The head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), Jesus Torrealba, spoke today on yesterday’s announcement of a five-point agreement between the PSUV and the MUD. News of the agreement appears to have further split the already fragile opposition, with some of its leaders calling for a continuation of street protests against the Maduro government.
Torrealba spoke specifically on the first of the agreements reached with the government: the holding of new parliamentary elections in Amazonas state. The opposition won two out of three seats from Amazonas state in last year’s parliamentary elections, but the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) subsequently invalidated the results in the state citing the possibility of voter fraud, and later declared the entire parliament in contempt over its refusal to remove the Amazonas deputies from their seats. The TSJ’s move stripped the MUD of a supermajority in the National Assembly.
On the matter, Torrealba said:
With this measure [the agreement to hold new elections in Amazonas] we are taking the necessary steps to take the rug out from under the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia‘s argument that the parliament is in contempt.
For Torrealba, regaining the supermajority in the National Assembly is a vital step in tackling the crisis in the country:
We must resolve the Amazonas issue in order to remove the National Assembly from being in a position of contempt. We must overcome the incapacitation of the National Assembly in order to reconfigure the Consejo Nacional Electoral. We must restore the Consejo Nacional Electoral in order to hold elections. It is impossible for this to be any clearer.
Torrealba also addressed the disappointment with the fact that the five-point agreement did not include anything about holding the recall referendum against Maduro, which the MUD claimed earlier was the entire point of holding talks with the government. Torrealba said:
… some compatriots have complained, justifiably, that the words “recall referendum” or “early elections” do not appear in the agreement. This is a justified complaint, because that is precisely what the immense majority of Venezuelans demand…. However, anyone who has participated in a collective bargaining agreement discussion knows that important clauses are the ones that are resolved at the end of the process…
Perhaps as a way to plead for understanding and patience from Venezuelans throughout the dialogue process, Torrealba said:
We are negotiating with someone who has taken our right to vote hostage. The hostage taker is armed, and has hostages. The democratic Venezuela is the majority, and it is unarmed. This unarmed majority is facing off against an elite minority that is armed to the teeth. Resolving these contradictions peacefully is the key for us to be able to hand over to our children a country in reconstruction, and not the rubble of war.
Torrealba: “Truce is Over”, Protests to Begin Again
At the same time, Torrealba said that the Vatican-sponsored “truce” that saw the opposition cancel street protests against the government is now over, and that the protests can now resume. Torrealba said:
We’ve been clear in saying that the truce that the Vatican asked for ended on November 11. The street agenda has been reactivated. Without the street [protest] there will be no change.
However, Torrealba also said that he does not believe it is a good idea to protest at or near the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, which is the seat of the Maduro government. Torrealba called such a protest “a suicide march”, and said:
[Street protests are one thing], and the suicide march is another thing. We must be serious and responsible. What we’ve got coming is a difficult struggle (…) but the opposition’s direction cannot be taken hostage by a small group of screaming people (…) we will go to Miraflores, but we will go with the votes of the people at the helm of a transition to democracy.
Vecchio, VP Disappointment with Agreement
Carlos Vecchio, the political coordinator of the Voluntad Popular opposition party, expressed disappointment with the MUD-PSUV agreement, saying that since the government was to blame for the collapse of the country, “the only possibly announcement must be the electoral end of the regime”.
Today, Leopoldo Lopez marks 1000 days in jail. Today, Nicolas Maduro marks over 1000 days as dictator.
Evans: Agreement Marks “Abolition of Democracy” in Venezuela
Nicmer Evans, the head of the Marea Socialista party, criticized yesterday’s agreement between the government and the opposition, saying that it amounted to the “abolition of democracy” in Venezuela.
The opposition and the government went to defend their own interests, and the forgot about the Constitution. The constitution establishes mechanisms [for a recall] and [both sides] have excluded the recall referendum. This agreement completely killed the recall referendum. It exterminated it.
Evans continued by saying:
This agreement are part of a framework where the PSUV and the MUD have come to the abolition of constitutional democracy in Venezuela. They’ve agreed to stop people from expressing themselves through elections…
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