Photo: La Nouvelle République, retrieved.

To gauge the impact of the January 10th, consider the aftermath of the 2015 election. The Executive Branch’s disregard of the Constitution caused a conflict of legitimacies. The political events of the past three years have all played out on the same platform: a regime that disregards the Constitution and, from that, the efforts made by a variety of strategies of the oppositions (the plural matters here) to resolve the crisis.

Like an onion that’s peeled to its core and found empty, Venezuela’s situation has reached an inconceivable political void. But beneath the onion layers, one thing remains: the consent of the governed.

The history of political processes is nothing but the story of how people’s consent for their government can be validated, regulated and recognized. That’s the crux of politics, and the technical term is legitimacy.

The justification behind obedience to authority is one of the most serious dilemmas of political philosophy, but generally speaking, Kant’s rationale prevails: we obey the law because we made it ourselves (through representatives, in the case of representative democracy). It’d be irrational to disregard a law we gave ourselves, right?

Starting in 2015, we’ve seen not just the violation of the rule of law, but of the authority and nature of public power as a whole.

You could say that the disregard for the Constitution of 1999 began at its very inception, but what’s certain is that, starting in 2015, we’ve seen not just the violation of the rule of law, but of the authority and nature of public power as a whole, the undermining of the Constitution’s intimate architecture and the basic guarantee against the accumulation of power, expressed through the separation of powers.

The conflict of legitimacies comes to a head with the election of May 20th, 2018, decried both in Venezuela and abroad, as it didn’t comply with minimal political or process guarantees. Regardless of any arguments about the strategy of running in an election under a state of emergency, there’s been a brutal deterioration in the electoral and political conditions since the National Constituent Assembly was installed. The outlawing of candidates and political parties (both before and after the elections) points to an unbridgeable chasm between practical reality and the guarantee of alternation in power. We also saw the limitations of any extra-constitutional “solution” after the bloody episodes of 2017, when the State unleashed its violence against the people.

In any case, the May 20 elections were held under a sui generis state of permanent emergency, and a new Constitutional period starts on January 10, 2019, without an elected president, only a de facto one. In other words, there won’t be a “vacancy” as established in the bewildering Article 233 of the Constitution. This unique situation calls for a political solution, not a constitutional one. In my opinion, it calls for the National Assembly, as a legitimate power, to emerge as a protector of the Constitution.

This unique situation calls for a political solution, not a constitutional one.

This means that the National Assembly’s role after January 10 must focus on acting within its capacities to restore the Constitution’s validity, not just regarding the recovery of necessary institutional and political conditions to hold legitimate, fair elections. The recovery of human rights and fundamental guarantees that are currently suspended is a must.

Politically, the National Assembly should act not as a collection of forces or parties but as an institutional body, able to rally the disperse social and political forces to defend our liberties, including our electoral rights. The scenario that starts on January 10 will unfold between the government’s pretense to stabilize its power and society’s resistance and pressure to recover the right of alternation and, indeed, political action.

This promises a tortuous political process amid the existential catastrophe of millions of Venezuelans, that shows no signs of abating. What might make a difference is if the National Assembly acts to concentrate and catalyze the multiple, and entirely dissimilar, forms of pressure on the regime, without yielding to the partisan squabbling that naturally occur.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. While you convey a truly practical plan of action by the AN, I just have to ask what is different today from the last 20 years that will enable this action? The government still has the guns.

    • it’s time to treat the government as a foreign power, and as such, use their own arms against them. This is what Maximo Gomez taught the Cuban’s which that county’s people seem to had forgotten. It is time for the people of Venezuela to remind them and the others of this.

