Caracas, October 8th, 2017

OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF VENEZUELA

We, the undersigned political prisoners, address the Venezuelan people regarding the gubernatorial elections that will take place on Sunday, October 15th.

We’re taking the risk of writing this statement from El Helicoide’s dungeons, where Nicolás Maduro keeps us imprisoned for the crime of exercising our freedom of thought. We do it in the hope that the people of Venezuela will rise up and express their will on behalf of all us who are being silenced. The democracy missing in our country today remains alive in the heart of Venezuelans.

We’re asking the people to participate massively in these elections, voting for Democratic Unity Roundtable candidates and actively working in polling stations, mobilizing and informing voters and defending votes in every electoral center.

We’re asking the people to participate massively in these elections by voting for Democratic Unity Roundtable candidates and actively working in polling stations…

These elections were illegally delayed by the same CNE that has prevented the people from expressing their political will since 2016, on Nicolás Maduro’s orders. And even now, as they’re forced to call for elections, the CNE itself has dismissed candidate replacements on the electoral ballot, arbitrarily scrapped voting stations and imposed uneven and, therefore, unconstitutional conditions. Despite all of that, we’re the majority and we’re unstoppable. Today, we’re not voting because we’re in a democracy, we vote because we can’t give democracy away. Elections are an irreplaceable method for those who believe in freedom to raise our voice against fraud and repression.

We shouldn’t doubt for a second that gubernatorial elections were convened due to street protests, the pressure of the international community and in compliance with the mandate of July 16th. Elections will be a fundamental step in our process to recover constitutional order.

We must continue fighting tirelessly in the streets and, once again, we call on the people to take part of the largest public demonstration in Venezuelan history this October 15th, by massively attending every voting station in the country.

As political prisoners, we’re not allowed to vote on October 15th, but we ask all Venezuelans to vote on our behalf. If we want change, we must participate, guaranteeing a resounding electoral victory that allows us to:

  1. Punish Maduro and his candidates for their ineptitude and indifference to the severe problems people are facing; for their corruption, for their constant human rights violations and for disrespecting fundamental liberties.
  2. Wrest regional power from the regime to serve the people and release hundreds of thousands of public employees in PSUV-controlled governor’s offices, where they are constantly threatened and blackmailed by the State.
  3. Keep advancing until we win presidential elections and recover all the spaces overtaken by the so-called “Bolivarian Revolution” just like we took back the National Assembly in 2015.
  4. Promote decentralization and restore gubernatorial authority.
  5. Exercise pressure to find a solution to the social, political and economic crisis, using the opportunity offered by this election to recover spaces, voting to overcome the crisis and those who caused it.
  6. Defeat the government once again on the electoral arena and force them to hear our plight for change.

WHO ARE WE?

VENEZUELA!

WHAT DO WE WANT?

FREEDOM!

This document is genuine. Signatures are on the back. Dozens of additional signatures were protected to avoid potential retaliation.

Daniel Ceballos
Rolando Guevara
Otoniel Guevara
Franklin Hernández
Ronny Navarro
Juan Giraldo Ochoa
Gregory Sanabria
Yon Goicoechea
Renzo Prieto
Villca Fernández
Leonel Sánchez
Roberto Picón
Juan Bautista Guevara
Dany Abreu
José Vicente García
Gabriel Valles
Carlos Pérez
Alfredo Ramos Acosta

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44 COMMENTS

  1. No importa quién llame a votar, las elecciones regionales no son libres, y por tanto no tienen ningún tipo de valor. Sólo los corruptos y los esclavos participarán en esas elecciones. La gente libre tiene que abstenerse y empezar a organizarse clandestinamente. Para mí no cabe ninguna duda que en las luchas que vienen los futuros “gobernadores” serán nuestros enemigos, porque nadie vende lo más precioso que tiene,su alma, para luego perder toda su ganancia arriesgándose en una rebelión incierta. Quien se lanzó a esas elecciones quemó todas las naves y ahora se situó del lado de la dictadura. Es un acto irreversible.

