The members of the Citizen Platform in Defense of the Constitution issued a statement rejecting the National Constituent Assembly and calling the population to abstention and void vote for those who are forced to participate in it.

With the signing of former ministers Héctor Navarro, Oly Millán Campos, Ana Elisa Osorio and Gustavo Márquez, university professors Edgardo Lander, Esteban Emilio Mosonyi, Santiago Arconada, constitutionalist Freddy Gutiérrez, Major General Cliver Alcalá Cordones and the leaders of Marea Socialista Gonzalo Gomez, Juan García and Roberto López Sánchez, among others, spread a document that proclaims: No to the National Constituent Assembly, Abstention and Void Vote.

They define the convocation as a usurpation by President Maduro and thus reject the policy of the MUD summit, “aimed at generating an institutional fracture by creating a government and a parallel state with the support of Washington …”

The document breaks down the reasons for the rejection in 8 points that make a course for what they say are violations of the Constitution of 99 and represent a usurpation of the original power of the Venezuelan people.

The subscribers explain throughout the text a series of crimes in which the president would have incurred while at the same time dismantling, according to his point of view, the arguments that, according to the convener, would justify it.

They allege at the same time that when the constituent was maintained, all possibility of dialogue would be definitively closed and only the way of violence would be left to resolve the current conflict. Following is the full text of the communiqué:

No to the National Constituent Assembly! 

ABSTENTION AND VOID VOTE

The Citizen Platform in Defense of the Constitution pronounces in front of the CNE’s call for elections for next Sunday July 30, from supposed constituents to a supposed National Constituent Assembly (ANC) usurped by President Maduro.

On the other hand, although this is not the main objective of this document, we reiterate our rejection of the MUD summit policy aimed at generating an institutional fracture through the creation of a parallel government and state with the support of Washington, with all the known implications that this has. By putting itself on the fringes of the Constitution, this further incites violence and goes against a constitutional and peaceful solution to the crisis.

1. We say usurpation because Article 347 of the Constitution rests with the Venezuelan people, and only because it is the depositary of the original constituent power, is the authority to convene a National Constituent Assembly with faculties to transform the State, create a new legal order and to draw up a new constitution.

To summon up a National Constituent Assembly is the exclusive prerogative of the Venezuelan people as a whole, consulted in a Referendum. The President of the Council of Ministers, 2/3 of the National Assembly and about 15% of the Permanent Electoral Register (REP), in accordance with Article 348 of the Constitution, may take the initiative to call this referendum. What they can not do is ignore it. This is the usurpation that we denounce on the part of President Maduro.
We are not unaware that the real reason for not convening this Referendum is that the Government knows perfectly well that it would lose in an overwhelming way.
2. The offense of usurpation carried out in the call, follows the trampling expressed in the bases. Firstly, by over-representation of the municipalities with the lowest population and under-representation of the population of the municipalities with the largest population. In violation of the constitutional principles of proportional representation (Articles 63 and 293 of the Constitution) and equality of citizens (one citizen, one vote), the votes of inhabitants of the municipalities where the government considers that it has greater electoral support are worth much more than Votes of the inhabitants of the main urban centers where most of the country’s inhabitants live and where the government’s rejection of it is greater. According to the last national population census of 2011, the ten (10) largest municipalities had a population of 8,354,071 inhabitants, representing about 32% of the total population of the country: Capital District, Maracaibo, Valencia, Caroní, Iribarren, Sucre, San Francisco, Maturín, Girardot and Simón Bolívar (Barcelona). By the cunning way in which the bases were drawn, these ten municipalities would only have 22 territorial representatives in the National Constituent Assembly, that is, a representation of only 6% of the members chosen territorially. In contrast, the 212 municipalities with a population of less than 50,000 inhabitants, which in total have a population smaller than the ten most populated municipalities, would have 212 members chosen territorially, that is, 58% of the total members Of the ANC elected territorially. The municipality Simón Rodríguez of the State Táchira with 2,445 inhabitants would elect a representative, while in the Capital District a representative would be elected for each 277,700 inhabitants (seven representatives per 1,943,901 inhabitants).The number of representatives of each state has little to do with its population. The Tachira and Falcon states are the states with the highest number of representatives (30 and 26 respectively). Seven states (Anzoátegui, Aragua, Bolívar, Carabobo, Lara Miranda and Zulia and the Capital District) have a larger population than these two states and yet have a smaller number of representatives. The population of the State of Zulia is approximately four times greater than that of the Falcón State, and yet they have fewer representatives. The Tachira State with a population of 1,168,908 inhabitants would have 30 representatives while the Capital District with 1,943,901 inhabitants would have only seven representatives.

According to the Presidential Decree that establishes the electoral bases for the ANC elections, Sector Constituencies would be elected representing each of the following sectors: 1) Workers 2) Peasants and Fishermen. 3) The Students. 4) Persons with disabilities 5) Indigenous Peoples. 6) Retired  7) Entrepreneurs 8) Communes and Communal Councils. It also establishes that for each eighty-three thousand (83,000) voters of the electoral register, a sector representative will be elected. (Decree No. 2.878 of May 23, 2017). The CNE announced that it will have a total of 173 sector representatives. This arbitrarily defines a universe of 14,359,000 voters entitled to participate in the election of sectoral representatives to approximately five million voters in the country. In violation of the basic principle of equality envisaged in the Constitution, citizens of the first category are defined in this way, who can vote twice (territorial vote and sectoral vote) and about five million second citizens who can vote only once territorial).

