BIZARRO CARACAS — Venezuelan Comptroller General, Manuel Galindo, rocked the political scene once more, disqualifying a further batch of 37 MUD candidates to the Constituent Assembly election on Sunday.

The group, which includes 33 Primero Justicia candidates, faces allegations ranging from failure to pay child support to misappropriation of public funds during terms as Municipal Council members. One MUD hopeful was disqualified after he was found driving with an expired certificado médico at a routine traffic stops.

These latest disqualifications bring the total number of MUD Candidates disqualified since nominations closed in June to 194.

Galindo’s move rekindled the intense debate that took place in early May on whether to boycott the July 30th vote.

Among Galindo’s latest batch are both of MUD’s candidates for Los Teques. They join disqualified candidates from Chacao, El Hatillo and Sucre municipalities, creating the startling prospect that the Metropolitan Area of Caracas will not return a single opposition member of the Assembly.

With just eight days before voting day, analysts say there is no time to reprogram Venezuela’s outdated voting machines, suggesting votes for disqualified candidates will be null. However sources inside CNE say the board may not tally null votes separately from abstentions, to avoid generating a record of which candidates would have won in the absence of these disqualifications.

The move rekindled the intense debate that took place in early May on whether to boycott the July 30th vote or not. With polls showing MUD winning a generic ballot question by up to 3-to-1 margins, voices arguing it would be absurd to sit out an election they could easily win carried the day, sidelining radicals who argued that loaded election rules and the governments’ obvious lack of commitment to fair play made such polls meaningless.

The bitter debate at the end of May caused first open split in MUD, as radical parties Voluntad Popular, Alianza Bravo Pueblo and Vente Venezuela walked out and vowed to continue their fight on the street. The wave of arrests that followed at the on the night of May 30th saw David Smolansky, Freddy Guevara, Maria Corina Machado and Juan Guaidó taken in prison at El Helicoide, along with over 120 grassroots organizers. The protest movement they had led soon fizzled out, with remaining MUD leaders concentrating their time and resources on the July 30th elections.

As PSUV Constituent Assembly candidate Delcy Rodríguez stressed to international journalists on Friday, it remains mathematically possible for MUD to win an overall majority in the Assembly. “If they really had the votes they’d be out campaigning. But no, they have no pueblo, so they just whine that we discovered half their candidates were corrupt,” Rodríguez said.

An analysis by Eugenio Martínez, a well regarded local elections analysts, shows 172 of MUD’s disqualified candidates were set “puestos salidores” — urban municipalities where MUD was expected to cruise to victory. Without them, the possibility of a MUD majority is purely academic.

The disqualifications have been condemned worldwide. The European Union, Mercosur, the“We must fight for every democratic space available to us,” Rosales said, while Falcón underlined the dangers of a Constituent Assembly with no opposition representation at all.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro along with the the Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Canada, Germany, Spain and Italy have strongly condemned them as a transparent attempt to tip the balance of power within the all-powerful Assembly.

The Trump administration, too, issued a strong statement on Thursday — setting off 48 hours of non-stop propaganda in state media against the imperialist aggression against the Venezuelan people’s sovereignty.

On Friday, in a joint press conference, MUD leaders Manuel Rosales and Henri Falcón strongly denounced Galindo’s decisions before pressing on with their campaigns. “We must fight for every democratic space available to us,” Rosales said, while Falcón underlined the dangers of a Constituent Assembly with no opposition representation at all.

Though Julio Borges, the Primero Justicia chairman of the soon-to-be-shuttered National Assembly is now calling for MUD to declare a boycott at this late stage, the dominance of moderates within the rump MUD, following the withdrawal of the more radical parties, makes such a move virtually impossible.

A call by Henrique Capriles for a street protest on Saturday brought out a few hundred protesters to Plaza Altamira who were quickly dispersed by the National Guard, as Interior Minister Nestor Reverol celebrated the 50th straight day without a significant protest following the late-May detentions.

From his SEBIN jail cell, El Hatillo mayor David Smolansky underscored that MUD had been warned about this outcome. “Failing to foresee that the government would do something like this,” Smolansky tweeted, “shows a catastrophic failure to learn the political lessons of the last four years.”

