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Venezuelan presidential candidate Bertucci calls on opponents to get together to defeat Maduro

11 de Mayo de 2018 - 10:00
Bertucci told Andes Agency that Falcon could not defeat Maduro alone.
Photo: EFE

Andes Agency interviewed Venezuelan candidate Bertucci who gave details about his campaign..

Quito, May 11 (Andes). – A total of 20.2 million citizens are registered to vote in Venezuela to elect the country’s president for 2019 to 2025 as well as leaders of legislative councils in 23 states of the country.

Former pastor Javier Bertucci, one of the opposition candidates, told Andes Agency that he has asked candidate Henri Falcon to join him in order to defeat candidate of the governing party, Nicolas Maduro. According to him, Falcon will not be able to win against Maduro alone.

Bertucci, who is running for president with his ‘Esperanza por el Cambio’ independent political party, told Andes Agency about his plans if elected president.

How did you become candidate for the upcoming elections of May 20?

“We began this campaign a couple months ago and I did not show up in polls. We did not show up in the first polls, there was Mr. Nicolas Maduro with 31%, Mr Falcon with 33%. 30 days after announcing my candidacy I showed up in polls with 10%.

“They just published another one from April that shows I would receive 21% of votes (…) what I mean is that the only candidate to be gaining ground this month of April is me. Analysts say that if the trend remains, there will be a tie on May 20.

However, Falcon is still running second according to polls. What’s your opinion about your contender?

I asked Mr. Henri Falcon, who opposes the government too, to support my candidacy which is gaining ground. Although his voting intention reached its highest, he knows he will not be able to defeat Maduro for three main reasons: one of them because he does not have electoral roll, second because 65% of the population disapprove of him.

My disapproval rate is 9% and I’ve moved up 21 points in polls in two months. It is estimated that I will reach 32% or 33% by May 20. My rallies are big, a lot of people fill avenues and it shows organization and mobilization which cooperates with our possible victory.

If Mr. Falcon withdraws to support me it would be an overwhelming victory against candidate Nicolas Maduro.

Are you confirming that you will stay in race until the end?

Of course. What’s the point of winning 21% in two months (polls) and (withdrawing). There’s no point in withdrawing because it would not be wise to do that. I’m the only one who can defeat Nicolas Maduro and bring together punishment votes which will probably be many and (I’m the only one) who can reconcile the country.

Since I don’t belong to any party, I represent tolerance and inclusion in terms of government.

Photo: EFE

So, you rule out the possibility of backing another candidate like Falcon?

That’s ruled out. Falcon’s approval rating has not increased in two months, it doesn’t decrease but it does increase either (…) if I withdraw, people will not vote for Falcon and both of us would lose.

What are the government plans you would implement in case you win the presidential race?

We have plans for education, health, sports and for the elderly. I want to highlight the boosting of the productive system by eliminating exchange controls, reducing government spending, and generating a legal framework that generates trust among investors to activate all of our production lines.

That’s the real solution to boost the Venezuelan economy, credits for private national and international investment.

What do you think of Falcon’s proposal to dollarize Venezuela?

I do not believe in dollarization. Zimbabwe’s economy became dollarized ten years ago and it is 32% poorer nowadays. The real problem is not currency, the problem has to do with the mostly inactive productive system and that’s what we need to work on to boost the Venezuelan economy.

The great bastion of what we are proposing is the creation of a humanitarian channel in order to provide assistance to the more than 14 million Venezuelans who go through a situation of hunger, who are not eating three times a day. I already held meetings with North Americans, the European Community and they are willing to support us with this humanitarian channel for a year.

There are two delicate issues in Venezuela: how to tackle hyperinflation in the country and how to stop migration or for immigrants to return to their land.

First of all, a new government will generate an atmosphere of trust and hope that will allow many Venezuelans to return to the country. On the other hand, if we boost the economy again, the number of Venezuelans who return to their country will be 80% and those who are legal will stay abroad.

At a geopolitical level, how would your relationship with countries of the region be, especially with the United States?

It should be pointed out that while campaigning I’ve always been talking about renewing our friendship with all countries this government made enemies with, Colombia, Brazil, Panama, the United States, Israel. The new government would immediately become friends again because we are not in a position to be fighting with any country.

Secondly, we need help, support from all nations. My relationship with the rest of the countries (…) must be intelligent, ideal for any government to develop exceptional ties with countries of the hemisphere.

The Venezuelan government has invited international observers. What do you think of the Electoral Council? Can this process be considered transparent?

The (Electoral Council) system is reliable. What’s the problem? The problem lies in opportunism and in conditions we have been demanding, such as the elimination of assisted voting, the use of indelible ink, the separation of “red points” from voting stations, these red points is where the government bribes voters, and for the Electoral Council to allow the nearly three million Venezuelans (migrants) to cast their vote in any country they live in without having to come to Venezuela.

The conditions we signed for are being met, we have the guarantees we accepted. We asked for the elimination of the ‘carnet de la patria’ (ID) as a requirement to vote and they accepted it. Our problem now is the opportunism of the governing party’s candidate, who offers houses, social programs every day during his addresses while the rest of the candidates have to limit themselves to four minutes on TV or newscast.

The governing party candidate’s disapproval rate is 80% which gives us a great opportunity to defeat him on May 20 with votes and democratically, not with strikes or dead people, we don’t want to go back to that.

How has your electoral campaign been to win voters across the country?
Only the governing party’s candidate and I are having big rallies. I’ve traveled the whole country except for one state (Delta Amacuro).

People undoubtedly want a change and that change will be made on May 20.

VV/yp

/dj

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