By Carlos Camacho in Caracas.
Guaido’s effort comes at an unhappy time for Maduro: the exodus of Venezuelans is accelerating, promising to reach six million migrants by the end of the year, while hyperinflation is increasing as it enters its fourth year. More to the point, Maduro organized a controversial parliamentary election which has been rejected by 45 countries as of this writing, in part because turnout was of just 31% when in 2015, when the current Assembly seated, turnout was of more than 74%.
However, Maduro promised to seat his new Assembly on January 5th, come hell or high water.
Will the Popular Consultation do the trick and oust Maduro in a sea of Telegram-fueled rejection. Here, El Pitazo gives you six keys to understand the situation.
1) Fast and easy: As described in the Venezuelan Constitution of 1999, the consultation is binding but can be organized directly by the opposition-held National Assembly legislative. Meaning: it does not require the intervention of the CNE, the Maduro regime electoral agency the US has sanctioned for “undermining democracy.”
2) The first question, cease the usurpation: In late November, the National Assembly approved the three questions steps of the plan. The first question is a direct challenge to the legal status of Maduro as head of state since it challenges his legitimacy after the fraudulent 2018 reelection that paved the way for Guaido to claim the mantle of interim President in January 2019. That question is: Do you demand the cessation of the usurpation of the Presidency by Nicolas Maduro and call for the holding of free, fair, and verifiable presidential and parliamentary elections? Voters can answer yes or no.
3) The second question, promise to ignore last vote results: Do you reject the event of December 6th organized by the regime of Nicolás Maduro and ask the international community to ignore it? With abstention at 70%, the answer should be a resounding yes.
4) The third question, international help to prevent more crimes against humanity: The third question is even more stern in its implications. If Venezuelans answer yes, it could imply some foreign involvement, particularly after the Organization of American States has recommended that the Right 2 Protect be implementing in Venezuela. “Do you order the necessary steps to be taken before the international community to activate cooperation, accompaniment, and assistance to rescue our democracy, attend to the humanitarian crisis and protect the people from crimes against humanity?”
5) Telegram: #Telegram became the number one trending topic in Venezuelan Twitter Monday, as anti-Maduro net surfers began downloading the app, which has its channel and chat-bot for the consultation.
6) Repression: Maduro stands accused of involvement in 18,000 extrajudicial executions and 15,000 wanton incarcerations of political opponents, and 650 documented instances of torture by the OAS…and the ICC has promised to update its Venezuela I and Venezuela II inquiries before the end of December. Already, some critics say Maduro will initiate a new crackdown against the opposition, using the results of Sunday, no matter how unreliable, as proof of his legitimacy. As it is, Venezuela has more than 300 political prisoners in jail.