Archive for the ‘Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly’ category

Negotiation, not dialogue (or negation) [Venezuela]

September 24, 2017

Negotiation, not dialogue (or negation), Venezuela News and ViewsDaniel Duquenal, September 23, 2017

The fact of the matter is that the regime is on the defensive. The sanctions are starting to work. The latest sign that credit is withheld on gasoline import is that there are growing lines at gas stations. If it is true that the forced election of the constituent assembly had a perverse way to boost provisionally the regime it is also true that one month and a half has passed since the assembly was [seated] and there is no evidence that it is doing something positive to solve the problems of the country.  The regime is in denial but the truth is that the world that counts is united against the regime.  Russia and China, when all is said, may have a limited role since what will bring down the regime is its economic failure. Russia cannot save Maduro with bombers like in Syria…

Meanwhile the week ended with Canada imposing sanctions on 40 high ranking dictatorship personnel.  The symbolism does not escape us, the 40 thieves of Ali Baba finally starting to suffer consequences.


This past week has been eventful. It started with a new attempt at dialogue that nobody but the regime wants, to the strong words against Venezuela dictatorship from TrumpMacronSantosMichetti, and more, taking place at the UN general assembly.

That dinner table was certainly better supplied than those of Caracas

There were all sorts of activities during the festivities, like Trump hosting a dinner for the heads of a few Latin American states highly critical of Venezuela’s dictatorship.  Venezuela was mentioned in several speeches at the tribune, invariably condemnatory, except from the usual suspects like Evo’s speech, very poorly attended for that matter.  We even have the money quote from Trump, who may be wrong and obnoxious a lot of the time, but when he is right, he is right, hands down:

“The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented,
but that socialism has been faithfully implemented”

These expected actions against Maduro’s regime are what explains why a few days ago the regime asked for “dialogue” with the opposition, to be held in Santo Domingo.

Certainly, as it has become usual, the regime starts dialogue as a dilatory instrument to bring down Venezuelan opposition when the going gets too intense. But this time around it is different and the regime is not going to get once again a free pass: months of protests, political prisoners and political murders cannot be dismissed by the world democracies. What in last century would have been considered as collateral effect cannot be ignored anymore in the XXI century.

As usual a volley of declarations and counter declarations has been launched since the “dialogue” started. No point going over the confusing details.  The summary is as follow:

– all seems to indicate that it is the regime that this time around truly asked for a new dialogue and went out of their [way] to effect it, as the opposition this time around was not in the mood (at least not as long as the regime fulfills at least one of its previous commitments).

– if the regime succeeded in bringing back allies like the Dominican Republic to host the talks, and Zapatero ready for a new failure, it did not go as planned. First, the opposition announced that it would talk only to Santo Domingo president. Second, that a new set of countries would be guarantors of any new talk, not anymore the more complaint countries or devious double agents like Zapatero. e.g., now at least France will be attending for Europe.

– before the talks the head of the National Assembly, Julio Borges, came from a very successful tour in Europe’s main capitals (Paris, Berlin, Madrid and London, only Rome missing, for now).  He received full support from those who matter: Macron, Merkel, Rajoy and May. On the other hand Venezuela sent its foreign minister to do a counter tour and he was only receive by foreign ministers at best, and scolded each time.

– even though everywhere Arreaza was told that the constituent assembly would not recognized, the regime keeps trying to force its recognition by sending the president of that illegal assembly as its chief negotiation in Santo Domingo. To little effect so far we must say.

– eventually, in front of a losing strategy, as more and more inside the opposition state that there should be no talk until AFTER the state elections, the regime has started sabotaging the process with all sorts of manipulations and lies. The thing here is that the radicals inside the regime do not want any negotiation and the opposition, and the world, only wants a negotiation. Not a dialogue, a negotiation. There is a difference.

