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      "To be in solidarity with the world is an essential part of our culture, our politics & our conception as a Nation."
      Fire This Time Interview with Wilfredo Pérez Bianco, Venezuelan Consul General

      Interview & Translation by Alison Bodine

      At the end of March, 2017, Fire This Time sat down with Wilfredo J. Pérez Bianco, the First Consul General and Head of Mission at the Consulate of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Vancouver, Canada to discuss the current threats of foreign intervention against Venezuela, and the importance of international solidarity.

      Fire This Time: We know that it has been a long time that the U.S. government and especially the reactionary governments in Latin America have been trying to frame-up and isolate the government of President Maduro. They are attempting to isolate the impact that Venezuela’s revolutionary process has on the whole of the Latin American masses. Especially now, with the deeper crisis within the pro-U.S., counter-revolutionary bourgeois forces in Venezuela, it seems that the U.S. and OAS, with their puppet Luis Almagro, would like to provoke to break the unity and to polarize the OAS against Venezuela. How do you explain Almagro’s push against Venezuela?

      Wilfredo Pérez Bianco: First of all, I want to thank you for the opportunity to be able to address your readers and help them understand the true situation that my country, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is experiencing. Also, to thank you for breaking the siege imposed by the international media dictatorship in the world, with its large news agencies and mass media. This media no longer fulfills their social function of reporting, violating the human right we all have to receive truthful and timely information. Instead they defend their own interests with lies, falsehoods, manipulations, half truths and misrepresentations, whose ultimate aim is to contribute to the creation of an environment conducive to foreign intervention, including military intervention, in our country. The media has been solicited and encouraged by the Venezuelan opposition that has not been able to find the political solution they are looking for through dialogue and political participation within Venezuela.

      Now, to answer your question:

      We have seen with astonishment (even horror) that since Mr. Luis Almagro arrived as Secretary General of the OAS, he has devoted himself to attacking Venezuela and its people. His has been an obsessive aggression, as our Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said during her intervention at an illegitimate meeting of the Permanent Council convened by the Secretary General on Monday, March 27.

      Prior to this meeting, his illicit, unilateral, arbitrary, deviant and biased performance had already motivated the 46th General Assembly of the Organization of American States, which was held in the Dominican Republic on June 13, 2016, to approve a Resolution that originated from the deep concern of the chancellors of the region about the deviant acts of Mr. Almagro.

      As our Chancellor said at that same meeting: Luis Almagro took office on May 26, 2015, and had not yet spent more than 15 days in office when he began his attacks and aggressions against Venezuela. “He arrived with a very clear mandate to this Organization, the first of which was to end the Bolivarian Revolution; and the second, to replace the government of President Maduro and give international support to the violent actions of the Venezuelan ultra right, undermining our sovereignty and the rule of law in Venezuela through destabilization in the country. With the passing of our dear and beloved Commander President Hugo Chávez, leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, he had already intensified the plan to surround Venezuela.”

      This Non-Conventional War against Venezuela has been a constant aggression by the real international powers, finance and the media, which as we know, are encouraged, supported, coordinated from Washington.

      Alison, a very clear example of his stubborn dedication to attack our country, is represented by the fact that since his beginning his Twitter account, he has dedicated almost 21% of his tweets, that is, one in five, to the campaign against Venezuela. 21% of his tweets are dedicated to Venezuela and the rest to the hemispheric agenda. In addition, the Secretary has had twenty-six meetings with the Venezuelan opposition which could be accounted for between 2016 and 2017; 57% of which have been with militants from Popular Voluntud, which is a faction of the most violent ultra right extremists in the country.

      Thusly, through his deviant, unlawful, arbitrary and biased actions, Mr. Almagro has violated organizational norms. For example, as per Article 1 of the OAS Charter, the Organization of American States has no capacity or authority to intervene in matters within the domestic jurisdiction of Member States, among others.

      However, let us remember that the OAS comes from a long and vulgar history of intervention in our continent in favor of US imperialism. As the Chancellor said during her speech: the OAS has been “a diplomatic instrument through which the United States, with its military, commercial, cultural and financial machinery, has imposed not only its model of exploitation but also subjected entire peoples to the most infamous violations of human rights.”

      FTT: On March 31, the Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled that it would temporarily assume the role of the legislative branch of government in Venezuela. Two days ago, they reversed this decision. Can you elaborate on this? What are your thoughts on the how the relationship between the revolutionary government of Nicolás Maduro and the bourgeois forces in Venezuela is developing?

      Wilfredo Pérez: Yes, as we know the current National Assembly disqualified itself from exercising its functions by consistently disregarding the various judgments of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) and by committing Constitutional offenses as well various criminal offenses.

      But it is also true that the Venezuelan State cannot be paralyzed because the Legislative Branch, in the hands of an opposition party, such as the MUD, has decided to use this space to continuously attack the Constitution. This is why the TSJ, fulfilling its function of safeguarding the constitutional order, has established guidelines for the National Assembly to correct its persistent legislative omission (the National Assembly has ceased to make laws), as clearly established in Article 336, paragraph 7 of the Constitution.

