Can the confrontation of a tyrant by the people to regain democracy be called a coup?
Can we call the legitimate will of the Venezuelan people to recover their country's freedom and democracy a "coup"?
Venezuela's becoming the focal point of today's confrontation between the liberal and democratic world and the authoritarian, neo populist, nationalist and totalitarian dynamic. It's a very complex subject in depth that cannot be classified and understood with superficiality. The chavista revolution has long lost legitimacy based on democratic standards, It's a country where there's NO separation of power, where the last standing legitimately originated power based on vote is 2015's National Assembly, where the opposition got a staggering and historic 66% (never before in the story of the republic had we seen such a large majority) that the executive branch not only did never recognize but that it countered by mounting a spurious, not consecrated or set as written in the constitution (Hugo Chavez's own 1999 constitution), organ called the "Asamblea Nacional Constituyente". The legislative powers where given to the Supreme Court by the dictator Nicolas Maduro and if this was not enough obvious diversion from democracy and constitution laws, the "judges" where appointed by the executive and not by the National Assembly (again as its stated in the constitution)
Last year's presidential "elections" where unconstitutionally called by the illegitimate "asamblea nacional constituyente" and the people of Venezuela countered this by not going to the polls, a historic 90% or more of electors did not participate to show their opposition to this dictatorial derive and even the official numbers from Nicolas Maduro's regime accept abstention was of 84% in a country know to always have very high numbers of participation. This is just the "simplified" peak of the context of constitutional argument that leads to the follow up moment where a before not very public congressman called Juan Guaido ended up becoming the legitimate Presidente Encargado de Venezuela in the beginning of 2019.
Before Guaido's dynamic sets in, there are a few other, sorry for insisting in constitutional argumentation (but it's important to understand the depth of the problem and situation before asserting an opinion) constitutional background to take into account. First, articles 333 and 350 where activated by the National Assembly. This articles say that Venezuelans have the right and the duty to ignore any power that undermines democracy and the constitution. The article 233 states that "in case of usurpation or void of power of the executive role of President, the President of the National Assembly assumes the role of "acting president" till the constitutional thread is reestablished. That's what the now legitimate Acting President of Venezuela Juan Guaido did, this simply destroys the "auto-proclaimed" argument that's being maliciously used in some media in an attempt to undermine his legitimacy or because of simple ignorance of the Venezuelan constitution. Funny thing to add is that this is Hugo Chavez own constitution and that the media using this argument maliciously is generally left wing... irony and coherence...
In the last days we saw something new, that is that a part of the military decided to side with President Guaido, recognizing his legitimacy and the struggle of the vast majority of Venezuelan peoples and civil society in an effort to recover democracy. It goes without saying that the usurper Nicolas Maduro greatly lacks of popular support and legitimacy and that his rule is maintained by simple violence and the affect military for many reasons going from corruption to ideology. This is a sort of "new" expression of illegitimacy and totalitarian rule over a country where a very dim minority dominates the society through authoritarism. The geopolitical context adds further layers to the problem and the fact that the 60 or so countries that recognize and back Guaido's dynamic (that is just constitutionally and by popular demand) are all Democratic and the 10 or so that back Maduro are all authoritarian. This is not a left/right wing issue, it's a moral and state project issue. Sometimes, some violence has to be used for the greater good (like the ally in World War two) as much as you cannot advocate for a greatest evils in order to impose a little "good". I'm not even going to start talking about superficial arguments such as "imperialism" etc because the article would be too long as much as I'm just going to mention the fact that a coup, by definition is giving by the military. This 30 of April there were just a few (visible) militaries with President Guaido (that has already proved his popular support thought the largest concentrations ever made in protests in the history of Venezuela (not even Chavez concentrated as much people as he has) So, in order to answer the question: NO, you cannot call the confrontation of a Tyrant such as Nicolas Maduro by the people of Venezuela a coup.
As simple as that.
By Rodrigo Figueredo
Rodrigo Figueredo has to live in exile and can not live anymore in Venezueal