The European Parliament resolution and Leopoldo López Gil
Gustavo Tarre Briceño
July 12, 2020
A few days ago, the European Parliament, which for several years has supported the struggles to restore democracy in Venezuela, voted on a well-reasoned and lengthy resolution, conceived in much tougher and more forceful terms than that used in all previous resolutions. The Resolution was approved by 487 votes in favor, 119 votes against and 79 abstentions or absences.
It was a splendid victory for Venezuelan democracy achieved in a parliament in which the 27 Member States are represented and whose 705 Members are grouped into 8 groups, formed on the basis of the political and ideological affinities with which Venezuelans may or may not feel any identification.
The approved resolution includes the request for “free, transparent and credible” presidential and legislative elections; recognized the humanitarian crisis and urged the international community to help Venezuelan migrants; ratified its support for Juan Guaidó as a ‘legitimate interim president’; condemned the ‘undemocratic appointment’ of the new members of the National Electoral Council; requested more sanctions against the leaders of the dictatorship and a long list of others.
There was another proposal in Parliament, presented by Hermann Tertsch MEP from the Spanish Vox party which has 4 representatives in the EP. Tertsch’s proposals, whose solidarity with our struggles we have appreciated, were much more forceful and corresponded much more closely to what we Venezuelan democrats would have liked to see approved, but did not have the support that their approval required. Why?
As we said before, the MEPs, elected on panels nominated by the parties of each country, are constituted into political and ideological groups: 187 MEPs make up the centrist European People’s Party; 146 belong to the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats; 98 make up European Renewal, which is also centrist; 76 are in Identity and Democracy; 67 have formed the Green environmental party; 39 extremists are in the United Left Group, which includes the Podemos shackeled Spaniards; and finally, 29 MEPs did not want to join any group.
The reader will notice a very clear fact: the heterogeneity of the components of the European Parliament and the difficulty of forming majorities.
One MEP, Leopoldo López Gil, who holds both Venezuelan and Spanish nationality, had the following dilemma: to support, for purely testimonial purposes, Tertsh’s proposal and to receive, for the first time in a proposal concerning Venezuela, a very resounding defeat. The other option was to participate in the majority that allowed the aforementioned block of 487 votes to be formed. Politics, as has been said so many times, is “the art of the possible” and Leopoldo opted, as I would have done, for a good and forceful Resolution, which implied leaving aside some of Hermann Tertsh’s proposals, which would have been more to the liking of many Venezuelans (including myself). I don’t think it’s bad that the Socialist Workers Party turns its back on Nicolas Maduro, even if it was “moderate”.
Tertsh thought he was doing well to maintain his position, it was his right. What I think is less good is that he voted against the proposal finally approved, in the not very holy company of the European “ñangaraje” (hard core left), headed by Podemos and the ETA terrorists.
The second unusual fact is the headline that appeared on the networks: “Leopoldo López’s father manages to get the People’s Party to soften up a resolution against Nicolás Maduro”. The first thing that attracts attention and reveals the intentions of the writer is that the MEP is not mentioned by name, but is referred to as the father of Leopoldo López Mendoza. In the alleged case that Lopez Gil had acted badly, which he did not, I wonder: What does his son have to do with what happened in Brussels?
The answer is very simple, the campaign underway seeks to discredit Leopoldo López Mendoza, leader of the Voluntad Popular party recently expropriated by the dictatorship and one of the Venezuelans who has suffered most in his own flesh, the repression of Chavismo, behind, obviously, those who offered their lives.
This is not my way of doing politics. Neither is it manipulating the truth. Tertsh himself said the following, referring to the text we commented on and the role of “Leopoldo López’s father”: “The headline of this news item is inaccurate. It was the PSOE that softened and emptied the resolution to the point of ridicule. The PP only surrendered and accepted everything with submission”.
There is an Italian saying that I translate: “It is better the good that is achieved than the optimal that is not achieved”. That is what happened in Brussels. I do not deny that there may be people who would have preferred to keep the Vox Resolution in its entirety and lose the vote. That is one way of looking at it. I do not share it.
If there is one thing I have learned in my long years in politics, it is that what I think does not necessarily have to be shared by others. I believe, however, that there is only one direction for Venezuelans: to get rid of Maduro and the gang of criminals who accompany him. There are many ways to do this and very different positions that are perfectly legal. What I do not acquiesce to is the conceptualization of the Venezuelan dictatorship. That is why I support and serve the legitimate government of Juan Guaidó and have good relations with all the political forces that are truly opposed to Nicolás Maduro.
A final reflection: Some friend recommended me not to write these lines. “Don’t get involved in that argument that is not yours. The warriors of the keyboard will fall on you. Maybe the friend was right, but I’m not like that. I’ve always had the luxury of speaking my mind and trying to be uncompromising only with myself.
Since I have been Venezuela’s representative to the OAS, we have won several battles, getting the support of most of the member countries. If I had insisted on proposing resolutions imposing my point of view and expressing what I would have gotten is applause on the social networks, without taking into account what the other 33 member states of the Organization think. I would have gotten only one sure vote: my own. Perhaps one or two more. Hence my solidarity with Leopoldo López Gil.