  2. If nothing is done to protect the constitution from the flagrant fraud that Maduro and his clique use as a pretext to remain in power indefinitely then , factually the absence of action serves as a kind of virtual convalidation of the fraud , the action may not do the job of guns but it serves as a beacon to maintain afire the notion and conscience that what we face is an illegitimate regime . this is a necessary first step in advancing a more aggresive or assertive strategy for the restoration of the constitution in the future . in a boxing match if you recieve all the punches without defending your self with your own punches you are conceding the match, maybe your punches dont knock out your opponent but if the fight is to continue you must defend your self with your fists . The NA must consider the declaration of Madruos illegitimate usurpation of the presidential role and the appointment of someone to replace him , I would also consider the formation of a committee for the defense of the constitution made up of the main oppo figures to be designated by the NA so that if the NA is forcibly dissolved by the regime , it continues to exist thru such commitee.

    • I agree with this approach however one of the strategies and methods will call for the people to take arms by any means necessary if required.

    • Bill, the Asamblea Nacional not only let themselves be completely outmaneuvered by the regime, they themselves wasted most every opportunity they had to gain the trust of the population. Today, the only people who listen to anything they have to say are mostly living outside the country.

      My woman (who is as anti-regime as anyone I know) and I often listened to Godgiven Hair’s program on Wednesday nights just to see what the regime was up to. Most every time Diosdado mentioned the AN, he talked about its failure to be a force in governing (never mind that it was crippled illegally at every turn possible by the regime), and then he’d launch into how many sessions they’d failed to hold, and talk about specific members who were “jetting around the world” instead of being in the country trying to solve the country’s problems. We, of course, could always see how outrageous he was being in ignoring the regime’s own sins and illegalities, but my woman would always comment that the average Venezuelan would eat that stuff up because it rang true to them.

      In a nutshell, the AN lost the PR battle literally starting with the day they gained the majority of that body. That slide continued unabated, in my opinion, until the day the recall referendum was illegally killed and nothing happened……not even a whimper.

      I’m sorry, but when I read some of these posts I feel like I’m living in a time warp. In my humble opinion, we are now so far beyond the days of the AN doing anything of significance or the Venezuelan people rising up with their arms to oust the chavistas, that it’s all laughable. They may rise up and toss out Nico eventually, but it will only be to replace him with a kinder and gentler chavismo that actually delivers the goods.

      Hope I’m wrong, but I’m not betting on it.

      • I think you hit the nail on the head. The AN is irrelevant. When push came to shove, they were simply weak Chavists who couldn’t deliver the goods the way the PSUV could. It appeared to me, from afar, that the reason nobody listened to the AN is because nobody in the AN was telling El Pueblo what they needed to hear, and instead told El Pueblo what they wanted to hear.

        But… maybe El Pueblo doesn’t want to hear the truth? Maybe the AN isn’t the problem? It’s not something that is unique to Venezuela. Half of the USA thinks that happiness comes from bigger and more intrusive Government. “Vote for me and I will steal from Peter to pay you, Paul!”

      • Mistakes once made cannot be erased but they dont have to be repeated , the AN has a job to do , and there is little doubt what it is , the oppo is more than the NA but it still represents the only legitimate political body in the country so for it to act is necessary to salvage the notion that there are venezuelans who still care about our loss of liberties and would want them restored ….., its existence is a prick in the skin of the regime because it reminds the world of the illegitimacy of Maduros presidency and the fachade of farsical ventriloquist dolls that they use to pretende they have some claim to legitimacy . Once they act they probably will be shut down and we will see what they are made of.!! If someone in these pages still claims that Maduro has enough popular support to remain as president in a free election he is either a troll or someone who lives in a world of fantasy or doesnt live here and wants to say something to shock his readers to attract atttention to what he is writing.

  3. “While you convey a truly practical plan of action by the AN, I just have to ask what is different today from the last 20 years that will enable this action? The government still has the guns.”

    Plus Glenn, there’s this:

    “But beneath the onion layers, one thing remains: the consent of the governed.”

    I’m convinced that a majority of those still remaining in Venzuela consent to be governed by this regime. Yeah, they’re bribed by every means possible, including food, but they not only don’t fight it, they gladly sell their votes for a box of carbs. I know this for a fact. I watch them every election day go to the polls, vote rojo rojito, and then scurry down the block i front of my house to pick up their clap box reward. Even those who used to try to hide their actions, no longer do.

