We’re the Majority

Your daily briefing for Monday, July 17, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

With 95% of ballots counted, the university rectors that served as guarantors of the popular consultation, announced that 7,186,170 Venezuelans participated in the activity, and that 683,789 of them did it abroad. That’s a lot of people.

If you want to get the measure of it, use these figures: there were 14,515 polling stations and over 40,000 electoral tables for the Parliamentary elections on December 6th, 2015, compared to 2,023 stations and 14,000 tables available for this process.

Back in 1999, el finado managed to get 3,516,558 Venezuelans to support his own Constituyente, whereas yesterday, over twice that many people rejected Nicolás’ version.

We made it in a little more than two weeks, without propaganda or media, under constant threat, supported mainly on volunteers and 5% of ballots were still being counted by 1:00 a.m. today, which means that if we reconquer our right to universal, direct and secret elections, we’ll win by a landslide!

From today on

National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges said that “Nicolás Maduro’s mandate has been revoked,” adding that the government prevented the recall referendum in 2016 from happening precisely because they feared a result like this one.

“Roberto Picón is MUD’s electoral coordinator and he’s not with us today because he’s a SEBIN detainee,” said Borges, thanking him for his role, as well as regretting the murder of nurse Xiomara Scott in Catia.

He announced a solemn event in which the actions for the coming days will be announced:

“We’ve been given a clear mandate by 7,186,170 people.”

International observers

Former Colombian president Andrés Pastrana said yesterday:

“I’ve never seen anything like what happened today (…) there’s a mandate for the National Assembly and that same National Assembly must decide how to best exercise that mandate that Venezuelans are giving them today.”

He remarked that democracy emerged victorious yesterday and that he and the rest of the former presidents that attended the process as observers, will do everything in their power to inform the international community of these results.

Former Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla demanded all governments in the region to support yesterday’s democratic exercise.

“The Venezuelan people has spoken, despite repression, media boycott and threats. Honorable presidents: there’s no place for indifference, we must acknowledge the legitimacy of this popular consultation.”

Former Costa Rican president Miguel Ángel Rodríguez described the process as an extraordinary demonstration of democracy:

“Venezuelans have shown that democracy will win and the world has also won with Venezuela’s demonstration.”

For former Bolivian president Jorge Quiroga, a Constituyente that’s being abusively imposed without consulting the people, can’t be considered democratic, so he called for the government to halt the Constituyente; approve humanitarian aid and respect the Parliament, demanding the national community not to be the accomplices of thugs.

Early statements

Canada’s Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said:

“Canada congratulates the people of Venezuela for exercising their democratic rights today (…) While this public consultation was unofficial, the millions who had the courage to participate, in spite of cowardly violence and censorship, sent a clear signal to the government of Venezuela: Venezuelans rightfully want to hold onto the fundamental rights enshrined in their 1999 Constitution.”

Canada urges the Venezuelan government to suspend the Constituyente and open negotiations with the opposition to restore constitutional order, as well as restating their demand that all political prisoners be released and the publication of an electoral timetable. Freeland added: “Only by respecting the sovereignty of the people can Venezuela protect the rights of its citizens, preserve social order and resolve the ongoing crisis.”

Mexico’s government also issued a statement:

“The government of Mexico acknowledges the considerable level of participation in the popular consultation called for today by the National Assembly of Venezuela both within the country and various cities in the world. It also regrets and condemns the violent incidents reported yesterday. Mexico expects that the popular consultation’s results, which are a demonstration of the Venezuelan people’s wishes, will be heard and duly taken into account by both parties in the search of a negotiated solution that allows for the restitution of democratic order in Venezuela as soon as possible.”

Persona non grata

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox was the first to leave the country, after visiting several polling stations in which he publicly supported the democratic exercise and condemned Nicolás’ dictatorship. Delcy’s heir Samuel Moncada wrote on his Twitter account:

“As the Foreign minister of the Republic I hereby declare Mr. Vicente Fox as persona non grata.”

Moncada argued that Fox took advantage of Venezuelan hospitality “by offending our county,” that he came to Venezuela to promote violence and the intervention of foreign powers, that he wanted to provoke the authorities to set up a media circus and that “as a prophylactic measure of protection (…) he won’t be able to return to Venezuela again.”

While they’re still in power, that is.

For some reason, although Tibisay Lucena claimed participation in their simulacrum was solid, she didn’t provide any figures.

This is an epic accomplishment and it demands the recognition to the will, generosity and hard work of the people who made it possible.

In a rather short period of time, we were able to demonstrate organization, unity and courage; we were able to reiterate our democratic will with an astonishing participation for an event this particular, restricted and threatened.

I’m telling you:

We’re a society that can organize independently from the State and against it, in a legitimate expression of sovereign will against a minority that seeks to hold on to power through guns. We want to change the government, save the Republic and restore the nation. We’re citizens. We’re the majority and we’ve demonstrated it.

We choose hope.

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.