Local pollster Datanalisis now projects that MUD may score anywhere between 130 and 175 seats in the 545 seat Constituent Assembly, even though 3 in 4 poll respondents say they would never consider voting for a PSUV candidate.

“The rigged bases comiciales [the election rules] told MUD everything it needed to know about the government’s willingness to hold a genuinely competitive election,” said Francisco Toro, of the opposition-aligned site Caracas Chronicles. “MUD just walked into a trap designed to divide it and dial down the pressure from street protests.”

Delcy Rodríguez smiled broadly when asked at her press conference about the few remaining radical leaders not yet in detention who are now describing the entire Assembly a fraud.

“These will be the cleanest elections in Venezuela’s history,” Rodríguez said. “The hundreds of opposition candidates out there campaigning actively right now are the proof. There will always be a fascist fringe that calls every revolutionary victory a fraud just because they don’t have the people to take the fight to us. But history and the glorious pueblo de Bolívar will flatten them like a steamroller!”

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Hahaha, sorry, my old ass couldnt see the white print on the black hole from “alternative universe”…not ready for sarcasm in the morning.

    So stressed out from this all!!!! and have not laughed or had a good time in a long time. Cant wait for this to all be over with and Diosdado and Tarek rotting in jail cells in el imperio.

    • You obviously don’t know a thing about your “old” ass versus my “ancient” one.(LOL) . To Tarek and Mad Dog Ernie, (et al.) their “alternative universe” only involves enough coke (white holes) sales to El Notre to maintain a dank energy(corruption) around some DEA officers. (And we don’t know anything about dark matter (maybe it’s just an overdose.

      (This time, I’m with you,” I’m Cant wait for this to all be over with and Diosdado and Tarek rotting in jail cells in el imperio)

    • It is useful in the sense that shows what would have happened had MUD participated in the ANC. By default shows that the current course taken by MUD is the only one possible.

  2. At this point any kind of engagement with the regime is a complete waste of time. We have to keep on charging full steam ahead until they are gone. It used to be that participating in elections was a viable but questionable strategy given the conditions but now that they have absolute no credibility in and out the country we should not worry even if come July 30 and they “win” be a land slide the ANC.
    They are illegitimate and no legal framework would change that reality.
    The conditions now are such that fighting them internally with constitutional rules is laughable, wait … scratch that, painful….
    We have reached the much dreaded point of an armed struggle, something that falls outside of the AN competence so i am not expecting them to ever propose that as the solution even if it was the most reasonable path to victory.

  3. Maduro in interview with Mario Silva saying he would postpone prostituyente elections for 2 weeks if opposition will participate hahahah

    Maduro dice que pospondrá Constituyente “cubana” si la oposición participa

    • Thank you guacharaca. Welcome to more “metidas de pata”, who is going to believe that Tibi and accomplices from the CNE are an independent democratic power?

      The new CNE rectores should have already been named. We want no later than Wednesday a declaration by all, AN, New TSJ justices and new CNE rectores that the regime is a de facto regime, since it has broken the constitution. Let Masburro further tie the rope around his own neck.

      A call should be made for a national strike, blocking ports and airports and transportation terminals. Disrupt oil producing and distribution facilities. Bring the regime to the knees. Request formal international recongnition for these steps, taken to restore the rule of Law.

      Me thinks it is already late to save anything worthwhile from the “glorious” FAN-B. We don’t need those parasites. We just ask them not to further repress the People.

      Keep going forward. The regime is in reaction mode.

  4. Maduro broadcasting today to a hand-selected crowd assembled next to Miraflores. This group was even dressed by the government.

    It’s looking like Maduro’s world is getting smaller by the day.

  5. Interview by DeutschWorld with Russ Dallen of Caracas Capitol Markets.

    Estrategias con el petróleo de Venezuela

    Q: What is the viability of sanctions on Venezuelan petroleum?
    A: The short answer is: Yes.

    1. No politician can raise gas prices and get away with it.
    2. However, Trump has a way around that by selling off some of the strategic reserve. This will help pay off debt, but it will also ease the pain felt by US companies if Venezuelan petroleum is sanctioned.
    3. Thus short term hard sanctions on Venezeula are politically viable in the USA.

    Now it is the job of the Trump admin and those who support sanctions on Venezeula to get the word out in the media. We must put Venezeula into the spotlight on international news so other countries join US sanctions.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rpW7aoltrA

    Trump is in a good position to do this.