  4. It is the National Assembly constitutional duty to issue the sentence and declare Maduro’s new term illegitimate and proceed to name an interim government with plans for new elections.
    Failure of Maduro to comply with the orders it is up to the Armed Forces to ENFORCE the LAW and proceed to remove him from office.

    Unfortunately, the issue here is that the Armed Forces won’t execute the sentence dictated by the NA.
    It would take the Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino to make a public statement asking Maduro to step down or else…

    What is left to do?
    Enforce the Law with other Law Enforcement agents, other wise nothing will change.

  5. Up until now, the Castroists (Chavistas) have had the upper hand, in that they could buy the loyalty of the FANB. However, that teat has run dry. And up until now, very few have put their necks out. Those who did paid the price, because in the world of the Castros, you don’t know who to trust. Anyone could be working for the Cubans.

    What will happen (if it happens) is that a few suspected Castroists in the Venezuelan hierarchy will get in ice-pick in the skull, which will send a message that the gig is up and that NOBODY can be trusted on either side.

    When Padrino has to wonder if the low paid sergeant standing behind him is loyal or not… times up. Only then will the cards be played and everyone will know who is loyal to Venezuela and who is loyal to Marx.

  6. I just read that Maduro is going to take the oath of office at TSJ. This is notable change in the balance of power. For the past 2 years Maduro would get EVERYTHING rubber stamped by the bogus ANC. Why change for this one?

    Then there is the scoundrel Zerpa running to Venezuelan-heaven-on-earth aka Mayami and attesting to the rot within the TSJ. This is for sure a very inconvenient time to bring attentions to such stinky matters. Moreover, if you are so sure that Maduro is here to stay why would you hightail now? Did he grow a conscious? (Beware Mr. Zerpa, things that grow that sudden are usually tumors!).

    And then there is hyperinflation. I observed over 10% devaluation on the currency BY THE DAY!

    My analysis is that Chavismo is trying to figure out how to get rid of Maduro while not getting bucked out of power by exposing a rift and its weakness, because they know that gets people to protest in the streets.

    • I would hazard a guess that due to some really unfortunate investments Zerpa is down to his last $5 or $6 million and has no wiggle room due to sanctions. He has done something to alienate himself from the dollar pipelines and can’t get a refill. Jumping to Miami is the handiest option that will allow him, and his co-conspirators yet to flee, a safe place to retire in peace. Wonder where Maduro will run to, Beijing or Moscow. Havana would seem too stark for his elevated tastes.

      • There is no doubt in my mind that he is despicable HOWEVER enemy of my enemy is my friend. They have to encourage more defections, slapping the shit out of him will only serve to scare any other like minded scumbags into just sitting tight and entrenching themselves in until the end, whenever and whatever that implies. Can’t paint these guys into a corner.
        Yeah I don’t think Cuba would take him, once he leaves it will because he’s all used up and they won’t have any need for him anymore. Plus that would just piss off the Empire and they really don’t want to do that. I personally hope he goes to Russia, somewhere REALLY cold. That would be worse then death as far as I’m concerned, the cultures are so different, he would never settle in. Plus it would be fairly cheap and super easy to have him whacked if he’s there.

        • Solid analysis. The fractures in the regime have to be exploited. As much of a scumbag as Zerpa is he did bail on Chavismo and will no doubt sing like a canary to save himself and his family. This is not to the guberments liking. Not because it tarnishes their image, there is no image of legitimacy left, but everyone on the inside is now waiting to see who goes next. It is panic city and chaos within is the mayor.

          It sucks we can’t have it both ways. Punishing the bastard would solidify unity in the enemy. But I would like to see him behind bars.

  7. So here is how I see it. Er pueblo has been manipulated and brainwashed, lied to and promised things they will never get. They need to be informed, educated politically just like El Manzo Dando does, right to their t.v sets in their homes in their barrios. In their face everyday spouting a different version of the truth. Until they see the light. No way to do that at this point. Can we lay the blame on a people who have been force fed bullshit and lies until they actually started to believe them? What if a new leader emerges and is given the same airtime to reverse some of the brainwashing that has been done? Yeah I know, that’s the hard part, we don’t have a common curriculum, and nobody to teach it. And every time a teacher comes forth, they are promptly arrested for treason or taken out of the game all together.

