Venezuela’s Excellent Electoral System

Dariela Aquique

Venezuelans are proud of their electoral system.

HAVANA TIMES — The Venezuelan elections were held this past Sunday and of course the Cuban media were focused on everything that happened with regard to them.

From the early morning hours, images were transmitted of the different parishes in which voting took place. Featured were interviews of government figures and Venezuelan citizens (only Chavez supporters of course).

They also showed the arrival of Chavez himself when it came time for him to vote, as well as his responses to the international press.

As many expected, the elections resulted in the reelection of President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias by about 11 percent over his opponent, Henrique Capriles. Once again Chavez achieved a victory after being in office since 1998.

As many people say, including former US president Jimmy Carter, the Venezuelan electoral system is an example of participatory democracy. It has even been called the best in the world for its design, which doesn’t allow fraud.

As long as the will of the people is asserted in a constitutional manner, their electoral system must be praiseworthy, something about which the Venezuelan people are also very proud.

This was demonstrated in the responses of those interviewed, with everyone demonstrating their pride in their system, comparing it with that of many countries, including the Republic of Cuba.

But of course, not only Venezuela’s system, but any electoral system is better than Cuba’s voting method, where citizens are far removed from being the ones who vote for their president.

This invention [Cuba’s electoral system] about which our officials brag so much has been no more than a strategy to keep themselves in office, not to mention the one-party system (and we all know what that means).

Chavez, though not my cup of tea, has been elected and re-elected by the people, and this is a demonstration of popular power. This is unlike our system, which is now ready to start its voting, though we all know in advance what the results will be.

Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

2 thoughts on “Venezuela’s Excellent Electoral System

  • If you think Cuba is better than Canada, go ahead and move to Cuba. I’ll stick with Canada, which will be even better without you & your ilk.

    As for the Venezuelan elections, the voter lists were processed by a computer lab at the Cuban Ministry of the Interior. The results allowed the Venezuelan govt to place more polling stations in pro-Chavez districts, fewer in opposition districts. Thousands of likely opposition voters were scrubbed. Pro-Chavez voters were given multiple ballots.

    The Cubans helped rig the vote to keep their puppet in power and the oil flowing.

  • Ah, Dariela, your lack of experience travelling overseas definitely shows when you write, “any electoral system is better than Cuba’s voting method, where citizens are far removed from being the ones who vote for their president.”

    Whoa. But we CAN blame your lack of overseas travel at least partially on the Cuban government if that makes you feel any better. Money for travel is always an issue for people but student exchange programs could be set up. I’m behind you all the way on that one.

    You would see many things here, in my country, Canada, and in the US that would make you feel foolish writing, “any electoral system is better than Cuba’s voting method.”

    Propaganda has for some time succeeded in fixing in peoples’ minds here that citizens somehow are not “far removed from being the ones who vote for their [Prime Minister].” That is no longer a common belief. We know better. We learned the hard way. We ARE removed. Elections are controlled by powerful interest groups who mostly determine who gets elected.

    Candidates who look and sound like movie stars, like movie stars, may give the impression they are not far from you, but that’s obviously what they are trained to do – like stars.

    Fidel was unusual. He had both charisma and values but for anyone who’s been to a Rolling Stones concert recently, old rockers main appeal is to other old rockers.

    In the end, whilst charisma is attractive, it’s not a necessary. Values are more important for our well being.

    I have no way of knowing if you have a good or a bad electoral system but I do know you cannot have one worse than what exists in my country, where interest groups based on money, and candidates whose only qualifications are they are attractive-looking and sounding, are what determines who gets elected. To have a chance, they need to check any values they may have at the door. There cannot be anything worse than that. Canadians know it but feel helpless to change it.

    You write that in your system “we all know in advance what the results will be.” You don’t know who the individuals are but you know the basic values of whoever gets elected. This isn’t true in my system. We are not told about the interest groups candidates are beholden to in order to get elected.

    We elect glib, media-friendly people fronting for powerful groups, and we do it with a minority of people actually voting for them. In the last year, on average, elected representatives received only 37% of the popular vote, and that’s not counting those who didn’t vote, essentially saying, “none of the above.”

    Believe me, you don’t have the worst electoral system.

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