Venezuela’s Election: Even if Nicolás Maduro Won, He Lost

  • Share
  • Read Later
Ramon Espinosa / AP

Chavistas and government supporters, one of whom holding a portrait of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chávez, wait for presidential-election results outside the Miraflores Palace in Caracas on April 14, 2013

Here is the one unmistakable reality of Sunday’s special presidential election in Venezuela: even if Nicolás Maduro won, he lost. This race had a rarefied gauge, and it wasn’t simply the vote tally. It was whether the authoritarian-socialist model left by the firebrand Hugo Chávez, who died in office because of cancer last month after a 14-year reign, can survive without his demigod presence. That is, his actual presence and not his reincarnation as a bird, as Maduro goofily claims the late Chávez appeared to him recently. By defeating his centrist rival Henrique Capriles by an embarrassingly tight margin of 50.7% to 49.1% — after Chávez routed Capriles just six months ago by 11 points — Maduro, whom Chávez had handpicked as his successor, laid bare two things about Chavismo without Chávez. The first is that el comandante, who always ran a one-caudillo show, failed to groom anyone who could fill his red beret politically. The second is that Venezuelans, with Chávez’s blustering figure gone, now recognize the raft of economic and social messes he left behind.

(PHOTOS: The Chavistas Hang On to Venezuela’s Presidency)

And that makes the political landscape ahead in Venezuela, which holds the world’s largest oil reserves, volatile if not potentially violent. Maduro, who to his credit said he’d accept the full vote recount Capriles is demanding, called his win “a fair, legal and constitutional triumph,” and it probably was, despite opposition concerns about the Chavista-packed National Election Council, known as CNE. But Capriles argued he’d scored an equally important victory by exposing how vulnerable Chávez’s United Socialist Party (PSUV) is in the absence of the late President’s charismatic bond with its base. “This system,” Capriles declared, “is a sand castle.”

Yet however flimsy it may be — and the Venezuelan opposition, despite Sunday’s impressive performance, is no reassuring rock, either — Maduro and the Chavista leadership, including military honchos who have strongly hinted they won’t accept an opposition President, have insisted since Chávez’s cancer was diagnosed two years ago that only their leftist, anti-U.S. Bolivarian revolution is divinely anointed to rule. Now, with their humiliated backs against a wall, and bereft of the political tools their exalted leader possessed, the question is how heavy a hand they’ll resort to in order to preserve Chavismo’s dominance — and the petrowealth it presides over.

The wild card is Maduro himself, whose lack of an electoral mandate means he has to worry not only about an emboldened opposition but also about challenges from inside his PSUV. Chávez was never quite the dictator his foes claimed, but he was notorious for measures like “antidefamation” laws that made insulting him a criminal offense. Maduro, 50, a former bus driver and union leader, is a die-hard acolyte of Cuba’s communist regime and its rigidly vertical power structure; and as a result, says Javier Corrales, an expert on Venezuelan politics at Amherst College in Massachusetts, “the fear is that he’ll go after dissent now to make up for his weak position, that he’ll see sabotage of the fatherland and the revolution all around him.” That’s an especially valid concern, Corrales notes, since “Maduro’s wing of Chavismo is actually not the strongest.” Chavistas like the National Assembly president, Diosdado Cabello, who wields closer ties to business and the armed forces than Maduro has, may now smell blood in the water, making Maduro a potentially more defensive and authoritarian leader.

(MORE: In Hugo Chávez’s Heartland, the Dead President Rules Supreme)

But any new Venezuelan leader, mandate or no mandate, would chafe at the crises on his Bolivarian plate. Chávez certainly deserves kudos for using Venezuela’s vast oil resources to reduce its inexcusable poverty. But his often reckless economic MO may have undermined that very crusade in the long run. Lavish and indiscriminate social spending has spawned a currency debacle — the street exchange of more than 20 bolívares to the U.S. dollar mocks the official rate of just over six to the dollar — which in turn has helped make Venezuela’s inflation rate, which consistently tops 20%, among the world’s highest. Chávez’s nationalization of hundreds of private companies has left the country’s nonoil sector woefully unproductive, but even the state-run oil monopoly, Petróleos de Venezuela, suffers from significant underinvestment. Food shortages, energy blackouts and infrastructure breakdowns have become increasingly common — as has official corruption, the plague Chávez came to power decrying.

