Voluntad Popular, Leopoldo Lopez’s political party, released a manifesto today in which it called for “urgent fair, free and transparent elections” as a way out of what it qualifies as an “unprecedented crisis”.
The manifesto outlines the “route to liberation”, which it claims comes in three steps: 1) The “strengthening of democratic unity” between students, political parties, workers and citizens, 2) A national movement demanding the resignation of Maduro, and 3) a constitutional renewal of the “social contract, the democratization of public institutions and the reunification of Venezuelans around a new political, economic and social model”.
In Other News
Maduro met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon yesterday at the G77 meeting in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and it is alleged that Maduro complained about “American intervention” in Venezuela and “an attempted coup” against him. It is not known what the Secretary’s reaction was to Maduro’s comments.
Diosdado Cabello made a couple of interesting comments during the weekend. First, he claimed that either Monday or Tuesday would see another big revelation in the alleged conspiracy against Maduro:
Some will have to pick themselves up. Many who are saying that they don’t have anything to do with the coup d’etat or the magnicide will be left naked [once] the evidence comes to light.
He also made some slightly disturbing comments regarding the possible future role of the UBCh (Bolivar-Chavez Battle Units). Speaking on a show today hosted by Jose Vicente Rangel, Diosdado said:
Diosdado: … We have the UBCh, there are 13,683 [of them] throughout the country. We are going to combine some [units] and we are going to end up with 13,051 because some electoral centres combined. Each one has a vanguard of 40 men and women, which is 540,000 Venezuelans. With one call, Jose Vicente, with… they all have telephones.
Jose Vicente: Are they ready for anything?
Diosdado: They are ready for anything. That’s why we say that Rondon – the Venezuelan boxer Vicente Paul Rondon – hasn’t fought yet. Rondon is sitting quietly at home. Mrs. UBCh is sitting quietly at home, the man who lives in the community is sitting quietly at home doing his job…
Jose Vicente: In an emergency, do they know what they have to do?
Diosdado: They know what they have to do.
Finally, someone spotted these at a World Cup game this weekend, possibly the England vs. Italy game. The sign on the right reads “Venezuela Dictatorship”, and the upside down flag on the left is an international sign of distress:
One of the criticisms the government likes to throw against the opposition is that they’re somehow wrong by asking for Maduro to resign. I’ve heard the argument that to ask for Maduro’s resignation is to go against the will of the majority who voted for him, or that it is somehow undemocratic to voice that opinion.
That argument is incorrect. Asking for the president’s resignation in Venezuela – indeed, as it is in any truly democratic society – is nothing more than the truest expression of freedom of thought and speech. The sign of a truly democratic country is how openly you, or a group of citizens, can call for the president’s resignation.
Article 233 of the Constitution allows for a sitting president to resign. Article 57 allows for freedom of expression without censorship (except in cases of “anonymity, war propaganda, discriminatory messages or those promoting religious intolerance). In other words, the Constitution of Venezuela guarantees that every Venezuelan has the right to voice his or her desire for the president to resign, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I’d also like to point out how threatening and vile Diosdado’s comments regarding the UBCh were today. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documented and condemned the use of pro-government armed groups against peaceful demonstrators. Diosdado’s thinly-veiled threats of unleashing hundreds of thousands of pro-government armed militia onto the streets at a moment’s notice is another example of the lengths to which the government is willing to go in order to maintain its hold on power.