Freedom is near

Nobody wants a civil war.

Luisa Ortega, Venezuela’s attorney general, has filed a motion with the Supreme Court of Justice to vacate the unconstitutional Constitutional Assembly that Nicolás Maduro is trying to push through. Ortega has fired a torpedo at the waterline of a Chavism that — to quote a 1920s tango — is looking increasingly “skinny, haggard and shabby.”

Shortly before taking that definitive step, Ortega declared that she was a person who didn’t know fear and, frankly, she has proved it. The response from some Chavists has been terribly cynical: they’re attempting to pronounce her “mad.” Something like establishing that any functionary with independent criteria is sick in the head.

The Supreme Court justices, who are mere appendices of the presidency, will probably reject the AG’s motion, but the mere fact that she took that judicial step fully delegitimizes the attempt to liquidate the republican vestiges that remain in Venezuela for the purpose of installing a totalitarian dictatorship copied from the Cuban model.

The stance taken by Ortega, who suddenly pivoted into a law-abiding functionary (better late than never), coincides with the extraordinary example of civil rebellion shown by tens of thousands of young people in that country. They are really part of a “brave people,” as the national anthem describes Venezuelans. Already 64 are dead, yet they continue to repeat a stubbornly heroic slogan while they are gassed and shot at without mercy: “A one-way street till Maduro quits.”

Is that possible? It could be. Maduro stinks. In March, 21.1 percent of Venezuelans expected him to end his constitutional term in 2018. Not many, but at least a fifth of the population. In early May, fewer than 24 days later, the percentage of support had dropped by two thirds, to 8.08. If measured in June, I don’t think that even his wife, Cilia, would support him. That country, that society doesn’t want him. “Maduro out!” is more a mantra than a slogan.

These data come from a recent national survey, very well done, sponsored by the Andrés Bello Catholic University. The numbers reflect what common sense dictates. Eighty-nine point 02 percent think that Venezuela is in bad or very bad shape. But it’s not a remote perception. Eight out of every 10 Venezuelans believe that they are faring badly or very badly.

Why? Simple: the shortage of food and medicine is dreadful and growing. Seventy-nine percent of Venezuelans blame the government for this situation, including 44 percent of those who describe themselves as Chavists. Hunger has reached the hillside towns. The indifferent legion of the neutrals — those who take no side — has dropped by a half. Ergo, 77 percent of the people support the protests, against a meager 17 percent who oppose them.

The survey is very long. It’s worthwhile to examine it because it asks Venezuelans which is the way out of the labyrinth. Naturally, release all political prisoners. And, unquestionably, authorize truly democratic referenda. Nobody wants a civil war. Right away, hold gubernatorial and mayoral elections. Later, a presidential election. The objective is to cool down the potential bomb inside a ballot box.

While all this is happening, 88.4 percent are asking for a humanitarian channel that will enable the poor to eat and be cured. (The poor, thanks to the congenital stupidity of socialism, account for more than 66 percent of the census and continue to grow. For now, they feed from the crumbs, sometimes nauseating, of the small group that has kept its dollar savings out of the country.)

If Vladimir Padrino López, the general in charge of the madhouse, reads the survey, he’ll see that the army, the police and the paramilitary forces are on the least-liked roster, surpassed on that dishonorable “shit list” only by the blood-sucking countries of ALBA, who are perceived as the grand pimps of Venezuelan wealth.

That’s the best argument Padrino has to withdraw all support from Maduro. Those institutions are sinking in the eyes of people who used to admire them. Today, the most respected groups are the youngsters who struggle and die, the businessmen who try to create affluence by swimming against the stream, the local priests who side with the people, the social networks that broadcast information, not propaganda.

Obviously, Raúl Castro and his uniformed thugs plot incessantly, so as not to lose that source of revenue, but clear-headed Chavists — they do exist — should conclude that they mustn’t drown to save a parasitical island that clings to an absolutely unproductive system, intent on not creating wealth and on living from others’ charity, a regime whose only exports (sold at exorbitant prices) are the plans for the manufacture of an asphyxiating and implacably impoverished cage.

The survey ends with a prescient statement: freedom is near. When? It doesn’t say. They’re pollsters, not magicians.

Published in Spanish by El Blog de Montaner on Sunday June 11th, 2017.

*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*