On February 9th, a German member of parliament from a party known as “The Left” (Die Linke) called upon the scientific service of the German Parliament (Bundestag) for a legal opinion. The party were in the process of questioning the legitimacy of the German government’s acknowledgement of Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) as the interim President of Venezuela. The answer that was provided was not conclusive.
The situation could not be cleared beyond doubt because the underlying narrative is wrong. The whole inquiry of this far-left member of the German Parliament is based on the mistaken assumption that Juan Guaidó has claimed himself as the Interim President of Venezuela outside the law and that this was an illegal act. That is the misleading narrative fueled by the authoritarian regime in Caracas, which is led by Nicolas Maduro and his criminal gang.
Juan Guaidó must regain control over the narrative.
Based on this false narrative that Juan Guaidó illegally proclaimed himself as the new president of Venezuela — helped by the swift recognition from the US president, Donald Trump. With that the foundations were created for the international left and others opposing US policies to declare the situation as a coup d’etat. The very next step was then to claim that it is another planned imperialistic move of the United States to get their hands onto the oil reserves of Venezuela, a country with the most significant oil reserves in the world.
Of course, most current statements about the legitimacy of Guaidós Interim Presidency are mistaken and based on this one false assumption, which Juan Guaidó and his followers are not correcting fast enough. This wrong narrative is driving itself and is gaining momentum. Meanwhile, this narrative is spreading across the globe and is spilling over, e.g. into attacks from a small and insignificant party in the German left against the German government. These mistake-based stories are diverting the global community from the urgent issues of widespread hunger, the terrible healthcare situation and the daily disasters in the once beautiful and thriving country of Venezuela.
In recent years, nobody in power has followed the rules, abided by the constitution, or even tried to end the horrible life circumstances that ordinary Venezuelans are facing every day. Finally Juan Guaidó tries this strictly based on the constitution. But it isn’t a coup d’etat, and it is undoubtedly not a planned play by the “bad, imperialistic” Yankees.
Juan Guaidó did not proclaim himself as interim president through a putsch.
The whole request for a legal opinion in Germany was therefore built on false grounds because Juan Guaidó did not actually proclaim himself as the interim president. He was required to take over, as Venezuela’s constitution clearly states. Article 233 gives clear orders in a situation where “Absolute faults of the President of the Republic: his death, his resignation, or his dismissal decreed by a sentence of the Supreme Court of Justice; his permanent physical or mental incapacity certified by a medical board appointed by the Supreme Court of Justice and with the approval of the National Assembly; the abandonment of the office, declared as such by the National Assembly, as well as the popular revocation of his mandate.”
Because the presidential election of 2018 was illegitimate and rigged by then-president Maduro, there was no new president after Maduro’s term was up on January 10th, 2019. Therefore, without a doubt, there is “a fault of the President of the Republic”, and the next section of said article 233 requires: “When there is an absolute lack of the President-elect or President-elect before taking office, a new universal, direct and secret election shall be held within the following thirty consecutive days. While the new President or the new President is elected and takes office, the President of the National Assembly will be in charge of the Presidency of the Republic.”
And there it is; the president of the National Assembly is placed in charge of the presidency. Therefore, Juan Guaidó, as the president of the National Assembly, was in fact put in charge by the Constitution. He did not proclaim himself as the interim president or even the president. That is a different factual situation — one that changes everything.
The German member of the parliament who questioned the legitimacy of Germany’s acceptance of Guaidó would have needed to address this question of legitimacy based on the fact that Juan Guaidó resumed the Interim Presidency in accordance with the Constitution of Venezuela. The answer to this question is much more precise because if a new leader is taking over power — or in Juan Guaidó’s case, taking over temporary power — it is legitimate to acknowledge that person if the transition of power is based on free elections — which Venezuela didn’t have — or on the country’s own rightful constitution.
If global citizens and their leaders around the world were aware that Juan Guaidó did not proclaim himself president in an illegal way through a coup d’etat, the whole narrative would change. Most of the attacks from the Maduro party and from the international far-lefts would stop as they would be baseless.
Unfortunately, the other story, that it was an unlawful coup d’etat is gaining more and more momentum and the international media are operating based on this incorrect narrative. The only people helped by this false narrative are the few people in Venezuela who enrich themselves through corruption. Meanwhile, the righteous Venezuelan people continue to starve to death.
As long as Juan Guaidó is not telling again and again his story, this false narrative will continue to gather momentum, to the extreme disadvantage of the good, ordinary people of Venezuela who have suffered now for so many years. Venezuelans do have a right to vote on a new leader in free and independent elections. Therefore, Juan Guaidó must win back the authentic and compelling narrative now and build on top of it.