Speaking on the current situation in Venezuela, Prime Minister Gonsalves said Maduro wants to have a conversation with the Opposition, however, the Opposition is ducking the conversation.
Gonsalves said in light of this Maduro looks to the Constitution to find a structured conversation with the people, and a structured political conversation with the people involves a constituent assembly.
“It’s not replacing the national assembly” Gonsalves stated. Gonsalves said the issues in Venezuela are either going to be resolved peacefully or violently or a mixture of each.
How can you deal peacefully? ” you can have discussions, you can give and take, have compromises, and elections, of course, do provide a peaceful way to resolve disputes”.
Gonsalves said In the case of Venezuela, there are going to be elections for the municipalities and the Governorship in December and then there are the 2018 Presidential Elections.
“So competitive elections are on the table, now within the time frame of competitive elections you can always have discussions and dialogue”.
So what do we have in Venezuela?
“We have the Government having the Executive, the support of the Army and the National Police; the Government has PDVSA which is the state company dealing with oil and gas, and you have the private sector which dominates in several areas of the Venezuelan economy”.
Gonsalves said the Opposition has the majority in the National Assembly. Despite some talks of a Government controlled judiciary, Gonsalves said;
“The Judiciary is independent, but thus far it seems, it appears as though, the judiciary has been, there may be some decisions which the judiciary has taken which may upset the Bolivarians, but so far it seems as thou the decisions have been in line with their own approach”.
“I can’t say the Judiciary is either one side or the other because the Judiciary is expected to be independent”.
Gonsalves said persons have pointed out to him that there is a poll which shows Maduro has a 28 percent favorability rating.
To this Gonsalves said we must remember that the party which he represents is the still the single largest party, noting that the Opposition is a collation of parties.
“In any event, there are several presidents in Latin America with polling numbers in the teens, with the the last poll showing a 36 percent approval rating for President Trump, the point is we don’t run government by opinion polls”.
“We have elections, and people are elected to govern, and there are rights of the minority and other institutions, which make up a democratic country, Venezuela has more elections than any other in this hemisphere, and elections which have been declared free and fair”.
Gonsalves also stated on Sunday that Caricom is taking active steps by the decision they made at last meeting of Caricom heads in Grenada.
This he said is to see if they can as a body bring about a constructive and peaceful dialogue and find a resolution to the conflict in Venezuela.
Congress on Friday voted to replace the entire government-stacked supreme court with 33 new judges, including Zerpa, as part of a growing challenge to the government’s legitimacy.
The court and the government said the replacement is invalid and unconstitutional.
On Saturday ABC News reported that A few thousand protesters attempted to reach Venezuela’s Supreme Court before clashing with national guardsmen and largely dispersing by late afternoon.
The outlet said it was a disappointing turnout for opponents of President Nicolas Maduro eight days before he launches the rewriting of the country’s constitution.
Maduro has shown no sign of giving in, saying the constitutional rewrite will help solve Venezuela’s political standoff and dire economy.
In Washington, President Donald Trump’s administration threatened to take “strong and swift economic actions” if Maduro proceeds with the constitution rewrite.
More than 7.5 million Venezuelans voted in an unofficial opposition referendum rejecting Maduro’s plan last Sunday, leaders said.
By Ernesto Cooke