I’ve always had a thing for witches. There’s something really powerful and heroic about being wrongly burned at the stake because you spoke your mind or simply because you were cultured or well educated. I look up to smart witches, like Hermione Granger, complex witches like Bellatrix Lestrange and funny witches like the iconic coven from Hocus Pocus.

Turns out, I’ve been fighting my whole adult life against the one coven that can actually do magic when it’s convenient for them. I’m talking, of course, about Tibisay Lucena, Sandra Oblitas, Socorro Hernández and Tania D’Amelio.

The four chavista extremists who run elections in Venezuela are the real deal: seemingly magic and scary as they come.

Remember last year, Henrique Capriles was all “el tiempo de Dios llegó” and announcing we were going to have a referendum to fire Maduro? Yes!

We were excited and hopeful and did everything they told us to do.

We listened to opposition leaders and sorted out every obstacle, almost doubled the number of initial signatures we were asked to submit. The process started on the first quarter of 2016 and we played by their book, we danced to their beat, we obliged even though we knew they were cheating and making up fake – and illegal! – steps to delay us.

We proved over and over that we’re law abiding citizens, even when those laws are mostly made up on the spot to screw us over. And then they said that six months wasn’t enough. They said this was a lengthy process and that there just wasn’t enough time.

Look, I’m not a lawyer and I am sorry if this sounds dumb or if I am truly underestimating how complex it is:

Step 1. Write one simple question asking the Venezuelan people if they want Nicolás Maduro Moros to remain in office.

Step 2. Set a date so people can show up to their voting stations and answer yes or no.

What’s so hard about that?

A year wasn’t enough time to do that. And yet, somehow, these witches can come up with the money, logistics, miembros de mesa and organizational skill to hold elections for 335 mayors in six weeks? Huh?

Were their wands broken in 2016? Was there a potion ingredient shortage too, in addition to food and medicine last year?

Yesterday, every major Venezuelan party that’s part of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) said they were not going to participate in the elections our dear coven set for December 10th, 2017.

The four chavista extremists who run elections in Venezuela are the real deal: seemingly magic and scary as they come.

Freddy Guevara (VP) said “we won’t participate in a new fraud against the Venezuelan people and we responsibly call on the other parties in the MUD to refrain from participating in any way.” Tomás Guanipa, from PJ, said his party won’t participate in any election held by “a government who decides who can or can’t win” and he accused them of never respecting the will of the people.

MUD also said they will soon hold primary elections to decide who will lead this coalition moving forward and who will be running against Maduro in the 2018 presidential election. The thing is, it’s the government that will really pick who runs against them: arbitrary inhabilitaciones mean that only the people who the government finds simpático get to run. The others end up ruled out como por arte de magia.

So we’re left with the leftovers: people who’ve been given a clean bill of health by the regime. Sadly, nobody trusts Ramos Allup after the “four rogue governors swearing into office before the ANC” debacle, and his likely primary opponent, the just-as-magically re-habilitado Manuel Rosales, manages somehow to be even sketchier.

But that’s all next year. We have a December ordeal to get through first. Once again, the opposition won’t run. Yes, we know that election boycotts never did the opposition any favors. But CNE had never been this brazen before.

Some witches used their powers for good and were burned at the stake. I always liked those. Apparently when they send their witches, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending witches that just want to burn an entire country to the ground.

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Nina is an actress and comedian living in Bogotá. She loves reading and correcting people when they screw up, which is perfect for working as a copy editor at Caracas Chronicles, because she gets to do both.