Venezuela’s democratic political parties, in opposition to Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorial regime; united in the face of the grave humanitarian crisis and human rights violations perpetrated against our people; facing the most recent totalitarian threats and in defence of the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution; standing behind our National Assembly and Venezuela’s Interim President, Juan Guaidó, hereby declare:
Nicolas Maduros’ regime, using the control it holds over every single one of Venezuela’s public powers, has done away with any possibility of holding free and competitive elections.
All of these actions subvert constitutional and legal order and eliminate any possibility of considering any summoned process an electoral one.
As a result, having exhausted all national and international channels for holding a truly competitive electoral process, which would guarantee that the sovereign will of the people be respected, Venezuela’s democratic political organizations manifest to the Venezuelan people and the international community that we have unanimously decided NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ELECTORAL FRAUD proposed by Maduro’s regime.
We are not abstentionists: there is no abstention when the proposed process is not a legitimate election. We are democrats and we believe in national unity: thereby, we have decided to refrain from collaborating with the dictatorship’s strategy and, instead, call on our country’s social and political forces to join together in the construction of a new united pact and a new democratic offense in which we, alongside the Venezuelan people and the international community, mobilize for the rescue of Venezuela.
Our struggle has been and will continue to be in favor of allowing the Venezuelan people to participate in free, fair and verifiable elections, and for the necessary change our people and our country need to move past the humanitarian crisis and misery that Maduro’s regime has brought upon us. We are the voice of the overwhelming majority of the Venezuelan people who reject the dictatorship’s latest attempt of masking an illegimate process as an election, as it did in 2018 by kidnapping the presidential election that was due to be held in conformity with our constitutional order.
Today, our starving nation, subject to persecution, with no access to basic services, victim of a criminal oppressive dictatorship, must know that it can count on a political leadership that will not abandon the fight for achieving the political change that is so desperately needed. To that end, we invite the Venezuelan people to not abate our collective struggle, all of us united, to achieve freedom and recover our democracy, the only path that will lead us to solving the immense and tragic humanitarian crisis caused by Maduro’s regime, which has enveloped us in the worst social, economic and political crisis in our history as a republic.
We invite the international community to reject this latest attempt of fraud that Maduro’s regime intends to execute in violation of democratic principles, and to continue supporting us in our new struggle until all Venezuelans are allowed to vote, trusting that each vote will be counted in free, fair and verifiable presidential and parliamentary elections.
Below, the latest attacks of the dictatorship against the Venezuelan electoral system and the electoral conditions that we, the democratic political parties, have requested in order to hold truly free, fair and transparent elections:
• Between the parliamentary elections of December 2015 and the swearing in of the legitimate National Assembly, the Electoral Chamber of Maduro’s TSJ, presided by Indira Alfonzo at the time, issued a court order suspending the parliamentary election of the state of Amazonas, leaving the state without representation for years. They never issued a new order, with the sole objective of keeping the elected deputies of that state out of their rightful positions and impeding the conformation of a qualified majority given by the Venezuelan people to the democratic opposition.
• Maduro’s TSJ unconstitutionally declared the National Assembly to be in contempt and has impeded it to fully exercise the constitutional competencies within its remit.
• This year, the Maduro regime appointed Indira Alfonzo as the President of the illegitimate National Electoral Council (CNE), the same person who disavowed the sovereign will of the people and has kept the state of Amazonas without parliamentary representation by never passing a verdict on the aforementioned case.
• While the National Assembly proclaimed a Committee for Electoral Postulations, with bipartisan support and with the participation of deputies from the regime’s party, with the objective of designating a new CNE, Maduro’s illegitimate TSJ, usurping the constitutional competencies of the parliament, designated the five principle directors and ten substitute directors of the electoral authority, doing away with the possibility of providing the Venezuelan people with an impartial and trustworthy judge by appointing individuals who are known loyalists of the regime.
