Recently I attended a gathering of Venezuelans in Mexico City with three opposition members of the National Assembly: Julio César Montoya, María Corina Machado (the one physically attacked and injured in the assembly last month), and Miguel Ángel Rodríguez. The visit was part of a wider international strategy to denounce the electoral fraud of April 14 earlier this year that made official the de facto government of Nicolás Maduro. During the last month opposition leaders and congressmen have traveled to Paraguay, Peru, Colombia, and now Mexico. Earlier this week opposition leader Henrique Capriles even met with Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, prompting an outraged declaration from Nicolás Maduro, who previously slammed CNN for interviewing opposition leaders.
I want to take the chance to speak about this gathering with the three members of the National Assembly. Like anything regarding Venezuelan politics, it was a very heated conversation. First, Julio César Montoya took notice of the presence of the TV channel Telesur, which is an international broadcast paid by the Venezuelan government to spread the regime’s propaganda in South America. The congressman invited them to stay for the press conference and then asked them to leave because they wanted to speak frankly with us, comparing Telesur with Goebbels’s propaganda machine. Telesur is widely known to be a laboratory of news manipulation typical of totalitarian regimes. It was a heated moment, but finally they agreed.
Additionally, it was brought to our attention that a small group from the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) was also present. It was a group of students from the School of Philosophy accompanied by a professor. The School of Philosophy is known to be a place of Mexico’s radical revolutionary left. What were they doing there?
After 15 years of authoritarian socialism, Venezuelans are used to a regime which hires spies everywhere we go, and if the students were really recording information for their thesis projects, we don’t have the luxury of being naïve regarding the professor’s intentions. They were also asked to leave after the press conference. If the students were unaware that they were being used by their communist professor to become part of the propaganda machine of a foreign autocratic regime, the responsibility falls entirely on the professor. It was another heated moment.
Once the three legislators were free to speak, besides the typical political speeches, three very interesting details were told to us.
1. The reason why the second part of Mario Silva’s infamous audio recording in which he speaks freely about the Maduro regime's huge web of corruption has not been published yet, is because the opposition is waiting for a more strategic moment to do so. Mario Silva is a former voice of the regime, who retired after a recording was released to the public in which he speaks for more than an hour about the Maduro regime's violent internal divisions and submissiveness to the Cuban regime.
2. A huge file uncovering the Bandes’ corruption case, a fraud with Venezuelan debt bonds that produced $66 million and that implicates Venezuela’s government officials as well as some people from abroad, is about to come out soon.
3. The Paraguayan President Federico Franco is willing to introduce at the Organization of American States a motion to discuss the application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter against the de facto government of Nicolás Maduro, for having robbed the April 14 presidential election. According to Montoya, there are five more American countries willing to back up the motion. He hinted that Peru might be one of them. An international front against Maduro’s de facto regime is building up.
The gathering showed that the Venezuelan opposition has a well-thought-out strategy to combat Maduro’s usurpation of the Venezuelan government. Montoya closed his speech with three simple points where the opposition has the advantage: they are divided; we are united. They lack a discourse of solutions; we have the solutions. They no longer have a leader; we do have one: Henrique Capriles Radonski.