The fact of the matter is that the regime is on the defensive. The sanctions are starting to work. The latest sign that credit is withheld on gasoline import is that there are growing lines at gas stations. If it is true that the forced election of the constituent assembly had a perverse way to boost provisionally the regime it is also true that one month and a half has passed since the assembly was sat and there is no evidence that it is doing something positive to solve the problems of the country.  The regime is in denial but the truth is that the world that counts is united against the regime.  Russia and China, when all is said, may have a limited role since what will bring down the regime is its economic failure. Russia cannot save Maduro with bombers like in Syria…

But at least the regime has one satisfaction: the “dialogue” has divided deeply the opposition, before the crucial elections of next months. Those elections will be fraudulent and more, but going in disperse order with too many promoting abstention will not help. For some reason the lies of the regime about dozens of “secret” meetings, those that the opposition is willing to recognize the constituent assembly (without describing what the opposition will get in exchange) have found a wide public of, well, hysterical oppos. Then again the resurrection of Rosales or Zambrano as envoys to Santo Domingo has not been a PR coup for the MUD…..

So we have all sorts of people that preach that we should not go to vote because this would give some legitimacy to the regime. True, but in part at best for the regime. International opinion at the government levels will not be swayed by an election where harsh handed tactics of the regime will be closely monitored by their embassies.

But that saddest part of it all is that the abstention party virulence, from Maria Corina Machado to twitter warriors of the nebulous “resistencia”, is not offering any other strategy. They do not want to vote yet they are not telling us what to do, and even less, are not willing to place themselves in the front lines of whatever it is that they have in mind. Well, Maria Corina would go on the front line, but she is unable to say where the fucking front line is.

I do not know where all of this will lead us. We cannot even be certain whether the regional elections will be held. We can be sure that the regime is following a close pulse of the electoral mood, and in particular the abstention movement who thank the deities seems to peter some already.  The point is that the regime must balance the risk of losing badly the regional elections but proving to the world that a democratic transition is coming, or stick to a goal of at least 40% governors, no trickery spared, no political violence too gross.  In short, a lose lose of sorts for the regime, with a radical and radicalizing constituent assembly which nobody seems really in control of.

Meanwhile the week ended with Canada imposing sanctions on 40 high ranking dictatorship personnel.  The symbolism does not escape us, the 40 thieves of Ali Baba finally starting to suffer consequences.

And Europe sanctions are expected any time soon…………

It is unanimous [Venezuela]

September 1, 2017

It is unanimous, Venezuela News and ViewsDaniel Duquenal, August 31, 2017

My point here is that decisions are unanimous, hand raised, so even if you were not to raise your hand, among 500+ seats who would see you?  And that is the problem because when you follow the time lines on Twitter of some of these guys they are all unreconstructed Marxists, and often violent in tone.

For those who will be summoned to the assembly and decide to go anyway, I have these words from Dante: “All hope abandon, ye who enter here”


I am not talking much about the fraudulent constitutional assembly because, to begin with, I do not recognize it (1). Not that it matters, just to make it clear that it is a waste of time to discuss its activities since it is there merely to give cover for any dictatorial abuse.

But a little summary here and there may be useful, if anything for people to have a sense of what it is like to live under a one party dictatorship.

The assembly spent its first month on nothing related to writing a new constitution. Nothing that I know of anyway.  On the other hand it wasted little time in removing constitutional rights protections from the still valid 1999 document. Thus the republic’s prosecutor was forced into exile and the National Assembly was stripped of its attributions.  For starters, that is.

The next step was to vote a “peace law” which is nothing but the imposition of peace through elimination of one of the parties in the conflict. It is not “la paix des tombeaux” yet, but that some have called for the establishment of the death penalty in Venezuela tells you which way we are headed.  I have even heard words like “we are going to teach them to love”…..  a.k.a. reeducation camps. No?

