Trump leaves, Maduro stays: between the State of Exception and the Three Kings

Trump leaves, Maduro stays: between the State of Exception and the Three Kings

Every January 6, “Three Kings Day” is celebrated in most countries with Christian (particularly Catholic) roots. In Venezuela, the custom is that the day before on January 5, the children place their slippers at the door of their rooms so that the Kings (Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar) can leave gifts there for those who have behaved well throughout the year.

Well, it seems that the girls and boys of Venezuela have behaved very well in 2020, since on Tuesday, January 5, the Three Kings brought the Caribbean country the democratic and peaceful swearing-in of a new National Assembly, which will be in charge of the Legislative Power for the period 2021-2026: a fair and long-awaited celebration for the defense of the independence and sovereignty of the homeland of Chavez and Bolívar. It is worth remembering that the Venezuelan parliament had been in the hands of the opposition, fictitiously led by Juan Guaido, the lead opposition figure in recent years. However, in the legislative elections of last December 6, the coalition of political parties identified with the Bolivarian Revolution regained the parliamentary majority.

More great news that came with the new year is that this Wednesday, January 6, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the European Union, Josep Borrell, announced that the EU has stopped recognizing Guaidó as “interim president” of Venezuela. This is a direct consequence of the establishment of a new National Assembly, since the main reason that the EU had argued to recognize Guaidó as interim president was that he served as president of the Venezuelan parliament for the previous period that has just ended (2015-2020), although, in reality, Guaidó was a deputy, then he went on to proclaim himself president of the Legislative Power and, later, also illegitimately, as Venezuelan president. For this reason, a peculiar and contradictory situation had arisen in which Venezuela had two executive presidents, one legal and constitutional, and another a puppet of the United States.

The situation for the unconstitutional “interim president” may continue to worsen. This coming January 20, Joe Biden assumes the new US administration and must re-evaluate if the White House will continue to support Juan Guaido economically and politically or if, on the contrary, it withdraws its support and gives rise to space for negotiation with the legitimate government of the Bolivarian Republic. In this sense, in his first public interview of the year, President Nicolas Maduro declared: “on this issue, I am obliged to be prudent … Trump is leaving … I hope with the departure of Trump his extremist policies will go away, cruel against Venezuela, hopefully, and reestablish dialogue with Biden and with the United States based on a constructive agenda. Hopefully, the change in the United States will be for the good, of humanity and hopefully, it will be for the good of Venezuela as well. It’s what I want.”

On the other hand, also January 6, while celebrating Three Kings Day, Venezuelans (as well as the rest of the world) watched astonished but with a certain irony how a group of Donald Trump supporters took the US Capitol by storm. The self-proclaimed “greatest and best democracy on the planet”, “the champion of global justice”, taught us, once again, the contradictions of US imperialism and its government. In Caracas, social networks exploded with memes and mentions towards the level of “madness” that these events meant in Washington D.C. The madness was understandable, as it was the expression of the pro-Trump protesters, “the madmen of the madman,” the President of hatred reaped what he had sown, with the unfortunate loss of one person who was shot and killed.

Saving the political, economic, and historical distances and differences, some comparisons were obvious: Trump had taken note of what he had tried to do with Guaido, and decided to copy the model that applied in Venezuela (and other countries): the model of two presidents. On the other hand, Trump, during his tenure, established a true “State of Exception” in the United States; the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben argues that “the state of exception is presented as the legal form of that which cannot have a legal form.” The Trump administration has been undemocratic, corrupt, illegal, and disrespectful of international public law. In addition to operating outside the law, as evidenced by his calls where he pressured various officials to change the votes of the states where he was losing, he has been one of the most disastrous presidents towards his own American citizens. Further proof of this can be seen in the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, among other popular uprisings motivated by Trump’s economic policies, but also by his xenophobia and racism.

What might happen over the next few days in the United States and in Venezuela? There are still many pages to write, but, in the short term we can summarize it by saying that Trump is leaving, and Maduro is staying.

This year promises a lot for the Bolivarian Revolution, which began in 2021 with favorable winds at its back, while for the people of the United States, the year has begun in violence. Hopes of a popular revolution remain, mainly because the Biden government will certainly be unable to maintain the empire’s deep rooted contradictions.

Venezuela’s Official Statement Released by Ministry of Foreign Affair on January 6th, 2021

Micaela Ovelar
Political scientist and international adviser, Argentine-Venezuelan scholar, feminist and social activist. Micaela has a B.A. in Political Science, a Masters in International Relations; with studies in issues of gender, government, democracy, and the state. She was the international relations adviser of president Hugo Chavez and has worked with the Venezuelan government for the last 15 years.She is also an independent journalist, producer, and in Film & TV Direction from EMPA (Venezuela). She was a producer and commentator at Radio Alba Ciudad (Caracas). Micaela worked as translator and transcriptionist on “South of the Border” by Oliver Stone, archival research on "Silvio Rodríguez. My first calling" by Catherine Murphy, and as a journalist for “Correo del Alba.” (Bolivia-Venezuela).

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May 2024