Photo: Radio Yara, retrieved

“We were working all out to keep ballot access for the MUD card and then the leadership changed strategies. They made us rush, gave us no time to react. We did everything we could. We’re so tired, because we didn’t have any logistics support from the party but, even so, I’m not disappointed. I’m disappointed in the people, not in the work we did.”

That’s the view of Ángel David León, a grassroots Primero Justicia leader in Caracas’s San Pedro parish, after the tough days after January 25th when the Supreme Tribunal (TSJ) ordered the National Electoral Council (CNE) not to allow MUD to gather signatures to try to stay on as an official party. 

The TSJ ruling forced Primero Justicia to scramble. Their activists marching orders had been to go all out to keep MUD’s ticket alive. Suddenly, activists had to change the entire plan around. Now the leadership told them they had to try to revalidate Primero Justicia’s own official party status.

“We didn’t have a choice” says León. “We had to organize everything in less than a day. Call people, send dozens of texts, knock on neighbors’ doors. It was an epic effort, historic, I’d say. Validate two political parties like PJ and AD in two days, those with the most supporters, called for tremendous logistics, extreme efforts.”

It was mathematically impossible to validate with so many obstacles, with just one machine for both parties, without time to let the voters know. But we did the job.

According to CNE, parties that didn’t participate in the mayor elections in December 2017, had to renew their official party status through an arbitrary signature collection process, in punishment since they “had sabotaged” last year’s (rigged) elections.

“It’s like they closed the door and when you’re climbing through the window they close that as well. So, we jumped in through the roof. We’ve done everything the CNE and TSJ asked. It was mathematically impossible to validate with so many obstacles, with just one machine for both parties, without time to let the voters know. We pretty much worked with our fingernails. It was really hard but we did the work, from the grassroots, as justicieros, because we believe in democracy and we love this country. I did it for my daughters and I’d do it again.”  

Ángel wore out his shoes looking for people. He made calls from his phone, he sent around 400 texts, he paid for the water with his own pocket and with borrowed cars or paying for people’s bus fare he mobilized his neighbors.

After all he did, the validation center he coordinated was 17 votes short of the goal. They got 283 votes. Around 11 people worked with him and each of them had a goal of bringing ten more people to back the party up.

A Lazy Party

The hardest day was Saturday 27. Party headquarters seemed to go silent. No one knew what was going on. 

“That was a flaw from PJ, that didn’t work,“ said Ana Ron, justiciera from parish El Valle, an alleged revolutionary bastion.

She was also surprised by the MUD card ban, but the biggest challenge was ahead: having to mobilize 600 people to the signature collection centers. They only managed 350, “and I’m proud of it. We did it with only one fingerprint scanning machine, with unequal rules imposed by the CNE, with angry technicians that wouldn’t let us help voters. That caused tons of disappointment. However, we didn’t back away from the fight.”

She said they had no water, that in order to go to the restroom, at a nearby mall, they took turns, same way they had meals. She had to coordinate the whole parish, go with area chiefs and be the face of the party: “I don’t regret it. With or without logistics, this fight is for Venezuela. I have a 14-year-old kid, I’m a single mom, I don’t have anything to feed him sometimes, I can’t send him to school. But I won’t back down in this fight.”

Ron has been justiciera for a year, and she works at the grassroots, on the streets, protests, neighbor’s houses. “Am I disappointed in the results? I am. Not of the amount of work (we did), I’m disappointed in the people. I understand they’re upset because of the dire situation in our country but we still have to sacar el pecho.

No Support and Surrounded

The long faces of justicieros were there all day, exhaustion overpowered them. Many went into battle on empty stomachs and, unlike in the past, the neighbors didn’t come to the yellow points with coffee or bottled water.

“It was really hard in Coche,” says saying Efraín Montilla, PJ youth secretary in the hardscrabble southwest Caracas parish. “We had a hard time settling in, we were under siege from the colectivos and GNB at all times.”

At 18, he decided to fight for Venezuela with a yellow PJ flag in his hand.