But the transformation of the constituent fraud into a stalinist court has to spill over other areas. Today a new decree was approved “by unanimity” over how to take on Venezuelan economic problems.  Interestingly the assembly decree offers no sign of any measure that may improve store shelves. Its interest is focused on oil industry, here and world wide (?). The other aspects of economy will be directed by the “jefatura politica” of the assembly and the government (“political direction”, as ominous as it goes) .  Oh, and people will be summoned to the assembly to dialogue and expose their economic criteria. Like everything else with the dictatorship, dialogue means “come here so I can tell you what you are supposed to do”. Never mind who the assembly will summon, certainly not those it ought to listen to.

But all are mere details. My point here is that decisions are unanimous, hand raised, so even if you were not to raise your hand, among 500+ seats who would see you?  And that is the problem because when you follow the time lines on Twitter of some of these guys they are all unreconstructed Marxists, and often violent in tone.

For those who will be summoned to the assembly and decide to go anyway, I have these words from Dante: “All hope abandon, ye who enter here”

1) Just for memory, there is a rather complete explanation about all the reasons that makes it impossible for a democrat to recognize the constitutional assembly. Not to mention the electoral fraud that went along.

Trashed at Lima: Maduro goes from PR fail to PR fail [Venezuela]

August 10, 2017

Trashed at Lima: Maduro goes from PR fail to PR fail, Venezuela News and ViewsDaniel Duquenal, August 9, 2017

In the middle of the night the nazional guard and the constituent assembly chair took over the old senate chamber of Venezuelan Congress which had been transformed into a ceremonial room. The problem is that the hall is not big enough for the 550 constituents as it can hold barely 450.  But the point here is to piss off the National Assembly and slowly but surely edge them out of existence.

For good measure the National Assembly was barred to enter its chambers for its scheduled session, least the couple of dozens that did make it into congress house would attack the 500+ constitutionals.  Nice to see the nazional guard deployed in a legislative room. Nothing militaristic or repressive in the regime. No serreee…

The constituent is above all

That they are overcrowded sitting on party pliable and uncomfortable chairs did not stop the constituents to declare themselves as of today of being above any of the existing powers and institutions. For our own good, apparently. (1)

Note that the complete results are not yet out and these creeps are already ruling as if nothing, fraud declarations remaining investigated, of course.

To make sure that we know who is in charge truly (besides Cuba, of course) we even had the visit of the defense minister in full drag, as a guest of honor. That is right, a constituent assembly of the people starts by bowing to a general.

Today was thus quite a democratic display. And right on time as the Lima reunion was taking place, to make sure to confort them in their soon to come decisions.

In Lima the s… hit the fan

Many countries were invited to a meeting outside of any international organization to discuss what to do about Venezuela. That is, the countries that are decided to do something about it, without the bothers that sell out countries do to stop any measure against the dictatorship (2). They met today at Lima.  Of those who met, 12 decided to sign a declaration which is as strong as you will ever see any. And apparently Jamaica was about to add its name though they did not. Nobody understands why Uruguay did not go along since last week end they agreed to kick out Venezuela from Mercosur. At any rate, the 12 signatories have agreed to further meetings as sanctions are implemented and that anyone wanting to join the principled positions could so so.

The WSJ has a summary in English, though if you can read Spanish I urge you to read the short and drastic declaration.  The important points to be drawn from it are:

  • Venezuela is a dictatorship (written in diplomatese, but that is the exact translation)
  • They will not recognize the constituent assembly nor any decision that this one takes.
  • For any future legal/financial contact between those countries (the largest in the Americas, the rest counts for nothing anyway) these will only be accepted if the legal and legitimate National Assembly approves them. That is, there is no possible contracts to be made state to state, and business to business/state unless the NA approves them. Also, Venezuela cannot send new ambassadors unless voted by the NA. And other consequences.
  • Ban any weapon shipment to Venezuela, in particular of repressive nature.
  • These countries will actively seek that Venezuela will be removed from any international organization that pretends to be democratic.

In short, Venezuela is declared a pariah state.

Meanwhile in Caracas the dictatorship could only gather the ALBA (Cuba and Caracas client states) and emit a long and ridiculous declaration that even included the wall. Maybe feel good, but totally out of step with the moment, which shows you that even the sophisticated Cuban diplomacy is losing its footing.

