Media Center


Message from the Secretary General on Venezuela

  July 31, 2017

Yesterday is a day that Venezuelans will mourn. It was a day of violence and death perpetrated by the cowardly dictatorship, against the people. Yesterday the repressive forces massacred the Venezuelan people.

Sixteen people, including minors, were murdered in the numerous protests that took place during the vote for the fraudulent National Constituent Assembly.

The repression against the people was extreme, surpassing even the violent standard that has be enforced since the demonstrations began last April.

With the claims made of the estimated voter turnout, it’s clear that the government is trying to hide the truth. They are trying to disguise as a success and cause for celebration, what in reality was a tremendous failure,

It was clear in advance that Tibisay Lucena, President of the National Electoral Council, would announce 8.5 million votes. The figure of 8,089,320 that was finally announced after midnight left no room for doubt about the complete illegitimacy of the process and the treacherous manipulation of the electoral system and its results.

The President of the National Assembly, Julio Borges, stated that the turnout had not reached 1.5 million voters as of 3pm. According to his estimates, in total, it did not reach 7% of registered voters.

While there is plenty of disinformation, it is clear that the majority of polling stations had few visitors, as was demonstrated by numerous testimonies given throughout the day. It is clear that this process was illegitimate and does not have the support of the people.

Voter participation was minimal and did not reflect in any way that there was an election yesterday in Venezuela, much less a civic celebration.

In some polling centers, voters gave reports of disorder and disinformation that characterize this Election Day.

International media reported that several voting centers in western Caracas, a pro-government area, were empty hours before the polls closed. This, despite the midday announcement that “99 percent and more” of the nation was voting.

The process carried out yesterday is absolutely void. The election of the Constituent Assembly was carried out by massacring the basic principles of transparency, neutrality and universality that should characterize free and fair elections.

The processes of technical verification of the voters list, the electronic machinery, and the system of verification of results did not take place. Therefore, it is impossible for the electoral authority to provide reliable results.

A legitimate election cannot be held in an environment of repression and violence. Coercion and vote buying was evident. The principle of universal suffrage was blatantly violated.

Finally the results announced by the National Electoral Council lack veracity. They were produced in a climate of secrecy that is aggravated by the lack of national and international observation.

It was an election that reflects what the dictatorship wants for Venezuela, a one-party system, an automatic mechanism to execute the will of those in power and to serve its interests. A mechanism that represses and muzzles any contrary opinion through fear, imposition and repression.

Meanwhile, various South American countries, the European Union, the United States and Canada, do not recognize the legitimacy of the National Constituent Assembly.

The OAS General Secretariat denounces the entire fraudulent process that took place yesterday. From the outset, we have denounced the illegitimacy of its origin, its unconstitutionality and the forced and selective manipulation of parochial constituencies to force results favoring the perpetuation of the Regime.

In this sense – and with even greater conviction – we do not recognize the results announced yesterday by an electoral tribunal that has lost all vestiges of legitimacy and that, far from respecting the expression of popular will, has given repeated evidence of its service to the Dictatorship.

We can no longer delay the return of democracy to Venezuela.

Today we saw once again that the Venezuelan people are not afraid. Tyrants are afraid. They live in fear, because no one can win against the people. This crisis has led the Dictatorship to murder its citizens in a dirty war of repression against the people.

What occurred yesterday is the culmination of a consistent process which began in 2013 and ended with Maduro’s latest assault against the Constitution and the country’s institutions.

Yesterday, the Dictator was judged by his people, they demanded his responsibility, and declared him their enemy. The people refused to vote in the Constituent fraud. The Dictator’s response was to massacre his own people.

Much has been said about the actions of the Head of the General Secretariat of the OAS.

If we were only acting in service of personal interests, what we should have done is wait for this crisis to happen, and only then taken notice and see what remedies we could apply. This would have been absolutely indefensible on our part.

We were acting in response the Dictatorship’s violations of the constitution. These events were leading to the destruction of the institutional system. We raised it. We highlighted it because it was morally and ethically necessary. We could not just wait until the end of this predictable outcome, we had to try to avoid what are now more than 100 deaths.

We cannot allow more time to escape us. Venezuela’s return to democracy cannot wait.

Allowing it to reach this point is unjust. Venezuelans should not bear the cost of the annihilation of the Rule of Law. There is no greater injustice than for a people to be subjected to the humiliation at the hands of repressive forces.

And as a result, it is the people who have been the first to take to the streets to fight for justice. It is the people who are demanding justice for a dictator responsible for the murders that took place yesterday, and for those of the last four months. The people will never surrender to a justice that is not just.

But fundamentally, and first and foremost, the people must return to power.

Repressive forces must return to their barracks. The will of the people is in the streets and it must be respected. Yesterday, the people showed that only they are the true sovereign.

Venezuela is great and the fight will be very difficult; but the end of that fight will be a future of liberty

You have to be strong and have convictions to negotiate. As Uruguayan leader Wilson Ferreira said during the struggle against the dictatorship in my country, “we know what the people want, we know what they think and we know that the people will do what is necessary to achieve it”.

Reference: S-025/17