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Venezuelan elections

The extraordinary level of US interference in Venezuela’s electoral process highlights their importance. The US government has preemptively declared the upcoming National Assembly elections fraudulent. Guaidó’s political party and others on the far right have dutifully obeyed Trump’s directive to boycott the contest.

However, other opposition elements have broken with the US strategy of extra-parliamentary regime change and are participating in the elections. They have also distanced themselves from Guaidó’s calls for ever harsher sanctions against his people and even for US military intervention.

To maintain discipline among the moderate opposition, the US has sanctioned some opposition party leaders for registering to run in the parliamentary elections. Nevertheless, 98 opposition parties and nine Chavista parties (supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution) will be contesting for 277 seats in the National Assembly.

Following the US’s lead, the European Union rejected the upcoming election and an invitation to send election observers. A long list of international figures including Noble Prize winners and former heads of state petitioned the EU: “This election represents, above all a democratic, legal and peaceful way out of the political and institutional crisis that was triggered in January 2019 by the self-appointment of Juan Guaidó as ‘interim president’ of Venezuela.”

The Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America (CEELA) and other internationals will be observing the election on December 6. CEELA Chairman Nicanor Moscoso noted: “We, as former magistrates and electoral authorities in Latin America, have organized elections and also participated in over 120 elections…Our aim is to accompany the Venezuelan people.”

The nine Chavista parties are not running on a unified slate. The new Popular Revolutionary Alternative coalition, which formed to run candidates independently, includes the Venezuelan Communist Party.

Communists normally would not get favorable ink in The New York Times. But when there are splits on the left, the empire’s newspaper of record exploits them: “They championed Venezuela’s revolution – they are now its latest victims.” The paper reports: “The repression is partly an outcome of Mr. Maduro’s decision to abandon the wealth redistribution policies of his late predecessor, Hugo Chávez, in favor of what amounts to crony capitalism to survive American sanctions [emphasis added].”

The key to deconstructing the Times’s hit piece is the phrase, “to survive American sanctions”. As Alfred de Zayas, the United Nations Human Rights Rapporteur on Venezuela, had observed even before the pandemic hit, the US sanctions on Venezuela are causing “economic asphyxiation”. Compromises have been necessitated.

Roger Harris, "Venezuelan elections," The News. 2020-11-30.
Keywords: Political science , Venezuelan Communist Party , Institutional crises , Electoral process , Parliamentary change , Military intervention , Election process , Political crises