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Domain Democracy of Venezuela

From chilhood we have learnt that democracy is that system of government which we can
choose our government among different options, different political parties, and different
programs. Also, we have learnt that democray is the best political system, because it
suposses that all of us are free for choosing and being elected, that we can believe and
criticise our governments, that we are all equal without diffrence of race, religin, wealth or
gender; that there is a rule of law and it forces to the government to act in accordance with
the law, and not according their whims; that democratic participation is made through free
elections; and that separation of powers allows each institution of State to be independent,
but at the same time, they can checks and balance each other for avoiding that one of them
can violate rights of the citizens.
Democracy in Venezuela is not yet a dream come true. This dream comes from the times of
Independence. Even the first constitution has been said that all men were equal and free.
Such claim has been done in every constitution through two hundred years of Republican
History. But, reality has shown something very different. For instance, the Constitution of
1811, established so many requirements for voting that only a few people could do it. A
voter must be man, white, catholic, and owner of land. Over no more than a century ago
those people of dark skin or poor people could not vote. Barely seven decades ago women
had no right to vote. Which is to say, always there had been pitfalls that had avoided the
perfect excercise of democracy. Since always democracy has been unfair and manipulated.
Democracy has been an illusion, not a reality. The real has been the manipulation of
popular will for avoiding that it would expresse freely and sovereingly.
Venezuela have had great advances thanks to the constitutions of 1961 and 1999. It would
seem that finally direct democracy was a dream come true. Free elections, recall
referendum, participation, responsability of governments, citizens rights. All those beautiful
words can be read in our constitution. In some way, we have believed that sovereignty
come from the people and that people could and should control to the government. That all
people were equal before the law, and no one, wheter president or private citizen stands
above the law.

However, this mirage of democray has been faded. Again, we have come back


nineteenth century, when any person could be denied her or his right to vote according to
the whims of the government clique. Tibisay Lucena, the president of the National
Electoral Council (Consejo Nacional Electoral), in a display of abuse of authority, has
excluded more than half a million of citizens of their right to participate in the recall
referendum. She cut of the citizens fundamental right to remove the government.
Again the defective democracy. Again the mask democracy. The democracy of mirage.
You do not vote, I decide in your name. Those thousands of citizens which have been
denied his right to ask the resignation of the President of Venezuelan Republic, they do not
exist. Those situations are unbelievables because they are refered to known people. In fact
they are refered to an opponent governor, legislators, opponent mayors, politic leaders.
What happen with the ordinary citizens? They are mistreated as the African American
citizens in the United States, at the beginning of the twentieth century, whose right to vote
were denied if they would not be able for answering all the absurd questions made by the
white oppresor.
In Venezuela, any person can be erased, ignored, mistreated, disregarded because of her or
his signature is odd, or because there is a lot of ink in her or his fingerprint, or because
there are little ink in her or his fingerprint. Another reason could be because you think
different, you are an opponent to the government. Which is to say, If you are an opponent,
the government do not recognize your rights, because he does not want, this is the simple
Therefore, is there any guarantee if the electoral institution is biased towards the
government? The answer is very simple. There is not guarantee in our domain democracy.
In a domain democracy, people have not come of age and need guidance, people are
mentally retarded. The law does not matter, the oppresor decides what is legal, what is not
Mrs. Lucena confirms it, when she, a simple public officer, acting as she would be above
the law, denied the popular will. She orders people to keep quiet, she orders people shut
their mouths. She is above the popular will. She is like a queen. We are her subjects, we
must her complet obedience. It is an irony of the history. We have suffer so much

bloodshed for avoiding a King, and now we are subjugated before a public officer that acts
like a tyran of old times.
In the domain democracy of Venezuela, a Tibisay Lucena's twitt is more worthy than the
will of a nation that wants liberty.

Prof. Lenin Eduardo Guerra

Public Policy Department
Universidad de Los Andes-Venezuela