December 11, 2017 – Fort Russ News – Paul Antonopoulos – Translated from Mision Verdad
CARACAS, Venezuela – In its first bulletin, the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced the participation of 9,139,564 voters, 47.32% of those registered in the electoral roll. Although the results of several municipalities in the country had not been defined at the time of the announcement, 97.02% of the tally sheets that had been awarded to Chavismo had been transmitted to more than 300 of the 335 municipalities that were measured in this electoral fair. As another relevant fact, Chavismo also won the governorship of Zulia state, the most important demographic state in the country whose election as Governor had to be repeated.
In a first analysis of these results it is appropriate to analyze a set of factors:
1. Triumph of chavismo. From the end of July of this year until December 10, a period of 140 days, there have been three electoral processes in Venezuela: the elections to the National Constituent Assembly, elections of governors and these municipal elections. In these three processes, Chavismo has remoralized and re-empowered its electoral convocation power with clear victories. This is not a minor fact, understanding that the anti-Chavez narrative inside and outside Venezuela pointed out with consistency to the chavism of not wanting to measure themselves electorally.
2. Political peace and the votes. The disarmament of the aspirations to push Venezuela into a civil conflict sponsored by antichavism is not irrelevant with these elections. The power of voting as a political weapon has managed to contravene the imposition of violence that destabilized Venezuela during 2017. On this particular aspect, President Nicolás Maduro has been extremely insistent in seeking electoral ways to prevent the emaciated violence that has deteriorated the political and social fabric of the country, becomes a unique and catastrophic scenario.
3. The electoral sizing of Chavez. Chavismo again put to the test their capacities as conveners and electoral mobilizers, establishing themselves as an undisputed driving force, very difficult to defeat, even in times of economic and social adversity. This implies that the political capital of Chavism has not been sedimented. This result infers, in addition, that the Chavista identity has been reaffirmed as well as the increasingly efficient use of its mobilization structures. It is also appreciable according to the electoral behavior from important social strata, that in Venezuela the economic context does not have a directly proportional impact on the political fact, although it does condition the climate of an election, apparently of a second order, like the municipal ones.
4. Some statistics are again dislodged: Successively the Venezuelan opposition and particularly Julio Borges and other anti-Chavez leaders have even insisted until November that the rejection of Chavezism is equal to or greater than 80% of the population. The figures of electoral participation and the results that place Chavismo as a loose political majority leave these affirmations without a mathematical basis, a fundamental basis for the propaganda of international media with a large audience and the sanctions of foreign governments.
5. Did you win the abstention? Certainly the participation of 47.32% of the electoral register leaves, as has seldom happened in times of chavism, an abstention higher than 50%. This will be an element used by the antichavista narrative to delegitimize the results and the vitality of the Venezuelan political system. The most negative electoral precedent was in the parliamentary elections of 2005 when the anti-Chávez movement withdrew from them and the participation was 23%.
These municipal elections were atypical, in the sense that they were not held in conjunction with the governor elections, which also weakened the convening power of the participating organizations. The last regional elections that had the lowest participation in Venezuela were the regional elections of 2012 with 52.85%. For the Venezuelan electoral standards in this election the participation relatively low, but it is higher than the standards of elections much more relevant in other Latin American countries whose “healthy democracies” do not receive pressures and sanctions from the big centers of global power. The most emblematic case comes from Chile, where mid-November presidential, parliamentary and regional elections were held, mega-elections, and abstention was almost 55%.
6. The capitals. Chavismo won at least 20 of the 24 state capitals in the country, including the Capital District, Caracas. It won municipalities among the most densely populated of the country (Maracaibo, Barquisimeto, Puerto Ordaz, Valencia, Sucre -Miranda-, among others) and stands in emblematic cities of different states, deepening its political reach on territorial axes that did not know Chavez victories in Municipalities for years.
7. Polarization persists. Chavism and the opposition political parties remain the two solid pillars of the electoral confrontation in Venezuela. The electoral results diluted all political aspirations to independent opposition candidacies and others that were called Chavistas when presented in parallel. In the case of this second group, they did not significantly diminish the support of the Chavez base to the PSUV and consolidated as a phenomenon of dissident Chavismo with digital presence (in digital media and networks) rather than as a real political force and convener. The most significant case was the victory of Erika Farías in the Bolivarian City Hall of Libertador with 66.17% of the votes (491.328), which cleared the doubts about whether the candidacy Eduardo Saman, outside the PSUV, could play a good part of the electoral mass of Caracas Chavismo.
