tv Inter- American Dialogue Annual Development Bank of Latin America... CSPAN November 12, 2019 1:37pm-3:04pm EST
c-span, and also top diplomat james taylor and george kent will testify. friday, at 11:00 a.m. on c-span 2 the former ambassador the ukraine marie yovanovitch will appear at the hearings. follow the house impeachment inquiry and the administration's response on c-span, unfiltered coverage live on tv, radio app and online. watch the primetime reairs on c-span or stream any time on demand at cspan.org/impeachment. the inter-american dialogue held its annual conference in washington, d.c., about latin america, and discussed the most
important issues facing the americas today. they talked about the attitudes of voters in venezuela, and oho support has shifted since 2019. this is an hour and 20 minutes. all right. i'm going to go ahead and start to introducing the next panel, and so the next session is entitled, "venezuela, a conversation" and this session is a one-on-one interview moderated by the president, and featured luis day leon. and also the president of the group will be here to talk about the latin american market. and also, the
buenos diaz. >> translator: good morning. the topic of venezuela has come up a great deal in this conference since we got started yesterday afternoon. it is topic of great concern for all of us here in this room. and i don't think i need to point out the dimensions of the multiple crises that venezuela is going through.
i think everyone is well aware of what is going on. the idea of this interview is to hold a conversation so that we can better understand what is going on in venezuela today, especially regarding the public opinion and what surveys tell us, and also, possible future scenarios. the great question has been for a while and continues to be even today how and when will this terrible crisis come to an end in our hemisphere. to shed some light, we have invited luis vicente deleon who is a commentator and analyst on the region and venezuela as
well. he is a good friend of the dialogue for many year, and we are very appreciative that he has come to share with us in this 23rd annual caf conference his point of view. we will have a conversation and then we will invite you to ask questions and make comments regarding a topic that i nknow that generates a great deal of passion. it is important to have a good respectful conversation on this topic. mr. vicente in january of this year, a new factor entered the political situation in venezuela, and mr. wydol recognized over 50 countries as
the interim president of venezuela and at a point of time that he appeared there was a great deal of optimism and hope that he could bring about change in the short term, but as we now know, this didn't work out as was hoped. there is no doubt that the great majority of venezuelans who reject the madura regime. and so tell me how the public opinion has changed regarding the hopes and expectations of political change, and how do you see this? what are people thinking about in venezuela? thank you.
>> translator: thank you. thank you for the dialogue of caf to invite me and allowing me to discuss the vision of the venezuelan political environment which is quite complex for us, and i say complex, because there are many visions regarding the venezuelan issue. the international public is fractured, but also within the country and not only between the party and the opposition, but within the opposition, so many, many fractures to deal with. so, taking your question, and this is the most important part for me. back in december of last year, there have been a phenomenon that have been developing over the last few months, and this is very interesting. the laws of the backing of the
population towards anything that was politics, so, not only support for maduro, because maduro had significantly lost the people's support, and he came to one of the lowest points, the nadir in december, and what we were not seeing clearly is that when you checked the they had the same profiles of jobs in terms of popular support. the national assembly to give you an example which is an institution that is legitimate and elected by the people which is the contradiction of what most of the population was rejecting in maduro and his government, and back in december had only 20% of popular backing, and in january, so that the national assembly, the
constitutional assembly that had been elected in a legitimate way that was not recognized, et cetera, felt they had the same level of political or public support. so, maduro's rejection was not in contra distinction of the other leaders and institutions that would generate trust in the population, because of their level of support for those other institutions that was also at a nadir. and we used to say that we had all of the components of the o components of a change there, and people did not want maduro and they were rejecting the government, but the traditional opposition was losing ground and they were not able to connect with the masses and therefore, this was a fertile ground for the emergence of an outsider who
somehow the people were expecting, hoping would come that would break with maduro, but also break with others. so what happened in january, we had a very odd thing happening. there was an outsider that came from within. this was totally unexpected issue for us. it met the characteristic of being an outsider, why? because people didn't know him. back in january, only 15% of venezuelans had any clue who he was. he was total unknown, but he was not an outsider, but he was a representative on the second period in congress. he was the leader of a party that is considered to be a traditional party nowadays, and so this emergence that was
almost fortuitous, because or at random, and in other words, he became the president of the assembly in the fourth position. many other actors had gone before him, and not fourth, but third. other actors of other parties had gone before him and they were rotating every year. they rotate the presidency of the assembly is rotated every year, and so in comes wydo who is a unknown, and he comes in at a point in time when maduro is losing the legitimacy when he took this, and when he started the second period which was not recognized by both the opposition as much as by a large portion of the international community. so this point in time allows first the emergence of the new actor, and in comes a different
actor who rescued the hopes of the population. and what happened around him, international recognition, et cetera, all of this generates a great deal of hope in january. this comes to 60% of the revelation, and what i mean is that 60% of the venezuelans at that point in time believed that there would be change within the third, within the next three months, and that wydo was going to remove maduro from power, and this is the great hope, and people's expectations placed on guido were similar, and so the hope was 61%, and the hope for change was 61%, and the support for guaido was coming around. and this not easy to achieve by the way, because the other parties were feeling the stress
