Photo: Reuters retrieved
According to Hernán Escarrá, who chairs the Constitutional Commission of the ANC, the illegitimate National Constituent Assembly (ANC) is almost ready with the outline of the new Constitution. Even though the theoretical purpose of any Constituent Assembly is to draft and approve a new Constitution, this fraudulent ANC has been acting as a “super-power” usurping the authority of the legitimately elected National Assembly. Nonetheless, this could change if the illegitimate assembly decides to approve the new “Constitution”.
This could change if the illegitimate assembly decides to approve the new “Constitution.”
Should the new “Constitution” be approved through a constitutional referendum? From a strictly constitutional perspective: this is not clear. By Presidential Decree, Maduro “suggested” that the new “constitution” should be approved through a constitutional referendum. But because the ANC has “super-power”, it can decide whether such referendum should be called or not. Several debates have been conducted in the public opinion regarding this referendum. Yet, in my opinion, the debate is based on a wrong perspective: They analyze tactics as strategies, making us believe we only have two possible choices.
Having this in mind, I launched a poll through my Twitter account:
If the illegitimate assembly calls for a constitutional referendum to approve the “Constitution”, should the Venezuelan people participate?
63% answered that the best option would be not to participate
37% answered that the best option would be to participate
Who gave the right answer? Nobody. And I’m going to explain why.
The real deal: tactics vs. strategy
My question included a “concha de mango”, namely, some tricks intended to mislead the answers. I presented two supposed strategies: to participate or not to participate in the referendum. However, those aren’t strategies, but tactics.
The first issue that should be taken into account is that Venezuela doesn’t have electoral integrity conditions, which means that it isn’t possible to have free and transparent elections: the ANC dismantled the weakened rule of law and with this, any possibility of free elections.
No matter what happens, if the National Constituent Assembly decided to approve the new Constitution, it will do it.
Consequently, no matter what happens, if the National Constituent Assembly decided to approve the new Constitution, it will do it. This is precisely why this assembly has “super-power”.
To choose to engage or not in this supposed referendum, should be decided according to the strategy designed to promote a democratization process in Venezuela. This decision is based on tactics or instruments that could work if they are part of a democratization strategy.
The mythic obstacle: is it possible to legitimate the National Assembly?
A common warning regarding the ANC is to avoid any actions that could “legitimate” this body. When I launched my poll, many of my followers warned me that any participation in a referendum called by the National Constituent Assembly will imply that this body would be legitimized.
Let me say something in plain English: It’s not possible to legitimate the National Constituent Assembly.
This body was convened, elected and installed in a clear violation of the Constitution, and because of this, this body is and will be an illegitimate assembly no matter what.
So again: participating or not in the referendum isn’t related with the possibility to “legitimate” the ANC, because nobody can amend the constitutional violations committed by this assembly.
About the strategy and the tactics to achieve it
To promote a democratization process, both options—participating or not participating—could be potentially good tactics. Let’s review them both.
Not participating is the easier option. Because the ANC is a fraudulent body, it’s not possible to decide anything related to the new “Constitution”, because this “Constitution” will be also an illegitimate decision.
A democratization process in Venezuela will require something more than a passive approach like staying home.
However, a democratization process in Venezuela will require something more than a passive approach like staying home. It will eventually require some kind of mobilization. A different option, thus, is to promote an electoral boycott like boosting political mobilizations against the fraudulent referendum. But political boycotts are difficult to organize.
Participating in the referendum could be a tactic to promote such mobilization. Of course, voting in the constitutional referendum cannot be assumed as a simple electoral tactic, because this referendum will not be a free and transparent election. On the contrary, a possible tactic would be to promote participation in the referendum as a tactic to galvanize mobilizations against the constituent fraud.
It’s time to think about the strategy to promote a democratization process in Venezuela. Only with this strategy in mind, will it be possible to define the appropriate tactics.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.