National Assembly deputy and head of the Primero Justicia (PJ) opposition party Julio Borges gave an interview that was published in today’s Clarin. In the interview, Borges spoke on the consequences that the Venezuelan crisis might have for the region, and on how the Venezuelan people might hope to continue to challenge the Maduro regime.
Below, my translation of some of the questions that Borges was asked by the newspaper:
Clarin: … what new measures should be taken [to put pressure on the Maduro regime] given that all previous ones have failed? You weren’t even able to stop the suspension of elections.
Borges: There are many things to be done. We could say that this is somehow a historical matter. For example, take a look at the struggle that took place in Poland. Lech Walesa’s own testimony is that they spent almost a decade fighting, and that [they were] only able to create a great front that included the workers, the Church, civil society, intellectuals… What’s being developed right now is a great front, none other than what is in the constitution and the law: clean, balanced, transparent elections. We have to denounce the fraud that Maduro is putting up for the next elections, which the entire country is willing to boycott in order to disavow them. We have to articulate this at the international level as well.
Clarin: Don’t you think that the Venezuelan opposition continues to be disconnected from the popular sectors that continue to support chavismo?
Borges: I think that this has undergone a radical change in the country. The opposition is a popular movement in Venezuela (…) the proportion [sic] is much more than 80-20 against Maduro. Maduro is upheld primarily by dependence on poverty [and] the military elite which is extremely corrupt, and the third leg of the tripod is the know-how of the Cuban dictatorship, which has taken over all of the institutions in Venezuela, That’s what supporters Maduro; but he doesn’t have any popular support…
Clarin: But when the youth were protesting last year, they were demonstration also against the [overall political] system.
Borges: What you have to understand is that in the Venezuelan case democracy has been destroyed. There is no clear political solution. And that’s why people feel that politics, political parties are tools that do not work at the moment, because there is no democracy. My party was made illegal, and so was Leopoldo Lopez’s. The majority of [opposition] leaders are on trial or banned [from running/holding office]. That’s why people right now feel that politics cannot give a clear answer to the country’s problems. But this is a much deeper problem, and even though there is a great movement toward change, people feel that they cannot express that change politically. That’s part of the frustration. That’s why we’ve taken to the streets and gone abroad so that we can find help in building a democratic solution.
Imprisoned Opposition Politician Goes Missing
Gilber Caro, an imprisoned opposition politician, has gone missing. The news came from National Assembly deputy Delsa Solorzano, who said that Caro has not had any contact with either his family or his legal team after he was transferred out of the Tocuyito prison yesterday morning to an undisclosed location.
The authorities transferred Caro without informing his legal team or his relatives. According to Caro’s sister, Yeidy, the family found out about Gilber’s move when they received a call from a source that would not identify himself informing them of the fact.
Caro was arrested alongside his girlfriend on January 11 of last year by agents from the SEBIN, the regime’s political police. Caro, who was a member of the National Assembly at the time, was accused of having explosives and assault rifles in his possession at the time of his arrest.
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