and the democratic parties, and they saw this political situation, and it was a great opportunity to generate change, but you were being left game. but the parties weren't and they did well for whatever reason. and maybe because at that level of hope, if anyone were to come and attack guido in january or february, they would become automatic enemies of the opposition of change of anything. and he was an untouchable. even though they wanted or not guido was able to achieve something that no other opposition leader had achieved which is unity around him. not because he negotiated it, but because he was the natural leader. he had achieved high levels of popular support and attacking
him would been their kryptonite. so together with his team, lopez, and his generational peers whom he called to work with him include manager -- including many deputies from the assembly and people who were close to juan guaido, even if they were not from his party, they started to design actions and to advance some good, some bad making mistakes as it happens, it's normal. but it allows for factual unity among the opposition. what happens next? well, there was a mix of factors. first, there was hope generated. what was the hope, the hope was for change. 80% of venezuelans today and 83% back in january statistically we are at the same figure, they want change. there is no doubt whatsoever that a clear majority of venezuelans want political change in venezuela. they want this political change
and to rescue democracy. there's no doubt. there's no conflict. nothing. there are no conflicting views. no, it's not even -- but 80% numerically speaking want the change in venezuela. they want change and this is just overwhelming for maduro and for the government, but this then generates a hope for change. but it is a hope for change in the short term. most venezuelans see in guido the moment for change has come and it is automatic. it is by default. it was impossible that maduro could sustain himself. first of all, because we had the alternative leader, the opposition had been articulated. there was international support.
they went to the american embassy, to the colombian ambassador, the american ambassador. so all of them thought, the end is here. the end is here. and the actions made them have this vision that the government could not endure financially what was going on. outside of this, it's not guido's fault. i'm not saying that guido or his leadership sold out on this hope. it was naturally, it was normal that it happened thus. what happened next? well, time goes by and that change does not materialize. and i wouldn't be too harsh as your introduction was that, well, at this point in time, guido couldn't do it, couldn't pull it off. no, i would say that he hasn't been able to pull it off. there are things that could yet happen in venezuela but in fact a lot more time went by than
what most venezuelans who wanted the change wanted it or those of us including myself wanted the change. we used to think and we still think -- we thought that this change would happen before then it is happening. and this of course has impact on the public opinion and also on how the opposition is structured. and how it responds. the first important element as their -- for the first time they begin to be critiques issued against guido. this actor which we could not attack initially and now there's criticism, personal critiques levied and challenges, accusations. making him responsible, blaming him for the lack of change in venezuela. some accuse him even of things
that are exaggerated. yes, mistakes have been made and for example many feel that there has been no change because there has been no military invasion. that at this point in time for some segments the only way to solve the problem would be the military one. many feel that guido on his cell phone talking about the prior panel that the -- that he has -- that there's a button there from google that says invasion and he hasn't pushed it and that he doesn't -- he hasn't used this app to get rid of it. but of course this is a joke and the problem is very challenging and complex. yes, many mistakes have been made over the months, but there have also been good things and let us talk about them later and numerically what happened several months later comparing the surveys from the beginning
of august to january. guido has lost much less popularity that some of his critics were expected to see. well, they were saying, guido has been destroyed. he's over. he's over. he's crumbling but this is a myth numerically but yes he has lost ground, 61% in january, now we find him in 49% of -- july in 49% -- well, 12 percentage points that are a significant and important loss. yes, related pre'sly to -- precisely to the fact that there was -- there's a malaise because that change hasn't happened. but 49% is still very high. so guido is still the great leader in venezuela in terms of
the popular backing not only from the opposition, but from the country. compared to maduro who in the same poll has 3%. so guido is many, many times more popular than maduro and many more popular than the rest of the leaders of the opposition in venezuela. so they are all ranging between 20, 30%. the rest of all those leaders of the opposition are between 20 and 30%. so this means that guido continues to be a very important actor in articulating the opposition and in the struggle because maybe the problem is not that the problem has not been solved yet. but that if people were expecting it to happen before it needed to happen, that more time is needed for maturization and that there are things that are under way and being implemented
so it's good to know that the leadership of the still has some support, even though it's challenging in the future. but where is the problem that is significant numerically in the survey, so the polls i would say that the greatest challenge of guido, of the opposition, of the change, of the international alliance, the greatest challenge i repeat, the greatest challenge is not the change in popularity of guido. but the change in the hope for change on the part of the population. in january, 60% of the population believed that juan guaido would be able to lead to ousting maduro in the next three months and this generated great hope. in the last poll only 28% of the venezuelan population believes that guido will oust maduro in
the next three months. and it grew because back in july it was about 20%. so it's between 20 and 30%, which is half or less than half the hope that existed back in january when the process was launched. this has not led to a loss in support. people still like him. he's young, he's fresh, he's a breath of fresh air. i like him, but the number of people who are think that this is doable, that it is ripe and ready and that the change will happen in the short run that hope has waned and let me give you a final number which is a consequence of this other number and to me this is demolishing. because you need a resolution. when we asked the people, are you willing to protest, to
struggle, to fight for your rights, because hey, we can agree with the political negotiations. we can agree with peace, but the political negotiation and the peace also require struggle for the rights on the part of the population, political participation by the people to pressure for those changes, building a power of negotiation of bargaining. so people need to be motivated to act in the processes and only 20% of venezuelans say that they are willing to protest at this point in time. not to go to war or to throw tear gas bombs, no. we are talking about protesting for the defense of their rights. it went up a little bit to 28% when we included in the question