    Yo no acepto ni reconozco los resultados de esas elecciones, si es que se las puede llamar así. Mi derecho a no reconocer la dictadura, a disentir, es el único que me queda, y nadie me lo puede quitar.

    Yo entiendo a quienes llaman a votar porque tienen mucho que ganar. Pero no entiendo a quienes aceptan ese llamado, porque al hacerlo están decretando su propia pena de muerte.

    Llamar a votar en unas elecciones que no son libres es un acto de una bajeza humana tremenda.

    Si usted quiere más de lo mismo por un tiempo indefinido, vote. Ese camino lo llevará a la ruina necesariamente.Pero si usted quiere protestar de verdad, no vote, disienta. En el contexto de un sistema corrupto, no participar, disentir, es la única forma real de protesta. Y si usted no solamente quiere protestar, sino que quiere luchar por la democracia, únase a un grupo clandestino. Mientras la oposición venezolana continúe participando en elecciones falsas, no libres, la sociedad venezolana no tiene ninguna esperanza de liberación. La farsa esa puede durar décadas.

    No votar en unas elecciones no libres es un acto verdaderamente político.

    En cambio, una persona que acepta votar en unas elecciones aunque sabe que no son libres es un esclavo y siempre será un esclavo, y repetirá las mismas estupideces década tras décadas, hasta que muera.

    La verdad es que creo que los gobernadores electos serán escogidos todos a mano por la dictadura, independientemente del partido al que pertenezcan. Creo que el CNE anunciará resultados falsos favorables a la MUD, porque este es el premio que el gobierno les da a los opositores por su traición y por reconocer a la ANC.

    LO que quiero decir es que así la oposición “gane” las regionales, su obediencia a la dictadura ya fue negociada, y que ni siquiera se puede confiar que el resultado anunciado por el CNE sea verdadero, aunque sea favorable a la oposición.

    La gente va a votar en unas elecciones que fueron arregladas por las partes de antemano, y parte del arreglo es la sumisión a la ANC.

    Quién se imagina las barbaridades que la dictadura va a realizar después del 15 de octubre… Y la gente, indefensa.

    Defender eso es miserable.

  2. You gotta believe this regime is way out ahead of whatever might happen this Sunday. I just don’t see any surprises. Hope history proves me horribly wrong.

  3. “Vote, and the political prisoners will be freed”

    No, dude, the political prisoners are going to be released only after they admit and sign that they undergo the scatological humilliation of accepting they commited crimes against the revolution they were framed for, that’s what delcy “dead-child-purse” has proclaimed.

    The only thing this votation can be used for is to trigger the street protests once again, as we’ve seen already that no matter who from the MUD takes the seat at the governorships, they’ll act as agents of the chavista repression anyway, as Ocariz “it’s not political prisoners, they’re detained persons” and Henri “We won’t use the police to protect the people from the colectivos” Falsón have already demonstrated this year.

    So please, go and find another excuse to try to convince disgruntled people who are feeling betrayed and cheated by the MUD about why they should vote, because the condescending “if you don’t vote they will cheat” argument isn’t working either.

  4. I would like to ask supporters of abstention in 2017 to explain if abstention in the 2005 parliamentary election was successful or not. Please focus ONLY on 2005, as 2017 will be covered elsewhere.

    • The 2005 abstention would have been successful if HRA, JB and the other members of the coordinadora democrática’s (CD) treachery haven’t happened.

      After getting a PATHETIC FIFTEEN PERCENT OF THE VOTES (15%) chavismo was allowed to install their botched congress only because the leadership of the opposition WILLINGLY CHOSE TO NOT TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT, instead focusing in the 2006 election with the imbecile that is manuel rosales.

      The CD (Now the MUD) cut and killed the plan when it was about to move to the next phase: The street protests demanding new elections, which could have been reflected in the international scene as “85% of the people is against chavismo so they can’t expect to get away with that”

      Now I ask you back: HAS BEEN THE COMPULSIVE VOTING AND NOT DOING ANYTHING BUT TO WAIT UNTIL THE NEXT ELECTION SUCCESSFUL DURING THE LAST 18 YEARS? Because THAT is the MUD’s plan for this and the other elections until 2019.

