Contributed from Victoria
On Sunday, Nicolás Maduro won his second presidential election in Venezuela. There was also a vote for members of state and municipal legislative councils.
However, under the backdrop of organised intimidation carried out by the opposition in many areas, the turnout for the vote was only 46 percent. Although it was still higher than often turns out for a similar election in the United States, it was called fraudulent, partly because of the turnout and partly because a large part of the opposition decided not to take part.
Non-participation has been a standard ritual over the last few years, as the opposition faces a backlash over its methods, which have included orchestrated violence, intimidation, economic sabotage, the assassination of perceived opponents and the destruction of food stocks, medicines and other necessities. Calls have consistently been made for a United States led military invasion.
This has been backed by United States led economic sanctions, diplomatic war and the budgeting of $49 million worth of support to the opposition. Even before voters went to the ballot box, it was clear that the election result would not be accepted, and while the votes were still being cast, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan announced once again, that the result will not be recognised, that it would be brought up in the coming G 20 summit and consideration will be given to imposing new oil sanctions, and the war of economic and political sabotage, is bound to continue.
This was an obvious last-minute attempt to influence the election.
Latin American countries under Washington’s influence, have been brought in as the foundation for international opposition to the election result.
Opposition leaders claimed that the government would buy votes in exchange for food. No one has come up with any evidence that this happened.
The intention had been to have an official United Nations presence during the voting, but the requested that this not take place, on the grounds that it would they would legitimise the election. There were still observers from 40 countries present on the ground and they reported that the election was fair and transparent. This has beenm overlooked by much of the reporting.
Under these extraordinary difficulties, 92.6 voted on the Maduro side. The number was so high, because of the boycott by much of the opposition.
The reality on the ground is that the opposition’s methods have not brought support form most Venezuelans but increasing isolation. Realising that they were losing ground, the strategy of the oppopsitionists had turned towards increasing reliance on intimidating as many people as possible, so that they do not participate in the political process. This has worked to some extent, but not enough to turn the tide in their favour.
Even worse. The strategy has widened divisions within its camp. Most of the opposition had come under the umbrella of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD). A section broke away over the decision to boycott, and under the leadership of Henri Falcon, participated in the election.
Falcon told his former colleagues, “You will disappear as politicians and as parties for not understanding the dynamics of a country that demands solutions and not conflict.”
A statement from MUD justified the boycott claiming the election was “premature,” lacked “proper” conditions and the election was “a show by the government to give an impression of legitimacy that it does not have in the midst of Venezuelans’ agony and suffering.” In other words, they knew they did not stand a chance of winning through the ballot box.