protest or march to accompany or defend guido. guido is able to lift that number a few percentage points. so guido in fact i repeat is moving people when you -- if he goes to valencia, caracas, people are with him. they accompany him. they support him. but it is limited to his presence. and of course, he is not ubiquitous and you cannot clone him and send 40 guidos all over the country. so it is concentrated in his own person. and in his own ability to visit different parts of the country and this is related as well with the fact that the population obviously feels at risk in participating, in protests, in marches in the streets. and when they feel that they are
vulnerable and they feel risk and they think that there will be no change in the short term and there will be risky -- or there will be risk if i participate, these two things together bring about a pacification that the government takes advantage by providing bonds and grocery balls and all these things that they give to the population. okay. thank you very much. i will ask two questions, of course, there are many issues here to discuss. but one point is the military option. i think there was a diagnosis made in january or february that part of the hope was that the military brass would support and
this didn't happen. so could you tell us what the military are thinking, what the military brass are thinking in terms of military action and the second point is elections, of course. guido -- well, first to usurp the power and then transition and election and none of this has happened and there is a reassessment of the whole sequence of events that never happen. but there will be elections and there's an agenda. in the oslo process that is the only process in conversations looking for a political solution. could you please give us your understanding of the issue regarding elections under what terms and is some agreement
being reached between the regime and guido? >> okay. as regards to the military, we start off it's very hard for us to know what's happening within the military. it's black box. we can't penetrate it, we don't know. and some won't give you information because they're very afraid of being marked as spies. there's some intelligence -- this is normal because the military is the essential pillar of the government of the government knows. that the armed forces are key to this entire story of change. so they are going to make sure that this doesn't happen. the military are very discreet with their information, but what -- but what are we able to know? the first element is that in my
view, from my perspective, and i understand that people have different perspectives and i welcome them all but in my view the military is the essential key to any chance for bringing about change in venezuela. now this was true often in the past, in my opinion it continues to be true. let's see why. we're looking at a conflict of power right now. it doesn't matter oh, how you qualify them. whether legitimate or not or autocratic. it's a conflict of power. in this power struggle how do you resolve this? power struggle may be resolved three ways. institutionally, democratic government in which the institutions are appropriate and legitimate and they decide the situation and you expect it even if you lose. that's not the situation in venezuela. first, we don't have a conventional democracy. any democracy. not even one with the descriptor
in front of it. and essentially the elections are not expected by both sides. not even going to say whether or not how you would classify one or the other. one good, for better or worse, the other side does not accept what this institution says. that is the national assembly, not accepted by the chavez supporters and the chavez supporters don't -- it's not supported by those who support the national assembly. so you have negotiations or military struggle. a combination of force to provoke negotiations or the other side which is it might be exhausted to give legitimacy to the use of force. that's what's at stake, but we have this correlation of forces and this power struggle. who has the power? you might say it might be from
the foreign military invasion or internally. a coup d'etat. some people might call it that, but others might say we deem the constitutional citizens rights by reinstating democracy. i'm not getting into that debate, i'm just talking about strength or rather arm struggle is one path and negotiations is another path. there could be foreign intervention to remove maduro from power. i don't doubt that would work, but the strength of a foreign power is not comparable or rather that maduro's power is not comparable to what may come from the outside. but we would be left like panama or like libya. there are enough risks with the foreign military intervention
that might leave the country in anarchy or might happen in the future. however, venezuela does have an armed military that has money if you don't negotiate with them, they have to come out to defend you also might align with the armed groups that were formed by chavez. they were to prevent the military from rising up against him. what happens if those adversaries align with him to protect him from foreign interventions so we have to look at also the people that is the criminals who run complete mafias in the jails for smuggling. for kidnapping. and for ransom taking. so what would happen if all of this is not well planned,
negotiated and controlled? that risk exists but i'm not going to analyze that because the fact is at least from our perspective today, the likelihood of external military intervention is quite low in the short term. at least just to give you a time range we can't imagine a credible threat before the united states elections. therefore, from now to november of next year we don't believe that that is a real possibility. which don't believe that we are obliged to analyze it too extensively. could it occur, then we'll analyze it, but it's not part of the scenario. so we're looking at the internal force or strength. who holds power? it's the military. they can act. but this has to be channeled through the military that then becomes the central actor of any change by force. but what's on the other side of
the coin? it's negotiation. what would encourage maduro to negotiate something that would be essential in order to change the situation? a competitive presidential election for everything else is more complex. but if we're talking about competitive presidential elections with the numbers i mentioned today the likelihood of maduro winning a competitive election is one limit. there is no likelihood in terms of a competitive election. for a noncompetitive one, anything can happen. and you don't have to worry about the surveys or the voters' preferences. you have to say why would maduro be encouraged see why he might say there's an election today that i know i'm going to lose, because i'm going to give you an amnesty or i'm going to live in barbados or bermuda?
