Spanish – On Monday, September 7, Venezuela’s interim president, Juan Guaidó, signed a new political pact with 37 parties without any mantras of magic solutions or motivational propaganda slogans. Besides ratifying the rejection of the fraudulent elections of December 6, the agreement contemplates the calling of a referendum that does not seem to offer a concrete solution to the crisis that Venezuela is experiencing. Nonetheless, it could give oxygen to the ailing interim government.
Although few details are known about the new proposal for a referendum, Venezuelans still have very fresh memories of participating in a similar initiative. More than 7.6 million voters voiced their opinion in the plebiscite of July 16, 2017.
The objective of the referendum held three years ago was to reject a fraudulent electoral process. At the time, it was the election of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC). It seems we have forgotten the points agreed upon then. Only the July 16 parliamentary faction, led by María Corina Machado’s party, claims to defend it.
Crumbling with an expiration date for legitimacy
Despite the unquestionable illegality of the elections called by the Nicolás Maduro regime for December 6, the current period of the National Assembly ends on January 5. Likewise, the position of internal president held by Juan Guaidó will lose constitutional validity with the culmination of his functions as president of the parliament. The announcement by the United States to recognize him as interim president even after January 5, 2021, would remain as a symbolic international endorsement.
Given the adverse legal scenario that is approaching and the collapse of the interim government with the resignation of important officials appointed by Guaidó, the referendum seems to be proposed as a salvation table to revive the interim administration, bathing it in legitimacy with the invocation of the original power. Under these circumstances, it is inevitable to ask the question: is the new Guaidó pact a solution for Venezuela or only for the interim government?
The biggest debt: the end of usurpation
Antonio Ledezma, the former mayor of Caracas, told the PanAm Post that any real solution to resolve the crisis in Venezuela must first achieve the cessation of the usurpation. However, he lamented that this point is not part of the new agreement.
“In the document disclosed within this new unitary pact, I see that line of the cessation of usurpation is conspicuously absent. As to whether Maduro or Guaidó cedes, I bet that the tyranny will cease. I believe that it is a mistake and it is a service to the tyranny to fall into this debate of thinking about what will happen on January 5 when what we have to think about is that it is possible to get rid of this narco -regime in the rest of this current year.
Re-settling and maintaining power
The political scientist Alfredo Ortega has a different perspective. He believes that Juan Guaidó’s time has run out. After a year and eight months in office, Guaidó has failed to achieve the only expected result and has sought mechanisms to extend the term of the internship. Ortega told the PanAm Post that this was a “deception” of Venezuelans and the world.
“This has nothing to do with finding a way out of the captivity that the country is suffering. This is only the most recent improvisation of an interim government that only seeks to re-establish itself to try to perpetuate its power just like Maduro, pretending to be the opposition.”
A new referendum is unnecessary
Antonio Ledezma recalls that the 2017 plebiscite was very clear in raising a number of points that were overwhelmingly supported but not fulfilled. “Instead of a new referendum, what we have to do is to honor the will of the people as expressed on July 16, 2017.”
Meanwhile, Alfredo Ortega believes that this is just a failed attempt to renew a strategy and an empty discourse. “It’s simply brazen and derisive to talk about a new referendum. Despite having the internal and international support that Guaidó had 20 months ago, he could not make concrete the only admissible thing: the liberation of Venezuela. So there is no reason to think that he will do it now that he no longer has a third of that popular support that he had and that he lost the trust of Donald Trump.”
This complex situation raises another inevitable question: does the opposition need new leadership? The former mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, said we should prioritize strategy over individuals. “Here we cannot fall into a competition of personal leadership. What we must do here is consolidate a strategy. That strategy has a name and a surname. Beyond individuals, that strategy is the cessation of usurpation.”
Alfredo Ortega’s conclusion does point to Guaidó’s replacement. He considers that he had enough time and did not achieve the objective. “This new call only shows us two things: either Guaidó is an accomplice of the regime or he is simply incapable and, of course, neither of the two options works for us. There is an urgent need for new leadership to ally itself with President Donald Trump, who alone has the capacity and willingness to truly help us.”