Some analysts insist the economic perils are exaggerated. “Opponents of the Venezuelan government are hoping for an ‘inflation-devaluation’ spiral that will help bring down the government,” Mark Weisbrot, director of the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., wrote recently in the Guardian. “But none of these problems present a systemic threat to the economy.” Others, however, aren’t as sanguine: many ratings agencies now consider Venezuelan debt among the riskiest in South America. And that’s hardly helped by the security emergency Chávez let fester during his presidency, which has saddled Venezuela with South America’s highest murder rate and made Caracas one of the world’s most dangerous capitals today.

(MORE: Death Comes for el Comandante: Hugo Chávez (1954–2013))

The violent crime crisis, in fact, points up Chavismo’s core flaw perhaps better than any other: Chávez’s subordination of democratic pillars like the legislative and judicial branches to his whims has handed heirs like Maduro a more institutionally dysfunctional Venezuela. If voters were trying to tell Maduro and the Chavistas anything on Sunday, it’s that Chávez’s demise has made it more apparent to them that his revolution wasn’t the “21st century socialism” he insisted it was.

Early on in Chavez’s reign, I often sat down with his younger presidential aides and asked them about the international community’s fears that he aspired to be the next Fidel Castro — something Chávez in later years would freely admit. Back then most of those Chavistas winced: “Fidel is the old Latin American left,” they sniffed. Or about growing rumors that Chávez wanted to nix presidential term limits and rule for life. That’s exactly what he later did, but back then they insisted, “No, he won’t, that would be a return to Latin America’s bad old caudillo days.” Or that he’d nationalize large swaths of Venezuela’s economy and forge bosom-buddy alliances with human-rights pariahs like Iran just to spite the U.S. It all came to pass, of course — but back then, I heard denial on all counts from the “21st century socialists.” Today, if I ever mention this to Chavistas, they dismiss my “excessive bourgeois thinking.”

To which I can only say after Sunday: it looks like Venezuelans would like to see more bourgeois thinking. Maduro may well be savvy enough to get that (though his rather boorish campaign attempts to convince voters that the unmarried Capriles is gay make me wonder). But the irony is that a large bloc of voters may well consider the 40-year-old Capriles — who stumped for the socialist-capitalist “third-way” project that has proved so successful under more moderate leftist leaders in Brazil — to be a more 21st century socialist than Maduro is. Either way, Sunday left little doubt that while Chavismo narrowly won a presidential election, it certainly lost any divine claim to rule. And that was the voters talking, not a bird.

60 comments
RossiMobis
RossiMobis

Everyone to his opinion. Late Hugo Chavez might not have done so much but the little he did changed lives in Venezuela, Folks like him hardly come around but when they come, they don't last. Now come to the present Venezuela, Maduro won the election, the result is legitimate and everyone has to accept it though it is the opposition's style everywhere to say NO when they fail. I am not a Venezuelan but i lived in this beautiful country for years and have so many great friends both Chavistas and oppositions. Crime in Venezuela; i ran a business center in one of the most dangerous barrios in Venezuela, El-Rodeo, i mixed with the good, bad and ugly in that barrio and in my opinion, Chavez did not bring in violence into Venezuela, if one ever blame him for the high murder rate(crime/violence) then who takes the blame for Rio, Bogota, New york, Porto Principe, Kingston, Port of Spain, Lagos? Who takes the blame? I know that so many people will not agree with me but arsvenez, i agree with you because i know La Guaira but you don't have to blame Chavez for anything, he did his part and his best for a country he loved so much.

In conclusion, most people are praying for a power tussle within the ruling party but bet me, that will never happen, there will never be an internal fight.

Long live Venezuela

Long live Nicholas Maduro

Hasta victoria siempre

arsvenez
arsvenez

@RossiMobis  the undeniable truth is that he did some things right, also that he actively in his speeches encouraged animosity between the classes,  he could have done the same without inciting this animosity. I do blame him for that, the result is now on display on the streets in the form of violence (ignoring the army and police).

My point is beyond the past and present situation, my point is about what we Venezuelans want for the future. For me is a leadership that is not corrupt and biased towards one particular group of society, a leader for all Venezuelans. 

