Hence, the figure of the Patriotic Government Junta would regain governability and legitimacy, it would include all patriotic social and political sectors and our Bolivarian Armed Forces, as arbitrator and guarantor, precisely to reestablish the full validity of our Constitution and laws, lead the country in an emergency period of maximum two years, then convene a Consultative Referendum, legitimize the institutions and, restore popular sovereignty over the leadership of the country.
Unlike the experience of 1958, no political sector, no matter how much international support it has, will be able to take charge of the country by itself. It is going to need a broad political and social support base to initiate and sustain its reconstruction. Maduro, unlike Pérez Jiménez, has maintained himself in power based on a complex mechanism of manipulation and social control over an important sector of the country, the Chavismo, which expresses itself in the political-social sphere, as well as in the military. A sector that, no matter how much annoyance the government and maduro’s government causes it, it is not willing to hand over neither the government nor its now diminished political and economic conquests, to the right.
Because regardless of the political capabilities the Chavismo has to mobilize against a right-wing government in this juncture, it will always be a fundamental factor, the most important from an organic standpoint, to guarantee the government’s governability. It is a matter of time, once the Chavismo detaches itself from the madurismo, with a renewed leadership resulting from profound discussions and a process of reconstitution, it will recover from the terrible damaged caused by maduro and it will be, without a doubt, at the forefront of the process of reconstruction of the homeland, along with other progressive and patriotic sectors of the country,
The opposition must also purge itself of extremist sectors, assume their responsibilities and become a constructive force, with which agreements can be reached. It needs to disengage from the supervised sectors, gain independence of criteria and action, because the faction that currently leads it has shown, again and again, that it is willing to block electoral or political outlets, and that it only wants to take control of the power, as it demonstrated last April 30.
What would have happened if they had participated in the last presidential elections, supporting Henri Falcón or a consensus candidate, a national figure? Why running to get Leopoldo López, putting him behind guaidó, if obviously all political prisoners will be released after maduro gets deposed?, What would have happened if we had called the pro-Chávez leaders, released Major General Rodríguez Torres and General Baduel? What would have happened if we had made a pronouncement together with General-in-Chief Padrino López, General Cristopher Figuera and other officers involved, other national political leaders, including pro-Chávez and the opposition, for the restoration of the Constitution and the installation of a Patriotic Government Junta, while calling the people to the restoration of sovereignty over their own affairs? Things would have been completely different.
But that was not the case. The usual sectarian interests, their own group agenda, their commitments, and their lack of independence of action prevailed. Instead of grouping and uniting, they divide, attack. It is maduro’s game.
On the other hand, the proposal of the leaders of the opposition is politically unfeasible and financially unsustainable. Their “Country Plan” is nothing but a rehash of the Apertura Petrolera (Oil Opening plan) and a continuation of the dismemberment and privatization of the economy, the basic services, and the State; it is the same policy that devastated the country at the end of the IV Republic. In other words, the proposal of the opposition “sponsored and supported” is not new, it was created abroad by those who have been lamenting for over 20 years the failure of CAP package, that which led us to the Caracazo.
That old plan is part of the frantic auctioning of resources and of the future of our Homeland that is being carried out from abroad. PDVSA, the oil, the gas, the electricity sector, the State companies, the public services, everything will be handed over to others, they already have the beneficiaries, it will be the total dispossession. In the end, if they take power, they will do whatever they want; neither laws, nor the Constitution will be of interest to them, and not even the fact that they failed 20 years ago with the same plan, which will now be far, far worse.
Once the euphoria of maduro’s removal dies out, we will hit with the reality, the next day, of how to deal with this disaster. Whoever believed the promises of thousands of millions of dollars “raining” down on the country, or that the whole world will come to our rescue, is either naïve or irresponsible. The only resources that will enter the country, if the debt is not collected in advance, will be those of the final auctioning of the Nation’s assets.
A circumstance that greatly complicates the situation is that maduro has already done much of what the opposition proposes, but he has done it “in his own way”; meaning, he did it in the worst possible way: he handed over PDVSA, oil, gas, State companies, Sidor, agricultural companies, the Mining Arc, the Esequibo; he indebted the country, created the petro, destroyed the currency, sold the gold of the reserves, released the foreign exchange rate, tore the salaries down, concentrated the wealth in few hands, stripped the workers off their social benefits and labor conquests; he did it all and did it very wrong, in the most brutal way possible.
maduro has moved forward so much in the deterioration and destruction of the country, the economy, and in every parameter for the functioning of the State, that any economic barbarity, unimaginable just six years ago, became a reality, surrounded by chaos and fear. He extinguished the country’s real assets, leaving the next government, from whichever tendency it may be, with no room for maneuver, and he has done so in an illegal, vile and dishonest way.
