José Herrera Antonaya es director de Internacional de la Fundación FAES
Following the written script made by its partners in Havana, Chavism continues with the process of dismantling democracy and the Cubanization of Venezuela. All that, with the passivity or indulgence of a significant part of the international community and the impotence of a population who, apart from suffering the consequences of the economic chaos and the humanitarian crises, feels totally abandon when carrying its longing for liberty and democracy.
On Sunday 15th took place a regional elections farce in the country. The serious irregularities gathered both on its call and during the election vote impede from calling it in any other way. The call on elections was made by the self-claimed National Constituency Assembly (ANC, by its Spanish acronym) which usurped the functions of the one legally elected by the Venezuelan population in the ballot boxes. The institution in charge of organizing the voting is a National Electoral Council that functions as the armed wing of the dictatorship and arbitrarily makes those candidates considered more dangerous for the regime unable to run for elections. A few days before the election, hundreds of thousands of voters in areas where the opposition holds a majority were displaced without prior notice to new polling stations far away from the original ones and to places where the coaction mechanisms against voters are more effective and less visible. Maduro trying to discourage participation and divide the opposition, wickedly warned that participating in the election meant recognizing the legitimacy of the illegitimate ANC.
Evidences of electoral fraud in many states, the repression exerted for many years against dissidents and opponents in the form of arbitrary sentences and imprisonments, the impossibility of accessing public media or funding for the campaign are other elements which give an almost heroic value to the mere fact of running as a candidate or participating in the opposition calls.
Since its arrival to power almost 20 years ago, Chavism has never concealed that one of its main objectives was the dismantling of the democratic opposition. Today, with the country turned into a dictatorship, it is about to achieve its goal due to the growing atomization of the organized opposition. With its lights and shadows, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD, by its Spanish acronym) has been an effective platform for coordinating strategies against Chavism. Hence, in a moment like this when four elected governors of Acción Democrática (Democratic Action) have sworn allegiance to the ANC, it is necessary to stress the importance of keeping unity within the opposition and coherence in their actions, as the one made by the elected governor of Zulia region, Juan Pablo Guanipa, who refused to swear allegiance to a fraudulent body, even though this could have the personal consequences.
Last but not least, it is worth raising the question of what else does the opposition needs to do in order to be considered democratic by certain spheres of the international community and so stop pressuring it in order to, for instance, accept participating in elections without democratic guarantees or accept “mediation”, which are only functional to a dictatorship that since many years only thinks about staying at power forever and export its model to other countries.
Traducido por María Maseda