To Restore

Your daily briefing for Monday, October 24, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Monday, October 24, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The Agreement for restoring the National Constitution, the institutional order and Democracy, approved by the National Assembly this Sunday, reads: “The violation of the constitutional order in Venezuela and the presence of a coup d’Etat, committed by Nicolás Maduro’s regime against the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Venezuelan people.”

The country without Youtube

In an attempt to diminish this session’s impact, the PSUV decided that only people with internet access could watch it through the National Assembly’s new digital channel, CapitolioTV. Globovision broadcast part of the discussion in brief segments; ANTV did the same, but VTV showed a different country, they didn’t even report the assault on the National Assembly, although they could’ve done the same ANTV did: “Venezuelan people responds to the AN’s parliamentary coup against President Maduro.” The news on VTV was that Nicolás departed Saudi Arabia bound for Qatar, in his absurd attempt to overcome the oil rent while he spends considerable resources trying to boost oil prices.

The assault is news

Only the National Guard’s consent or omission could’ve allowed PSUV militants to enter the gardens and then the Hemiciclo.

A lot of people mention José Tadeo Monagas for ordering the first assault the National Assembly ever suffered, on January 24th, 1848. This new assault on October 23rd has no author yet, despite all the pictures that show Jorge Rodríguez -signature verifier and Libertador mayor- among the assailants. Hands outstretched as if pointing the way; groups around him seemingly hearing instructions, but those are only images. The National Guard is in charge of the Federal Legislative Palace’s security. Only the National Guard’s consent or omission could’ve allowed PSUV militants to enter the gardens and then the Hemiciclo. Both alternatives are equally serious. They eventually responded sending anti-riot teams, clearing the assailants back to the gardens and then out of the building, but the assault, the robberies, attacks and threats are still inadmissible. The people from @espaciopublico reported the attacks against journalists, but more people were injured.

Yendri Sánchez was in prison for seventeen months for the “crime” of interrupting Nicolás while he was speaking in the Assembly. These people forced their entry, attacked, robbed, carried weapons and there are still no arrests, no investigations. I don’t care if Jorge Rodríguez played the “hero” card by imposing order; but I can’t understand why the lawmakers concluded the session without agreeing on a formal complaint to the superiors of the guards who failed their duties. This can happen again and end with the only thing they didn’t do yesterday: shoot.

“We still have a country”

It’s impossible to sum up all the speeches. I’ll focus on the words of National Assembly Speaker Henry Ramos Allup, who pointed out the most important aspects of the discussion without insults or screams:

  1. “It’s not a coup d’Etat to use constitutional mechanisms to renew the government (…) if a conspiracy were underway, if violence were used, then that would be an unconstitutional way to change the government.” The recall is a constitutional right.
  2. “I can agree or disagree with an ideology, I respect them, but we can’t ideologize to the point of not being able to rectify.” Only totalitarians are arrogant enough to measure how “right” they are by the force they don’t deserve to have.
  3. “Either we fix how we do things or we’re going to end up killing each other,” and then he added: “We could do this together, this could be a joint solution.” The proposal of general elections to end this crisis, entrusting the choice to the people, instead of a failed State.
  4. “Those defective signatures were discarded and the CNE only accepted the good ones.” Jorge Rodrígez should repeat this phrase to himself everyday, along with the judges of the criminal courts and the CNE’s rectoras.
  5. “Those who assaulted Parliament didn’t favor the government.” The show doesn’t support the fake discourse of their quest for peace and democracy. An assault is an assault is an assault, and worse still when it ends up with injured people on their own side.

The rest of his speech, talking about looking to the future, about the necessary concessions in political negotiation -which might include these couple of days before Parliament’s next session-. and finally about the responsibility that politicians have to prevent citizens further suffering, was important. A lesson of argumentation, in the right tone, a much needed summary and the best prologue for reading and approving the agreement. Actually, Pedro Carreño’s and Tania Díaz’s rebuttals -which could’ve solidify chavismo’s warcry- were mostly irrelevant.

Many people wonder what the points of the approved agreement mean, con qué se come eso, what’s next, when will words translate into concrete actions.

Now what?

Many people wonder what the points of the approved agreement mean, con qué se come eso, what’s next, when will words translate into concrete actions. Representatives from both sides are meeting right now with the mediators of the dialogue that’s yet to happen. Supposedly, the mediators didn’t want this session of Parliament to take place, because of the risk of escalating conflict, but conflict was initiated by the assailants, not the lawmakers in the debate.

There’s no definitive stance in the MUD about the dialogue’s relevance. It’s obvious that within PSUV, Diosdado Cabello represents those who wouldn’t negotiate even with Chávez’s ghost through an ouija board. Many believe that this isn’t time for dialogue, that Parliament must resist and call to the streets. But dialogue is imprescindible under these circumstances: one side has the electoral majority but can’t demonstrate it with all institutional channels blocked; the other group has the power, the weapons and too much to lose. Many think that yesterday’s agreement was useless, it would be good for them to include in their analysis the importance of formality in the international scenario. If negotiations -with representatives from the Vatican- lead to general elections, it would be the best scenario, but we’re not getting there just yet.

This is a major institutional crisis. There are difficult days ahead. Take care of your social networks, review the information you get, verify before you share. In this magnified Macondo we had to live in, it’s extremely hard to understand the fine line between possibility and truth, because anything is “possible” in Venezuela. So, take care of your social networks.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.