It is to be noted that the US was not, on purpose, in Lima and so it cannot be accused of remote directing the whole thing. As a matter of fact, if you read the Lima declaration you will be stricken by its novelty and creativity. Venezuela is truly seen as a continental problem and all agree that it is best that the US sanctions are taken separately from other sanctions so that the Cuban propaganda cannot use tired old cliches.

We’ll see.  Meanwhile the image of Maduro has gone down quite a lot today. As a matter of fact he even asked the ALBA to speak on his behalf tot he Lima group….


1) On that note the high court keeps condemning opposition mayors without trials, removing them form office and jailing them for 15 months under the pretense that they did not keep order in their districts even though it is public knowledge that the dictatorship has taken away any means that they could have used to maintain public order. It is simply put a purge following a kangaroo court. Some are already in jail, some have chosen exile. About half of the opposition mayors elected last time have been thus removed. And going.

2) As of this post the words regime and dictatorship are interchangeable when referring to Venezuela. This is not a democracy anymore, there are no valid elections anymore, there is no rule of law anymore.  As for Maduro, he will not be referred anymore as president Maduro, unless irony is required. From now on Maduro is the dictator of Venezuela.

As for the leftist that keep supporting the dictatorship, like Corbyn, Melanchon, Iglesias, IU, and other, I will come with wonderful epithets to underline their falsehood, hypocrisy and absolute lack of true democratic instincts.  Readers suggestions welcome.

The fraud [in Venezuela]

August 1, 2017

The Fraud, Venezuela News and Views, Daniel Duquenal, July 31, 2017

(Please see also, Treasury Sanctions the President of Venezuela. — DM)

Since I am writing late and you certainly read all major papers in the world and blogs and tweets…  I will be short and sweet and didactic if possible.

What happened in Venezuela was an historical electoral fraud of major proportions. So blatant, so nakedly obvious is the fraud that within hours more than a dozen countries have announced they would not recognize the result. And more to come.  Only outlaw regimes like Cuba, or commies disguised as lefties in Europe like Iglesias or Melanchon can recognize the result.

Let’s go by part.

The electoral fraud. It was openly visible. International journalists reported on it even before the voting centers closed. Pictures comparing centers of July 16th and yesterday were posted and the difference in attendance was obvious. Voting centers were empty to lightly attended, or outright closed. Only the one at the Poliedro had people that supposedly accounted from the all the “violence areas that did not allow people to vote”. And yet, the attendance there looked like the normal one at a regular major voting center, not the one that was supposed to welcome dozens of voting centers. Well, it seemed like that if you have a scientific and critical mind which is something that the lumpen chavismo does not have. Otherwise they would not be chavistas.

The electoral fraud was concrete. I have told you the experience of my S.O. and that by itself is enough for me. Simply put, there was NO control. Simply put, people could vote wherever they wanted. Simply put people could vote as often as they wanted. Simply put there were no witnesses so voting table attendants could activate voting stations and fill up the boxes with as many ballots as they wanted.

The electoral fraud started from the start. I have listed already all the parameters that made this vote a fraud. You just need to add what I have written above.

The results themselves were deliberately proclaiming the fraud. The results were simply unbelievable. So unbelievable that one cannot fathom the need of the regime for such an atrocious lie. With empty streets, empty voting centers, closed ones, the regime could not show true videos of massive attendance like the ones the opposition got without any trouble on July 16th. Never mind that it was forbidden for independent press to visit most voting centers. Since the fraud was so obvious the regime just played it to the full. That is what happens when you have no shame left. It announced a result bigger than what the opposition claimed on July 16th. Which incidentally is almost three times as the numbers announced in midafternoon though “leaks”. That is: the regime is claiming that at least twice as many people went to vote than what actually took part in the vote. Since this is a dictatorship there is no way to investigate this. And even if the leakers were to come forward proof in hand, to what court in Venezuela can we go to complain?

