Ten keys to the Constituent Assembly in Venezuela

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Nicolás Maduro went for broke. “Come rain or shine, there will be a National Constituent Assembly,” the Venezuelan President stated. And so it was.

July 30, 2017, marked a historic date, not only for the Bolivarian Revolution, which came to power less than two decades ago, but for a nation that has been struggling for its independence and self-determination for over 200 years.

Several lessons

The vote that day offered us several lessons to understand the complex scenario facing the country, and the possible evolution of events:

More than eight million Venezuelans voted

1. Venezuela has a Constituent Assembly. Despite the boycott declared by the right wing and the international maneuvers against it, the support of more than eight million Venezuelans at the polls endows the constitutional mechanism activated by the Bolivarian government with legitimacy. The opposition’s bid was to prevent the Constituent Assembly by all means and it failed. They now run the risk of being left out of the Assembly that will shape the future of the country, although few doubt that some kind of dialogue is essential to resume the road to peace.

Calm elections

2. The elections were held amid relative calm. The number of people killed during the day varies according to the source.

Most speak of at least ten dead. However, after more than a hundred victims in the past few months, some of them burned alive by opposition extremists, the election day balance sheet was far from the “bloodbath” predicted by some international analysts.

The Armed Forces ensuring Venezuelans’ democratic exercise of the right to vote

3. The Armed Forces are committed to constitutional order. The plan to preserve the integrity of polling stations, for which more than 230,000 troops were deployed, as well as the extraordinary measures taken by authorities, were key to ensuring Venezuelans’ democratic exercise of the right to vote. In addition, this is a further sign that, unlike in the past, the current Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela are committed to constitutional order and are the main guarantors of the country’s stability.

The right has limited rallying power

4. The right has less strength than had appeared. The opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), the main instigator of the violence, promised to hold the “mother of all protests” to prevent the Constituent Assembly. Its limited rallying power in the days leading up to the elections, and the impotence of its leaders faced with the popular mobilization to vote, are proof that it overestimated its forces.

The silence of the mass media

5. The mass media were left without news. Venezuela was, until the vote, one of the topics receiving most coverage in the international media. Hundreds of journalists from the most important chains are present in the South American country. However, when the reality was different from the coverage they had prepared (a pitched battle and the beginning of civil war), they offered a revealing silence. Instead, they devoted themselves to reporting minor issues and so far practically no outlet has provided coverage of the massive turnout of eight million Venezuelans, who had to cross rivers or stay up through the night, in order to exercise their right at the polls.

The turnout exceeded expectations

6. The turnout exceeded expectations. Amid the polarization of the country and the instability provoked by the extreme right, the number of Venezuelans who went out to vote was not envisaged by the opposition or their international backers. Even the Bolivarian authorities recognized that the figure was a pleasant surprise. As a means of comparison, the more than eight million votes cast on July 30 exceeded the 7.7 million obtained by the MUD in the legislative elections that gave it control of the National Assembly in 2015.

A concerted strategy

7. There is a concerted strategy to disregard the democratic process in Venezuela. The United States, Spain, and several Latin American nations, including Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay, Guatemala, and Panama, did not even wait for the results of the elections before refusing to recognize them and the new Constituent Assembly.

US destabilization efforts

8. The United States is actively working to destabilize Venezuela. Before the elections, Washington sanctioned 13 Bolivarian officials with the aim of intimidating the government in the lead-up to the Constituent Assembly vote. After learning of the results, the U.S. government announced another series of measures including sanctions against President Nicolás Maduro. Some U.S. media have speculated regarding possible sanctions on the Venezuelan oil sector, which has been in the White House’s sights from the start.

Another vote of confidence for Chavismo

9. A significant number of citizens gave Chavismo another vote of confidence. In the midst of the economic war, the decline in international oil prices, and internal destabilization, the popular support received shows just how much the Venezuelan people appreciate the transformations initiated by Hugo Chávez. It is difficult to think of another government in Venezuelan history that would have resisted a similar onslaught.

A platform to call for dialogue

10. The Constituent Assembly alone can not solve underlying problems such as the economic crisis, inflation, shortages, and violence. However, the constitutional powers with which the Assembly is invested constitute a platform to call for dialogue between the different actors in the country’s political and social life, to ensure justice for the victims of the crimes committed by violent sectors, and to once again put the country on the path to progress and peace.

Morales Slams Supporters of Venezuela’s Opposition Plebiscite

Source:  TeleSur
July 15 2017

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Bolivia’s President Evo Morales | Photo: Reuters

The Venezuelan Foreign Minister has thanked Bolivia for the support expressed by “the great leader of South American peoples.”

A “coup attitiude” against a democratically elected government

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales says those who want to give legitimacy to Sunday’s unconstitutional plebiscite called by the Venezuelan opposition have a “coup attitiude”.

Morales made the comment on Twitter, adding that Venezuela’s government has been democratically elected and attempts to label it a dictatorship are cynical.

The opposition has been trying to gather more support for its non-binding vote on the administration of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

CNE regards the plebiscite as illegitimate

Several former regional leaders have arrived in Caracas ahead of Sunday’s unrecognized ballot.

The ex-Presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia and Costa Rica have been invited by the opposition-led National Assembly.

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, CNE, regards the plebiscite as illegitimate.

It’s overseeing a dry run, also on Sunday, ahead of the election for the National Constituent Assembly.

