This article was published at «Correo del Orinoco»‘s web site, pdf format, this link will bring you the original.
by Paul Dobson.
Following their overwhelming electoral victory this month in Venezuela’s 2015 National Assembly election, the right wing alliance known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) – which brings together more than 30 anti-socialist political parties – finally presented its parliamentary proposals to the nation.
Clearly responding to class interests, the MUD expressed support for bourgeois federations that have been pressuring for a reversal of the revolutionary policies launched by former President Hugo Chavez and his Foreign Minister turned President, Nicolas Maduro. Whilst opposition voters celebrated their win across the country, the MUD’s national leadership called for unity in what has often been a highly divided bloc.
“Today is a day of celebration” explained MUD General Secretary, Jesus Torrealba, “but it is also a day of reflection in our ranks and amongst our leaders”.
“We have been divided for years”, he explained, “and now the time has come to demonstrate that we have learnt from our many mistakes. When we divide ourselves we sink and we all lose. It is urgent that we all leave our own agendas behind us, and focus on our new opportunity”.
“Yesterday was an electoral tsunami, an immense vote of confidence”, he added, “but it’s not the same thing to unite to resist as it is to unite to rule”.
Torrealba’s MUD coalition won a super majority in large part due to abstention of pro-socialist voters following over two years of ongoing economic woes. While pretending to represent a new mandate for opposition policies, Torrealba also recognized that “we won a majority on a platform of change in a context of great challenges for the government – and this is why we received so such support”.
“There is discontent, yes, but we don’t and can not underestimate President Maduro” he said.
After an electoral campaign covered in mystery and a hiding-away of candidates and proposals, the MUD finally announced their legislative agenda to the nation following their victory.
Amongst their proposals are the privatization of basic services such as water and electricity; the removal of taxes on capital, investment, and imports; the reversing of the nationalization of firms and land; the decentralization of services and policing; the prohibition of jail sentences for board members of firms which fall into disrepute; the elimination of subsidized food outlets such as Mercal; the dollarization of wages; the strengthening of the private sectors in housing, policing, and education; the eradication of currency controls; the guaranteeing of private property rights; and a General Amnesty Law.
The last of these proposals looks to provide amnesty to such violent figures as Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma who are currently imprisoned for their roles in the «guarimba» (terrorist acts, my aclaratory note, Jimmy Olano) street protests of 2014, as well as such figures who have fled the country after being investigated for corruption such as politician Manuel Rosales and banker Eligio Cedeño.
“This historic victory is a real hope for those who have been unfairly persecuted, locked away, disqualified, or exiled. We are committed to returning to them their right as free citizens” stated Torreabla.
“To those who had to leave the country, soon you will remember how good it feels to be where you were born and you will be welcomed back”, he added.
The MUD also made public their intentions to revoke such laws as the Organic Labor Law which guarantees workers’ rights, and the Law of Fair Prices, which establishes maximum profit margins and prison sentences for economic crimes such as price speculation, smuggling, and hoarding.
Other parliamentary proposals include using their two-thirds majority to interpellate such figures as: the Food, Health, and Finance Ministers; the Presidents of subsidized food outlets PDVAL and MERCAL; the President of the currency controlling body CENCOEX; the President of the public health network IVSS; the Attorney General; police chiefs; the resident of the Central Bank; the Ombudsman; and the President of the State oil firm PDVSA.
LEGISLATING FOR THE BOUGEOISIE
Following the opposition victory, various federations of property owners, businessmen, and bosses offered their proposals to their political representatives in order to put an end to worker- and peasant- friendly policies of the Bolivarian Revolution, in power for some 17 years.
FEDECAMARAS, who was largely responsible for the failed 2002 coup d’état, called on the MUD to “revise” the Law of Fair Prices, eliminate currency controls, and “revise” the Organic Labor Law, whilst industry chiefs (CONINDUSTRIA) requested that the MUD “legislate in defense of the rights to private property”.
Commerce leaders (CONSECOMERCIO) called for a “more flexible regulation of the sector”, whilst FEDENAGA, which brings together large land owners, requested that the MUD “revise the Land Law” which prohibits large land ownership and legalizes expropriation of unproductive land. In response, President Maduro and socialists across the country have expressed their intent to organize and mobilzie in defense of the Revolution’s social gains.
Following such a landslide victory, many in the US-backed opposition are pushing for the country to hold a recall referendum and oust President Maduro, elected for the 2015 to 2019 period. According to the Venezuelan constitution, all publically elected functionaries may be recalled from office at the half-way point of their terms, following the collection of signatures and a popular referendum.
In 2004, the opposition failed in its attempts to recall President Chavez following his electoral victory after the activation of the constitutional method. If such a course is chosen by the MUD, the election would be due in 2016. With gubernatorial elections already expected for next year, the opposition may chose to focus on mobilizing anti-Maduro efforts instead of campaigning for regional leaders in a context in which they currently only control 3 of 23 governorships.
“I don’t see the Government reaching its natural finishing point, which would be the next presidential elections in 2019”, stated prominent opposition leader Henry Ramon Allup in provocative yet revealing comments.
Expected to preside over the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Allup affirmed “I just don’t see Maduro in office through 2019”.
Published by «Correo del Orinoco«.