that does not -- that's not enough incentive to think that a 20-year-old revolution that it has so many people involved is going to make a decision to completely lose power because i'm going to give you money for you to go retire in bermuda. no. it's not even secured. we don't get hurricanes in caracas. so bearing this in mind, if you would like to look at people who criticize negotiations, they do have a point. why would i engage in negotiations if i don't have negotiating power to get the other party that i need him or to do. why am i going to waste time with that negotiation, so you have a point there. now, where do we depart from that point? where do we see that something can happen to really kick start the negotiations and that would be if the military feels that
they have to negotiate, the military needs to feel that it's in their interests to oblige maduro to sit down to political negotiations that will remove him from power in an orderly way. now, the mistake that has been made in my opinion once again this is my opinion and i understand that people may disagree with me, is that they tried to reach the military which is essential both for action by force and for negotiations. they tried to divide the military in order to bring them to the negotiating table or to take power by force. first, they did this with humanitarian aid which became a political agent. now it's the issue of humanitarian aid is different now. but during the first stage of humanitarian aid it was to pressure the military to divide
itself. what happened, what was going to happen in my view? there's no surprise here. the military are corporatists. and since they are corporatists, you can get that corporate sector to separate from maduro and that will change. that can be accomplished. what you're not going to accomplish is to get that sector from inside despite the fact that they have differences of opinion and we saw this on april 30th. they do have some relevant fissures in terms of those who do or don't want maduro out. whatever they do, they act together as a corporate body, because that's their life insurance. i wonder who has the most firepower, whoever has the most firepower wins and then as a
corporation we decide what to do. you have to do it together because you never know when you're in the minority and you need to also be protected in the future. for this reason, the decision is made as a group and you need to work with the military as a group. so what i'm getting to is the three elements that have not been and are not something that's feasible in the short term. i might be saying this and it's happening down there, but from my rational view point, the military can be fractured or split off from maduro. but what we have to happen first in addition to having this fear of staying with him, three things have to be there. it's not an an necessity law.
and the first time when i offer amnesty to the military sector they say they're being very arrogant because a significant segment of the military is not involved in anything that might be subject to being labeled a crime against humanity or something. simply the national guard is the only body in all of the armed forces that participates, for example, in these protests and rallies. they go up -- and also you might even parachutes falling so don't feel you have to request amnesty because they feel like they have done nothing wrong. the second aspect is most important, they have guarantees, it's not amnesty, number one. they have guaranteed military control. two, they have a guarantee that they will have protection for their family and their own safety. and third, protection of their
assets so these are the three elements that they enjoy with maduro. they say, put all of that aside, because i'm going to forgive you and i'll forgive you and they know that that pardon is completely impossible to sustain over time because a spanish judge might come capture them anywhere on the planet and subject them to jail time. secondly amnesty they cannot guarantee this by the prosecutor. so it's very hard to imagine that being implemented. so the issue is how can you make sure that this can be made operational such as what happened in chile between o'shea or with daniel ortega's brother,
the minister of defense in nicaragua or what's done in other countries. if people keep their money and their safety and live in peace, so we know that this means that they -- this is all unacceptable to the military since this can't be guaranteed. so my view of the military is it's central factor. i'll get to the second aspect of your question, which is an election as a solution. if you ask the population they continue to like the idea of an election. population likes that. venezuela is a country that's accustomed to the long democratic tradition with all of its flaws and even though we don't have democracy now, people are used to voting. people may have lost some faith in the vote and some people abstained. this was a big headache even for
the opposition because abstention is opposition and this means that people who use a -- if you have an election without addressing the issue of abstention, that's a danger. but if you ask most people they will say i want to resolve this problem through elections. however, when you nuance this, the kind of election that i want is a competitive one. i want an election in which there will be good electoral rules and i feel my vote will be respected because if i don't feel that, then the people create the idea that elections can resolve their problems but we look at the mayors and the everything and in which the opposition is the majority, not only because they steal the election for you but because a large segment of the electorate does not want to vote and this
is what the venezuelan government uses in order to k w know -- to now say that this debate is a parliamentary election. the national assembly's terms run out next year. and if they get -- so the government has said we're going to have parliamentary elections and trying to minimize the possibility and they bring up the parliamentary election. at least they say that it's going to happen in the right year and there will be some others whereby they try to bring the opposition into the election and in which the political opposition will tend to abstain. this may be even in this case the cure would be worse than the disease because people might be fooled by this process and try to get involved in it. despite the limitations that will be present in these