• Venezuela’s democratic forces and the National Assembly has made public the decalogue of electoral conditions that we have been demanding in all conversations and negotiations, with the participation of international actors. It is worth highlighting that the regime has made a habit of committing to its fulfillment and always failing to do so, as is characteristic of authoritarian regimes. These conditions to achieve free, fair and competitive elections, demand the minimum acceptable standards which all democratic countries in the world follow. They are as follows:
1. Reestablishment of the right of suffrage for all Venezuelans, including those who have been forced to migrate (Electoral Registry that is trustworthy and audited).
2. Guarantee that the vote will be exercised freely, without duress or intimidation. Prohibiting the transfer of voters away from their usual voting centers.
3. Cessation of disqualifications and political persecution of opposition leaders and full restoration of their right to political participation.
4. Full participation of all political parties; restoration of their legitimate authorities made void by the illegal intervention, as well as each parties’ symbols and colors.
5. An independent CNE, designated by the National Assembly, as established by our National Constitution and the law. Designation of all subordinate bodies in an independent way, as well as Electoral Boards and poll workers. Respect for the work carried out by election witnesses and other workers involved in electoral processes.
6. Electoral schedule that guarantees the right to vote and time periods for each activity in the process from start to finish.
7. Equitable electoral campaign, with equal access to public and private media outlets; prohibition of national broadcasts. Equitable access to public spaces and a guarantee of free movement throughout the country.
8. Adequate behavior by the Plan Republic, respecting the fact that the electoral process is essentially a civic process. Prohibition of undue interventions of the process.
9. Audit of all processes of the electoral system, including the new voting machines and the new automated process.
10. Qualified national and international electoral observation in every stage of the process and in the various phases of the electoral cycle. Qualified support and backing in every electoral process.
All of these conditions without detriment to other fundamental demands, like the liberation of all Venezuelan political prisoners.
• Maduro’s regime, unconstitutionally applying norms in a retroactive way, has maintained opposition parties disqualified of participating in electoral processes and suspended their political leaders administratively, violating their right to political participation, and has impeded the enrollment of new political organizations unless they are regime sympathizers for years.
• Maduro’s TSJ has violated the parliamentary immunity of more than 30 active deputies of the National Assembly, passing measures involving deprivation of liberty against the majority of them, who are today imprisoned, exiled or taking refuge in diplomatic premises. 139 deputies have been subject to harassment and political persecution and five of them are currently imprisoned.
• Maduro’s TSJ passed precautionary measures -without the right of defense- by means of he has ousted the legitimate boards of many of the main democratic political parties and has imposed fake boards with the objective of committing electoral fraud, by having these usurped parties register candidates in elections and give the semblance of fictitious plural participation.
• The illegitimate CNE, designated by Maduro’s TSJ, has unanimously approved what they have called the “Special Norms for the National Assembly Elections for the Period 2021-2026”, with five months remaining until the date of the first electoral fraud they have called for. In doing so, they have usurped the legislative functions of the National Assembly and openly contradicted Article 298 of the Constitution which indicates that the law that regulates electoral matters cannot be modified in the six months prior to the date of the election. This is, in and of itself, a direct violation of the principle of Judicial Security.
• In those unconstitutional “Special Norms” decided upon by Maduro’s CNE, they have decided to increase the number of National Assembly seats by 110 for a total of 277 deputies (from 167 currently), violating Article 186 of the Constitution which establishes that one part of the seats must come from the population base of 1.1% of the total population and another part corresponds to three deputies for each of the states and the Capital District, and three additional seats must be granted to the indigenous people. Moreover, the same “Special Norms” mandate the creation of 48 national seats based of off an entirely subjective “adjudication list” with no technical criteria and with no legal or constitution justification whatsoever.
• Furthermore, there is no information about the automated system to be used or the disappearance of the voting machines and, the schedule of activities approved by Maduro’s illegitimate CNE has 12 activities less than the one executed for the parliamentary elections in 2015, avoiding the indispensable checks and audits of any reputable electoral process
• They have eliminated direct, secret and universal voting for deputies of the indigenous people, violating the Constitution and the law.