By Carlos Alberto Montaner
José Guerra and Tomás Guanipa have been deprived of their parliamentary seats. Guerra is an eminent economist. It was a decision of the Supreme Court of (In)Justice, presided by Maikel Moreno in Venezuela. Before becoming a lawyer, Moreno was a DISIP police officer and was a bodyguard of President Carlos Andrés Pérez.
The DISIP was transformed during Chavismo in the sinister SEBIN. At the time of democracy Moreno was accused of two murders, but his connections with the police took him out of prison and then he decided to study law. It seems that he climbed to power thanks to his friendship with Cilia Flores, Nicolás Maduro’s wife.
Maduro’s plan is quite obvious and was outlined by his Cuban advisors in December 2015, when the opposition obtained two thirds of the deputies, a percentage that allowed it to change the venal magistrates at the service of the ruling party.
Since 2016, Maduro, frightened, decided to rule through an obedient judicial power and, consequently, he eliminated three indigenous deputies from the Amazon using a trivial pretext. Those three deputies made the qualified majority that the opposition needed to clean up the judicial power. They couldn’t or didn’t want to sustain them. The TSJ declared the National Assembly (AN) in contempt until it gave up and the deputies admitted the first cut.
In the summer of 2017, Maduro -- always under the instructions of the Cubans -- created another deliberative body called the National Constituent Assembly. The goal was to promulgate a new Constitution without liberal twists.
At the beginning of 2018 the Chavistas withdrew from the National Assembly (AN) alleging a violation of the regulations. Then, the impeachment of the democratic deputies followed. It had begun when they eliminated the three above mentioned deputies. There are already more than 20. When there are fewer democratic parliamentarians than Chavistas, Maduro will return his followers to the AN in order to tie it up, silence it or finally dissolve it.
From that point on, he will rule with a new constitution copied from the Cuban model, which in turn follows closely the one that Stalin had promulgated in 1935. The new Venezuelan Constitution, as Cuba’s Magna Carta, will say that any rule or legislation will be subordinated to the “socialist” model and to the authorities of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
Cuba thinks that, over time, the adverse international scenario that prevails today will change, and Venezuela, as happened to the island, will no longer be an anomaly and everyone will become accustomed to the presence of a corrupt narco-state from which 20% or 25% of the population has escaped. Already 15% has done it.
The opposition, now largely led by Guaidó, although it has 85% of popular support, has little room for maneuver. It is worthless to ask for a military or humanitarian intervention if previously it is not agreed. Its best bet is to ask the United States for help – as the Nicaraguan expert Humberto Belli suggests – to begin the armed struggle with the help of the more than one thousand soldiers exiled in Colombia. After all, Venezuela has three major land borders: Colombia, Brazil and Guyana, and a maritime border overlooking the Caribbean in which there are Dutch and British islands.
Given Maduro’s refusal to submit to truly free and transparent elections, President Guaidó, invoking Article 350 of the current Constitution, can claim the right to belligerency and end the fantasy of free and transparent elections. And if Washington was able to create for Guaidó the diplomatic support of almost sixty countries, it can very well give him the backing for Venezuelans themselves to conquer with arms the democratic destiny that Havana and Maduro deny them.
In any case, it is suicidal for Latin Americans to fold their arms before the immense tragedy of Venezuelans. More than four million people have already escaped from the country and the emergence of a famine that will kill the same amount is very likely. Maduro and his accomplices are not going to hand over the authority just because society demands it. Fidel told Chávez many times, “Political power is never surrendered by peaceful means, boy.” You have to conquer it with cannon fire.Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.