Editorial: Venezuela Will Not Have a Legitimate President Come January 10th
It is urgent that the National Assembly assume its responsibility and designates an alternative political leadership to oppose the illegitimate authority of Maduro, and return the country to democracy.
On January 10, Nicolás Maduro’s presidential term will end. The dictator was elected by means of fraudulent elections, riddled with abuses, in 2013. The Chavista-dominated National Electoral Council ultimately reported that Maduro obtained a greater number of votes than even Hugo Chávez himself in his last elections.
That electoral victory was, unexpectedly, recognized by the then-leader of the opposition and presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski, forcing the international community to recognize, in turn, the legality of Maduro’s “triumph”, even when taking into consideration the reliable evidence of an electoral fraud.
This year, Maduro organized new elections, but this time they were boycotted by the opposition after the Chavista regime disbarred and imprisoned the main opposition leaders; politicians who could easily beat Maduro in a free and fair election.
Venezuela’s current elections have been rejected by the international community. More than 50 countries have formally declared that they will not recognize the alleged re-election of Nicolás Maduro. In addition, they have expressed that they will not recognize him as the legitimate president of Venezuela come January 10, 2019.
Today, honorable Venezuelans – including the leader of the opposition, Maria Corina Machado and people who defend democratic legitimacy at the international level, such as the diplomat and former president of the UN Security Council, Diego Arria; the lawyer and former judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Asdrúbal Aguiar; the lawyer and visiting fellow at Harvard, José I. Hernández; the political leader and recognized mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma; and the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, have raised their voices to demand that the National Assembly of Venezuela, elected in the last free elections, fill the void in the executive branch that, due to the absence of legitimacy, the dictator Nicolás Maduro has left.
Maduro has used all means at his disposal to try to shut down the National Assembly. To that end, he invented the spurious National Constituent Assembly, packed to the hilt with the most submissive, obsequious acolytes of the regime. So far it has not succeeded. It is time for the National Assembly to not only defend its legality, but also to defend its own existence, as the last republican vestige in Venezuela.
The National Assembly, the main remaining democratic institution – still insulted, diminished and undermined from within, by some of its own deputies, must now fill its legitimate role and designate a president, or transitional government, to build itself up as a legitimate, sensible, and urgent alternative to the tyrannical regime of Maduro.
This would raise a new platform, and become an obstacle to the need of the Chavez regime to obtain some international legitimacy, especially after January 10, the date on which Maduro plans his “inauguration” for another presidential term.
In addition, this new entity, battling the illegality and totalitarian nature of the regime, would be filling a power vacuum, and would be composed of honest and respected Venezuelans. It would and could lead new offensives against the dictatorship.
At the same time, as suggested by the director of the Center for International Development of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, Ricardo Hausmann, this entity would enjoy the legality and support to convene the international community and demand assistance to depose the regime of Nicolás Maduro and expel the Cuban parasites.
As a legitimate government, appointed by the National Assembly and surely backed by the Prosecutor’s Office of Luisa Ortega Díaz and the Supreme Court of Justice of Miguel Ángel Martín, it would be recognized by the great democracies of the world. Then, with this important international support, it could credibly embark on the process of derailing the dictatorship.
María Corina Machado discussed this recently. On December 21 she released a video in which she said: “What has to happen between January 5 and 10? We must put an end to the criminal state. We have to save Venezuela. Nicolás Maduro is illegitimate from the first day…On January 10 a presidential term ends and Venezuela has no elected president.”
“There is a power vacuum that the National Assembly has the obligation to fill, appointing a transitional government headed by the president of the National Assembly itself. Does this strategy involve risk? Definitely. What will there be an onslaught? It is very possible. But there is no other option apart from complete rejection of tyranny. We must assemble an institutional force capable of taking on the illegitimacy of the Maduro regime.”
María Corina Machado said that the deputies should be aware of their responsibility and should have “a great ethical and spiritual strength.” She emphasized that this is not the time for political parties to think only about their own interests.
“We are fighting for our lives. And the eyes of Venezuela and the world are upon you. To the National Assembly: stand for the cause of courage. Don’t recognize Maduro as the legitimate president…On January 10 the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro is not at stake. What is at stake is the legitimacy of the National Assembly itself.”
Certainly. It is a delicate situation in which the greatest weight falls on the National Assembly. Although its recent history is dark and full of disappointments, it is urgent to exert the greatest pressure so that, at this crucial moment, the deputies assume their responsibility.
For all the aforementioned, and because of the PanAm Post’s commitment to the struggle for freedom in the region, today weakened by the existence of a dangerous socialist regime, linked to international mafias, we express our strong support for the proposals of Diego Arria, José Ignacio Hernández, Ricardo Hausmann, Antonio Ledezma, Miguel Ángel Martín, Luis Almagro and María Corina Machado.
The National Assembly of Venezuela must assume, urgently, its responsibility and designate an alternative, a means to oppose the authority that Nicolás Maduro still possesses and, in this way, can protect the true transition towards the freedom of a devastated nation.