The results are meaningless and aim only at the chavista lumpen and brain washed. Think of it this way. Maduro claims that 8 million people voted for his fraud in the middle of the major economic crisis that we have experienced in our history. No food, no jobs, no medicine, violence from crime skyrocketing, etc, etc…  And he gets almost as many votes as Chavez was getting ten years ago at his prime of massive flux of dollars and cash payment to “el pueblo”.  Gimme a break! The other results that are meaningless are who won what. That is, when the injection of votes is so fragrant, so abusive that whoever won whatever seat somewhere it is because votes were allocated to that person according to the regime wishes. We will soon find out, I guess, what section of chavismo has come on top, not through votes but through counting the votes in the greatest Stalinist dictum. You know, the one where he says that elections do not depend on the votes but on who counts them.


I think this is enough. If you are not convinced by this then you are either dumb or of bad faith or cashing on, which is the same as bad faith. I am sorry, I live in a dictatorship, I cannot play nice anymore.


And let’s not forget that an election run under repression and a violence that left more than a dozen people killed has NO validity.

Venezuela Is Now Either Cuba Or North Korea

July 31, 2017

Venezuela Is Now Either Cuba Or North Korea, Hot Air, Jazz Shaw, July 31, 2017

Sometimes I really hate it when I’m right. The “vote” in Venezuela yesterday went largely as expected, with the government of tyrant Nicolas Maduro claiming that upwards of eight million people voted to essentially wipe out the elected legislature and replace it with some window dressing which essentially makes him dictator of the country. This is a condition which could last for his entire life unless his people manage to find a way to oust him from office.

The vote was, of course, largely a sham. And as NBC News was reporting throughout the day, many of the polling places were frequently empty as Maduro’s many opponents boycotted the bogus proceedings.

Many polling stations were largely empty and more than 70 percent of the country was opposed to the vote in the first place, according to opinion surveys. Critics called it a naked power grab by President Nicolas Maduro.

As protesters clashed with police across the increasingly volatile country, only about 9 percent of eligible voters went to the polls, Delsa Solórzano, a prominent leader of the opposition party Un Nuevo Tiempo, said at a news conference Sunday night.

The country’s election authorities, meanwhile, put the number of voters at 8.1 million, equaling a 41.5 percent turnout.

Noticing something of a disparity there? Nearly three quarters of the country was opposed to and sitting out the vote according to recent polls. Election monitors put the turnout at 9% (which actually might be on the low side) and yet Maduro’s “election officials” said it was over 40%. Even if that was a valid figure, that’s still pretty low for something this historic in terms of completely reshaping the country’s government structure.

CNN describes just how much power Maduro has now and also grimly notes that the body count went up as even more protesters – including two teenagers – were slaughtered by his militias.

The election will allow Maduro to replace Venezuela’s current legislative body — the National Assembly — with the new assembly, which would be made up 545 members, all nominated by his administration.

Deadly clashes between protesters and police marred Sunday’s vote, which followed weeks of violent street protests in which many people have been killed or injured. On Sunday the death toll rose sharply with at least six people — including two teenagers — killed at protests and a National Guard officer also reported dead by the attorney general’s office.

More than 8,089,000 people or about 41.53% of registered Venezuelan voters cast ballots Sunday, according to Venezuela’s National Electoral Council.

Now the rest of the world has to decide what, if anything, to do about it. As far as the United States goes, our U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley immediately declared the vote to be “a sham” and said that the United States “would not accept the results.” Our State Department put out a statement condemning the results as well and promising a “strong and swift response”, though in somewhat gentler terms. But what does that mean? More sanctions? I’m not sure Maduro particularly cares at this point.

