CARACAS, Wednesday January 23, 2013 | Update

Venezuelan dissenters to choose presidential candidate by consensus

The executive secretary of opposition Unified Democratic Panel (MUD) read a twelve-item manifesto intended to defend Venezuela vis-à-vis the current political uncertainty. According to the document, if a presidential vote is held any time soon, the MUD will present a candidate chosen by consensus

MUD’s executive secretary: We will fight to enforce the Constitution (Photo: Reuters)
Wednesday January 23, 2013  02:42 PM
Venezuelan opposition leaders gathered in Caracas on Wednesday to commemorate the events of January 23, 1958, when dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez was overthrown. The ceremony began with a video footage showing images of what happened on that day. During the event, the opposition alliance Unified Democratic Panel (MUD) was relaunched as organization.

"The country is certainly not a man in uniform," said MUD's Executive Secretary Ramón Guillermo Aveledo at the beginning of his speech. He claimed that "Venezuela belongs to everyone. We are all necessary at this very moment of uncertainty. The country has the right to know what is going on."

Aveledo said that "the truth and the Constitution" are essential for Venezuela to overcome political uncertainty.

"The end of dictatorship and the onset of freedom were achieved through unity," Aveledo remarked as he recalled the events of January 23, 1958 and the struggle to gain democracy in Venezuela.

As some people tried to disrupt his speech on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of democracy, Aveledo said, "Dictatorship is over."

Twelve-item manifesto

After calling upon Venezuelans to bolster unity in order to fight for peace and personal security, Aveledo read out a 12-item manifesto including the opposition alliance's commitment to choose a single presidential candidate in the event that a new election is held any time soon.

The MUD undertook to respect the Constitution and advocate the rights of Venezuelan citizens, particularly that of "political prisoners and exiles suffering this political drama."

The group also pledged to fight for the defense of decentralization and sovereignty by rejecting other governments' meddling in our country's domestic affairs, especially the Cuban government.

The MUD vowed to "fight against violence, impunity, corruption, and drug trafficking and its allies inside the branches of government; reinstate the feeling of fraternity and trust between civilians and military officials; and the permanent dialog among all sectors of the country."

Translated by Jhean Cabrera
Is protest over?

That political protest in Venezuela has lost momentum seems pretty obvious: people are no longer building barricades to block off streets near Plaza Francia in Altamira (eastern Caracas), an anti-government stronghold; no new images have been shown of brave and dashing protesters with bandanna-covered faces clashing with the National Guard in San Cristóbal, in the western state of Táchira; and those who dreamed of a horde of "Gochos" (Tachirans) descending  in an avalanche to stir up revolt in Caracas have been left with no option but to wake up to reality.

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