      • Thanks. It appears Chavismo has been highly adept at exploiting individual ambition in order to disarm and diffuse opposition. Maybe the willingness to play ball is what has kept certain members of the opposition out of prison, is that worth looking into?

      • ULAMOG-in response to your question: compulsive voting alone would have been useless. I do not understand why in January 2016 the Asamblea Nacional did not immediately declare all political prisoners to be free, march to Ramo Verde and storm the Bastille.

          • HRA has not been involved in treachery, as that would mean he was not following his political persuasion.
            As the vice president of ‘Socialist International’ that should give a clue!!!
            I have never understood how HRA and AD are opposing another socialist party ie PSUV.
            Socialism will never be defeated by more socialism, but then i dont understand the bizarre mindset and politics of the Venezuelan people.
            And im not sure that they do.

      • Indeed Ulamog! I can see chavismo’s headlines now: 18 million Venezuelan voters exercised their constitutional right to vote and by an overwhelming majority rejected right-wing violence.

    • Of course the 2005 abstention was an abject failure. It permitted Chavez to gain a supermajority in the AN with hardly a ripple of adverse reaction. It was probably a poor decision. However, at that time, the choice faced by the opposition was an unpalatable one. Jorge Rodriguez and Antonio Mugica had already demonstrated what could be done with electronic voting systems when they flagrantly rigged the 2004 recall referendum. Concurrently, the release and application of the Tascon list and the Maisanta list introduced a new level of voter intimidation, directly associated with the possibility of non-secrecy in electronic voting. Many of the opposition believed that if they did not call for abstention, the results would just be electronically rigged AGAIN; moreover, they did not want to add legitimacy to the changes in the electoral system which had been (unconstitutionally) railroaded in.

      The situation today is far clearer, I believe. The CNE is not even pretending to be impartial anymore. Not even a figleaf. The ACN is not even pretending to be anything other than an instrument to grant omnipotent powers to a dictatorship. The opposition CANNOT win the 2017 elections, but they can lose them, and have already done so in my opinion. Just by standing, they have legitimised oversight by the CNE and the prostituyente, and given up their own dignity.

      The worst outcome for the government would be mass abstention. It would be difficult to hide. On the other hand, a moderate turnout will result in the announcement by the CNE of a large turnout, with a majority of the governorships going to PSUV and some token losses for “credibility”. OR they can allow a larger number of opposition candidates to win, but castrate them in terms of power and budget, or replace them one at a time at their leisure with any excuse they care to dream up. Boiling frogs. It is impossible to win a game which is so massively rigged against you. The only solution is not to play their game, their rules.

      • “Of course the 2005 abstention was an abject failure. ”

        Because the so-called leadership decided to stab the people on their back.

        “The worst outcome for the government would be mass abstention.”

        The worst outcome for chavismo is street protests, regardless of how many people have voted or how many governorships are awarded to the MUD (Hint, it will be just two)

  5. And once again, the opposition shoots itself in the foot.

    Exactly what the hell is wrong with you people? You haven’t learned ANYTHING in almost two decades!? There are still those who believe these are anywhere NEAR free and fair elections!?

    And the leadership, both free and imprisoned, is urging you to PARTICIPATE in this sham!?

    Jesus fucking Christ.

    It gets harder and harder for me to explain to my uniformed friends how fucked up Venezuela really is…in every conceivable way.

  6. One has to ask, what good can possibly come out of Sunday’s vote? Will the regime suddenly say, “okay opp, you win,we give up, here, take the keys to the country”?

    If it’s proposed that this vote will energize the opp to take to the streets, then i’d have to ask why they gave up the streets in the first place.