elections. and in my view, that will be the major debate over the last quarter. >> very well, it's 12:15. we are scheduled to end at 12:30. but with your permission, we'll go on a little bit later. you can ask luis vicente any questions you might have and then think about the questions and go up to the microphone. we have them on both sides of the room. and then i have the last question for you myself, mr. vicente. how do you view u.s. policy today vis-a-vis venezuela particularly with regard to the sanctions? >> the economic sanctions in the last round of sanctions that freezes all of the assets in this country. i think that there are several view points on this. some people think that it improves the prospects of the solution to the crisis, but
others disagree, what do you think? i also understand the debate around this process. because people get desperate that nothing is happening. i might criticize a given position but i don't really have a good alternative that's credible. and people despair and they'll accept anything, they think it's peter to do something than nothing. as regards to the united states, i'd like to start off by saying obviously the united states has been an important ally for the search for change in venezuela and it's not just me who says this. but this is acknowledged by the venezuelan people in the surveys. we have never seen so much appreciation on the part of the population for the united states to have taken the venezuelan case very seriously in terms of trying to resolve it.
so this is aside from the interests but this is the policy and at least this interest has become something that has been and is helping the actions of the opposition and their leadership. that's why a lot of exiles are brought into this as well and as well as representatives in the legislature. many have left venezuela not because they want to, but because they have been persecuted or threatened. i believe this is something that we need to thank the u.s. for before we get into any analysis about the effectiveness of this policy so i wanted to start with that. now, when you analyze what has happened empirically what has been done regarding the search for change, first, the first step towards change with all of the humanitarian aid, and also
the situation on the border was underestimated. the military and the unity of that -- of the military as a corporate body i think that the plan was a bit short slighted. you were thinking this was going to happen very quickly. if you think this, then you take your actions for a short period of time, but over time much of this loses efficiently and becomes counterproductive. you did not get more flexible on the policy but rather the policy radicalized himself to the international strategy. the international strategy was sanctions, sanctions were used as a mechanism to kick maduro out of power.
and sanctions themselves give rise to a major debate. and that was within the chavez supporters and the opposition, and that's normal. i'm talking about how it divided the opposition. how could it divide the opposition? and this is something that was supposedly to kick their enemy out of power. a lot of people wrote about this and talked about this. whoever is against this, they say that you're a collaborator with the government. you don't have a right to dissent because a lot of people want to have a particular kind of democracy in which everybody -- people think they the democracy everyone has to agree with you. if you don't agree with me, then you're chavez supporter. so this is an extremist position. even extremists are useful and important in this kind of struggle.
so what happened? if you look at this, the sanctions divided the opposition, why was this? first, some feel that you have to do whatever you can do to kick out today and as you sketch this out, you think that it's something that is attractive. they're going to lose their infrastructure, they don't have money. they can't sell the oil they live off of. they can't do transfers so you think that the government is going to have to explode. that's what the theory is. but for the other secondn't of the -- segment of the opposition for some analysts the effectiveness of sanctions is highly questionable. but first based on historic experience. if you look at the outcome of sanctions in cuba, iran, syria, zimbabwe it makes you nervous.
you at least have the right to reasonable doubt on the effectiveness of this and the reasonable doubt is why are you telling me this is going to work here when it didn't work in any other cases and in the cases you have placed on the table, you're talking about panama or nicaragua or cuba. cuba and nicaragua had the sanctions and you wrote it in "the new york times" when it was a different kind of struggle. and you had to invade. so i would say that this is something that i'm not questioning what comes after what might be successful. i'm just saying that sanctions per se have not been shown to be effective. however, this has created a lot of fury and virulent attacks
from bots on the internet. sanctions have an impact on the population. there's no doubt about this. i'm not saying that sanctions are responsible for the crisis in venezuela. i would have to be an imbecile that the sanctions created the krys first. and the crisis dates to before the sanctions. and it does go back a ways. the crisis the factor of a primitive controlling of the government and nothing that exonerates maduro for the destruction of the company,
economically speaking. so we are not discussing that, but every time the argument comes up you're saying that sanctions are bad because they destroy the country the sanctions don't destroy the country. the sanctions did not create the crisis, however, there's no way to reasonably maintain them. there's no way to reasonably state that sanctions do not further aggravate the existing crisis. and this -- they are being effective with this. there's no energy, yes. but if you turn off the lights you make it worse. if the new hospitals do not work well, at least they're given an aspirin, but now they have problems in that. or they're going to -- it's going to become more severe.
