With little information on how the process will be carried out, the anti-Chavez leadership has called for a “plebiscite” for this July 16 where they will pose three questions to the citizens related to the “government of national unity”, the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) and the role of the FANB.
Beginning with the initial statements of high spokesmen of anti-Chavism, the political objective of the plebiscite is rejection of the ANC and the construction of the illusion of a base of legitimacy, establishing a coup d’etat over the National Assembly, paving the way for the opposition to erect a parallel government. However, unanswered questions, uncertainty and intrigue surround the proposed plebiscite.
1. Is a “plebiscite” Constitutional? No. This is not a legal mechanism for popular consultation in Venezuela. Because the call for an anti-Chavez plebiscite is to be carried out outside the legal framework, it will not have the logistical and institutional support of the National Electoral Council (CNE) and therefore will not be binding, which essentially leaves the anti-Chavez leadership in the same position they are in now.
2. Under normal conditions, the CNE takes no less than 50 days to organize national elections that guarantee the highest participation. With less than 15 days between the initial call and the day of the plebiscite, and without the logistical support of the CNE, how will the opposition achieve a high vote beyond the traditional areas where it has broad support?
3. The CNE takes at least one month to prepare the updated electoral rolls for the purpose of transparency of voting rights and to prevent fraud. What electoral rolls will the MUD use for the plebiscite if it does not have the support of the CNE? Will they use handmade notebooks? Will they use any registration mechanism? What mechanisms will be used to avoid irregularities? Who can prevent people from voting multiple times? Will a person be able to vote several times at the same “voting center”?
4. The youtube vlogger, Julio Coco, commented last week that in the last elections the MUD did not have witnesses in all the polling stations of the country. Taking that data as a basis, with which political teams will they be able to guarantee the participation of their followers in peripheral areas of the country and small towns? Or is only the vote recorded in Baruta and El Hatillo important? Will zones of the eastern capital impose a coup d’etat on the rest of the country based on a vote that is unlawful and not transparent?
5. The Venezuelan opposition has a history of electoral fraud, highlighting as an example, the calls for a recall referendum in 2003 and 2016, where thousands of flat (repeated) signatures of deceased were handed over. According to media and opposition organizers, the “plebiscite” will be supervised by NGOs such as Súmate, Voto Joven and EsData. How exactly will the opposition ensure the results are reliable if those who are in charge of monitoring are organizations allied with them? If they say they 10 million Venezuelans voted, how can we know if it is true or false if there are no impartial organizations like the CNE to verify it? How do we trust a political organization that in 2016 delivered 600 thousand false and irregular signatures to the CNE?
6. Several leaders have announced that in the absence of polling stations authorized by the CNE, the plebiscite will be held in the country’s churches. Will the churches be centers of political proselytism, contrary to their mantle of apolitical holiness and impartiality? For now the bishop of San Cristóbal, Mario Moronta, said that to avoid “misunderstandings” the plebiscite should not be carried out in the churches of the country. The day of the vote is Sunday and there will be celebrations where faithful Catholics participate without distinction of opinion and political positions. So where will the MUD hold this plebiscite? In housing and public spaces? How will that be organized logistically? So far opposition leaders have not answered these questions.
7. Undoubtedly this process will require huge financial resources in terms of propaganda and organization. Will the opposition publish the names of the financiers who make the plebiscite possible? Where is the transparency and legality?
8. Other criticisms and contradictions noted are: If the MUD has already called for civil disobedience based on Article 350, why make a query to reject the Constituent Assembly? Another is if the NA is in office, why summon a plebiscite to determine what to do with regard to public powers?
9. The “democratic uprising” that the opposition hope to incite through the plebiscite is an illusion . Along similar lines, the propaganda of “democratic uprising” and “armed opposition” was employed in Syria and Libya to oppose the legitimate states concerned, accompanied by the financial and military support from the United States and NATO. Does the opposition seek the same in Venezuela with calls for a “democratic uprising” (“Zero Hour”)? Is the plebiscite itself a coup d’état to justify an armed conflict? If this is the case, the MUD agenda is neither political nor electoral, but rather one of war and foreign intervention.
10. The call is strictly for the opposing public. They will be asked about the ANC, the Armed Forces and the formation of a parallel government, in an effort to create a fiction of mass support for a coup. Since the plebiscite is not binding, how will the opposition legally defend its coup d’etat from the National Assembly?
At this point in the conflict, all institutional and political channels seek to be surpassed by the United States and its regional and local allies, trying to impose a situation of chaos, and destruction as a navigational chart against the National Constituent Assembly with the support of its international allies in the OAS, so that the so-called “red line” would be transgressed, and that, in their minds, justifies any military action.
The formation of a parallel government, the pillar of the plebiscite, is no more than an excuse to definitively cancel any political or institutional route to resolve the political conflict in Venezuela, with a view to shattering the state’s legitimacy in the eyes of the world. This political and symbolic coordinate links us to other intervention scenarios such as Syria and Libya, where they also formed parallel “transitional governments” to impose a state of open war, with funding for irregular armed groups by the US and NATO.
The objective is to build a framework of political indefinition as an excuse for higher levels of confrontation that translate into a political coup, a chaos that precipitates the economic, financial and social ruin of the country and the complete annihilation of everything that expresses Chavismo.