“On Sunday, October 22nd, Venezuelan mothers went to vote so that: their children may return; young people may have a future. The relatives of political prisoners went so that their loved ones are released; the mothers of the victims so that they are vindicated and there is justice and, of course, so went all those Venezuelans who want Venezuela to have a democracy and a country of opportunities,” were the words of the representative for Aragua Aragua, Mariela Magallanes, who assured that political change in the country can be achieved through democratic means in the coming 2024.
Adalberto Pérez / Correspondent lapatilla.com
During an exclusive interview for lapatilla.com, Ms. Magallanes spoke about the challenges faced in her four years in exile, the political panorama of the country, as well as the commitment and the various reasons to continue the fight for democracy.
– How are those four years in exile been?
It has been very hard, because when you leave for a personal choice as when you plan to travel normally is one thing, but when it is forced, unplanned, uncertainty is great and you don’t know what to expect, especially because you have nothing on your mind.
Unlike other Venezuelans, we do not leave with a suitcase full of dreams, but with clothes (…). It has been a great learning experience, because I have had the fortune to work for democracy in Venezuela from Italy and for all political exiles, giving hope of keeping the country’s fight for democracy active.
That has been part of my commitment and the objective of those of us who want to return to Venezuela. When I left on November 30th, 2019, in the airport hallway I was thinking that I would breathe the air of Venezuela for the last time and I didn’t know for how long.
– Why continue the fight?
Because when I decided to be a politician and social activist as I did, it as a life commitment, it is not a whim. This life commitment has compromised my family and my entourage. So much so that they also paid the cost of exile.
When I got on the plane and the screen said: “Destination Caracas”, for me that was a once again indescribable emotion. My return was something dreamed of, it was built and it was longed for. Having arrived in Venezuela now, I do so with the same commitment and the same responsibility. With another vision and with more energy, but understanding that now we must take one step at a time, because the way we left was very abrupt. When my children left they were a certain age, now they are older, everyone’s return has to be in the best way.
– If he route is electoral, how do you explain to Venezuelans who do not trust the electoral system?
We are Democrats and they have wanted to push us out from the electoral process (democratic means). When we decided in unity not to go to the elections, it was to demonstrate to the world that there were no free elections in Venezuela. It is no secret to anyone that they have control of the CNE, a body that should be independent and is not.
In 2015, when we won the National Assembly, they themselves said that they were not going to hold any more elections unless they won, imposing conditions under which they were practically never going to lose, which ended up happening in the 2017 regional elections.
At the time, Andrés Velázquez was able to demonstrate the fraud, that is why the international community delegitimized the regime, the fault is theirs. Of course we believe in the electoral route, but the struggle is for it to be under fair conditions.
– At some point, Venezuelans who are opponents stopped believing for different reasons. What difference is there between the Interim Government of Juan Guaidó and this process that María Corina Machado will lead?
The interim government was the policy of the Unity, which was a consequence of the legitimacy of the National Assembly and the authority it had to give it the presidency in charge, which later became the interim presidency. It was a policy that we adopted to delegitimize what happened in 2018 with Maduro.
Indeed, the Venezuelan is unmotivated but there is new hope. Here we are working so that there are free elections in 2024. What happened in the Primary elections is a demonstration that people want to vote. Two and a half million Venezuelans went out to vote is a demonstration of what Venezuelans want for 2024. The electoral route is a certain call for a change of government.
– Is there fear on the part of the regime?
The regime, more than being afraid of María Corina, is afraid of the unity of Venezuelans, and they know that with María Corina Machado, Venezuelans are willing to vote. No one is going to get us out of the electoral route.
– What do you think of the “scorpion” parties?
I don’t think they are parties, I see them more as characters who dedicated themselves to steal political parties, they are employees of the regime. They are definitely fulfilling an agenda. Unfortunately for them, this agenda is not accepted by Venezuelans and they understand that this is part of the regime’s play.
– Is it possible that there will be general elections?
There is an agreement signed right now that talks about the presidential elections for next year, the campaign starting in the second semester. Therefore, we already know that there will be presidential elections in 2024. And in the own words of the candidate María Corina Machado, the time for the regime is very short.
The message we give to Venezuelans is that it is possible. Change is unstoppable, in 2024 we have a great opportunity. We must continue on this path that, of course, is electoral. We continue in this fight, because we believe in democracy.