Abstention is the winner in the electoral farce of Nicolás Maduro

Correspondents in Caracas



A small line of voters, all older people, maintaining a distance of two meters between each one, religiously formed at 7:00 in the morning at the Rafael Napoleón Baute Basic School, a voting center located in the José Félix Rivas sector, the Petare and Latin America’s most populous neighborhood with almost a million inhabitants. In that electoral center where about 9,000 voters are registered, the Chavistas had organized so that people did not form large queues when voting. But it was not necessary because the center was half empty all day. Older people were able to approach the tables without having to wait just a few minutes.

In less than 20 minutes the grandparents had completed the quick process, rewarded at the end with the allocation of a bag (before it was a box) of “CLAP” (Local Supply and Production Committee) food and maybe a Christmas leg if you are lucky enough to receive it. The blackmail and threats of Diosdado Cabello: “He who does not vote does not eat” had much less echo than the Chavista leader expected.

At the close of this edition, only 16.1% of Venezuelans had cast their vote at the polls, many of them forced to participate. This figure represents only 3,332,000 voters, out of a list of more than 20.7 million registered with the National Electoral Council. It is the percentage offered by the Observatory against Fraud, created by the president in charge Juan Guaidó, given the little transparency of the Government of Venezuela with the data, which in a second newsletter reported that 70.2% of the centers had a “red dot »From the ruling party where they controlled the voters.

In his statements to the press, Nicolás Maduro said that it was necessary to vote in this fifth process of the Chavista era to elect a new National Assembly. «There are no excuses for not voting (…) we have to get rid of that disastrous Assembly that brought the plague of sanctions, “said Maduro, accompanied by his wife Cilia Flores, the campaign manager, Jorge Rodríguez; the Minister of Petroleum, Tarek El Aissami; and Vice President Delcy Rodríguez. Maduro called on Venezuelans to “abide by the results of this historic process.” He reiterated that what the outgoing Assembly did was “direct a betrayal of the fatherland, which led us to a difficult situation.”

The opposition leader and proclaimed president in charge of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, assured yesterday that the Venezuelan population is rejecting the “fraud” of the legislative elections in Venezuela by not going to vote at the voting centers. «In this voting center in the Macuto parish (La Guaira state) usually there are a lot of people when there is voting. Today what exists is a fraud in our country that is clearly rejected in the images, in the videos (…). This voting center already in 2015 I am going to give you an image to contrast, “said Guaidó in a video posted on social networks.

“Today it is clear that the dictatorship continues to be left alone,” he stressed, while he has called on the population to participate in the popular consultation called by the opposition to reject this electoral process and which is held between December 7 and 12 , the last day in person

CLAP’s blackmail

“There is more queue at gas stations than at polling stations,” say many citizens who pass near a voting center. Where the Chavista organization failed the most It was in the middle class centers where the board members, guarantors of the process, did not show up for work. Listless and sleepy they just didn’t show up. This was the case in the Santo Tomás de Villanueva School, where opposition leader Henrique Capriles votes. It was 11.00 in the morning and the school had not yet opened, so they had to improvise by calling in volunteers to start the voting process.

In the heart of Caracas, at the Liceo Andrés Bello, a Chavista bastion, located in the Spanish neighborhood of La Candelaria, where more than 15,000 voters vote, another line of older adults waited to vote, but not before registering at the “red dot” Chavista control, located two hundred meters from the electoral college. Then they would go on to remove the food bag that will allow them to feed for the next three days.

The remarkable thing was that the voters did not want to declare to the press out of shame, perhaps from being blackmailed by the bag of food. Very few can resist the blackmail of Chavismo because with a pension of two dollars a month that they cannot even buy a dozen eggs. Those who voted for Parliament to screw Nicolás Maduro into power, agreed that “we vote to have food and housing guaranteed that we will not have with the opposition.” Chavista populism has not changed after 21 years in power.

According to the Observatory against Fraud, in 55.9% of the voting centers and red dots of the PSUV (Chavista awnings located near the centers) They asked for the national card to corroborate who went to vote and who would have to be called late in the day to force them to do so. A recurring practice of the regime in elections. But only in 15.7% of the red dots did they distribute food and other perks.

Political analyst and journalist Pedro Pablo Peñaloza compared the legislative elections as a game of cards that Maduro played alone, in which he places and arranges the pieces at his convenience. The west of Caracas, which was an area considered Chavista, showed its desolate streets, when in previous processes the line of people stretched for several blocks.

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