    Can someone splain me what this fraud to be held Sunday will accomplish that’s not already known about the country

  7. Last Saturday someone was giving me a small pamphelt on Ocariz. I knew that basically all it said was vote “vote for me”. So I told the guy handing out the pamphelts thanks but no thanks. I told him that if it said what and how he was going to do is he won and the government let him govern, I would take the pamphlet and read it. The guys went on to explain that most likely we would not win because the election would be rigged and if he won Ocariz would not be allowed to govern, but that the point was that every chance we get we need to put another nail in the coffin, not just for internal consumption but for the international audience. Eveyone already knows what this government is all about, but anything else we can add to the evidence file will help in the future.

    • Ocariz, the same piece of garbage that signed the diálogos burundangueros paper that flat-out denied the existence of political prisoners in Venezuela while calling them common criminals.

      Also, Ocariz the traitor against the cause who captured and snitched Caguaripano and Jefferson to the dictatorship, hint, Jefferson is dead, and Caguaripano is very close to death now.

      What a valuable ally against the dictatorship this Carlos Ocariz is, people!

  8. I see the radical abstentionists with no Plan B have hijacked this post. Still not understanding, you are.

    I support the political prisoners’ plea and admire their courage.

    If you still have a few “dedos de frente” go vote this Sunday!

    • “…radical abstentionists with no Plan B”

      I see the compulsive voters that don’t want to do anything besides wetting the pinky have hijacked the comments.

      “If you still have a few “dedos de frente”…”

      Calling those who disagree with you “stupid” won’t solve anything.

      Now tell me, WHAT WILL BE THE PLAN FOR WHEN CHAVISMO DECLARES THAT THEY WON 22 OF 24 GOVERNORSHIPS AND ANNOUNCES THAT THERE’S A CRYSTAL CLEAR DEMOCRACY IN VENEZUELA TO SHRUG OFF ALL THE SANCTIONS THEY HAVE BEEN STRUCK WITH SO FAR?

      I’ll answer that question for you: MUD WILL SAY “AW, THAT’S A PITY, LET’S WAIT FOR THE NEXT ELECTION NEXT YEAR! AND THEN LET’S WAIT FOR THE NEXT ELECTION IN 2019! TOODLES!”

      I’ll repeat this again: Four months of street protests have managed to deal more damage to chavismo than 17 years of “vote and do nothing later”

      • “”I’ll repeat this again: Four months of street protests have managed to deal more damage to chavismo than 17 years of “vote and do nothing later” “”

        Great to type this from, where? Vancouver, Miami, London…? I’ll remind you that It left too 100+ dead people, none among your family and friends I hope?

        And the fact that you are SHOUTING, does not hide the fact that you are wrong, wrong, wrong, only exposes just that, that you shout…

        • I’ll be voting this weekend. But I don’t see that those that don’t who believe in voting are wrong. They just have a different pint of viiew than me and their arguments have not convinced me otherwise. It works the other way too.

          • Indeed Charlie, my woman and her kids are voting as well, not because they think it’ll make any significant difference, but because they want to feel that they did something.

        • “Great to type this from, where? Vancouver, Miami, London…? I’ll remind you that It left too 100+ dead people, none among your family and friends I hope?”

          Oh, true, the last 17 years of wetting the pinky and going home to listen salsa how many dead have left? 280.000? 300.000? Or even more?

          When are you going to understand that repeating the same useless strategy by the twentyeth time is going to result in the same thing all over again?

          “And the fact that you are SHOUTING…”

          There isn’t a way to make the font bold in this editor, so I had to use the caps.

          “does not hide the fact that you are wrong, wrong, wrong, only exposes just that, that you shout…”

          Stomping the ground like a little spoiled kid won’t make you right, by writing that you just have proven that you are wrong and that you don’t have a way to defend the “wet the pinky and go back home to listen salsa”

          I’m typing from Venezuela, you must be typing from another country, since you feel reallty good about the possibility of the dictatorship to extend its rotten existence during the next five – eight years, maybe that’s because you’re a bachaquero, an enchufado, or simply living in another country.