    • I think that the only way that El Pueblo comes around is for a good number of them to starve or die of disease at the hands of Chavismo. While Delcy and Diosdado and Nick and the gang go on and on about the vile El Imperio and the emasculated AN… they have all of this on them. None of it can be blamed on the opposition, which is why I said previously that the oppo should do nothing. Which in my opinion is why Maduro is so keen on getting them to meet with them and come to some sort of agreement. He needs to spread the blame around.

      • Ive got an audio file which claims he has removed all TSJ express magistrates passports and is hunting Elias Juau and Padrino Lopez, they somehow made it onto his shit list.

        • Yuge news, if true.

          And I have not seen anything from Elias on Aporrea for a while. He is normally regularly blathering on there. My favorite was when he wrote that Venezuelans must be eating well, because the grocery stores were empty. Interesting how people can reach totally separate conclusions based on the same facts.

  8. Take another sip KaK..

    “if the National Assembly acts to concentrate and catalyze the multiple, and entirely dissimilar, forms of pressure on the regime, without yielding to the partisan squabbling that naturally occur.”

    Wth! Seriously, what does that mean? Her message is more dialogue with criminals who will not give an inch.. it’s the same gobbledygook for 20 years. If she lives in Venezuela, who paid her speaking tour around the US to deliver the regimes message? That’s not opposition or resistance, it’s complicity.

    • Keeping in mind the narcodictaorship has essentially outlawed the AN. So they are to “concentrate and catalyze” what KaK?

      • So should the AN grab tanks and guns and go GTA (grand theft auto) on the government? Is this a video game to you? Or should there be multiple channels confronting the dictatorship? Are you that self righteous?

  9. “Then there is the scoundrel Zerpa running to Venezuelan-heaven-on-earth aka Mayami and attesting to the rot within the TSJ. This is for sure a very inconvenient time to bring attentions to such stinky matters. Moreover, if you are so sure that Maduro is here to stay why would you hightail now? Did he grow a conscious? (Beware Mr. Zerpa, things that grow that sudden are usually tumors!).”

    renacuajo67, I’m of a mind that the US should arrest guys like Zerpa when their plane lands. How many millions in Venezuelan treasure has he stolen? How have his personal actions facilitated the regime in carrying out its unjustified imprisonments and untold other crimes against humanity?

    What’s to be gained from whatever guys like Serpa have to say at this point? We already know this thing is rotten to the core. It’s like reading stories over and over and over again on Caracas Chronicles about how people are suffering in Venezuela and on the roads leaving the place. Yeah, we know all that. How about some potential solutions to the crisis?

    In my view, the message sent by allowing guys like Zerpa and their families into the US is: Don’t worry, you can be a part of the next round of rape and pillage of Venzuela. Just fill your bank accounts, wait until the last minute, and then come to the US and denounce the crimes of those above you and you’ll be safe.

    The message the US should be sending is: Steal Venezuelan treasure and commit crimes against humanity and your ass is in jail. If you think you’re going to park your money and family in the US for protection from those who would put you on trial there, then you’d better look for another country in which to hide.

  10. Maybe His Orangeness should have him and his family tossed back over the wall? Maybe use a catapult….

    I mean, why even have a wall if we can stick a few heads on pikes, like in the old European days?

  11. Don’t lose sight of the first goal, getting rid of the chavistas. After that there will be time enough to deal with the smaller fry like Zerpa.

  12. Comments section cleaned out again on these last few blogs with no explanation as to why? Very disappointing but more importantly: DISCOURAGING.

    • Yup, they got me too. I was criticizing Sra Colette’s but probably got slashed for using the “pos” term.. doesn’t hurt my feelings.. just hope she saw it before it was erased.. as my opinion and the near total audience majority felt the same

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