I find it difficult that you believe there were no irregularities (dead people voting, votes from people that dont exist, etc), whoever may have been the winner is irrelevant to my point. For me is clear that Maduro is corrupt (even if his intentions are good), therefore why do Venezuelans and foreign alike living there have to accept ipso-facto that it is OK to have a corrupt president? Because we been accepting it for decades or centuries? That is just plain wrong and shortsighted. That is the attitude that prevents us from moving forward. 

In my mind, Capriles is the better choice out of the two... but only because the corruption in display by the Chavez/Maduro group is out of control and with the support of the army and police on their side this means there is no way of knowing if they are working within the law. With that in place, who is able to keep them in check? who guarantees that they will not pillage the country even further? Who checks that the justice is administered appropriately? No one can.

With Capriles in power, the Chavez/Maduro group will keep the government in check. for me a better balance...


arsvenez
arsvenez like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

Venezuela was a mess before 1998, with corruption everywhere and a rather large poor to rich separation. There was crime but not as we see today. The power was localized in a few groups that accounted for a very small percentage of the population. This was mostly high class, educated and stuck up people that were oblivious to the reality of the poor and the struggle they endure on a daily basis. 

After 1998 most Venezuelans where filled with hope that someone will get rid of the corrupt ruling group, bring justice and start educating and help the poor get out of their unacceptable condition (Housing, services, education, crime, etc).

Unfortunately power has a rather dangerous side effect, that one of distorting reality and makes your thirsty for more power, same goes for money… so yes, a few good things have been done over the years to help the poor, in my opinion some where badly implemented and short-sighted (Housing of bad quality and in not enough quantities, a cable car to get you to a “Barrio” full of shanty houses, substandard education, and more), all these an more that I have not put down have helped the poor get a little better and that will be Chavez legacy.

On the other hand he has divided a country socially so badly that he instigated hate between the different stratus of society. He has fragmented the country into what you see today. He has also replaced the leadership with family and friends that with all respect are not capable of performing their job efficiently or correctly, Corruption has permeated from one group of people to another that steals more that the first one. The opulence of the Chavez affiliates is beyond comprehension to some of us (Buying whole buildings months after taking position, etc) and it is unprecedented with comparison to the majority of the ruling group before 1998.

The Chavez propaganda are very good at showing what they want, they have changed the way the statistics are gathered and calculated to benefit their image (as most politicians would do if given the opportunity) as well as having benefit from a all time high oil price. They also are very good at re-sell the image of helping by taking pictures of housing previously done painted in different colours and from different angles to get more support.

In my opinion, from today looking back (I am 40 now) I don’t recall a decent government in Venezuela that has taken the people’s best interest at hart, they all have had their own agenda and stolen as much as they could. Others have been plain incompetent.

Now we endure a hard reality, one that will not be easily resolved. We got two candidates, one educated but perhaps his association with the pre 1998 ruling class leaves too much a acrid taste in the mouth for some, the other a syndicate man that makes me wonder if he is as corrupt as you would expect from a syndicate and also if he is qualified to be a president, both in good will and the decision making.

With the last 3 days in mind (Campaign styles, allegations of irregularities/fraud in the election, violence on the streets, partial proof of irregularities, government communication being very one sided and refusal to do a full recount) I am afraid that we are en-route to an internal war between two half of one country.

As I see it now the government is hiding something, it has their hands so dirty that it is too late to stop and back away. They will try to hide it at all cost and will take any action required to prevent a change in government as this could result in evidence being found and people being imprisoned.

The other half of the country is angry at the lack of transparency and will continue to ask for clarification and a recount, it is debatable if they will accept the audit results, but that is something I would not try to speculate about.

So what is the next step? Is it to repress the Venezuelans with a curfew with the police and army. It makes sense if you think you have cheated and half of the country is unarmed, angry and protesting. The army is behind you as well as the police… a recount would only give you away. International help is unlikely to make an appearance in the short term.

I was a middle class Venezuelan, I move out of the country before Chavez took position and even thou in 1998 I was supportive that he was going to cleanup corruption and help the poor, I been bitterly disappointed with what he has done. I have seen the country grow poorer, angrier and more dangerous over the last 15 years, my hart stops every time I drive from La Guaira to Caracas, so many people need help… yet NO ONE does help them. The new officials are filling the personal arks with $100/bbl dollars… corruption is everywhere, everyday.