          How easy is to send hundreds of thousands to their certain deaths while you sip coffee peacefully in your cozy place.

          • I wasn’t going to answer, but you’re making me: I live abroad, yes, but all my family is in Vargas, and will be voting for Jose Manuel Olivares. Unlike many here (probably) I can say that none in my family is (or has been) a bolichico, bachaquero, corrupt government official, tenedor de bonos, voted for Chavez ever, or even used the preferential dollar system, Sicade, or whatever the name is.

            My dad’s money from the business he sold three years ago before he died, languishes in Venezuelan banks in bolivars. As you can understand, my urge for a change in the system and the fall of this evil regime is as strong as yours, but unlike you I see that vilifying the political opposition we have, flawed as it is, does more bad than good. Let me remind you that that’s how Chavez came to power.

            I don’t agree with everything that MUD does but as I said in a previous post I support 100% their decision to cool off the streets for now, and focus on a different agenda which includes regional elections. If you can’t understand, it’s your problem. I want to be part of the solution.

            And my drinking my coffee right now, but let me tell you it does not assuage the worry and anxiety I feel every single day for my family and my country.

          • “Let me remind you that that’s how Chavez came to power.”

            Uh, no, the rotten traitor came to power thanks to the massive money the enchufados of that time spent on him, hoping that he would continue the 4th republican model of country where they would continue sucking dry the country.

            And it resulted, for them, as chavismo was the best investment they could have made, they’re now more rich than they could have ever dared to dream.

        • Anelim, I have to congratulate you for inventing a new catch phrase:

          “Radical Abstentiinist.”

          Now, can you please explain what the fuck that’s supposed to mean? That those who choose not to vote are “radicals?”

          Seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever read a post here that’s made less sense…and it’s yours.

          Congratulations!

          • Anelim, before calling those of us who live here and deal with this cluster fuck on a daily basis, stupid, because we disagree with your strategy, might I suggest you walk a mile in our shoes?

            I’m also reminded of the saying about those who repeatedly do the same thing with the same results, but each time expecting some new outcome.

  9. I support their courage as well, though I am a bit perplexed at how a group of prisoners who are generally denied contact with their families and attorneys, and I had assumed with one another as well, manage to draft, sign, and smuggle such a letter out of prison.

    As for Plan B, it was working but was dropped for an as yet explained reason on 1 August. So, help me understand how giving support to the regime’s claim that the people have a choice and are living in a democracy, improves our situation.

    • If as Plan B you are referring to the street protests, let me tell you that that strategy, unfortunately, failed this time. 100+ deaths was too much to stomach. And we were against an evil regime that didn’t budge and a corrupt military that did not side with the people (not by overthrowing the government in a coup but by simply stopping killing innocents).

      Very sensibly, MUD switched its strategy to the international stage and to regain institutional/electoral spaces, to try to corner the regime and expose it even more. Participating in the regional elections is risky, yes, but it’s the regime who are in loss-loss situation. They’ll lose if they commit fraud, and obviously lose if they don’t. Get it?

      The fact that people still do not get this is partly the MUD’s fault, for not offering a transparent message and failing to explain what they are trying to do. But it’s also down to your own stupidity, and for letting yourself being manipulated by the regime and particularly the Chuky siblings.

      • Venezuela FINALLY gained the international attention it needed via the protests, not by participating in rigged elections over the last 18 years. Just read today’s story on this site about journalists being detained and you’ll see that even this editorial staff admits that the gains made are now fading.

        We were told by MUD leadership that the ANC was a fraud and that the shit would hit the fan if that sham election was held. So where are we today? Participating in an election sanctioned by the ANC! Que bueno.

        And yes,it’s terrible that over 100 souls were lost during the protests, just as it’s terrible that thousands die every year because law and order, our medical system, agriculture, transportation and infrastructure are now rated lower than most sub-saharan African countries. But hey, let’s vote and show the world how serious we are.

        Yeah, I’m so stupid not to see the way out.