i could debate whether or not this is good or bad. if you need sacrifice to bring about change, what you cannot say is that sanctions have no impact on the population. that is false. so if that basis is true and if you take a long time with them, the cost to the population, the price that the population pays is enormous. not only enormous but counterproductive. and i'd just like to finish by saying how counterproductive can it be? just as in cuba and iran and cuba and zimbabwe you might wind up making the country poorer and internationally weak and it might been an internal big brother which is all you need to convince this population this is
all they have to get medicine or food but it doesn't make them weaker in terms of the social control and making them have staying power over time. they might allow me to buy food or medicine and then you're telling the venezuelan government they can buy food, despite the sanctions. i'm not saying they can't sell their oil because they don't have money. they don't have dollars. that means you can't buy food. the last argument is that well, they can use the money that they do have. what do they use it for? to arm the country and to harass colombia on the border for the food. so i'd like to close by saying that in this you're saying that maduro is acting like jack the
ripper and he is not using it to protect himself against the police who are chasing him and then you blame jack the ripper. >> okay, we are going to take five questions starting with you over here. you can ask your questions in english or spanish and then i'll give you 30 seconds to answer them. so please speak very quickly for a change. i'm here on on behalf of the office of the minister of the embassy of the netherlands. we're a very small country of 110,000 and we have some 20,000 venezuelans and the number has grown since the crisis. this is a very broad topic, however. i'd like to know what you have to say on me half of venezuela? and what impact does this have on venezuela and also on the receiving countries such as a
small country as aruba and also other larger countries such as colombia. >> yeah, those who argue -- >> can you tell us who you are. >> yeah, ken meyer cord. i'll try to get this thing turned off so i won't hear myself. those who argue that mr. guido acted constitutionally in assuming the presidency cite article 233 of the constitution. i don't see anything in there that authorizes the way he's acted. had he acted in accordance with the venezuelan constitution? >> thank you. over here. >> i'm a second year student at the american university. i'm from nicaragua. i'm aware of the causes and
effects i want to know what advice you have for those beginning their studies and those who want to confront these institutions or governments that are affecting countries such as nicaragua and honduras in which the fight for democracy is just gaining strength. >> my neighbor over here is having a problem with his voice and asked me to read this. what is the purpose of the -- criticizing the -- the negotiations with norway? he's a georgetown student. >> we are watching the death of a nation it seems to me. we have a criminal enterprise operating the country. your analysis is very depressing in the sense that if we're talking about six months, a year, two years, the country
can't survive two more years of this. it's already going to take 20 years, 30 years to recover. if you're talking about elections as being the best option, i don't see how you could have fair, honest elections and you're also saying militarily there's not much hope. there must be some other solution that you can identify. my own solution which i would never admit to saying this involves some support externally. in light of what you're saying the corporate status of the military is there a way that there can be some sort of external support and still take into account all of the negatives that you have identified? thank you. >> good morning.
deputy of congress persecuted by the regime and living outside the country. first of all, i'd like to thank the calf for this extraordinary event that it has organized. very well organized, very pluralistic, very good. the second thing i want to say is what -- as vicente explained is true, that we are pessimistic, but venezuela is a country full of surprises. back in 1958 the country was calm and a few days later the dictatorship was ousted. then there was a coup d'etat and the country changed overnight. 27 of november of that same year, they were celebrating christmas almost and another coup. but so let's remember in our history there have been many surprises. march 14, 2017, we were dead in
the congress. it was going to be eliminated, terminated but there was a dissolution decree to dissolve congress and overnight there was a protest and 100 people were killed. most of whom were young people under 25. surprise after surprise in my country. this is not a normal country, please understand it. it is a mixture of marxism with militarism and drug trafficking. if you blend that in a blender you'll get this so it's not easy to fight against this. two-thirds of the population voted in congress and the next day we -- 300 deputies were removed and the next day it was declared that the congress was no longer allowed to function.
