Chilean General Óscar Izurieta Ferrer and former Secretary General of the first government of Michelle Bachelet and former member of the Chilean Constitutional Court, José Antonio Viera-Gallo, participated in a new edition of the series of forums organized by the Presidential Commission for Foreign Relations and called “Encounters for Venezuela”.
The moderation was in charge of Sergio Bitar, former Chilean minister and academic who has studied the transition processes in many parts of the world. The participants agreed that the transition will incorporate Venezuela’s FANB and that the ideologization of Maduro’s regime will not stop the institutional spirit that remains within the institution.
They said that one must have confidence in change, as in similar processes regimes collapsed when least expected. Also present at the event were the president in charge, Juan Guaidó, and the entire international team of the interim government, headed by Foreign Minister Julio Borges and the ambassadors.
Chilean General Óscar Izurieta Ferrer sent a message to the Venezuelan Armed Forces. “Restoring territorial control is fundamental for Venezuela and here the FANB will have a very important role. The FANB has equipped itself with many elements produced in China and Russia, but will these be what the FANB needs? When there is a transition, the FANB will be able to enjoy a regime open to the world, they will be able to enjoy their profession in Venezuela. Who does not want to enjoy their profession? There is no transition against FANB, there will be a transition with FANB,” he said.
General Izurieta said that “it is very difficult to be a military man without loving your country above all” and that in Venezuela there is hope because the vast majority of the military are not corrupt. He said that during the Pinochet dictatorship there was a clear division between the army and the repressive apparatus of the regime. He maintained that in the Chilean transition it was fundamental for Pinochet to remain as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
For his part, José Antonio Viera-Gallo said that one must have full confidence in change, since in his opinion it will happen when least expected and that it is important that the Armed Forces understand this. “No political regime is forever. We saw all the dictatorships fall: the regime in Iran, communism in Poland and the Soviet Union. The military who support Nicolas Maduro must understand that this regime is not forever and that there will be a change. The opposition forces must show themselves as a better alternative to the situation of the dictatorship,” he said.
He said that the statements of Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López should not be paid much attention and compared them to the Chilean case. “Pinochet once said: I will die, generations will pass and there will be no elections… And look what happened,” he reflected. Viera-Gallo pointed out that in the Chilean case there were no paramilitary groups, unlike in Venezuela.
“There was a separation between the repressive apparatus and the military institutions. The monopoly of force should be in the hands of the Armed Forces. The Chilean politician also emphasized that there was a negotiation prior to the plebiscite between forces of change that supported the dictatorship and the opposition in order to advance towards democratic normalization.”
President Guaidó thanked the analysts for their support and stated that the democratic forces have offered all the guarantees to promote a transition together with the Armed Forces. He detailed the situation of persecution and human rights violations experienced by the Venezuelan military and recalled that they work together with the world to continue to put pressure on the regime and produce change in the country.
Finally, Commissioner Julio Borges thanked all participants for their support and reiterated that the forum initiative will be maintained with new speakers on the Chilean transition.