Rightwing Covering up Coup Plan with So-Called Electoral Struggle, Argues Opposition Defector

Speaking moments before last Tuesday’s brawl in Venezuela’s National Assembly, opposition legislator Maria Corina Machados’s own deputy representative, Ricardo Sánchez, warned of the right-wing’s ‘hidden agenda’. 


Caracas, 02 May. AVN.- [Opposition] deputy representative member before the National Assembly, Ricardo Sánchez, decried that the faction of the opposition which has been leading the violent attacks in recent days, against institutions and people who support the Bolivarian government, belongs to the same sector that perpetrated the 2002 coup d’état.

“I wouldn’t describe the opposition as a single bloc; there are various fractions that make it up. On the one hand, those who follow the democratic route, and on the other, a faction which is not beyond the suspicion of planning coups, even if presently they are trying show that their struggle is an electoral one, a democratic struggle”, he pointed out, in an interview with AVN.

He specified that, among radical sectors of the Democratic Unity Roundtable, “undoubtedly the Primero Justicia (PJ – ‘Justice First’) party and Voluntad Popular (‘Popular Will’) are those with a hidden agenda, outside the democratic course (…), whereas there is another sector which wants to continue working in democracy”.

The parliamentarian insists that “Henrique Capriles does not represent Venezuela’s opposition as a whole”, that he merely leads a fraction of the national political right and shares a form of “sectarian and cliquish” decision-making with Leopoldo López and Julio Borges, whom he described as the most violent of the right-wing leadership.

He said that it is understandable that “the official sector feels there is a threat to the peace of citizens, in view of the violent situations witnessed over the past few days”, and which have left nine people dead and 78 injured, all of which were attacked by right-wing assault forces, because of their defence and support of the socialist option.

“Although we distance ourselves from that (violent) tendency within the opposition, we know that there are people within the ranks of the opposition who do not agree with the violent acts” which have brought grief to the country in recent days, Sánchez remarked, in light of which he called for a strengthening of dialogue across all political sectors in the country.

He criticised the rightwing’s demand for “the recognition of a victory it never obtained”, and urged it to join the call for dialogue made by the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, although he pointed out that “you can’t enter into dialogue with a stone in your hand, as an irresponsible sector of the opposition has tried to do.”

Sánchez emphasised that the plan not to recognise the results, which gave Nicolás Maduro the win, “was designed to cast a shadow of illegitimacy on the Presidency. Their idea was to boycott the start of Maduro’s administration, so that he wouldn’t relish in the ‘honey moon’ enjoyed by every recently elected President”.

The questioning of Maduro’s triumph would be accompanied by a series of agitation actions in the streets, along with watchfulness of the measures enforced by the President, in order to incorporate discontent elements into these protests. “If the rise in salaries on May 1st was not satisfactory for workers, they would try and link the student and trade union sectors”, he added.

On March 26th, Sánchez, along with deputy representatives Carlos Vargas and Andrés Avelino Álvarez, split ranks with the MUD coalition, after disagreeing with their way of doing politics.

“We distanced ourselves from a kind of politics, we parted with the candidacy of Henrique Capriles, and we condemned before the country the plan that was being prepared by the opposition to reject the electoral results”, he said.

He noted that, following the withdrawal of support for Capriles by these three parliamentarians, some sectors described those signals as illogical, “given that they came from an opposition which had been taking part in various electoral events, such as the legislative [elections] of 2010, and which had apparently moved on from the path of planning coups, from that old and bad way of performing politics, as was the case in the 2002 coup d’état, the General Petrol Strike and the pulling out of all candidacies in the 2005 legislative elections [by the opposition].”

He added that “in 2007, the opposition barely won a referendum and that President Chávez recognized the opposition [result] at the time. It is that same spirit which we would like to see expressed today.”

In seeking approval for a Constitutional Reform, President Hugo Chávez called a consultation referendum in 2007, where the No option —which rejected the reform— only achieved a difference of around 150,000 votes, prompting the Head of State’s acknowledgment of the opposition’s victory, as soon as the first bulletin of results was issued by the National Electoral Council (CNE).

He stressed that, at the time, the Bolivarian leader did not hesitate in recognising the victory of his political adversaries; “it wasn’t as if he waited for results from votes abroad, or some error in the machines, to see if he could still triumph. The recognition was immediate.”

The deputy representative forms part of the Mixed Commission for the inquiry into the right-wing’s aggressions, which is being presided over by Pedro Carreño, a parliamentarian from the socialist bench, and will comprise of 15 parliamentary representatives from the following commissions: Interior and Justice Policy, Comptrollership, Security and Defence, Social Development and Administration and Services commissions; with the aim of investigating the acts of violence committed April 15th by assault groups faithful to ex-candidate Henrique Capriles.

AVN 02/05/2013 16:50