Nicolás Maduro began to walk back his fire-and-brimstone talk about unleashing a virtual civil war if he lost today’s election before the first vote was cast. In a meeting with UNASUR election observers yesterday, he pledged to accept the results “whatever they may be,” saying his now infamous “como sea” (whatever it may take), which had been at the very corazón-de-lechuga of the PSUV’s campaign, had been “misinterpreted.”
“For us,” said Maduro “the life of the people comes first.”
Andrés Pastrana, the former Colombian President, spoke for six former Latin American presidents saying, “a message that brings tranquility is that President Maduro has vowed to accept the result whatever it may be.”
Look, it was always clear to me that Maduro was just huffing and puffing, talking big to try to intimidate opposition voters with this “Como Sea” bluster. Maduro is under intense diplomatic pressure, and the people chavismo had always counted on to backstop them are out of the game: Dilma, impeeched; Kirchnerismo, defeated; Caricom, incensed over the Essequibo. Even the gangsters and pranes are deserting on account of the OLPs.
So that he would end up folding isn’t surprising. But what I really didn’t expect was for him to show his cards before the first vote had been cast. That pretty much gives the game away. You can’t very well intimidate the voters by telling them “look, we’re going to lose, we know they’re going to lose, and they’re going to accept it.”