    • That’s why the castrocuban lobby is burning Venezuela’s reserves and resources, to stop anybody from ever threatening the control over their colony.

    • Heh!!!! Don’t bag Trump. He does know physics very well (and economics either). But neither do most politician (bullshiters)

    • The USA is well equipped to handle sanctions against VZ. Even if all the oil went to China, it would not put a dent into the oil prices. US based producers will just make up the difference and restart the dormant wells.

      [China cannot currently handle the additional import of oil were VZ to move all its tankers from US ports to CN]

      Fracking is hurting all the OPEC nations and the middle east will not reduce output (collectively or honestly) as they now know that US producers will just lick their chops at the chance to pump more.

      The US imports 2M barrels a day (on average) from VZ. The Eagle Ford and Bakken fields can make that up w/o even trying. The strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) would only be needed for a very short time until domestic production were to catch up. In 90 days or less, not a single gringo would notice.

        • Mitchell is essentially correct, the US is in as a strong position as ever to handle a disruption in oil supplies coming from Venezuela. However, adjustments need to be made since the US refineries in the Gulf are optimized for heavy crude (oil imports from Canada, probably can take up the slack).

          Worth considering is that the US exports approx 1M b/day. A slight disruption in Venezuelas’ oil supply could prompt an increase in oil prices, allowing higher cost producers to pump more. Might not even need to tap into the reserves (although it has been widely acknowledged that the SPR is bigger than need to be). Since there are alternative sources that can quickly take up the 2.4M, it is likely that its impact would be very minor,unlikely to be felt at the pump.

          This is very bad news for Venezuela. Once a competitor is established as a reliable supplier (with great growth potential), it would be difficult to recover the market share. Further, PDVSA/Venezuela ls at risk of losing control of Citgo to Rosneft, There are many implications both for Venezuela and the US.

          The socialism of the XXI century, when it finally makes its exit, would have left Venezuela in the deepest hole it has ever been, All the efforts made over 40 years trying to secure a reliable market for Venezuela’s products, while developing industry (“sembrar el petroleo”) have been thrown to waste. This is the chavismo heritage: misery, economic and morally of the highest level.

          At this juncture, why some Venezuelan Oppo (who due to their own financial position and professional capabilities could be living comfortable lives in a first world economy), still actively fight – at the risk of bodily harm – the dictatorship? The short answer is because they are the real patriots, loving the country that they live in. With very few exceptions, none of them are in the military, and this has to be taken into account for the new Venezuela, literally rising from the ashes.

  6. Also, what a way to fan some poop onto Falsón and Zulia’s Philosopher, heheh, still, Toro, I guess you missed Torrealba crying against the “radical infiltrators who keep burning their own houses for something”

  7. There are people who where against the Consulta Popular, they thought it was a waste of time/effort and also thought that focus should have been on a the AN calling a “gobierno de trancision”. But the Consulta Popular was not only a great act of democratic civil disobedience, but it was clear evidence to refute this particular statement in counterfactual (that you know they would have used):

    “If they really had the votes they’d be out campaigning. But no, they have no pueblo, so they just whine that we discovered half their candidates were corrupt,” Rodríguez said.

    Great post.

  8. Well done, Quico. Your counterfactual, which riffs on what Chavismo has already done, points out the futility of “dialogue,” of negotiation with Chavismo. About the only positive thing Chavismo has done since the Dec 2015 legislative elections was to put Leopoldo Lopez in house arrest- and that was an attempt to deflect attention away from the colectivos’ assault on the National Assembly. Oh, yes- and to rein in the colectivos during the July 16th polling. Had there not been such a negative outcry over the colectivos’ assault on the National Assembly, I doubt Maduro would have reined in the colectivos on July 16.

    • And, the whole point of this post is to deflect CC readers’ attention away from FT’s loss of 2 burgers to Raul in response to NM’s ANC “bluff”.

      • Not so fast Net. Did I not hear the esteemed Nicolas say the other day thay there’s a chance the ANC could be “delayed” because the opposition is now clamoring to participate? And we all know Nicolas never lies.

        • You’re right, the 2-week delay of the ANC if the Oppo clamors to participate–meanwhile, NM is trying to jail the 33 new AN-named TSJ justices, “for good measure”.

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