EspañolThe Venezuelan Parliament — after the suspension of the collection of signatures for the referendum to remove Nicolas Maduro from office — decided on Sunday, October 23 to hold a debate on the double nationality of the president, and to bring democracy and constitutional order back to Venezuela.
“Venezuela has been hit by a continuous coup,” said Head of the opposition bloc Julio Borges while deputies chanted “respect the people” in the background. “There has been a rupture of constitutional order.”
The Assembly announced that it will encourage the start of a political trial against Nicolás Maduro. They will also hold a discussion of the allegations made against Maduro regarding his dual nationality. Under article 227 of the Venezuelan constitution, this would disqualify him from holding office.
Opposition MPs also warned that they will raise complaints with the International Criminal Court (ICC). They want to prosecute the judges of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) and the National Electoral Council (CNE).
On the side of the ruling bloc, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), accused the opposition of having implemented a “coup.” They say the opposition committed “fraud in the collection of 1 percent of signatures required in the first phase” for activation of the recall against Maduro.
Tension in parliament
At 1 pm, Chavista armed groups took over the parliament. As stated by several media, the Bolivarian National Guard was responsible for the security of the meeting. They did not prevent the entry of government supporters who were outside the National Assembly since morning.
The session was interrupted for an hour and President Henry Ramos then took the floor. He said he regretted the interruption of the session by the entry of the armed forces. He also ridiculed “the violent groups that stormed the AN, (who) do not act spontaneously.”
The ruling coalition threw objects at opposition deputies and shouted slogans like “this assembly will fall and there is no referendum.”
Ingresaron grupos violentos al Palacio Federal Legislativo pic.twitter.com/yyqgUtPnZ1
— Osmary Hernandez (@osmarycnn) October 23, 2016
Violent groups entered the Legislative Federal Palace
Chavistas que ingresaron a la fuerza a la AN robaron con arma a equipo de Globovisión. También arrebataron chaleco antibalas a Telecaribe
— Osmary Hernandez (@osmarycnn) October 23, 2016
Chavistas that entered the National Assembly by force robbed Globovision at gunpoint. They also took kevlar vests from Telecaribe.
Venezuelan or Colombian?
Dennis Fernandez, Deputy of the opposition bloc by the Cojedes state, challenged Maduro to prove that he is Venezuelan. He said he has strong evidence that the mother of the president is Colombian.
Speaking at the special session of the National Assembly, Fernandez also spoke about the constitutional position of the current president. He said, “Why so quiet, why hide the nationality of his mother and his brothers?”
He said that the Constitution requires that the president prove his nationality. It states that only a Venezuelan — no other nationality — can be president of the Republic.
On Saturday, several member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) spoke on the matter in a statement. They again made a call for dialogue so as to find effective solutions to ensure stability and peace in Venezuela.
“The paralysis of the process, scheduled to be held between 26 and 28 October and the decision of the Judiciary of Venezuela to prohibit the exit of Venezuela of the main leaders of the opposition in that country, affects the possibility to establish a dialogue between the government and the opposition to allow a peaceful solution to the critical situation in that sister nation,” the statement read.
This report had a go-ahead from Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Argentina, Honduras, Chile, Canada, the United States, Guatemala, Colombia and Brazil.
These nations advocated for political actors of each bank to advance dialogue efforts. They want to ensure full respect for human rights, institutional strengthening in Venezuela and separation of powers.
On the other hand, Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS, asked that member countries take “concrete action” in defense of democracy.
He also called the decision by the National Electoral Council to suspend the process of collecting signatures a “turning point for the democratic system.”
He said only dictatorships deprive its citizens of rights, ignore legislative powers and have political prisoners.
With a qualified majority, the Venezuelan parliament ultimately approved the draft agreement for the restoration of the constitution of Venezuela (see the full agreement here in Spanish).
The session was convened by the board of the Assembly last Friday after the CNE suspended the collection process of the remaining 20 percent of signatures.
The main opposition party, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), called for mobilization at the national level on October 26.
On Saturday, October 21, thousands of women marched through several sectors of Caracas led by the wife of Leopoldo Lopez, a political prisoner, Lilian Tintori and also by the former Deputy Maria Corina Machado.