8. The management in the conjuncture. A convener and mobilizer element of Chavismo in these elections has been the response capacity of the central government in the current economic context. Despite not controlling the escalation of prices in basic products, the political and economic management of the Government focused on efficient protection mechanisms through the CLAP and the Carnet de la Patria, with the aim of focusing social programs and serving the population before a daily speculative maelstrom. This undoubtedly a mobilizing factor of the Chavez vote.
9. Chavismo did defeat the opposition. Before these elections 3 parties of the 24 that make up the Venezuelan opposition decided not to go to municipal: Acción Democrática, Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, organizations that call themselves the most important. With this they tried to create the perception that Chavismo was going only to these elections. However, the vast majority of their local leaders were placed on cards of other parties and participated without camouflage in this contest, improvising alliances with other organizations and also counting on the logistical and financial resources of their devices, which in theory were outside the contest. The result of such a fatal strategy was an ambiguous presentation of the opposition political standard-bearers to the electorate.
10. Division in antichavism. The lack of political cohesion of the opposition has been felt, to the point of maximizing its tactical dismemberment. In these municipal elections, the divisions of the opposition vote among several opposition candidates competing for the same municipality were evident. The phenomenon of fragmentation was national and this dramatically minimized its possibilities. The internal struggle in anti-Chavezism by personal aspirations of its leaders made it impossible for unique candidates to be presented in most of the municipalities, thus sacrificing the aspirations of their own followers to win or maintain municipalities for the opposition.
11. The abstention factor. Anti-Chavez continues to grapple with the dramatic effects of its violent escalation this year, which fragmented cross-sectional opposition from its leaders to its followers. Many supporters of the opposition have separated themselves from the Democratic Unity Table (MUD) for the violence of 2017 by associating this organization as politically inconvenient, but paradoxically many supporters of this coalition have taken away the support of their leaders once they have these stop their destabilizing acts to dialogue with Chavismo to “seek electoral guarantees”. For this second group, highly fanatized by triumphant expectations created, the MUD was “domesticated” by Chavismo and now they are assumed to be “traitors”. Opposition abstention increased the possibilities of Chavism in many municipalities.
12. The local management factor: Many municipalities in the hands of the MUD have passed into the hands of Chavismo, which is also explained by the exhaustion of the MUD as a reference for local management. The emblematic case is the Sucre municipality of Miranda state. The political malpractice of opposition mayors, who declare themselves “without resources” and have allowed their municipalities to collapse to hold the central government accountable, had the outcome of the “abstention punishment” of the anti-Chavez electoral base. The MUD in local spaces is not a real reference of a “change” and improvement of the elementary conditions of life of the population.
13. The inertia of the electoral depression. The antichavism looks demoralized, politically disarticulated and clearly demobilized. A general sense of uneasiness weighed on the municipal elections, which became more pronounced after the regional elections in October. They are not assumed by their leaders and are marked transversally by political apathy.
14. Ends 2017. President Maduro has been presented as the main champion of Chavismo for the presidential elections next year. It closes 2017 as the maximum political strategist, overcoming unprecedented avatars and against all odds. It also consolidates a broad social base that has been reorganized, reorganized and mobilized, after Chavismo was insistently singled out as a political force on the verge of disappearance. In other words, there are few references that can be compared to such a political shift in the recent history of the country and Maduro has achieved it.
15. Presidential. The call for presidential elections is at the design of the National Constituent Assembly and the dialogues that Chavismo holds with the opposition in the Dominican Republic just around this time. Anti-Chavism has not consolidated a visible leadership that brings together its political forces with a view to next year, in fact, only assume this stage of dialogue is causal deepening of its internal divisions.
At the closure
The challenges of antichavism continue to be to consolidate a solid and unitary leadership, to reach greater levels of tactical and strategic cohesion and, on the other hand, to establish itself as a real alternative force, with a country project. That is, factors that have not achieved in 18 years or have only appeared briefly and intermittently “united”, now have to consolidate that in just months. Its only real strength is a social base with great economic discontent.
For Chavismo, the challenges point to the need to restore economic governance, make social protection mechanisms more efficient, relaunch and reinforce the relationship between the leadership of Chavismo and its foundations, and on the other hand promote the Chavista identity to further remodel its fabric. political, which looks revived and articulated with the recent electoral victories.