VENEZUELA and Nicolas Maduro refuse to fall.
This week’s election saw their PSUV win at least 19 of the 23 governorships and more than 200 of the 335 mayorships up for grabs.
Diosdado Cabello, the party’s Vice-President, summed it up best when he said “Christmas has come early for us.”
It was less than three years ago that Venezuela looked like it was going the way of 1970s Chile.
In January 2019, external and internal forces threatened to oust Nicolas Maduro, who had not yet stamped his authority on the country and was arguably still in the shadow of the late Hugo Chavez.
Juan Guaido, backed by Washington and much of NATO, looked set to take over in Caracas. But, buoyed by domestic support, Guaido’s incompetence and sheer luck, Maduro was able to hold on.
The main opposition parties have continued to pressure Maduro, though their credibility has weakened with time.
They have boycotted the last few elections, but broke a four-year boycott in a bid to defeat Maduro at the ballot box.
The result? Opposition candidates won in only three out of 23 states.
Guaido solemnly noted afterwards: “Today is a time for reflection amongst our leadership … It is not the time for fights nor egotism among political leaders.”
A divided and unpopular opposition certainly helped – but it also must be noted that the economic and social situation appears to be improving in Venezuela, despite continuing sanctions.
Naturally, Washington has attempted to discredit the election immediately, even though EU observers were sent to regulate polling.
“The regime grossly skewed the process to determine the result of this election long before any ballots had been cast,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said.
All eyes will be on Blinken and Joe Biden. Having attempted to continue the policy of Donald Trump and John Bolton in South America, they will surely be looking at alternative tactics to prevent the red reversal of the continent.
But for now, they’ll need to face the music. Their man Juan Guaido has been hanging on by a thread for a long time, and this may be the final nail in the political coffin.
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