Last week, electoral authorities in Azerbaijan – a small, oil rich, nation nestled lovingly between steadfast Bolivarian allies Iran and Russia – enthusiastically announced the landslide reelection of their incumbent president Ilham Aliyev, with 73% of the vote, a full day before said voting had even begun.
Fancy new oil pipeline in hand, Azerbaijan’s blatant attempt to wrest Venezuela’s hard earned primacy in electoral shenanigans represents an ongoing effort to humiliate our Bolivarian Republic. Far from content with merely besting us in such Venezuelan government priorities as high software piracy rates, and prisoners per capita, even their president seeks to maintain a more masculine mustache than our own beloved jefe, Nicolás Maduro.
The stakes could not be higher. As I am sure most readers of this blog should by now be painfully aware, Venezuela has had a bit of a tough run of things these last couple of decades. Our once vaunted oil production records are by now a thing of the past, the government is forced to fudge external investment figures to avoid embarrassment, and even our Miss Universe showings have become a bit cringeworthy as of late.
Faced with such adversity, everyday Venezuelans have turned increasingly towards predicating their national patriotism upon less conventional records. Many of these, such as the 100% literacy rate supposedly achieved through Misión Robinson, are likely to withstand about as much international scrutiny as Iran’s claim to be entirely free of Homosexuals.
Yet, of one thing, Venezuelans could be sure: being blessed with the most unapologetically biased electoral authorities anywhere. Come what may, Tibisay Lucena, you could hold your head up high, confident in the knowledge that you, and your friends were “numero uno” in this regard – pase lo que pase, and come what may.
How can we, as Venezuelans, continue to take pride in our 21st century socialist paradise when the petro-nouveau riche disrespects us with impunity? How can we continue to take delight in Hilary Kramer’s delightfully fluffy — cataclysmically researched — piropo articles, knowing full well that Azerbaijan was there first? It makes me feel ill. Venezuela is nobody’s sloppy second.
This cannot stand! We demand that our government address this existential threat upon our bragging rights. Increased software piracy, incarcerations, and more commanding presidential mustaches would be a great start, but what we really need here is to double down on CNE brazenness. Tibisay Lucena, our nation turns to you for leadership now more than ever.
Like Carlos Baute before me, I am ever the optimist when it comes to believing in Venezuela, while myself living comfortably abroad. I know in my heart that the pluck, drive and desfachatez of the government institutions in my beloved fifth republic remain intact. I do not doubt that Tibi & Company will spare no effort to take back the crown from these Caspian upstarts come December’s municipal elections.
God speed, citizen Lucena. We’re all counting on you…