By Mision Verdad – Sep 4, 2020
The contacts between Venezuela and the European Union (EU) continue, projecting themselves towards the unlocking of the Venezuelan political cadre and thus favoring the participation of more anti-Chavista actors in the upcoming parliamentary elections on December 6.
The Venezuelan government recently issued a pardon for more than 100 anti-Chavista leaders and operators responsible for the chaos, destabilization and terrorism in continuity with the Oslo-Barbados road map that had been discussed with the opposition months ago.
Now, behind the scenes, leaders such as Henrique Capriles and Stalin González have articulated these liberations with Chavismo, grouping them into a set of demands, along with others that they call “electoral guarantees.”
It seems clear that more sectors of the opposition are inclined to participate in the elections, understanding that their tenure and abstention could be detrimental to them. They have assumed that a scenario of resignation without going to elections would delegitimize the current dialogue process and perpetuate the fictitious account of the “fake presidency” of Juan Guaidó in the National Assembly (AN) and his “interim” condition beyond the end of the current parliamentary cycle. The United States is seeking a lifetime position for Guaidó in Venezuela, unacceptable in the eyes of national institutions and politics.
Opposition leaders, behind the scenes, have spoken with Chavismo and their possible electoral presence was previously enabled by a call from the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference to go to the polls, in an open break with the abstentionist agenda of Guaidó and the United States.
Previously, Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU and Vice-President of the European Commission, had indicated holding conversations with Chavistas and Venezuelan anti-Chavistas in order to mediate agreements that would facilitate the conditions for what they call “fair and transparent elections” in Venezuela, attending to new requests for electoral guarantees from the opposition.
In the light of the unfolding news, the direct link between these recent events is evident, as they are exposed as an unmistakable sign of accelerateded negotiations.
New communication from Caracas to Brussels
In a letter sent by the Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Ministry, the holder of the portfolio Jorge Arreaza addressed Josep Borrell explaining some of the new electoral guarantees offered to Venezuelan opposition leaders.
These include the return of indelible ink, the use of red and blue dots only until the last day of the electoral campaign (street party booths), the balance in access to the media for all political actors, the timely granting to the political organizations of the electoral platform structure and, additionally, the traditional citizen audit processes in all stages of the electoral process.
These measures are in addition to others that had been previously announced, such as the return to the electoral centers that had been relocated due to the violence of 2017.
However, the letter contains a new invitation to the EU presence in the elections in the capacity of “observers and companions”.
Borrell had previously indicated in his statements that the presence of the EU in Venezuela would only take place through the form of “observation” and differed from the invitation previously made under the condition of “companions”, adding at that time that the conditions did not existed yet for the presence of the EU in the country.
But the board has evolved a lot since that communication from Borrell. In light of the evident progress between the parties in Venezuela, it is likely that an agreement could emerge between the Venezuelan authorities and the EU for the presence of an observation and / or accompaniment mission for December 6.
Several of the guarantees that the oppposition have historically demanded to participate in the elections are supported by the weak arguments of “advantage” of Chavismo in the previous election and also in the vote count, which have been their justification for their electoral defeats.
However, and recently, the organizations of the Venezuelan right have requested more guarantees from various spokespersons. The measures requested are basically focused on the conditions outside the polling stations, tacitly leaving, by not raising objections, that the system traditionally used in voting and counting has always been reliable.
In addition to the new guarantees already negotiated with the different branches of power, the opposition leaders call for a new opening of the electoral registry, an update of the voters authorized to vote abroad, among other requests, such as the modification of electoral periods, including the date of the elections.
Already in the month of September, the National Electoral Council (CNE) has not released any pledge of new changes in the electoral schedule nor has it announced new measures to be applied, it being evident with this that the referee is waiting for a definition of the rules of the game by those who will be willing to measure themselves at the polls.
Extensions and breakdown of consensus
The dizzying negotiations that are taking place right now are of significant relevance as they are calculated moves. In them, Chavismo and a part of the Venezuelan opposition dialogue with the mediation of external factors, among them the EU and, as recently revealed, the government of Turkey.
With this, a clear demarcation of the Europeans from the US agenda is exposed, which foresees a continuity of the political stalemate generated from the failed “Guaidó strategy.” A probable validation of the Venezuelan elections by actors on the international scene could also set a clear precedent for the breakdown of consensus around the blockade against Venezuela.
This set of possibilities, explained by the elements in development just now, makes clear the relevance and timeliness of the extensive measures that Chavismo has facilitated, in a multidirectional fight for the rescue of the institutionality, political stability and the end of the (foreign) measures of suffocation against the country.
Featured image: Josep Borrell, the highest diplomatic representative of the European Union. Photo: European Parliament