and was terminated. this is true, but in the poll mentioned by vicente, 60% of the people polled say that the fault of the crisis is not trump or the united states or the government. the people is clear, the people is clear on what's going on. another surprise for you. if there were going to be elections in venezuela and the choices were trump and maduro, the winner would be trump, right or wrong, am i right or wrong? the military sector, i'm a congressman and so we have -- and from my region, from my electorate, i had 21% of the vote. the first time i participated i was a total -- outsider, excuse me. i had 40% in this district which is largely militaristic. so the militaries are not
extraterrestrials. they live there and they participate in the polls as they may be underrepresented. but they're answering, it can't be that -- that all the military are in favor of maduro. they also have -- they also have their opinion and some of them are against. it's like when we have a patient who has cancer and the doctor tells him that he's going to die. i cannot tell you when, but he will die and things will change. it's not good. there must be change. and what is the change we want? it's electoral change are people are allowed to vote and my last point is if the government holds elections before december of next year, which i am -- my term goes to january 1, 2021. if elections are held before,
there will be a trap for the government. you will see what will happen. thank you, thank you congressman. >> timmy -- >> i'm timothy towel, i'm a yankee diplomat from last century and i have a question which comes from the past century. why there is so much money, so many rich people in europe and asia and this hemisphere and in this little room here why isn't there any money to buy and these criminals and the thugs and pay other countries to accept these people and not have to listen to this silliness of judges and
attorneys here in washington who need to say, here and play with our friend, the president down the road. i was an ambassador in paraguay, and the president back then was an ally of ours against communism. and then i have a picture of him getting on the plane to go to brazil and had a big suitcase. no clothes but money. to go to brazil to watch sousa on tv. >> i think your question was clear, the alternative representative of the venezuelan mission at the oe, and my question is you asserted that 80% of venezuelans wanted
political change. i believe i'm right that in that 80% we can include the public administration. there is a union leader that is well known in the social media. he recently was saying that 20% or it's not an accurate percentage but he said that 20% of the administration -- says that we are not allowed to speak up. but my question is what would be the formula you would suggest so that the public administration that is unhappy, discontent, could be added on to the political change that needs to happen? >> first of all, brilliant, brilliant presentation. and so clearly expressed that even at the speed with which you speak we could all understand it.
which is quite a trick. running through the discussion and the questions from people on this side, there is this question about the relation of the external sector, the united states and the rest of the international community to the venezuelan situation. and i thought it might be good too -- to end with a little bit of a discussion between the -- for you to specifically address the relationship between your analysis as you laid it out with the implications for the international community. i have just a couple of things to say. first, in the brazilian situation, with millions of people in the streets calling for direct elections as a way of replacing the military
government, there were leaders in the opposition, cordoso among them who argued stepping -- increasing the demonstrations would only force the armed forces to get together and keep the system the way it is because they couldn't take the risks of being thrown out by people in the streets. so his advice was back off, be as unified as possible in the opposition. and wait for the armed forces to understand that it was in their interest to work out a transition. and the international community can play a role in sending that -- in making the conditions for that. second from the implications i get of your analysis, if the international community understands and accepts your
analysis, it involves really concentrating on what you were saying about the terms on which a negotiation might be the best way out for the armed forces of venezuela. not trying to divide and fracture them, but trying to play on their corporate interests in preserving the armed forces but also solving the immediate issues for certain personnel. i wonder whether you agree with that or wonder whether you can add to the implications for how the international community including this country should be behaving in this situation. >> thank you. >> so in one minute, please, maybe if you speed it up a
little more you will be able to -- it's your fault. it's your fault. >> oh, yeah, blame me for anything. >> with respect to immigration or the exodus, of course, this is one of the most awful things we are living through. not only those who are the receiving countries, like aruba, colombia, peru, which would have had a problem in colombia in particular is the one most affected but also for venezuela. because of course we are losing, we are losing our people. gray matter resources it's the brain drain. the ability to produce and we are losing our brothers and sisters who are going away to suffer in other places when venezuela could have gigantic ability to go back to when we used to be in the past.
where we received our brothers and sisters from latin america. unfortunately for the government it's not necessarily a drama. for the government on the contrary, migration can be evolve from social media pressure, electoral pressures but also to obtain resources in terms of remittences from people who are sending back money that have held maduro. ultimately for the government it provides a certain level of calmness. and the level of remittences is about $2.5 billion plus about another $1 billion that are repatriated. in other words, venezuelans who live in venezuela and have resources abroad and return them back to their country to compensate for the loss of income. so this is an item that will continue to grow. today only 30% of the population
are in -- with remittances that have been increasing. the percentages are growing and might continue to grow. so this budget item will be important and if the venezuelan government releases the foreign exchange, they will directly receive that income. so it is dangerous because migration is not a headache for maduro. on the other hand, or a country to this, it is an exhaust valve. regarding the issue of who he is constitutionally a president or not, it is a legal debate. and i dare not go there. because this happened in venezuela. lawyers talked about it.