“We were validating with the MUD and we were working towards that goal. With the last minute changes, the going got tough and the party failed at keeping information flowing. People didn’t know what was going on. We had to find neighbors, convince them and well, out of those 266 we got 212. We didn’t stand there doing nothing, and that makes me feel proud of the militancia justiciera. I’m not disappointed. We had so little time, and I won’t judge the people, maybe some of them are mad[…]. Even though I’m so young, I’m glad and I want to keep going. I understand the party hasn’t made the best decisions, like when Juan Pablo Guanipa wouldn’t go before the ANC [to take the oath of office as Zulia state governor], but we have to fight back.”

The Coup de Grace

“We won’t quit. Justicieros are on the streets and we’ll continue standing up for Venezuela” said Ángel León. But that was before CNE announced Primero Justicia wouldn’t get a second chance to go out and gather the missing signatures after all. 

According to the electoral authority, the yellow party only got to the signature goal set 0,5 % of the electoral registry in two states, so, with a reparo process, it had to reach the goal in ten states.

Last night, however, Luis Emilio Rondón, tweeted that CNE had changed the rules in the middle of the game yet again. Violating the agreed schedule and blocking Primero Justicia from giving that step that would allow it a spot in the upcoming elections. As we write this, no reason has been given for this arbitrary decision.

Primero Justicia also had words on twitter for a move they consider contradictory:

“How can a government honor bilateral agreements coming from negotiations if it can’t even honor its own rulebook?”

The regime itself has no official word on the subject. Primero Justicia was “informed” of the decision and although Rondón’s tweet confirms it, neither the CNE nor any other government agency has come forward with an official statement.

Just as with MUD and Voluntad Popular, this move disqualifies Primero Justicia from having a spot on the ballot for this year’s presidential race. Primero Justicia is no longer considered an official political party by CNE.

At this point, Un Nuevo Tiempo, Acción Democrática, Avanzada Progresista, MAS, IP99 and COPEI are the only official political parties in the opposition.

All the others are rojo rojitos.

 

 

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24 COMMENTS

  1. I have a question.
    As the regime eliminates other parties from the rigged elections, aren’t they running the risk of a revolt due to people being ever more convinced that Maduro did not receive the most votes?
    In an election where there is no run off and the person that receives the most votes is considered the winner, (first past the post) the fewer candidates there are, the more likely it is that Maduro will not be the top vote getter.
    I understand that this whole election is a fraud. I just think it is going to be much harder to convince the people that oppose Maduro that he has won when the amount of candidates that divide the vote are reduced.
    As the regime eliminates candidates they may be doing more damage to themselves than anyone else.

    • The opposition is led by politicians not patriots. When the regional elections were announced, everyone knew it was a sham. Still the politicians announced their candidacies. They were more concerned about remaining relevant and their own personal gain than uniting and stopping the fraud.
      The opposition is an impediment to removing the illegal regime. Many people have come to despise the opposition “leaders” as much as the regime.
      Venezuela desperately needs a patriot to lead the rebellion against the narco terrorists that hold the people hostage.
      The negotiations will never yield a pathway to restore democracy. Still they talk and talk and talk.
      All the while the people suffer and die.

      • “The opposition is led by politicians not patriots.”

        As are most political office holders. You would be hard pressed to find one ANYWHERE who will lay down over the barbed wire for their countrymen. Seems like the old guy (Gramcko) is about the only one in Venezuela.

        “Venezuela desperately needs a patriot to lead the rebellion against the narco terrorists that hold the people hostage.”

        Well, they had one, and nobody (myself included, until the outpost heist) took him seriously. Now he is a martyr. Turned in by a Chavista for a few pieces of silver.

        No more negotiations. No more talking. That time is over. But, you won’t hear that from the likes of Allup.

  2. I am sorry, but all of this was a fraud in the first place. And the opposition keeps going after the same bait, time after time. Seriously, I am NOT going to be surprised when the MUD representatives come home from the DR with an agreement to recognize the ANC and allow the CNE to remain. BECAUSE THEY ARE MORONS!

    I remember when Maduro announced the ANC election, and certain AN members were quick to start running for that office… KNOWING FULL WELL that Maduro would just keep changing the rules. Then they ran for governors. Then mayors. Now this.

    Now many times must you take a run at that football, Charlie Brown?

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me… but three times, four times, five times…. how many times are these opposition frauds going to be fooled?

