ESPACIO PUBLICITARIO
CARACAS, Monday March 24, 2014 | Update
 
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INTERVIEW | María Corina Machado, independent deputy

"This movement is unstoppable and irreversible"

"Over the past seven weeks, students on the streets, supported by citizens, have taken off the democratic mask of Maduro's regime, which has unleashed repression as never seen before under the dictatorships of Juan Vicente Gómez or Marcos Pérez Jiménez"

Machado vows to keep on working, and not be silenced. "I will be deputy as long the people want it to, not until (President Nicolás) Maduro or (Congress Speaker Diosdado) Cabello please" (Georgina Svieykowsky)
ROBERTO GIUSTI |  EL UNIVERSAL
Monday March 24, 2014  12:52 PM
Some people hail your participation in the Organization of American States (OAS). However, most of Member States supported the Venezuelan government's position, revealing that it still has an important support within the organization.

It is a victory for the Venezuelan people, and I had the honor and the responsibility for representing them. It was a step that will have a great impact, not only on Venezuela, but also on the OAS itself. Venezuela and some of its allies thought that the issue was closed with the decision made on March 6 and 7. However, last Friday (March 21), the Permanent Council had to hold a long session, and by refusing me permission to speak, which was already approved, it was evidenced that the fear of truth not only operates in Venezuela, but also spreads to the OAS. It is an organization in which the only country with veto power, Cuba, is not a member of the organization. It is clear that censorship ruling in Venezuela made it to Washington. This caused, besides rejection, a greater impact than if I was allowed to speak, because it caught the attention of many more media than expected. The news spread around the world. 

Do you believe those accomplishments will alter the stability of the government?

Such totalitarian regimes disguised as democracy (I call them neo-dictatorships) are harder to face than classical dictatorships, because even though they are as brutally repressive, they resort to practices such as repeated elections to pretend legitimacy. For them, international support is fundamental, and that is why resources refused to Venezuelans are irresponsibly used to buy international complicity.

I asked you whether what happened at the OAS will interfere with the government's stability

Over the past seven weeks, students on the streets, supported by citizens, have taken off the democratic mask of Nicolás Maduro's regime, which has unleashed repression as never seen before under the dictatorships of Juan Vicente Gómez or Marcos Pérez Jiménez.

As the government takes off its mask of democracy and reveals its true nature, is the opposition enabled to use other methods of struggle?

In a democracy, citizens have the right to request a change of government anytime, as set forth in the Constitution. However, when it comes to dictatorships, as in this case, that right turns into a duty. So, we must, as a generation, restore democracy. However, since we are democrats, we will do it under the Constitution.

Are not democratic means ineffective when facing a government that turns to arms to fight "the enemy"?

On the contrary, have the citizen's protests over the past seven weeks been ineffective? All we have proved in that time has been through an essential democratic instrument: peaceful protest, a universal right laid down in the Constitution. And not only through that, but also by another fundamental phenomenon: an unparalleled social movement in our history, which is not led only by a few leaders. It has millions of leaders, and it is not enough for the government to set some leaders apart, because others will come to stand in for us. This movement is unstoppable and irreversible; there is no turning back. And Cubans know that for sure. I do not know whether Maduro is aware of that too.

You say that a lot has been accomplished over the past seven weeks. However, there have been more than 30 deaths, thousands of detained, dozens of tortured, and a national leader and two dissenting mayors are in prison. Except that amid this chaos, the government is still there.

The regime has never been as weak as it is know. We have never been so close to victory and to managing to restore freedom and democracy. There have been many accomplishments, but there is one that evidenced last Saturday (March 22): Maduro lost the streets, in spite of having all the money, all the media; despite extortion and psychological terror. The streets belong to the people. It actually began a long time ago, and it was sound last year.

Are you going to let yourself get imprisoned? Will another dissenting voice be silenced?

I will not be silenced. When they shut down my microphone at the National Assembly, my voice is being echoed.

Do you believe your imprisonment would cause such an impact that it would lead the government to set you free?

I know my rights and duties. I will be deputy as long the people want it to, not until (President) Maduro or (Congress Speaker Deputy) Cabello please.

If you go to prison, they would silence you, they would quash you.

My place is in the streets, and I will continue working.

When you proposed "the exit", did you imagine the current political scenario, including your situation?

What has happened proved that we were right regarding the need for an imminent change, which, according to polls, the majority is demanding, because this is an unbearable situation. I believe most Venezuelans agree on the urgency of finding a constitutional way out to this crisis together.

Translated by Andreína Trujillo
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