the institution had -- of the national assembly which is elected by the people they felt they had that power and i understand that there may be many debates all legal issues are debatable. but what is true is that this is a political struggle and in the political struggle we may have some legal debates but there is mostly a symbolic debate going on. it is not true that juan guaido is exercising power in the presidency, that's not true. he may have some prerogatives abroad, venezuela abroad with systems of representatives in those countries that have acknowledged or recognized him. but another president in power in venezuela is maduro. no matter how we call him, we
can qualify him legitimate. call him but the territorial controller of the country is in the hands of maduro and this can't be hidden away. when we have a symbolic president in the political struggles in order to try and rescue democracy and leading a struggle against what is considered to be an ill legitimate government or whatever you want to call it. so it's -- yes, it is important politically speaking and of course there will be more legal debate that will return normalcy to venezuela, but before that we need to have a change occurring. so i want to recommend to the newer generations, well, this is key of course. yes, you're a student, you are being formed and trained here
but i think the great challenge is to form, to trine -- to train, and invite others to political ointernet, have different ways of communicating, of kecking to politics. but what cannot be different at all and see the responsibility belongs with the population to act, to participate, to engage, to create institutions to demand, defend their rights and participate in policy and policy making. and i thinks in essential to somehow be able to avoid the emergence or reemergence of populist regimes that are not very attractive always. and the most affected population are the ones that are most attracted to these populist regimes. now, i don't remember exactly the question from the oas. but let's go back to it at the
end. yes, i would say that the -- yeah, it is depressing when we analyze this and when you start to understand the complexity, the challenges of removing a government that has been 20 years in power, that was a revolution that took all the institutions and took democracy based op the base of democracy which elected it and then changed the institutions. and this is a process of 20 years. and this 20-year process cannot be solved in three months or dsh and so when you are going guaido or to the opposition to solve the problem in three months and then critique those efforts that have fruit fieed yet, succeeded
then you are the one with the problem. we require negotiation. we will require political negotiations. people, it's not like if you have a label on your forehead that says oh this is negotiation. negotiation is more than a label. yes, if we are saying that the military power is part of it, that requires negotiation. you will have to negotiate and understand that even though you are angry and you think that no, you won't yield to the bad guys. if you do not negotiate those rmts and guarantee the segments to the military sector then 20 years later they are telling you you are ethically pure but didn't solve the problem. and the topic will remain and i believe we will have to work very much for the process. but to me that's not -- that doesn't cause depression in me because we are not talking about being he can which distant --
equitable but we need to objective. and because otherwise you won't one and won't succeed objectively. time is needed, required to negotiate, talk with the people. yes, many things are missing. but instead of being depressioned about it i think that the more we windounderstans the more we likely to resolve the situation. i agree with jose in a point. if we do do a cross section today everything looks black. but what can be black to white can be a tipping point. and we don't know when it will happen. we are hoping it will be here and now with us that this tipping point will happen sooner rather than later. but it will happen, even if it is later. okay. and finally, well, in fact i
cannot answer, because people having so much money they don't do more, we would have to ask those who have a lot of money. i have to ask michael to pay for my cab from the airport. i have no money so maybe let's ask those rich people why don't don't they do more with their money. regarding 80% of the public administration. i would say the public administration -- we are not martials or extra territoriesials which of course the military, the public administration there is a large majority wanting change as well. i think it's the same challenge for the public administration as for the rest of the country. are they willing to engage and participate? it's true in the political system, the system has to provide them with the opportunity to engage, to generate hope, that the end is
in sight or that it is even possible, so you cannot ask people to sacrifice themselves and at the same time the sacrifice won't bear fruit because you either emigrate to flee from what is awful or you become someone who needs to stay and survive. and i don't want to criticize someone who wants to survive -- or support their family, or receive something from the government if that is essential to their livelihood. so i have a responsibility -- or the political sector has the responsibility to generate, supply offerings and ways in which the hope of the people can be rescued. and regarding dsh final question, i think, the international community, an eand international actions are essential. i think that they can not turn their backs and say no it's not
my problem. i think what is being done has many problems. and i have described them. but they have a good point. and the good point is that there is an international community looking and watching, seeing what venezuela is doing and what's going on in venezuela and recognizing that the problem in venezuela needs to be resolved. the international community will learn as we have to learn from within that many of the things we thought would be solving the problem do not solve the problem, and they will end up knowing like what we learned from your book as what happened. the international community will devote a great deal more money, effort and time to sustain a process of political negotiation. and even use -- as you were saying that people need to defend in re rights. the international community can also use pressure, mechanism -- pressure mechanisms in order to build up negotiating power so
that the parties can come to a solution where we can not have an existential conflict, where either you or me. no, we bowing need to exist around a negotiation in order to cause stable change in venezuela. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> well, thank you very much. an excellent presentation. if you can stay here for a few minutes, the end of the conference -- the only thing -- the next step is it lunch, which i know all of you are anxious to have. there is more than enough for everybody. but i want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for coming, thank everybody, for thanking the speakers of all the panels who i think were extraordinary, very high-level, stimulating. and it was terrific. this was really a fantastic conference. and i want to thank the collaboration support of kaf and
viktor rico and the president who had to leave a little bit early. finally let me say organizing something like this is not easy. and i think hope -- i think that the organization of this event has been almost flawable. and that's thanks to our incredible, amazing staff and team of the interamerican dialogue. and i think they've done an outstanding job in every aspect of the organization. and i hope you join me in thanking them for the great job. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> follow the house impeachment inquiry and the administration's response on cspan.
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