Unless there’s a drastic (and probably violent) change in course, the stage seems to be set. Maduro has completed his takeover and will now be able to rule essentially as a dictator. He’ll probably gather the support of a few other authoritarian regimes, but even that will be limited until he can get his oil production back up. (Assuming he can manage it.) For now, Venezuela will likely become a hermit kingdom, much in the style of either Fidel Castro’s Cuba during the early years or North Korea’s present regime. And the real losers in all of this will be the Venezuelan people. They are currently starving while living on some of the richest farmland on the continent and their government is almost bankrupt while sitting atop some of the largest proven crude oil reserves in the world. These are the fruits of socialism. Watch closely if you are cheering for similar policies in the United States.

The [Venezuelan] constituent assembly electoral fraud

July 23, 2017

The constituent assembly electoral fraud, Venezuela News and ViewsDaniel Duquenal, July 22, 2017

The opposition has no choice. Not only it cannot validate such an election by participating in it, but it is obliged by principles, ethics, human rights and simple decency to oppose it in any way it can. Even if this implies violence at the end of the road.


After finishing a series of posts to explain how we have reached the current situation I thought that it may be good to have targeted entries as we get ready for July 30.  Let’s start with the constitutional assembly to be elected on July 30th, if the regime has its way.

Regardless of the legality and scope of that assembly the very electoral system to be used makes it totally unacceptable and forces the opposition to a confrontation. Here is an incomplete laundry list of all that is wrong with the constitutional assembly voting system:

A: the electoral body

*Not all votes are equal. If you vote in Baruta district (235.000 electors) you need at least thirteen of you to compensate for a single vote from, say, Buroz district (17.000 electors).   That is right, one vote of a Buroz denizen is equal to 13 votes of a Baruta denizen and they are both in the SAME state. No need even for an inter state comparison. Why? Because the election to the assembly is one representative per district, regardless of population.

*Not even all districts are equal! All capital districts have for some unexplained reason the right to elect two representatives. Considering that capital districts voted overwhelmingly for the opposition in 2001 it is one way to limit the possible voting impact. In effect to win the two seats you need to double the votes of the other party. So the opposition, if it participated in the vote, would see that advantage neutralized in part.  But that is not all, the capital city is not necessarily the biggest district of the state.  For example in Trujillo the capital has 43.000 electors for two seats and the main city Valera 104.000 electors for a single seat.

*Some people get to vote twice.  The election includes the election of people by specified constituencies based on their social composition. For example registered students get to vote for their additional representatives. Or retirees for theirs.  Which means that if you are not assigned to one of these lists then you get to vote only once and everybody else twice. Amen of the inequalities within these social groups that are impossible to measure exactly considering the paucity of information in the electoral board, CNE, web page.

*The regime is the one who decides who goes where in the sectoral vote. The regime requested lists from organizations to build up the sectorial lists of electors; but as a matter of fact the only organizations that the regime recognized are those already controlled by the regime. As such many students do not get to vote, many trade union activists do not get to vote, many electors from consejos comunales do not get to vote. In the case of the consejos the regime never recognized many of them because their elected council did not yield a result that pleased the regime.

It has been calculated that even if the opposition decided to participate in the election the regime would get a majority of seats with as little as 30% of the vote. Between the sectoral lists and the districts that are tightly controlled by the regime through dependency of el pueblo for basic food, 60% of the vote would not be enough for the opposition to get a majority.

But the problem to begin with is that even if the opposition would have wanted to participate it couldn’t have done so with fainess.

B: the electoral fraud

*What already existed for material fraud is still valid.  By this I refer to the material advantage of the regime. The CNE has allowed in all elections the regime to use freely the resources of the state for the electoral campaigns of the regime’s candidates.  To man the meetings state vehicles are freely used, state/taxpayer is freely used, goodies are distributed, etc…

*What already existed for media fraud is still valid, and then some more. In past campaigns the opposition had an extremely limited access to state media and a limited access to the remaining private media. In addition the regime abused of its cadena privilege which means that it did hours and hours of simultaneous broadcast on all TV and radio stations in favor of the regime. This time around there are more cadenas and less newspapers than before.  In short, outside of social media the opposition cannot raise its voice much, if at all.  More damningly the regime can freely insult and lie about the opposition and this one cannot reply, cannot debate.  If you are not on internet, or on cable TV with foreign channels, in most of the country you hear only the regime voice.

