The speech of Julio Borges at the time he was sworn in as new President of the Parliament (aka National Assembly) on Thursday had its pros and cons in our opinion. We share the concern he expressed over the grave situation that the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans is going through. The number of starving people growing by the minute, soaring inflation, rampant corruption, deficiencies in the public healthcare system, among many other ills he made reference to.
Borges also said that democracy belongs to the Venezuelan people and that the solution to the serious national problems is to be found among us all. The defense of the right to vote and the respect for that vote was an issue Borges insisted on, something the vast majority of Venezuelans, even the majority of the followers of chavismo, agree with.
We also liked the way he treated the National Armed Forces. It seems right to us not to generalize, as did his predecessor Henry Ramos Allup, when referring to officers involved in acts of corruption or drug trafficking. Now then, we are faced with a government where the military has a lot of participation in state affairs – way too much to tell you the truth. Ideally, the military should have no participation in the political life of the country, but the reality is there. The main goal is to force them back to their ordinary military life and duties and make them abandon the current belligerence.
It is not true that Venezuela is the richest country in the world – it is not even a rich country anymore as a matter of fact. Venezuela has many riches, but that does not make the country rich. The aim of making Venezuela an oil-free economy is a good declaration of intent made by most political leaders of this country. Sadly, they drop the subject once oil prices rise. But who knows, right?
The message of Borges missed two words deemed vital for today’s Venezuela: dialogue and negotiation. We read it twice and we were not able to find any of these two words anywhere. We believe that it would have been very positive if Borges had proposed Nicolás Maduro to hold a meeting between the two of them, since both of them represent the top two powers emanating from the will of the people of Venezuela. I would not have been a waste of time, on the contrary.
Raising again the possibility of the ouster of Maduro is something that goes in the opposite direction, and makes it much more difficult to find a solution for the political crisis in the country. This type of statement can please many Venezuelans, that is true, but it has no practical effect. He called Maduro a dictator, but he is a dictator leaving office. That is something difficult to understand.
The decision to resume dialogue with the Government is not exclusively up to Borges, but we believe that he could have taken advantage of that very first address in an attempt to open up spaces in that direction. As Father Arturo Sosa said: if this dialogue process fails, we must try again. In the past (in 2005 to be precise), the new President of the National Assembly was right when he rejected not to vote. He refused to do what the majority supposedly wanted to do back then. Today the majority want dialogue and find a solution to the problems of the country. Just like in the past, let us hope he is right again in the present.