Despite US sanctions, COVID and economic crisis, Chavismo wins majority of states – Workers World

By William Camacaro and Frederick Mills
Caracas, Venezuela

This slightly edited article was first published on the Hemispheric Affairs Council (COHA) website on November 22 at tinyurl.com/2p8n6n87. The article was updated on November 23. English translations are by the authors.

Venezuelans celebrate the electoral victories of Chavismo 2021.

Sunday November. On January 21, Venezuela held mega-elections, in which more than 70,000 candidates from all political backgrounds ran for 3,083 state, city and local offices, marking a resounding victory for sovereignty and the democratic institutions of this nation in the face of Washington’s illegal economic war and the ravages of the pandemic.

At the time of this article going to press, according to the data presented in the first bulletin from the National Electoral Council (CNE), the governors of 18 states were won by the Chavista coalition of the Grand Pôle Patriotique (GPP) *; three states, Zulia, Cojedes and Nueva Esparta, have gone to opposition representatives, and two states are too close to call, Apure and Barinas. These two states, in addition to Zulia, are located along Venezuela’s border with Colombia, an area vulnerable to penetration by Colombian paramilitaries and organized crime.

The turnout in yesterday’s elections was 41.80% (8,151,793) out of 21,159,846. This represents an increase of 11% compared to the last regional elections held in 2017, which garnered 30.47% of the vote. participation. It also represents the second lowest turnout in regional elections in 21 years.

According to a Venezuelan journalist Eugenio G. Martínez, divisions within the opposition diluted the votes of opposition candidates in several states, possibly affecting the outcome of the close elections in Barinas, Lara, Mérida, Monagas and Táchira.

The turnout and tight races in several states are a wake-up call to Chavismo of the need to fortify his base; for the opposition, this portends an opportunity, if it manages to forge unity in future election campaigns.

Some of the 300 observers from 55 countries and major election observation commissions including the Carter Center and the European Union (EU) in Caracas to observe the electoral process.

It seems that the United States has taken a back seat to these historic elections. While the State Department was busy cultivating an already defunct and notoriously corrupt shadow government of no political relevance outside the Ring Road, more than 300 observers from 55 countries and major election observation commissions, including the Carter Center and the European Union (EU), were hosted in Caracas to observe the electoral process. In a preliminary response to a question about Sunday’s elections, the EU’s Head of Mission Isabelle Santos said everything was going “calmly”.

The case of Alex Saab

US kidnapping of Venezuelan diplomat is important election backdrop Alex saab October. 16, accusing him of conspiracy to commit money laundering. This Colombian businessman has become the target of Washington’s wrath for having the audacity to use his many international business contacts to circumvent illegal US sanctions and import food, fuel and medicine to Venezuela. , all at great personal risk, in order to save lives.

The abduction of the diplomat was a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961). It signals Washington’s commitment to continue imposing crippling sanctions. And it has caused a temporary setback to the talks negotiated by Norway between the government of President Nicolás Maduro and the opposition taking place in Mexico.

Another negotiating door remains open, however, as the main opposition candidates have expressed their support for the electoral process as an appropriate avenue for settling political differences, signaling the feasibility of their coexistence with Chavismo.

US opposition and sanctions

In addition, most of the opposition participated in these elections, and several prominent candidates used their newfound disregard for sanctions as a selling point for their campaigns, and for good reason. The use of such coercive measures by a foreign power as political leverage is extremely unpopular with the majority of Venezuelans. Supporting US sanctions today, for a Venezuelan politician, amounts to political suicide.

For example, the general secretary of the Democratic Action Party, Bernabé Gutiérrez, asked people to vote, tweeting, “The era of guarimbas (violent protests) is over. Now is the time to say goodbye to coups, sanctions and calls for invasion. We Venezuelans have to work out our own problems.

Domestic terrorism

Of course, there was the ever-present threat of a terrorist attack by those extremists who see the coexistence between Chavismo and the opposition as the ultimate threat to their outright program of burying all vestiges of the Bolivarian revolution. However, thanks to the government’s regional and municipal security plan, a cache of weapons has been would have intercepted and the polling day activities took place in an atmosphere of peace.

These elections are an important victory for the Venezuelan people, because despite the sanctions imposed by the United States, the pandemic and Washington’s attempts to politically isolate this Caribbean nation, the National Electoral Council (Consejo Nacional Electoral, CNE) has managed to organize regional elections with the participation of a plurality of parties in an atmosphere of peace.

* Update 23 November 2021: The State of Apure was won by GPP (PSUV) candidate Eduardo Piñate.

William Camacaro is a senior analyst at COHA. Frederick Mills is COHA Deputy Director and Election Observer for the last election.

Photo credit: Camila Escalante
Photo credit: Fred Mills

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