  3. The whole thing is just bizarre to me, and gets more bizarre by the day.

    The “elections” are a sham, everyone knows it, but opposition political parties “fight like hell to get registered”. Why I ask?

    I understand the logical-sounding argument that if you don’t participate, then the world doesn’t see your massive numbers turning out to oust Maduro. The rally cry will be, how could Maduro have possibly won with so many voters turning out in opposition strongholds????

    But who sees those massive crowds? Throngs of international press and poll watchers who go back and report to their people that a fraud was committed? No. They’re hardly allowed to enter the country for “elections”.

    And besides, who on the outside knows what an opposition stronghold even looks like anyway? To most of the outside world, especiallly the first-world, and particularly the US and Canada, even the nicer areas of this country still look like a dangerous damned slum. The crowds could just as easily be chavistas as opposition for all the average gringo would know.

    And besides, the chavistas will always have their own energetic, dancing, singing red-dressed crowds of PDVSA, and all the other government-owned businesses that force their employees to go stand in line on that day.

    Oh, but I almost forgot. We have the actas. To which I would ask, what the fuck good have the god-damned actas done for ya so far? Squat, that’s what.

    I don’t know the answer, but wasting time preparing for a sham “election” doesn’t seem like it to me.

    But, as Naky would say, we go on.

    • I love your post agree completely. You forgot to mention that this sham goes so far so that for the first time Venezuelans abroad are not allowed to vote. Millions have left the country and many will abstain… so what are they talking about. Sham on Ramos Allup and the rest of the opportunists that have seemed to take part in this farce.

  4. BTW, the woman is surfing facebook tonight and just now shows me a photograph. A CADA grocery store with the shelves chock-a-block full of merchandise…..toilet paper, household cleaning supplies, canned goods, produce, rice, cornflour, meat, eggs, milk, you name it, they have it.

    Then the clincher, the photo was taken 30 years ago.

    I think it triggered me because I’m in a god-damned rage right now at what these worthless thieving mother fuckers have done to this country.

    • MRubio –

      That’s what I remember of Venezuela, what it was 30 years ago.

      A couple of years ago when I saw a photo and some video of colas outside the “bicentenario” in Las Mercedes, I didn’t know where it was. Why would anyone want to put up a huge iron fence around a supermarket? That used to be a knee-high flowerbed, not really wide enough to sit on. I thought maybe it was some poorly designed new place somewhere towards La California or maybe San Bernardino. A few months later in another video or photo, from another angle, I realized it was the CADA in Las Mercedes, but by that time, it didn’t shock me.

      Thing is, I saw it all coming back in the 1970’s, but even if I had managed to articulate it, even if I had managed to put things together into some serious thought some specifics about what a disaster was coming, even if I had thought I could have a voice against the powers that be, the multi-national oil companies, the guys who had houses I couldn’t possibly even begin to afford – who of them would have listened to such a young man, a gringo besides, saying that “the sky is falling”? And if I said something to Venezuelans, I’d get a smile, a laugh, an arm thrown over my shoulders, and invited to una humburguesa at the CADA – to show me everything is perfectly OK, and I’m just paranoid. A paranoid attack of some sort. Free hamburguesa. Pat on the back, ask me if it was good. And if I said, “The sky is falling!” again, people would start to wonder if I was OK, or maybe if I needed some professional help – like a thyroid condition or hormonal imbalance or something.

      Socialism. Maybe it’s easier for the lazy to think of “the people”, instead of coming to the realization that the world is filled with individuals, each with their own goals and problems – as similar as some might seem to be on the surface, each is unique.