This of course is my opinion, based on my observations that are unlikely to be 100% accurate as, after all, I was made to err… but my conclusion is none the less valid in my eyes. Pre Chavez was a mess, Chavez years have made it worst by inciting anger between classes. Today We need someone who unifies Venezuelans, get rid of corruption, eliminates impunity… that has to start with transparency and honesty.

A recount is the peaceful way out of this, whatever the result.

mmaneiro
mmaneiro

I do not think you could have summarized any better... from one Venezuelan to another - Thanks!

stanhope
stanhope like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

"What's the rush? What are you (Mr. Maduro)
hiding? If you declare yourself president today, you will be
illegitimate, spurious." - Henrique Capriles Venezuelan Opposition
Leader

My thoughts exactly Mr. Capriles. Let the recount
proceed. This is not about socialism or capitalism. This is about a
fair a democratic process and respect for that process. The world must know what is
going on in Venezuela and that we will not allow the Chavismo or any
other group in any country to ignore the democratic rights of its
country's citizens. Too often do we turn a blind eye.

THE FACTS:
•Chavista Candidate, Mr.
Maduro, was ahead of pro-business opposition candidate, Mr. Capriles,
by a little over 1% when initial results were announced (~250,000
margin)
•100,000 expatriate votes are yet to be counted (over 99% voted for Capriles in last election)

•3,000 election day irregularities have been reported surrounding the
election including aggression towards international observers
•Mr. Maduro has reneged on his promise to hold a recount
•Mr. Maduro claims Chavez has come back to him reincarnated as a bird to advise him

•Maduro warned rivals that they would befall the curse of Macarapana, a
16th century massacre of indigenous tribes by Spanish colonial troops,
if they voted against him

AndiFastweg
AndiFastweg

@stanhope 

Basically, Maduro, kind of won like Bush against Al Gore... Should the US invade Venezuela next?

kbisognob
kbisognob

They did recounted!! And Bush won! MADURO DID NOT WIN! IT'S BEEN PROVEN... DO YOUR WORK BEFORE TALKING

AndiFastweg
AndiFastweg

Is the US going to invade Venezuela soon?

azmalhome
azmalhome

Venezuela’s peoples are not fool like Indian Pakistani and Bangladeshi. they have right idea about selection http://azmalhome.wordpress.com/

TroyOwen
TroyOwen like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@azmalhome Not fools? Many believed some BIRD was talking to Nicolás Maduro as Chavaz!

That has got to be the most foolish thing I have ever heard!

AndiFastweg
AndiFastweg like.author.displayName 1 Like

@TroyOwen @azmalhome 

Well, he is also a simple person, one of the people, some sort of Jeff Foxworthy of Venezuela. Notheless, that is not the most foolish thing I have ever heard. The most foolish nonsense I have ever heard was Clinton (Bill) telling people on ABC some 13 years ago that we, our generation, are all going to live to be 140-160 years old thanks to new research...


Writing "Chavaz" instead of "Chávez" is not reat, either, but really not relevant...

AndiFastweg
AndiFastweg

@mauricionares 

I don't smoke... What are you smoking, little guy? :-)

I do whatever I please. We can all do as we please, all of us, white people like me, hispanic people like you, asian people, black people. All. Maduro is a Christian and so was Chavez. Period

Last I read, a couple of hours ago, they are recounting the vote, so let's just wait and see without insulting each other too much, got that?

Clinton center-left???? If somebody is smoking something, that is you!!! LOL Clinton is center-right like Obama. Two liberals the country could easily do without.

Ciao

mauricionares
mauricionares like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

What are you smoking? How are you anti central left in american politics but are into hardcore left south american politics? That makes about as much sense as seeing Chavez as a bird in your dream has anything at all to do wtih Christian faith.

Additionally, the whole debacle is centered around the guy not allowing a recount or did you not read the article your commenting on?

AndiFastweg
AndiFastweg

@TroyOwen @AndiFastweg @azmalhome

Hi Troy, 

No, forgetting the "g" in the "great" is not “great” either, agreed!!! LOL

Well, the reason behind Maduro's statement about having a dream in which Chavez came to him as a bird and talked to him, is Maduro's Christian Faith.

