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The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) revealed its list of demands for the Maduro government days after the opposition bloc called a march to the Miraflores Palace that was widely expected to result in bloodshed between pro- and anti-government supporters.

In a press conference, Sucre municipality mayor and MUD member Carlos Ocariz revealed that the MUD is demanding the following concessions from the Maduro government in the dialogue:

  1. That elections be held in the first three months of 2017. While Ocariz did not specify exactly which kind of elections the MUD wants held, sources inside the MUD claim that the bloc is calling for presidential elections.
  2. That new elections be held in Amazonas state to decide the fate of the four deputies (three from the MUD and one from the PSUV) whom the Supreme Court has prohibited from joining the National Assembly.
  3. That Tania D’Amelio and Socorro Hernandez be replaced as Consejo Nacional Electoral rectors.
  4. That all political prisoners be released, all exiled individuals be allowed to return to Venezuela, and all ongoing legal proceedings against opposition politicians be cancelled.

Ocariz also said that the dialogue would also include other demands from the government, including that the Maduro administration take concrete steps to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Echoing what other opposition leaders said yesterday, Ocariz suggested that the opposition is giving the government until November 11 to show interest in fulfilling these demands or the opposition would walk away from the dialogue.

Maduro Offers Conflicting Statements on Dialogue

Speaking on the ongoing dialogue with the opposition, Maduro offered a set of conflicting and contradictory statements on the process so far.

Calling the dialogue “necessary for the construction of Bolivarian socialism in Venezuela”, he said that the MUD/PSUV meetings that have been held so far “have gone really well”.

However, Maduro rejected any suggestion that the PSUV would work with the November 11 deadline that the opposition has yet for the dialogue, saying:

We cannot accept that they tell us that they want to go to war if in 10 days the government doesn’t answer their demands. We will not accept that. It’s a lie that the dialogue will end in 10 days if we don’t respond or approve everything the opposition spokesperson says.

At the same time, Maduro said that the Bolivarian revolution was “irreversible”, and called on the opposition to submit to it:

You [the opposition] should allow yourselves to be democratically governed by the Bolivarian Revolution.

Repeating one of the PSUV’s mantras, Maduro then said that the opposition would never again be elected in Venezuela:

Can you imagine X person governing here? The first thing they’d do is figure out a way of how to end [kill] some people (…) Neither with votes nor bullets will they ever enter Miraflores again. Neither the hard nor the easy way.

Maduro Vague on Elections, Issues Threat

During the same speech, Maduro suggested that the PSUV had “already established the scheduled” for an electoral event in 2017, although it is not at all clear which event he was referring to.

Through threats, Maduro appeared to suggest that he was speaking about the gubernatorial elections. Maduro said that the PSUV would not repeat its historic defeat in the 2015 parliamentary elections, and would instead cruise to a “great victory”.

Speaking specifically on Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles, Maduro said:

We’re going to kick the governor of Miranda out. We’re going to kick him out of the governorship of Miranda. We are going to get ready and this time we’re going to win.

Cabello: Dialogue is Useless

PSUV Vice-President and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello spoke on the dialogue between the PSUV and MUD today, calling it useless and nothing more than a ploy for the MUD to buy itself more time before its inevitable collapse.

Cabello said:

I’ve always said that talking to the opposition is like talking into an abyss because they have nothing to say.

At the same time, Cabello expressed support for Maduro’s attempts at talking to the opposition, since he considers that the president needs help with his “crusade for peace”.

Leopoldo Lopez Contacts Crowd Holding Vigil

Yesterday, Lilian Tintori announced that no one has heard anything from her husband, Lilian Tintori, since Friday afternoon. Tintori said that prison authorities have prohibited Lopez from contacting anyone outside the prison for reasons that are not known.

Last night, National Assembly deputy Luis Florido joined Lilian Tintori and other supporters outside the Ramo Verde military prison for a candlelight vigil in support of Lopez. At one point during the vigil, the crowd managed to hear a scream from someone they believed to be Lopez.

The video below captured the moment. In the video, the Ramo Verde prison is visible in the background. The prison authorities are blaring sirens, a common tactic used to stop Lopez from communicating with supporters outside the prison through yelling.

However, at about 0:25, the sirens stop for just long enough for the crowd to catch Lopez yelling something. In response, the crowd launches into a chant: “Fuerza y fe!” [Strength and faith!].

Below, the video:


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One thought on “11.03.16: Votes or Bullets

  1. Pingback: 11.04.16: Serious People | In Venezuela

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