Venezuelans to Vote in Key Elections on December 6

By Nestor Rojas

Government forces are campaigning by invocking the late Hugo Chavez.
Government forces are campaigning by invocking the late Hugo Chavez.

HAVANA TIMES — On Sunday, Venezuelans will cast their votes to renew the 167 seats at the country’s National Assembly (Congress), in the legislative elections where government forces face the greatest challenge of the past decade, DPA reported.

More than 19 million voters are registered to vote in the country’s 87 electoral districts. A total of 113 representatives will be selected individually, while 51 will be voted for as part of a bloc. Three indigenous representatives are candidates.

The Chavista government (taking its name from the late Hugo Chavez) has maintained a majority at Congress since 2005, when the opposition boycotted the elections and withdrew, claiming it did not trust the National Electoral Council (CNE).

In 2010, the opposition returned to Congress but was annulled by the pro-government majority headed by Diosdado Cabello.

The government’s electoral campaign has been tarnished by acts of violence against the opposition, including an incident last week in the locality of Altagracia, state of Guarico, where the leader of opposition party Accion Democratica was gunned down.

Most polls announce that the opposition has a 20 to 25 point advantage in terms of vote, in the midst of mass discontent over product shortages and an inflation rate that, according to independent studies, was higher than 150 percent this year.

During the campaign, President Nicolas Maduro acknowledged that these will be the toughest elections the government has faced in 16 years and, during the two-week campaign, he made several appearances to support his candidates at official functions.

Maduro warned that he would not hand over the Bolivarian revolution in the event of an electoral defeat and alerted that a National Assembly controlled by the opposition would mean the end of social programs for Venezuela’s underprivileged.

“If the right takes over the National Assembly, we won’t be taking anything back. I won’t hand myself over under any circumstance, but, if any negative circumstance arose, I would take to the streets with the people, as I’ve always done, and the revolution would enter a new stage. Don’t expect to see a coward, expect to see the courageous son of Chavez, on the streets, next to the people,” he stated.

During his visit to Barinas, the place of birth of Hugo Chavez, the president mocked the polls and the optimism shown by the opposition.

“They continue to make fools of themselves. They say they’ve already won, that the polls say so. I’ve won, the polls say so, that’ what they say. You have to win down here, you bourgeois parasites, the people are down here, on the street,” he declared.

The opposition’s Mesa de Unidad Democratica (MUD) said it hopes December 6 will mark the beginning of a new political era.

According to the MUD executive secretary, Jesus Torrealba, the coalition’s legislative program will begin by passing an amnesty law for political prisoners, which include leader Leopoldo Lopez and students detained and tried for protests against the government last year.

The opposition also plans to implement laws to increase salaries, in response to the damage caused by inflation and the devaluation of the currency, as well as additional measures to incentivize production nationwide.

The CNE did not authorize international oversight by the OAS and EU for the elections and only approved an “accompanying” electoral mission headed by former Dominican President Leonel Fernandez.

2 thoughts on “Venezuelans to Vote in Key Elections on December 6

  • Moses, are you sure you don’t have a “good feeling” about Maduro’s troubles in Venezuela? Other pro-Cuban governments throughout Latin America are also switching to anti-Cuba/pro U.S. governments, such as Argentina already but now Venezuela and soon Brazil and even Chile, and later Nicaragua, Bolivia, etc. The brief Bush-related 2002 coup in Venezuela is having ramifications that are beginning to boil over. When the smoke clears…and there will be a lot of smoke…we’ll have to sift through the ashes…and there will be a lot of ashes…and then see what remains. With so much at stake for so many people in so many countries, it is sad, I believe, that the demise of Revolutionary Cuba looms as a large component of what happened in Argentina, what will happen Sunday in Venezuela, and what will soon be happening in Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, Bolivia, etc. After all, Cuba is a mere island and only a handful of revengeful first-and-second-generation Cuban exiles, after all these decades, are still stirring the volatile pot. As if international terrorism is not enough these days, revolutions and counter-revolutions and then more revolutions followed by more counter-revolutions seem primed to roil the Americas in the months and years directly ahead. Caracas on Sunday night will be a barometer as to how much smoke, and ashes, may be in Latin America’s future. The U.S.-Cuban equation is becoming more and more like the Israeli-Palestinian quagmire regarding all the offshoots and ramifications, I think. And that, believe it or not, is an optimistic and not an apocalyptic appraisal.

  • I gotta bad feeling about this one. Ma’burro’ is a liar and a cheat. There’s no telling what he will do to keep from losing power. We will know soon enough.

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