OAS interfering in Venezuela’sdomestic affairs

Earlier in the week, Morales reiterated his criticism of the Organization of the American States and its Secretary General Luis Almagro for interfering in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.

The Bolivian President said Almagro’s decision to back the plebiscite shows that individual nations’ human rights records are judged differently depending in their governments.

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada responded on Twitter to say that his government was grateful for the support expressed by “the great leader of South American peoples.”

Moncada added, “Bolivia’s courage and solidarity will always remain in the memory of the Venezuelan people.”

Checks Held Ahead of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly Dry Run

Source:  TeleSUR
July 15 2017

 

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Thousands of people gathered at a PSUV rally before the National Constituent Assembly vote dry run in Valencia, July 15, 2017 | Photo: PSUV

Government supporters have been rallying to promote a free, democratic and safe vote.

Venezuela is holding a nationwide dry run vote on Sunday before the election of representatives to the National Constituent Assembly.

RELATED:  5 Myths About Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV, is carrying out checks on some of the electoral machinery ahead of the ballot at the end of the month.

One of the review activities has been taking place in Valencia, Carabobo state.

Thousands of PSUV supporters gathered in the city’s bullring, along with the party’s Vice President Diosdado Cabello and Héctor Rodríguez, Commander of the Zamora Constituent Campaign 200.

 

Ensuring that the people exercise their democratic right to vote

During his speech to the crowd, Cabello called for the full weight of the law to be imposed on “those who walk burning people” in reference to the victims of violence during the recent opposition protests.

He also told the crowd that abstentionism would be avoided “by ensuring that the people exercise their democratic right to vote despite any adverse situation or sabotage of the right to be present.”

The National Electoral Council, CNE, is overseeing preparations for the election which is being held on July 30.

Providing instruction on voting protocol and testing election technology

The body will also provide instruction on voting protocol and test election technology at 496 polling stations before of the official poll.

“We will not allow any violent radicalism to hurt the opportunity to express ourselves as the peaceful and democratic people we are,”  Tibisay Lucena, head of the CNE said.

The call for a National Constituent Assembly was made by President Nicolas Maduro on May 1 to help ease ongoing tensions with the right-wing opposition.

The body that will rewrite the country’s 1999 Constitution 

The body that will rewrite the country’s 1999 Constitution will be made up of 545 members, with 364 representing regions and another 181 representing various social sectors — workers, farmers, people with disabilities, students, retirees, the business sector, communes and communal councils.

They will draft a new constitutional text which will be put to a popular vote in Venezuela.

RELATED: Venezuelans Continue Marches Backing Constituent Assembly

Opposition leaders are calling for people to vote in their own plebiscite on Sunday, which the CNE regards as illegitimate and non-binding.

Julio Borges, president of the National Assembly, which is currently in contempt of the law, called for the July 16 ballot to consult Venezuelans on three questions: whether they want a constituent assembly or not; whether they want the Armed Forces to support the existing constitution and the decisions of the National Assembly; and whether they want immediate general elections.

Other opposition leaders have described the unconstitutional plebiscite as an opportunity to prepare the ground for blockading the country.

Venezuela: US Denies Maduro Airspace Access for China Trip

Source: Jamaica Observer

maduroCARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Venezuela officials say that the United States has refused permission for President Nicolas Maduro’s plane to fly through its airspace when the Venezuelan leader travels to China this weekend.

Maduro’s Government received word from US authorities that the plane was denied rights to American airspace over the Atlantic, Foreign Minister Elias Jaua told reporters Thursday in decrying the decision as an “insult”.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Venezuela-says-US-denies-Maduro-airspace-access-for-China-trip#ixzz2fOWMfhie

“Overwhelming” Evidence of Plot to Assassinate Venezuela’s Maduro

Source: Venezuelanalysis.com

July 25th 2013

nicolas maduro 5Head of Venezuela’s National Assembly Diosdado Cabello has stated that he will make public “hard evidence of assassination attempts” targeting himself and President Nicolas Maduro “in due course”.

“We know who they are, what they are, what they want, and we will find them,” Cabello told legislators during a special session of the assembly in Zulia state on Wednesday.

The alleged plot was first revealed by Maduro during a street government in Monagas state the day before, when he said that “fascist” groups operating in Venezuela “have crazy plans”.

Read more at: http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/9880

Maduro proposes to create a Central Workers Union of CELAC

maduro interviewed

Source: http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/maduro-proposes-create-central-workers-union-celac

The President of the Republic, Nicolas Maduro proposed Tuesday the creation of a Central Workers Union for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in order to re-articulate the labor movement in Latin America.

“When are we going to have a powerful bloc of Latin America and the Caribbean? We Continue reading

Venezuela’s Maduro Begins “Street Government”, Announces 70 Projects for Zulia

Source: Venezuelanalysis.com
May 1 2013

  • In order to “contribute to freedom of expression”, a newspaper, the Correo del Lago (Lake Post) will be founded as a “newspaper of the invisible people”.

 

Maduro at the La Guajira wind farmOn Monday (March 29) President Nicolas Maduro explained the outcomes of the government’s first “Street Government” carried out in Zulia state, including the recovery of Maracaibo Lake, expanding a wind farm, and a new newspaper.

When Maduro swore-in as president he announced that he would commence his presidential term with a tour of the whole country, listening to proposals from grassroots organisations.

Continue reading