  5. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made some interesting comments regarding a military coup in Venezuela being the solution to the current crisis.
    I believe he said something to the effect that historically the militaries in South American countries have stepped up and removed failed regimes. That it would be better if Maduro fled to Cuba and avoided a violent coup.
    I am pretty sure that Padrino Lopez is under US sanctions. Tillerson would not be encouraging him to seize power.
    Tillerson is a very capable, low profile, no nonsense person. Publicly green lighting a coup is not something that one would expect him to do. Was Tillerson sending a message to somebody in particular?
    It still seems that this type of message would be quietly sent through other channels. Perhaps it is directed to retired military officers that may still have influence within the military establishment. Maybe he was simply dangling a carrot to see if there are any takers. The old saying “Run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it.” comes to mind.
    The timing coinciding with a trip to Latin America is also interesting.
    It had to scare the shit out of the gang in Miraflores.
    Cuba signing an agreement with Algeria for a small amount of oil also raises questions. Cuba will need to pay for this oil. Why wouldn’t Castro send the money to his ally Maduro? The small purchase does put a supply chain in place that could be used in the future to increase imports. Providing Castro has the cash.
    Does Havana expect a collapse of the regime in Venezuela in the near future?
    Castro’s reliance on Venezuela must have Trump salivating at the opportunity to remove the Castro regime once Venezuelan support dries up. Eleven Presidents before Trump have been unsuccessful in seeing democracy created in Cuba. I do feel that the fall of the Castro regime along with the Maduro regime is the big picture that Washington is focused on. Lettting an opportunity like the inevitable collapse of Venezuela to pass without leveraging it to remove Castro would be foolish.
    Venezuela’s neighbors are experiencing increasing flows of venezuelan refugees. This is putting a lot of pressure on areas of Brazil and Columbia.
    Tillerson should expect an earful during his trip.

    • To your last point, a few days ago I read Colombia sent a “delegation” to Turkey for the purpose of learning how to deal with refugees. Colombia has long had the largest number (or second) of internally displaced, this would seem to indicate how large of a problem this is becoming or they expect it to get.

  6. Is it my impression or most people who write comments in this blog are a few US Americans particularly fans of Trump and less Venezuelans and those mostly snearing about the people (writing the word in Spanish in the middle of an English sentence for what they see as special effects)?

    I hope the others come back

    • Perhaps Kepler, some of us are Americans who have lived in Venezuela for many years, still actually working and producing, haven’t fled as so many of its natural citizens have, and are repulsed at seeing a country with so much potential basically handed over with hardly a whimper by THE PEOPLE to a gang thugs to be completely looted.

      Perhaps Kepler, some of us are Americans who are repulsed that so many of THE PEOPLE can literally be bought with a lousy $10 box of basic food products imported from neighboring countries and paid for with ever-decreasing country treasure.

      Perhaps Kepler, some of us are Americans who cannot understand how THE PEOPLE, after decades of enduring failed socialist policies, still look to politicians who promote even bigger socialist policies to get them out of the mess that socialist policies got them into in the first place.

      Perhaps Kepler, some of us are Americans who weren’t even supporters of Trump to begin with, but when we saw him being attacked in the US by a left-wing media, left-wing politicians, a left-wing US government, and left-wing interests all over the world, we figured the man must be on to something. That he has worked to keep his campaign promises and wants to see real productivity in the form of manufacturing returned to the United States, only makes him more attractive to many of us.

      I too Kepler hope all those “sane” posters that you, Cannuck, and others long for, return as well, especially if they’re leftist in their ideology because there are important subjects that need to be debated. But if they are indeed of leftist ideology, then I suspect part of the reason they no longer post here is because they don’t really want to see what’s growing in the leftist petri dish known as Venezuela.

      As for you personally Kepler, perhaps moving back to Venezuela and experiencing what it’s like to earn an honest living here would be an awakening for you. Heck, it might even have an affect on your view of THE PEOPLE.

    • You guys talk a lot about the elections. I for the first time ever, am completely against the opposition taking part in them. It’s a farce, a bad pantomime that very few countries at this point support. I don’t know what will happen, but have a tiny feeling that this “election” won’t take place.

  7. I’m not liking the delay in my posts very much. makes it hard to know what went through cantv and what didn’t. Specially cause sometimes the system does tell the message was posted (even when it doesn’t yet appear in the comments section)

    • The message center has definitely been screwed up of late.

      I find it’s best to copy any post you plan to make. If not, plan on writing the damned thing again. Here lately, on the first press of the enter button, the system rejects the message. I clear the page, paste my copied text and try again. It usually goes through that second time…..key being the “Submitting Coment” display. If you don’t see that, it probably didn’t go through.

      And yes, for a while if you were duplicating the message, the system would tell you so. Now, no.

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