      That is, the Supreme Court ruled that the continuing contempt of court by the National Assembly has disabled the Legislative power’s own ability to exercise its constitutional functions. Thereby, in reference to Article 336.7 of the Constitution, the TSJ declared that there exists today an “unconstitutional parliamentary omission"

      This principle, as laid out in the Constitution, allows the TSJ to establish “correction guidelines” in case of such an omission. In this way, the TSJ is correcting an omission, in-line with the mandates of the Constitution, by empowering the Executive to create joint ventures (while the National Assembly is in contempt of court). Likewise, the TSJ itself will temporarily assume the functions of the National Assembly in order to cover the void while the National Assembly remains in contempt of court.

      In this way we can clearly demonstrate that the idea that President Maduro has dissolved the National Assembly, or that he has violated the rule of law, is totally false. It not as the continental right-wing and the national and international media dictatorship has made the world believe. This is even easier to see, as it is not President Maduro who has acted, but the TSJ.

      What the TSJ is doing is protecting the country from not having a parliament. It is protecting the country from continuous coup attempts coming from the National Assembly. It is protecting the country from an unconstitutional power that requests foreign intervention before hostile powers. It is protecting the country from the plan of the national and international right-wing to put in check the people and the institutions of the Republic.

      However, after the Attorney General’s Office announced its discrepancy with the decisions taken by the Supreme Court, the TSJ revised and partially annulled its rulings, assuring that it will not assume the powers of the National Assembly, and that it will guarantee the immunity of the parliamentarians. Here had arisen a major difference between three of the five public powers of the Republic. Faced with this impasse, President Maduro summoned the National Defense Council, in order to get the TSJ to review their ruling. In practice, this demonstrates that there is a separation of powers in Venezuela, and a participatory, proactive and popular democracy is in full operation. Meanwhile, the National Assembly continues its deviations and remains in contempt of court.

      Therefore, the right-wing denunciation of a supposed “coup” or “self-coup” in Venezuela is part of the same discourse and of the same strategy that is working to legitimize foreign intervention in the country.

      A coup is what the right-wing tries to commit when it continually defies the decisions of the TSJ, when it promotes foreign intervention, when it tries to activate unconstitutional mechanisms to overthrow the legitimate government democratically elected by the people, when it attempts to remove the authority from the other public powers without any legal basis, when it is planning and executing terrorist acts, when it is part of the destabilization and economic war that negatively impact the life of the people and national stability.

      In short, Alison, in Venezuela, we live today a vigorous, solid, permanent democracy. Our people make local, regional and national decisions every day through the various mechanisms that our model of democracy provides: participatory, proactive and deeply popular.

      Certainly, we are going through economic difficulties developed by the enemies of the people. Our Bolivarian government is fully committed to overcoming them together with the people.

      Contrary to what Mr. Almagro is obsessed with disseminating, human rights in Venezuela are the centre of the work of state institutions. Great effort and resources are devoted to the strengthening, deepening and universalization of these rights, through programs and policies of inclusion, protection and social and economic development; the fruits of which are publicly recognized and reported. Such as the recent report published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on the Human Development Index (HDI) 2016, in which our country maintained a high HDI (0.767 ), above Brazil (0.754), Peru (0.740) and Colombia (0.727). It must be emphasized, that this is in spite of the fact that the year 2016 passed in the worst possible conditions, as President Nicolás Maduro himself has called it: “the hardest and longest year.”

      In short, Bolivarian Venezuela is irrevocably free, independent and sovereign, and its republican institutions function at the service of the people. The legacy built and strengthened in Revolution is of that all Venezuelans.

      FTT: In March, Fire This Time participated in a very successful international campaign to defend Venezuela against the attempts of Luis Almagro to suspend Venezuela from the OAS. In this campaign, Fire This Time was joining with others around this world in response to a call for solidarity by President Maduro and Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez. I am wondering if you have further advice about what is needed for the activist and progressive community to defend the Bolivarian Revolutionary process today?

      Wilfredo Pérez: This issue of international solidarity is very important. Precisely because of the latest developments in Venezuela and throughout our American region, I have been continually stating that it is imperative that we re-define or re-contextualize the word Solidarity. And it is not just a new conceptualization that is merely semantic or discursive. It is a matter of getting out of the “idea” and going to “action.” Because, in addition to words we need actions, that is, real events in the material world that prevent the abrupt interruption of the progressive processes that have given so much hope to a large part of planet and that show us that a more just, more equitable and more habitable world is possible.

      In Venezuela, solidarity with the peoples of the world is enshrined in our National Constitution. To be in solidarity with the world is an essential part of our culture, our politics and our conception as Nation.

      This solidarity is imperative, necessary and urgent to face the dangers that arise against our progressive processes that, by the way, guarantee the continuity of that humanity, and to face the spiraling and uncontrolled development that the wild capitalism exerts on our countries, on our peoples and on the progressive governments that have assumed the reins of their own destiny.

      Here we see the essence of Patria that the Eternal Commander Hugo Chávez bequeathed to us: respect for the principles of independence, equality between States, self-determination and, very importantly, non-intervention in internal affairs, we advocate for human rights and solidarity among the peoples in the struggle for emancipation and the welfare of humanity. Solidarity among peoples, therefore, is to defend the future of our planet and to ensure that the progressive processes of integration between our peoples continue, and thus we can ensure the preservation of our Humanity, making each of us “more human towards humanity” (Alí Primera).

      FTT: Thank you for your time.

      Follow Alison on Twitter: @Alisoncolette

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