Nothing New

It was all exactly as expected on yesterday’s election: low turnout, pressure on voters, and PSUV will have the absolute majority in the illegal AN; Guaidó reiterates that the new Assembly won’t be recognized by 60 countries

Photo: AP Photo/Matias Delacroix

  • Electoral journalist Eugenio Martínez estimated electoral participation between 28% and 32%, saying: “If the projections hold, the PSUV would be achieving 240 out of 277 (88% of deputies).” It’s worth mentioning that Nicolás’s prêt-à-porter opposition failed epically, and that failure can’t be attributed to the opposition that preferred to denounce that there weren’t conditions for a fair election. It isn’t true that if the opposition had participated, the opposition would have won with a definite majority. It was all controlled so the regime would win as it did, if what happened yesterday can be considered a victory. 
  • After it was all over, the first vice president of the AN, Juan Pablo Guanipa, ratified that the AN doesn’t recognize this election, or the results given by the CNE: “It wasn’t an election in Venezuela, today, and we don’t recognize the results or the consequences,” said Guanipa, who alongside deputy Freddy Guevara led the fourth report of the Observatory Against Electoral Fraud. Up until 6:00 p.m., the Observatory had calculated an 18.3% turnout, from the entire electoral registry, which is 20,710,421 voters. Guanipa expects participation in the Popular Consultation that starts today to be higher than the exercise of yesterday. The consultation has less resources or information. “What happened today was a disaster, it’s up to us to keep fighting, nobody can be fooled, we have to respond as civil people,” he asked. The final figure will probably be higher because those who count the votes without audits or observers, can do whatever they want. 
  • AN Speaker and caretaker President Juan Guaidó explained that rejection for this rigged election was evident, “despite the censorship and the communication hegemony, you can’t hide the truth, the majority of Venezuelans turned their back on Maduro and his fraud.” This low turnout shows that the Executive lost popular support and most people want change. That’s precisely why chavismo doesn’t allow free, democratic elections: “That’s why they have to choose the referee and their opponents, refuse international observation, blackmail the people with hunger, because they know they would never win a free election,” said Guaidó. He warned that this election without guarantees won’t be recognized by almost 60 countries and will only make the crisis deeper. He assured that if they achieve installing the illegitimate AN in 2021, they won’t be able to lift “not even one sanction”. He invited Venezuelans to participate in the digital phase of the popular consultation that starts on Monday, December 7th and to go to streets on Saturday 12th. 
  • Most voting centers had more military officers (armed to the teeth) than civilians wanting to be witnesses, and almost no voters. Since chavismo doesn’t like keeping appearances, they used all kinds of state-owned vehicles to campaign for PSUV or mobilize voters and installed puntos rojos. People didn’t vote, but since the regime thinks Venezuelans are dumb, Cilia Flores said that the electoral system was so fast there’s no time for lines to form on voting stations. Too bad she didn’t explain how people teleported to the centers, though. Voters were moved from different centers and many WhatsApp and Telegram audios with  messages as subtle as “those who want benefits have to make sacrifices” and threats against non-voters of taking away their CLAP boxes. What else can you take from people who live without electricity, water, cooking gas or fuel? 
  • The PSUV controlled every variable of this “election”: TSJ appointed the board of the CNE and included two of their own head justices as authorities, Indira Alfonso (who signed the sentence taking away Amazonas’ parliamentary representation in 2015) and Gladys Gutiérrez (who asked the Prosecutor’s Office to process the deputies who voided that TSJ ruling from 2015 in 2016). In less than three months, that TSJ intervened nine political parties and imposed new authorities, hijacking their identities and symbols, to recreate an opposition that didn’t participate, because the first prêt-à-porter opposition was too mediocre. Indigenous peoples were stripped of their right to a secret, direct vote. They increased the representation from 167 to 277 deputies, breaking the law. There were no electoral observers but there was more doubt than information about the automated electoral system. That’s why so few people voted. 
  • We have to insist: this CNE board, appointed by the TSJ, provided a lot less information than the previous one. We didn’t know anything about the process of buying the new voting machines, their software or the amount of machines installed (allegedly since Friday) in the country. Maduro was moved from his voting center, from Miguel Antonio Caro High School to Simón Rodríguez Elementary School in Fuerte Tiuna, breaking the Electoral Law. Having to vote in a military facility is a metaphor, but changing his information on the very day of the “election” speaks volumes about the political system, a summary answering all doubts about the legitimacy. 
  • Remember the carómetro, the indicative of how good things are going by the facial expression of politicians? Well, none of that today. There were audiómetros: every voice note sent by the regime to their people was, other than a sad example of arrogance, proof of terrible ignorance about the actual conditions of Venezuelans’ lives. “Do better because we aren’t satisfied with the results,” said Vargas governor Jorge García Carneiro. Maduro’s son said: “You can do better, you must do better.” Cabello asked for the remate that never came, not even when they extended the deadline in centers to 7:00 p.m. The governor of Yaracuy insisted, told his team to bring people to voting centers “using any method”. 
  • Chilean Foreign Minister Andrés Allamand reiterated that the election lacks legitimacy: “Without an independent electoral authority or free political parties or international observers.” 
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the election a fake and a fraud: “The results announced by Maduro’s illegitimate regime don’t reflect the will of the Venezuelan people,” he wrote. 
  • Chavismo’s international influencers José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, Fernando Lugo and Piedad Córdoba did their miserable job. Nothing new in their statements favoring the regime. 
  • Chavismo took all significance and meaning from the vote these last few years: they have ignored unfavorable results, lied about legitimately elected authorities, annulled the power of the National Assembly through the TSJ, imposed their own will and strangled the public budget. None of it had a firm response by the State because the institutions are controlled by the ruling party. We got to an electoral event where people could vote but not choose, because it was merely chavismo playing with an opposition that they built, in a country where there’s no productivity but a lot of hunger. What were the incentives to vote? There wasn’t a need for extensive media coverage to make the citizens’ demobilization evident. It doesn’t matter which figures are promoted by the regime, whatever they announce will be a decision not tied to reality, considering their inability to summon, convince and mobilize their own. They didn’t achieve their goal, no matter what they say. All these years in power fractured what once kept them there. Coercion didn’t work this time. There was no discipline, because there haven’t been rules for a while now. And, yes, losing the vote is terrible, but false equivalence does no good here, saying “on both sides” is no good: it was chavismo that stripped the vote of its meaning.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.