The extreme right-wing opposition has been more honest than the government; it has announced that, if it comes into power, it will hand over the country. Maduro, instead, already gave it all, secretly and lying to the people, that is to say, we do “what maduro says”.
Therefore, the Patriotic Government Junta, although it must include the widest sectors of the country, must also be clear on its objective: restore the Constitution and the laws. In order to do so, it must repeal all the laws, orders, and submissive and illegal contracts made by maduro and endorsed by the National Constituent Assembly. The Patriotic Junta cannot absolutely allow the implementation of any plan, regardless of what it is called, that violates the constitutional rules and our current legal framework. The economy will determine the chances for recovery and the course of the country after maduro.
The Patriotic Junta, supported by a strong national commitment, solid criteria, and with the relevant technical expertise, must be installed to save all our public and private productive capacities, to recover our economic sovereignty, and to recover PDVSA, the oil, the gas, the petrochemical and basic companies, the oil, our strategic minerals, our food and distribution companies, our territory, the food production, and the proper functioning of public services. An emergency planning must be carried out, starting from the integral diagnosis of the real disaster, “in situ”, along with all the sectors, to carry out a Homeland Rescue Plan, not one to hand it over and dismember it, but one to rescue the strategic resources to put them at the service of all Venezuelans, for the ultimate and unique effort of rebuilding the country.
It is crucial to establish, from within the same patriotic transition, an economic and monetary policy that restores the purchasing power of salaries, as well as the income and economic growth, an emergency recovery plan of the oil production, together with PDVSA, without handing it over or selling it in pieces, and without privatizing the oil industry. We need to recover our productive capacities as we did after the oil sabotage of 2002–2003 when we went from producing 23,000 B/D to 3 million B/D in only three months, this with the support of our engineers, workers, and with leadership and knowledge. This is totally possible; there is no need to hand over anything.
The oil is still there and so is the infrastructure; the knowledge and human effort are waiting for the call of the Homeland; the resources from the oil sector are plentiful. Once we start pumping and exporting oil, it will only be a matter of time before we gain back the confidence in the sector, adding all the capacities and beginning the recovery of the oil revenues. We will need it all, more than ever before. Only our Full Oil Sovereignty policy, our tax regime, our workers, and our patriotic leadership, will be able to revive such dejected giant to restart the recovery of our homeland.
The Patriotic Government Junta must call all Venezuelans to return to their homeland, each and everyone is welcome and necessary; a plan of reintegration into work, social security, the future, to reunify Venezuelan families must be made. It is essential to restore the guarantees and future possibilities of their own land, surrounded by their loved ones, with the historical task of rebuilding and having a better country, after this traumatic experience, one from which, we must emerge stronger as a people.
The Patriotic Junta must dedicate itself to immediately and urgently address the serious social and humanitarian crisis faced by our people, providing care for the human beings, the children, the elderly, those most vulnerable. The Junta must rally the entire country to bring forward a program of immediate protection for the population, visit them directly with all the State resources at their disposal to meet their needs. It must rally all the people, the citizens, in a battle for solidarity and brotherhood, finding the needy, facing the issues hand in hand, together with the people.
It will be necessary to seek all the international assistance in its true dimension, through multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and its various specialized agencies. We will need the international solidarity and support of the peoples of the world to overcome this catastrophic situation.
The most important thing, besides restoring the governance and legitimacy, is to recover the soul of our people, reestablishing the values of the Venezuelan nature: solidarity, hard work, dedication, love, affection, joy, hope. The Venezuelan people are hurt, sad. They cannot continue to adapt themselves to what is abnormal. We need to leave selfishness, intolerance, and hatred behind, restore some order, and return to the ideas and to our greatness as a people. We need to rise to the level of the grandiosity of the fathers of the homeland. We need to go back to being the great, proud, and noble Bolivarian people that we have always been.
We will continue talking and discussing this proposal. But today is Mother’s Day, those human beings so special, unique, for each of us. All my love and message of encouragement go out to all mothers, especially those who are far away from their children, sons, and daughters. We will be together again, we will be fine again. To all of you, who are the soul of our Homeland, those who are and those who have left, to my lotus flower, which I will not be able to see anymore, a red rose and my eternal love.