The lists of voters corresponding to each of the sectors that were defined in the commission bases were not audited, on these lists there is no external control whatsoever. According to the CNE, “The National Electoral Council will request the records of the sectors to the official institutions, associations and associations, duly established”. (Resolution of June 7, 2017). Most of these lists are controlled directly by the government, guilds or by private organizations.

3. From the point of view of the deep crisis of Venezuelan society, this constituent is unnecessary. The main problems confronting the population today (insecurity, food shortages and basic medicines, inflation, violence) are not problems of legal-constitutional origin. The government now has all the legal instruments and powers of the State to confront the crisis, through public policies. It is not through the constitutionalization of the Missions and CLAP that the problems of insecurity, scarcity and inflation will be solved.

4. There is no guarantee that the results of the National Constituent Assembly will be submitted to the consideration of the population of Venezuela, as was the case with the 1999 Constitution. The guarantee of this consultation is not contemplated in the decree convening the National Constituent Assembly (Decree N (Decree No. 2,878, May 1, 2017), nor in the decree that establishes the commission bases (Decree No. 2.878 of May 23, 2017). The only one that exists in this sense is a non-binding exhortation “to the members of the National Constituent Assembly that are elected, to which the draft constitution that is drafted within it is submitted to a popular referendum, In article 70 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic. “This was done through a resolution of the CNE (June 7, 2017) that does not compromise the Constituent National Assembly. It is in the hands of this assembly that it will unconstitutionally assume supra-constitutional powers to decide whether or not to hold a referendum to approve the new constitution. It is possible, therefore, that regardless of the level of participation in the July 30 elections, the results of this Constituent Assembly are imposed on society as a whole without consulting the Venezuelan population.

5. There is little credibility that one of the Constituent Assembly’s objectives is the “Claim of the multicultural character of the country”, when, after 18 years of the Bolivarian process, the rights of indigenous peoples, clearly established in the Constitution of 1999, have not been effective and progress has not been made according to the main claim of these peoples, the recognition and demarcation of their territories.

Nor can it be expected that a National Constituent Assembly to contribute to “the preservation of human life on the planet, developing constitutionally, with greater specificity the sovereign rights over the protection of our biodiversity and the development of an ecological culture in our society.” There is at present a wide range of legal norms of environmental protection that have been violated systematically by the State. What is required is not the creation of new norms and regulations, but the fulfillment of what is established in the 1999 Constitution and the laws derived from it.

6. The government has consistently announced that it would be a Plenipotentiary National Constituent Assembly. According to Elías Jaua, president of the Presidential Commission for the Constituent Assembly, this would be “supraconstitutional, original and every organ of the Public Power were subordinated to this House”. Diosdado Cabello stated that “there will be no instance, constituted power that can oppose the decisions that sovereignly” will take the National Constituent Assembly. This would imply that from the moment the National Constituent Assembly was installed, it would concentrate all the powers of the State. In fact, from that moment the Constitution of 99 would be suspended with all its rights and guarantees and a regime would be established that could not be qualified but of authoritarian since it would concentrate all the power in a single instance that would be far from being representative of the whole of the society. This supposed ANC is a derivative, representative power, it is not the original power that resides intransferentemente in the people (article 5).

7. The government has responded to the crisis due to the fall in oil prices and the impossibility of continuing the same degree of dependence on hydrocarbons, opting for another even more predatory extractive model: mining extraction. With the opening of the Orinoco Mining Arc, 112,000 square kilometers of national territory were set aside for exploration by large transnational mining corporations. The government was expecting the country to accelerate large volumes of investment. However, insofar as decisions about the Mining Arc were carried out in open violation of the Constitution and the main environmental, labor and indigenous laws, large companies consider that they do not have the legal Investments that would only be profitable in the medium and short term. Is one of the main objectives of the ANC, which explains the acceleration of the convocation process, precisely to ensure that the transnational corporations have the legal security they are demanding?

8. In addition to its unconstitutional character, there was a systematic abuse of power by the government to enforce this National Constituent Assembly bill. This was operated in two ways. First, through the overwhelming use of the state media to advertise this call denying the participation of all critical opinion. Secondly, there has been a sustained offensive of blackmail directed at state employees and public enterprises, and recipients of missions programs and CLAPs, threatening to lose their jobs or benefits, as if the state and program resources were private property of the PSUV and the high government.

President Maduro and other government spokesmen have argued that this Constituent Assembly seeks peace and dialogue. Nothing further from the truth. With an illegitimate and single-party Constituent Assembly they could definitively end the possibilities and negotiations, with which violence could be left as the only alternative to process the profound differences that exist today in Venezuelan society.
These are the reasons why we call on all the people who can do it, to abstain from voting and to express in this unequivocal way their rejection of the usurpation of popular sovereignty and the violations of the Constitution that the Committees Bases mean. To those who are forced to vote, due to particular circumstances, we call for a void vote to de-legitimize, from this forceful form, the pretension of a “democratic party” with which the government intends to make usurpation happen.ABSTENSE TO REJECT ANC !!!

IF BECAUSE YOU, VOTE NO!

Citizen Platform in Defense of the Constitution

Caracas July 26, 2017