        • anelim the compulsive mudero wants to make invisible the more than 8000 people that have been mercilessly murdered by chavismo during the last three months free of protests.

          • Because they insist in using the same failed method that’s resulted in keeping chavismo in power during two decades.

            The goal shouldn’t be “fixing a street” or “building a school”, the goal must be taking chavismo out of power, because as long as they remain there, more people will be slaughtered everyday, victims you insist on make invisible just because they take down your fallacy that “protests only brought death and blood”

            In fact, people was much safer in a protest facing the colectivos and the other repressors than just walking to their workplaces in any other day.

          • It’s funny how you claim that “100 deaths are too much to stomach” as the sole basis to dismiss the street protests as the “hissy fit of a bunch of spiled stupid escuálido kids”, when:

            1) It wasn’t just 100, it was over 170.

            2) You don’t seem to care a bit about the thousands that were murdered in the rest of the country during the same span of time, now that Venezuela has about 70 daily murders these days, not counting those who die by lack of medicines or food, deaths provoked by chavismo as well.

            Oh, yeah, I found the cause, it’s because as the other thousands weren’t broadcasted day and night in every single media outlet, then according to that “anti-guarimba logic” they simply never existed or worse, somehow they deserved to be killed by chavismo.

  10. “As political prisoners, we’re not allowed to vote on October 15th, but we ask all Venezuelans to vote on our behalf. ”

    Venezuelans: “But we are political prisoners too.”

    So sad.

  11. it’s a sham. You think the leaders of the French Revolution, the founding fathers or the US or even Bolivar and Miranda would have taken this course of action at this crossroads? Porfavor

  12. Pero es que…¿qué clase de cucaracha considera una virtud participar en unas elecciones que no son libres?
    Abstenerse no va a significar la caída inmediata de la dictadura, nadie dice eso, pero es la única forma que existe en la actualidad de disentir.
    Si usted quiere cincuenta años más de elecciones falsas (y la repetición infinita de este debate ridículo), vote feliz. Pero no se queje cuando nada cambie, porque eso es lo que significa aceptar elecciones falsas: que nada cambie, nunca, porque todo está arreglado de antemano y usted carece de derechos En cambio, si usted está harto de eso, no vote, exprese su objeción de conciencia. Y si usted es valiente, pase a formar parte de la resistencia o contribuya a formar grupos contra la dictadura, ya sea armados o no.

    Pase lo que pase en esa farsa (en cuyo resultado no podemos confiar, porque ya fue arreglado por las partes, y cuyas consecuencias ya sabemos muy bien cuáles van a ser), la ANC va a tomar decisiones terribles después de octubre. Decisiones económicas que van a impactar directamente en la sociedad. Cuando eso ocurra, ¿Quién va a defender a la gente? Nadie. La respuesta va a ser: hay que ganar las próximas elecciones. Y Así…Mientras tanto, los cretinos que votaron van a sufrir todas las consecuencias, van a perder las pocas cosas que les quedan, y van a tener que rebajarse a depender cada vez más del super estado y de las bolsas clap que los mismos gobernadores adecos, de primero justicia y de voluntad popular les van a vender o regalar o lo que sea, La dictadura cerró el círculo, pues.

    La campaña a favor de las elecciones regionales es uno de los episodios más miserables de toda la historia de Venezuela.

      • Lo peor que va a ocurrir no es que vayan a tomar tal o cual decisión, eso ya llevan 17 años haciéndolo, lo peor que va a pasar es que el status quo del régimen se mantendrá por lo menos por 5 ó 7 años más, lo que significará por lo menos 200 mil asesinatos más a manos de la dictadura.

  13. Poster i said something that I think is very important and may be lost on many. While the ANC is recognized by most everyone as nothing more than an arm of this regime, the really ugly decisions are yet to come.

    In so many words, Maduro has said that every vote cast in this election is a vote that supports the legitimacy of the ANC’s powers, and you can bet that’s how it’s going to be sold both at home and abroad.

    Once this election is out of the way, the real shit sandwiches will be served to all of us.

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