*Electoral system proofing has not been done. Normally there are a series of steps the CNE takes to prove that the election is fair. These include surveys of electoral machines, public testings, auditing of electoral rolls, etc. None of these has been done even if the CNE claims it did. No witness for these.  No published days when these tests were done.

*The secret of the vote is compromised.  The regime has been going full drive into promoting the “carnet de la patria” as the valid document to control the chavista masses (or exchavista but still in need of social programs). Thus the perception exists that those with the carnet de la patria will have their vote monitored, or at the very least would be found out if they decided to abstain.

*Electoral blackmail is the norm. More than ever el pueblo is threatened with reprisals if the regime does not win the election. And the reprisals will go against those who do not show upo to vote. The blackmail and scare tactics are full throttle and the opposition cannot combat them.

*Multiple vote by regime adherents is a given. The regime has decided to do without the inking of the fingers of those who vote, one of the lone ways to ensure that nobody can vote twice.  But that is not all, Now, under the excuse of violence the regime has decided to create special voting centers outside of “violence zone”. That is, if you support the regime and do not feel free to vote for it at you normal voting stations you can go to one of those special centers. The thing here is that these centres are set on the run and the controls are not explained. This reeks of major ballot stuffing.

*No electoral control.  Since the opposition will not participate then there will be no witnesses inside the polling stations. Note that to send witnesses you need to run in the election. It is difficult for people to just enter to observe the voting day and the counting. And if they were allowed to enter their opinions and input would be nil and they could be chased out.

*Not even visual control. The regime has decided that the “protection” area for the voting center will go from 100 yards to 500. In other words the press will not be able to film close enough to figure out whether there will be people voting and in what numbers. Thus it will be easier to pad results as participating estimations will be very difficult to do.

*There is no set voting hours. The regime has played loose and fast with voting schedules even if the voting stations are empty. The reason is that because of the fingerprinting identification the regime can now in real time who came to vote. The establishment of the carnet de la patria was also a way to renew the registration of all the people who depend from some form of social benefit, even if these benefits are not reaching them anymore.  As such the regime knows the adresses of those who have not showed up to vote by noon and thus has plenty of time to seek them and force them to come and vote. If voting hours need to extended so be it.  Needless to say that those dragged from home to vote will be easily scared into voting for the regime.


It is clear, perfectly clear that the voting system is absolutely unfair, totally biased to favor the regime. Even with its best effort the opposition cannot win this election. It could still win a referendum or a normal election since at least it would have witnesses in the voting centers and the representation would be proportionate to the actual population. But this time around all has been designed for the regime to win the election even if it is trashed at the level of the popular vote.

The opposition has no choice. Not only it cannot validate such an election by participating in it, but it is obliged by principles, ethics, human rights and simple decency to oppose it in any way it can. Even if this implies violence at the end of the road.

World Leaders Must Recognize Results of Venezuelan Popular Consultation and Actively Support the Country’s Opposition

July 18, 2017

World Leaders Must Recognize Results of Venezuelan Popular Consultation and Actively Support the Country’s Opposition, Center for Security Policy, Luis Fleischman, July 17, 2017

(Please see also, Trump Warns Venezuela: ‘US Will Take Strong & Swift Economic Actions’ — DM)

Latin American leaders and President Trump must make a courageous decision now. The world will hopefully follow.


The Venezuelan opposition scored a major victory on Sunday July 16th, as millions of Venezuelans rejected the regime of Nicolas Maduro in a popular referendum.

This referendum, also called a “popular consultation” in legal terms, was organized by the Venezuelan opposition, approved by the legislative power (which is in the hands of the opposition), and disapproved by the Electoral National Council or CNE (which is totally being ran as a puppet of the Maduro government).

