The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) released the details of an agreement today that it says will “shield” the opposition bloc from what it considers to be a party renewal system built purposely to disqualify as many political parties as possible and divide the MUD.
The MUD’s “shield” agreement includes a commitment to allow any member party that is disqualified or otherwise dissolved by the regime to remain inside the MUD with full and equal membership rights, placing the bloc in a direct standoff with the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) and its drive to renew the official status of the country’s political parties.
The details of the plan were provided via a press release, which I have translated below:
The MUD’s Promise in the face of the threat of the criminalization and cancellation of political parties
All of Venezuela and indeed the world know that the regime that Nicolas Maduro and the elite who accompany him is rejected by the great majority of the Venezuelan people: any free, just and transparent electoral system will result in a great victory for the democratic forces and another great defeat for the dictatorship.
For this reason, the regime has decided to move forward with a dictatorial strategy that seeks to ignore and completely and definitively eliminate Venezuelans’ right to vote. Clear examples of this strategy are its ignoring of the National Assembly, just as the unconstitutional suspension of the recall referendum and the gubernatorial elections that should have taken place last year, as well as the threats of criminalization against the MUD, and the Supreme Court sentence that forces political parties to participate in a process of “validation and registry of supporters” under unjust, nonsensical conditions.
We have no doubt that this new maneuver by the dictatorship is an attack against a system of plural democratic political parties, including parties that support the government. [The process] gives the regime the discretion to choose its opponents, and generates divisions among the parties of the MUD through a process of political cannibalism that prohibits the consolidation of tickets for the elections that must be held as soon as possible.
It is precisely in these difficult times when the MUD is most needed, [along with] the commitment and responsible [behaviour] of all organizations, leaders and citizens who are commitment to building a better future in order to put an end to the goals of the regime and achieve those of the people of Venezuela, who [will be] represented by a democratic alternative.
For these reasons, the political parties that have signed below [and] the active members supporters of the MUD promise before all of Venezuela to:
- Publicly reaffirm our compromise with urgent and constitutional change, as well as our unconditional compromise with remaining united. In order to do this, we whole-heartedly commit to the defense of each and every one of the political parties inside the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica before the unconstitutional and illegitimate attempts to criminalize them.
- Recognize and maintain as full members, under the same conditions that exist currently, all of the parties that currently make up the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, independently of whether they are recognized or not by the National Electoral Council after this process of validation, or in the face of any action that might seek to ignore, intervene with or criminalize any party in the MUD through the Supreme Court or any other regime institution.
- Defend, recognize and respect the symbols and acronyms used by the MUD as belonging to all Venezuelans who want change and to the political parties that make up the MUD.
- Allow the political parties that manage to be validated or not the possibility to be represented in electoral processes, unconditionally and without restrictions by the MUD. We are committed to bringing before the electoral body the totality of MUD candidates, independent of their parties of origin, so that the Venezuelan voters may express their will.
- We ratify our compromise to choose MUD candidates via primary elections and to, starting today, work towards achieving that goal.
We made these firm promises before the people of Venezuela and our colleagues in the parties inside the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica.
March 7 2017
National Assembly vice president and MUD member Freddy Guevara spoke on the importance of the agreement, saying:
It is a very important agreement that binds us and that above all shields us in order to stop the regime from achieving its goal of selecting its opposition, dividing us and moving candidates or parties that are not convenient for them out of the way.
He also spoke on the MUD’s main reasoning regarding the need for the agreement, saying:
First, to stop the regime from being the one to decide who belongs to the MUD or not (…) we [will] recognize any party that is a member of the MUD right now. The MUD defines the [MUD’s] parties, not the government.
Gov’t Figure: Kicking CNN Out Good For “Mental Health”
Miguel perez Pirela, a prominent PSUV public figure who hosts a pro-government television show called Cayendo y Corriendo, spoke yesterday on the Maduro regime’s decision to block CNN in the country last month after the network reported on a story alleging a passport-for-cash corruption scheme that operated out of the Venezuelan embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Pirela spoke on the move on an interview on the Globovision network, saying:
I absolutely agree with kicking CNN out of Venezuelan cable networks. Not from the public radio spectrum, because it was never there, but from private networks (…) it was kicked out in the name of sovereignty, mental health, and even [in the name of] Venezuelans and Venezuelan democracy.
Pirela called CNN a “factory” of “false reality and political propaganda” that works on the behalf of the United States’ interests and capital. Pirela also suggested that CNN is part of an end-game that a global elite are working to construct:
… huge transnational corporations are concocting a psychological war with the goal of installing a type of global media dictatorship.
He continued by suggesting that at least in the Venezuelan case, one of the goals of this global conspiracy was to overthrow the Maduro regime:
They [CNN] are creating the conditions. That is a fact. Let’s not forget that every coup d’etat, every destabilizing action, every internal crisis in a country is preceded by media actions, and those media actions are in the hands of CNN En Español.
While CNN is the largest media network blocked in Venezuela over reporting critical of the regime, but it is not the first. In 2014, NTN24—a Colombian news network—was blocked after its critical reporting of the Maduro regime’s violent crackdown on the protests that shook the country that year.
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