Now, I do not know whether I am going to agree with Mauro's political choices or not, time will tell, but I will not criticize his Faith in Christ. Never ever.

About Clinton... I don't know how that guy got elected, I personally voted for the other guy in both elections, but I nonetheless accepted the (horrible) results of the elections.

Maybe, we should just wait for the vote recount, and then accept the Venezuelan people's vote, one way or the other. What do you think?

TroyOwen
TroyOwen

@AndiFastweg@TroyOwen@azmalhome  "is not reat" is not right either, yet not relevant.

I have to disagree, I don't know of that statement but he COULD have reasons for saying it, maybe incorrect but a REASON.

There is no REASON to think that a bird is ChavES. NONE! Anyone who believes it is a fool or mental.

alangf
alangf like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

i'm venezuelan and this is just perfect, the government did everything they could to rig the elections, even when maduro won he approved for a recount of all votes and the next day he denied it. 

Aneuman
Aneuman like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Good article but the author makes no mention of the rampant electoral fraud orchestrated from Cuba and performed by the military, the PSUV party, the corrupt electoral "ministry" CNE and the red militia hoodlums, that led to the premature and ilegitimate proclamation of the bus-driving goon as president.

DKBaldeh
DKBaldeh like.author.displayName 1 Like

this is an overall effort in much of the Media which says that even though he "legally" won the election, he is not to be viewed as the "legitimate" president...   so as to justify all kinds of domestic efforts against him

AlbertChong
AlbertChong like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I am sure that many arms salesmen are polishing their nails.

dorothy
dorothy like.author.displayName 1 Like

CAPRILES WON.  

avidreader
avidreader like.author.displayName 1 Like

CAPRILES WON THE ELECTIONS!!    As the writer of the article explains with much truth, thanks to Maduro and his party not being the smartest, when they gave the percentages they forgot to allow for null votes and any of the other candidates seam to have even voted for themselves. Look at these numbers:  OUT OF 99,8%  ----- Maduro 50,7 and Capriles 40,1... Really? for the first time in history every single vote? 

ChrisHarlos
ChrisHarlos like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

Whose dog are you, Padgett?  This piece could have been authored  by the US State Department. For a more balanced view, not grounded in reactionary disgust for a country that has rejected the neo-liberal policies of the Washington Consensus, and said no to unfettered exploitation by US corporations, see http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/maduro-wins-narrowly-on-chavez-record-close-election-is-a-wake-up-call-for-the-government.  Venezuela has problems (as do all societies), but it has embraced genuine democratic reforms and has made inspiring progress in reducing levels of poverty and income inequality. Two projects the US is utterly incapable of improving.  

chemistryofpolitics
chemistryofpolitics like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 6 Like

@ChrisHarlos You must be joking. Reducing levels of poverty? Pardon me, but poverty is running rampant in Venezuela, and it has only worsened since Chavez took office fourteen years ago. Yes, he is reducing the levels of income inequality but that is only by making EVERYONE poor. There is only an illusion of democracy, a disgusting play that masks the corruption that lies in the Venezuelan government. All those government officials getting filthy rich by carrying on with illegal transactions with Cuba and the Middle East while preaching equality. Your comment makes it obvious where your political ideals lie, but I hope you try to become more educated on the facts before making ignorant and off-base comments.

ChrisHarlos
ChrisHarlos

@chemistryofpolitics @ChrisHarlosOf course it was not just the success of themisionesthat won Chavismo another seven years of the presidency.  There were major improvements in Venezuelans’ living standards during the Chávez years. After the government got control over the national oil industry,poverty was reduced by half and extreme poverty by about 70 percent. Real income per person grew by about 2.5 percent annually from 2004-2012, andinequality fell sharply. Unemployment was 8 percent in 2012, as opposed to 14.5 percent when Chávez took office.

These numbers are not in dispute among economists or other experts, nor among international agencies such as the World Bank, IMF, or the U.N.  But they are rarely reported in the major Western media.

Pot kettle black.

AndresBracho
AndresBracho like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@ChrisHarlos @AndresBracho @chemistryofpolitics Perhaps trying to explain the reality of the situation to such a close minded person such as yourself is hopeless. Please continue with your rant of how great the Venezuelan government is. Do not let the fact that you do not live there and that you have never experienced the legacy of the Venezuelan government stop you. You have no idea of the harm you are doing. 