This public consultation was initiated by the opposition after three months of popular protests against the regime of Nicolas Maduro that left 100 people dead, including a woman killed on the day of the vote by government thugs, also known as “colectivos.”  The idea of the referendum is embedded in Article 71 of the Venezuelan constitution of 1999 approved and supported by Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez. According to this constitutional article, “issues of special national importance can be subjected to popular referendum either by initiative of the President, by a vote by the majority of the members of the National Assembly, or by a petition of a minimum of 10% of those who are registered to vote.

Likewise, the referendum finds ground in article 350 of the constitution that allows civil disobedience or non-recognition of a regime or authority whose behavior contradicts the values and principles of the Republic, fails to guarantee democratic governance, or undermines the rights of Venezuelan citizens.

The referendum was also conducted in reaction to Maduro’s call for a new constituent assembly that would reform the current constitution. Maduro’s constitutional reform has been widely interpreted as an attempt to consolidate the de-facto dictatorship he has imposed on the Venezuelan people. In fact, it is an anti-constitutional constitution.

Thus, the referendum sought to reject Maduro’s “constitutional” initiative by asking the question, “Do you reject the constitutional assembly without the previous approval of the people of Venezuela?” The consultation also poses the question“are the Venezuelan Armed Forces to obey the 1999 Constitution and abide by the decisions of the National Assembly?”

This second question is the result of the fact that throughout the years the Chavez and Maduro regimes have co-opted the armed forces by purging certain officers and promoting others in order to subordinate the armed forces to the political project of the regime. Thus, the Armed Forces have ceased to be subjected to the constitution and the laws of the state and instead they have become tools of the regime’s prerogatives and arbitrary will.

The last question asked of the citizens is if they approve that the renewal of the public powers and the restoration of free elections is to be followed by a government of national unity.

The third question, in fact, asked the people if they are interested in new free elections that could lead to a transition from the current authoritarian rule.

The referendum was not approved by the CNE. Therefore, this body has claimed the result of the consultation is not binding. On the other hand, the opposition claims the results should be binding because the National Assembly has the constitutional authority to convene it.

Regardless of whether the Maduro government recognizes this referendum or not, or whether its results are legally binding or not, in a country where the government itself is illegitimate, the referendum reflects this very illegitimacy.

Interestingly enough, when the CNE decided not to provide its stamp of approval to the referendum, it also remained powerless to conduct any type of fraud. Elections organized and approved by the government have always been suspected of being fraudulent. In fact, in the last parliamentary election, where the opposition  won the majority, Maduro attempted to manipulate the results. However, such move was halted by the Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino, most probably afraid of a popular uprising.

Now after Sunday’s victory, the National Assembly feels it has a mandate to name a new transitional government, new ministers, new electoral authorities, and new Supreme Court justices.  (The “zero hour”)

This “zero hour” also means that the population is encouraged to resist and strike until the Maduro regime collapses.

But the “zero hour” also applies to us, the international community, and to the United States in particular.

This time the overwhelming defeat suffered by the Maduro government reflects the real will of the people and most importantly, their courage to express rejection of the Venezuelan dictatorship. The world must see this and react with the moral integrity that the situation requires. Respect the results of this referendum and support the opposition.

Latin American countries and the entire international community, including the United States, must recognize the results of the popular consultation as legitimate.  Latin American presidents that supported OAS action on Venezuela must be the first ones to do it.

The world needs to proceed to apply sanctions, particularly mega sanctions. President Donald Trump must set the pace. Freeze the assets of CITGO, the American branch of the Venezuelan oil-giant PDVSA, and the main lobbying force in the U.S. on behalf of this dictatorship that is also a narco-state with ties to terrorists. The political and military leadership of Venezuela must be isolated, sanctioned, and their assets must be frozen. Dissidence must be encouraged among those who are part of the government.  There have been already some acts of desertion within Chavista ranks, and this popular consultation may bring more defectors.

Latin American leaders and President Trump must make a courageous decision now. The world will hopefully follow.