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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Promote decentralization and restore gubernatorial authority.
- 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.
- Defeat the government once again on the electoral arena and force them to hear our plight for change.
— WHO ARE WE?
— WHAT DO WE WANT?
This document is genuine. Signatures are on the back. Dozens of additional signatures were protected to avoid potential retaliation.
Juan Giraldo Ochoa
Juan Bautista Guevara
José Vicente García
Alfredo Ramos Acosta