Monday, 27 May 2019

Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution wins the battle, but is it losing the war?

Even before Venezuela’s May 20 presidential vote had taken place, the United States —headed by a president who lost the popular vote in an electoral system that systematically disenfranchises millions of poor and non-white voters — rejected the elections as “neither free nor fair”.

Even before Venezuela’s May 20 presidential vote had taken place, the United States —headed by a president who lost the popular vote in an electoral system that systematically disenfranchises millions of poor and non-white voters — rejected the elections as “neither free nor fair”.

The Lima Group, a coalition of 13 rightwing Latin American countries plus Canada, also refused to recognise the results. Among its members are:

  • Brazil, whose unelected president was installed in an unconstitutional parliamentary coup;
  • Honduras, which after a 2009 coup had its president re-elected last year, despite the constitution only allowing for single terms, in elections deemed so fraudulent that no head of state dared attend his inauguration;
  • Mexico, where close to 100 candidates, party officials or their relatives have been assassinated during the current presidential election campaign; and
  • Colombia, where the murder of political activists is an almost daily occurrence and candidates have had to pull out of the upcoming election due to death threats.

Canada, after denying Venezuelans their right to participate in these elections at the Venezuelan Embassy and consulates, said the vote was “anti-democratic”. The corporate media simply echoed this message, without the slightest attempt to back up its claims of fraud.

They all refused to accept a basic, undeniable fact: that in the face of everything thrown at them — sanctions, threats of military intervention and boycott campaigns, to list just a few — more than 6.2 million Venezuelans voted for incumbent president Nicolas Maduro, thereby ensuring his victory with 67.8% of votes cast. Legitimate criticisms can be made about some of the circumstances surrounding the elections — for example, the banning of certain candidates and parties and the misuse of state resources (criticisms that can be made about just about any elections, certainly in Latin America). However, no evidence has been presented to show the final vote count was fraudulent.

Even Maduro’s two main rivals, while criticising the overall process, have not questioned the final vote tally

What’s more, a strong case can be made that had the main opposition parties decided not to boycott the elections and supported a single candidate, they would most likely have won. Even Maduro accepted as much in his election night victory speech.

But such an orderly transition is not what Venezuela’s opposition, starting with Washington, has its sights set on. As talk of “military options”, coups and transitional governments become ever more public, it is clear that Venezuela’s enemies have no interest in democracy.

What’s more, they have no qualms in actively worsening an already dire situation to achieve their anti-democratic goal, as evidenced by the new round of sanctions imposed on Venezuela.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson admitted as much, saying of the new sanctions, “It’s very sad because obviously the downside of sanctions is that they can affect the population that you don’t want to suffer,” before adding, “things have got to get worse before they get better — and we may have to tighten the economic screw on Venezuela.”

What Maduro’s opponents seek is a scenario where they can eliminate all traces of the Bolivarian Revolution, the political project of Venezuela’s popular classes that has sought to empower the people and take the country in an anti-capitalist direction.

Aunque Usted No Lo Crea