EsmeraldaMedinaVizcaino
EsmeraldaMedinaVizcaino like.author.displayName 1 Like

Thanks for sharing. Altough the data reported is interesting, is false too. How do I know? I'm from Venezuela and know first hand the inaccuracy of the data reported by Weisbrot or any other experts in the field. In writing, it seem like Chavez's revolution have done nothing but propelled the country into bigger and better things, but the reality is painfully different for millions of its citizens. Please feel free to share my comment with them, or anyone else that might find my evidence " anecdotal". An open invitation to go down there and experience the REAL revolution is open.

ChrisHarlos
ChrisHarlos like.author.displayName 1 Like

@EsmeraldaMedinaVizcaino I provided a link.  Feel free to challenge the data.  Weisbrot will respond to you if you have new or different data, I'm confident.  My anecdotal evidence  would not refute the numbers cited by Weisbrot...that's not the way economists work.

ChrisHarlos
ChrisHarlos like.author.displayName 1 Like

@stanhope @AndiFastweg @pds Like the Saudis? Perhaps you long for the good old days when US oil companies paid 2-3% fees.  Listen, the predecessor governments were corrupt and kow-towed to the US. So, Cahvez was a step in the right direction...no kow towing.

ChrisHarlos
ChrisHarlos like.author.displayName 1 Like

@AndiFastweg @pds No. The facts are facts, but because Chavez stood up to the US, he and his government were demonized here.  Would that the US improved its income inequality and poverty numbers as much as Venezuela sis over the last decade. However, the American people lack the courage or ability to reject neo-liberal policies, which Capriles would have happily re-introduced.

ChrisHarlos
ChrisHarlos

@AndresBracho @ChrisHarlos @chemistryofpolitics I understand that rich Venezuelans, and a good portion of them professional class, are against Chavez and the social movement he represented.  But if Chavez was so bad, why did millions turn out to publicly mourn his passing?  

EsmeraldaMedinaVizcaino
EsmeraldaMedinaVizcaino like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Mr.Harlos, I'm Venezuelan, and very respectfully disagree with you.. Where did you get those figures from? Certainly not from knowing the real situation that Venezuelans are enduring. Those economists and experts you mention, do NOT have an idea, even remotely, of what is gong on in there. I recommend that you take a " vacation" down there, and rewrite you comments upon your return...

stanhope
stanhope like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@AndiFastweg@pds 

What about the current 20% inflation rate?  Or what about the fact that Venezuela suffers South America’s worst murder rate?  Kidnapping has soare. Anyone can initially reduce poverty with a glut of oil, rising oil prices, and massive short term programs, but what has this done in the long term?  Most other countries that had these resources could have seen double or triple the growth it has been squandered by corruption and mismanagement of the Chavistas.


AndiFastweg
AndiFastweg

@pds

"the goverment pretty much owns all the media"? It sounds like the US.

I have lived 10 years in Venezuela and the UN reports are true: democracy, education, health care and standard of living have all improved in the last 14 years.

Are UN reports lying?

AndresBracho
AndresBracho like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@ChrisHarlos @chemistryofpolitics  Please refrain from talking about something you have no idea about. Once you spend a day in Venezuela you will be able to understand that the things you are saying are not in the slightest true. Take it from people who have lived there and endured what this government has done.

pds
pds like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

@ChrisHarlos @chemistryofpolitics If Venezuela is so great then why don´t you move there? Don´t defend a reality that only venezuelans know about, you have no idea of how it´s like to live there and you shouldn´t believe everything you read, the goverment pretty much owns all the media

avidreader
avidreader like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

Maduro did not receive majority of votes, not even by one. As you guys read and post these comments, there have been CNE boxes found in ditches, people with incident reports of going to vote and receiving notice that hey had already voted, official acts provided by table witnesses showing a 2 point advantage by Capriles, a man ran out of a voting center with 40 id's (same picture diff name on his possession) ready to vote 40 times. Even with all of these incidents, internal people from the CNE communicated last night at around 11 pm that Capriles had an advantage of close to 500,000 votes, without adding those of people that voted abroad.  Please look a little deeper into this issue, it is not what you think, and it is definitely no what it's being said. 

