‘You betray your people, mr Maduro’

‘Mr. President Nicolás Maduro,

I am not a CIA agent. And your lie, although repeated a thousand times, never will be true. It’s better to explain this, although it would be denying the absurd. My conscience is clean, mr President, and my behaviour much more. You can’t threaten me in any way that by far affects any of us.

I am not a traitor. I am not a traitor, nor of ideas, nor of principles, and that implies that I’m not a traitor of my people, those who feel they are represented by the principles of freedom, honesty, decency, public integrity (yes of those who reach power and leave it, poor), democracy and human rights. But you are, Mr President, you betray your people and your supposed ideology with your tirades without content, you are a traitor of the ethics of politics with your lies and you betray the holiest principle of politics, that is to submit yourself to the people’s scrutiny.

You have to give back the wealth of those who have governed your country with you, because it belongs to the people, you have to give back justice to the people in the complete dimension of the word (including find the killers of the 43 (who were killed during protests in 2014, WU) and not those who you hold in prison because of their ideas, although they may not be yours nor mine.) You have to hand over the political prisoners to their families.

You have to give back its legitimite power to the National Assembly, because it comes from the people, you have to give back to the people its decision about its future. You can never give back the lives of the children who died in the hospitals because there wasn’t any medicine. You’ll never be able to disentangle your people from so much suffering, so much intimidation, so much misery, so much discomfort and so much anguish.

May nobody be as crazy as committing a coup against you, but may you not do it yourself either. It’s your duty. You have a legal obligation of public decency to do the recall referendum in 2016, because when politics are polarized, the decisionmaking has to be returned to the people. That’s what your Constitution says. Denying the enquiry to the people, denying it the possibility to decide, changes you in one more petty dictator, like the so many tht the continent had.

I know the OAS and my work bother you because between the trees an axe is disturbing. I’m sorry to tell you that I will not bow nor let myself intimidate.’

Puppet of the US

This completely undiplomatic message to say the least is from OAS (Organization of American States)-president and former Foreign secretary in Uruguay Luis Almagro to Venezuela’s president Maduro. Who hates to be criticized and who automatically accuses those who criticize him of being a puppet of the United States. It comes at a time that in Venezuela the tension between desperate people to find food and medicine, a desperate government that loses its grip on the country and a desperate opposition to make an end to an authoritarian government comes to a climax.

Mr Maduro declared the state of emergency, because of the chaotic situation in his country which he is not able to solve, and because a coup by the opposition, with help from the United States is pending. Well, according to him. The truth is that, if there’ll be a coup, it will come from the army, that has supported him till now.

Queuing to find food

The opposition is trying to depose him by democratic means, that is by a recall referendum and he, through his Electoral Council, is doing everything to delay the procedure to let the referendum happen. If the referendum is held in 2016 and people want mr Maduro out , elections must be held. If it’s held in 2017 and people want him out, vice-president Aristóbulo Istúriz takes over until the next elections, that means the end of 2018.

The people are fed, up queuing for hours to find food, medicine and other basic needs, like toiletpaper. More and more Venezuelans can’t afford anymore to eat three meals a day. The national coin, the bolívar, has devaluated so much that the people’s wages are worth hardly anything. So not only do the people have to confront scarcity, also do they have the problem that things have gotten too expensive. They are with their back against the wall.

When 60 percent of the Venezuelans voted for the opposition on December 6 of 2015, they voted for change. Many people don’t even care who is in the government, if only the huge economic crisis the country is in is solved and their miserable lives get decent again.

Respect democracy

That must be the reason mr Almagro lost his patience and wrote the very harsh message. There is no time to lose, the international community kept silent far too long. Venezuela has to be saved, its people have to be saved. The government has to be convinced to respect democracy, let the National Assembly with its opposition majority do its work, and let others in to help to solve the problems, be it together with the government or be it the opposition instead of the government.

Uruguay’s former president and darling of the left José Mujica called mr Maduro ‘as crazy as a goat’. Mr Mujica has been very mild, if critical at all, with mr Maduro these last years. His most recent words mean it’s really serious.

For those who read Dutch: here’s my last article in that language with more details about the situation in Venezuela (with pay wall) https://blendle.com/i/reporters-online/venezuela-is-een-dictatuur/bnl-tpomagazine-20160518-90671

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