The Foreign Minister of Ecuador, Ricardo Patiño, said some seemingly innocuous things today that, beneath the surface, are deeply incendiary. As a member of the overseers of the “dialogue” “process” between the government and the opposition, he had this to say when discussing the points of agreement between the two parties:
“There are some elements in which, even before sitting down yesterday, they had agreed upon: we will do everything according to the Constitution, which is good. Therefore, there is no pressure to replace president Maduro by asking him to leave. There is an agreement in that, so this point is not under discussion.”
According to Patiño, asking the President to resign … is unconstitutional!
Patiño needs to go back to Democracy 101. His twisted understanding of the rights of citizens is not surprising considering Patiño represents a government that has called the Venezuelan opposition “fascists,” and is responsible for serious violations of democratic norms. Ecuador, after all, is one of the places in our continent where freedom of the press is most threatened.
Patiño, along with the rest of UNASUR, needs to acknowledge that asking the government to resign is not only constitutional, it is the only reasonable thing to do given the chaos that Venezuela has become. By equating a natural right of citizens with violating the Constitution, Patiño is, in effect, skewing, twisting, degrading, and mauling our Constitution.
The MUD is doing right by sitting down and talking with the government. It should not, however, give Patiño and the government a free pass. When we let foreigners come in and dictate what our Constitution means, we are capitulating before we even begin. If we let this fly, the MUD would basically be agreeing that those who call for Maduro to resign, such as Maria Corina Machado, are acting outside the Constitution.
They should press the other side (i.e., the government and their lackeys) to correct this. If they don’t, they should simply walk away.