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Venezuelan National Assembly Representatives explain the constitutional amendment in the United States

As part of a plan to explain the proposed constitutional and to counter the negative frames created by the private mainstream media, two Representatives from the National Assembly of Venezuela, Calixto Ortega and Francisco Torrealba, will be in the United States from Sunday, February 1st until Friday, February 5th.  Their first stop took place in New York City.

During a forum titled “Sovereignty resides in the people,” which took place at the Consulate of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in New York, Representative Francisco Torrealba emphasized that one of the main goals of the constitutional amendment is the deepening of the political rights of Venezuelan people. “In Venezuela the constitutional amendment represents a mechanism to perfect democracy, and it will be the will of the majority of the Venezuelan people that decides whether to approve this constitutional change,” Torrealba said during his speech.

Torrealba, a Representative from the state of Portuguesa and member of the Subcommittee for Social Security, Policies and Programs, affirmed that the 1999 Constitution allows for publicly elected officials to be recalled in the middle of their terms in order to evaluate their performance.  “Now Venezuelans will have the opportunity to keep all those popularly elected officials so long as they are satisfied with their performance,” explained Torrealba.

The schedule for the representatives in New York included meetings with unions, academics and the Venezuelan community, who showed an interest in learning more about the proposed amendment.  In that regard, at every meeting the two representatives reiterated that the constitutional amendment is based on the democratization of power in Venezuela.

“Next February 15th the people of Venezuela will decide on this proposed constitutional amendment to get rid of term limits for any popularly elected office, whether it is a state or national representative, mayor, governor, or the President of the Republic,” said Calixto Ortega, Representative from the state of Zulia, during a meeting with the director of the Cornell Global Labor Institute.  Representative Ortega, a member of the Permanent Committee for Foreign Affairs, also said that if the amendment is approved on February 15th, the Constitution would be changed by a popular vote and not by the leadership, as was done in governments previous to that of President Chávez.

During the forum in the Venezuelan Consulate in New York, Ambassador Jorge Valero, Vice Minister for North American Affairs and the permanent representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations, highlighted that for Venezuelans, the constitutional amendment would guarantee the continuity of government based on social justice.

Representatives Ortega and Torrealba are part of a delegation of 25 representatives that are visiting 30 countries around the world as part of a joint initiative between the National Assembly and the Foreign Ministry to counteract the disinformation campaign against the democratic nature of this proposed constitutional amendment.

Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs Press, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / February 3, 2009

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