Venezuela held state elections last weekend. Despite opinion polls that predicted a landslide win for the opposition party, the central government is claiming that the ruling party won 18 of 24 governors’ seats.
Opposition winners were blocked from taking office in five states and were replaced with ruling party substitutes. This move effectively deprived the opposition of nearly all its remaining elected offices.
The US State Department has questioned the results of the election, calling it “neither free nor fair.”
Electoral fraud is obvious, but should not come as a surprise considering President Maduro’s past behavior.
Opposition leaders have accused the government of scores of irregularities from last-minute poll alterations to voter harassment.
So far, the only real evidence to show that the government actually tampered with ballot boxes is a 2,000 vote discrepancy between official results for ruling party candidate Justo Noguera and the results shown in receipts gathered by election analyst Eugenio Martinez.
The official tally showed Noguera beating prominent opposition candidate and two-time presidential candidate Andres Velasquez by a mere 500 votes.
“The slim victory clinched the government’s hold of Venezuela’s industrial hub and extended the opposition rout,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
“We caught them with their hands in the cookie jar,” tweeted Velasquez.
The opposition’s claims of fraud are unlikely to lead to an official investigation, however, if the evidence is well documented and presented it could play a key role in raising international pressure against Maduro’s government.
The Washington Post predicts the election results will cause a new wave of migration out of Venezuela.
“Those with a strong sense of civic duty might decide to continue voicing their discontent through protests. But they will do so only as long as their material, emotional, and political resources allow them to do so,” reports the Post. “An increasingly large group of ordinary citizens, those with few resources to fight and just enough network ties for flight, will leave the country.”
Editor’s note: It’s tough to say how one of the richest countries in Latin America falls to such lows. Their economy is in ruins, their oil producing capability is in a shambles, and now they have lost their most precious possession –
It will take a massive revolt to get this back, it will never come back on its own. But do the people of Venezuela have it in them? They have gone from a pampered socialist system, to (when socialism failed as it always does) a tightening poverty. Now they have lost their voice, their ability for self-determination.
We predicted earlier this year that Venezuela would collapse. This completes the collapse.
Thomas Jeffierson said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Are there any patriots left in Venezuela?