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06 August, 2017

Venezuela elections: resurgent chavismo and “unrecognised” democracy

After weeks of imperialist threats and opposition violence, the elections for the Constituent Assembly (ANC) in Venezuela took place on July 30th. The result was a massive turnout of over 8 million voters, around 41% of the electorate, which gave chavismo a much-needed shot in the arm. The western media reacted by trying to dispute the number and sticking even closer to the narrative being pushed by the opposition and the US State Department. With the opposition scrambling and US authorities bringing more sanctions and threats, it is now chavismo that has the political initiative. The Constituent Assembly will not solve everything by itself, but it is a tremendous opportunity to push the Bolivarian Revolution forward.

Part 3 - “The world is ending tomorrow. If not, then next week”

After winning the legislative elections in December 2015, the Venezuelan opposition announced that it would get rid of the government in six months. Following protests in September 2016, again we were told that the end was near.

The same doomsday announcements were found in the recent wave of protests and violence. In response to the call for a Constituent Assembly, opposition leaders boldly announced that it would not take place! And finally, the opposition announced that their July 16th marked the “zero hour” of a new phase, in which they would nominate a “national unity” government. This was later downgraded to an “governability accord” which some factions refused to sign. Their demand that the Constituent Assembly elections be cancelled was also a failure.

Last week’s events capture this phenomenon in a nutshell. After a two-day “civic strike”, which amounted to little more than closed shops in wealthy areas and bosses locking out their workers, they announced the “takeover of Caracas” for Friday. This then became a “takeover of Venezuela”, and finally another “trancazo”, in which opposition groups simply lock down their own areas. Then they wanted to march to voting centres on Saturday and physically impede the elections from taking place, but this too was to become another “trancazo”…

There is very little credibility left to this opposition that behaves like a doomsday cult, predicting the end of the world on a given day and later re-scheduling. For their own sake, one hopes that they have a “no refund” policy, otherwise funders like the National Endowment for Democracy or USAID might want their money back.

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