BruceBecker1
BruceBecker1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Chavez won his first election by an even smaller margin.   All this result proves is that the populace is still evenly divided on the issues of the day.


Luis
Luis like.author.displayName 1 Like

So 12 hours after the Venezuelan election results, I can say they demonstrate the damaging effects of person-centered politics, something Latin America had turned the corner on, until Chavez embraced radicalism early in his presidency. A successful democracy needs to be build around strong, independent powers, not just one. Also, just twelve hours after the election and Maduro's proclamation that his was an absolute victory that needs to be respected by the other side, the President of the National Assembly, Dosdado Cabello, declared there needs to be self-reflection within the Chavista movement. Fissures within the PSUV were expected post-Chavez, but that sure was quick. I'm a harsh critic of the old center-right government that Chavez ousted in 1999 for ignoring the poverty and misery that affected a majority of the population, as much as I'm a critic of Chavez's failure to moderate his approach. His long presidency overlapped with those of Vazquez. Bachelet, Lula, Dilma, Funes - all leftists who were able to successfully implement much needed social assistance and who did not see the need to perpetuate themselves in power, while respecting and working with opposition parties and understanding where free market policies needed to continue. Maduro's apparent narrow victory means he needs to invite the opposition to work with him, instead of continuing the constant theatrical insults. However, he will be stubborn and try to emulate Chavez, something he has failed at thus far. He is going to have trouble maintaining his legitimacy, not just with opponent, but within his own party.

JacobEL
JacobEL like.author.displayName 1 Like

I find it remarkable how you can speak of Maduro's lack of electoral mandate. Maduro claimed the votes of 40% of his electorate; Obama claimed 30%. I am sure you would not suggest Obama lacked a mandate to rule? 

gingerman
gingerman

"Obama claimed 30%"....how does it work? I thought O got more than 50% of the vote...

BruceBecker1
BruceBecker1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@gingerman 70% of the US population registered.  of those registered about 70% voted.

That's only 49% of the adults eligible to vote. Of those, Obama got 53% tops.  That's about 27% tops.   So 30% is a fair number. Less than 30% of those adults eligible to vote bothered to vote for Obama.   About 25% voted for the GOP WTO reactionary candidates.

MarkAnderson1
MarkAnderson1 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Gosh, such honest reporting from a neutral observer. 

DenaSmejkal
DenaSmejkal like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Have you ever lived in Venezuela? If not, you should keep quiet about things you know nothing about.

MarkAnderson1
MarkAnderson1

@DenaSmejkal Why should I be quiet, Brazil would be my choice of the South American countries.  Everyone here acts like Venezuela was heaven before Chavez.  There are more than two choices. Not a rich and a poor.    

AndiFastweg
AndiFastweg

@venelev 

I am a complete fascist and I moved to the US a few years ago: although injustice is very widespread in the US and the political system is a farce that only offers two options, dems and reps, who are different as Coke and Pepsi, all in all, the US could be more undemocratic and more fascist, it could be more like like Turkey or Suadi Arabia.

MarkAnderson1
MarkAnderson1

@DenaSmejkal Then why does at least one half the country disagree with you?    I'm not comparing America and Venezuela.  I'm always going to push for real democracy, perhaps you can make it work  in Venezuela.  Of course Chavez did awful things, he also did things that should have been done before.   Glad to annoy you.

venelev
venelev like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

I am a socialist and I moved to Venezuela 5 years ago.

Regardless of its ideology, an incompetent and dishonest government affects everyone, poor and rich. The homicide rate leaves poor mothers without their sons. Public schools and hospitals are a disgrace (hospitals lack items like gloves, gaze and paper). The inflation touches everyone. Inmates have better weapons than their prison guards.

There are very good reasons Chavez came to power. But although he has done some very good things, overall he has not been good for his country. In the end he cared more about power than about his people. The corruption that reigned in previous governments has only gotten worse.

It is not just about rich and poor. There were cacerolas in the barrios of every major city last night.

DenaSmejkal
DenaSmejkal like.author.displayName 1 Like

Please do some research before further commenting. You have no idea what it is like to live in Venezuela. You cannot compare American standard of living to Venezuelan standard. Do you have any idea what the Chavez regime has done to its people, the murders and so forth? I didn't think so. Also if you look back into the 90's and figure in inflation you could clearly see that Venezuela was much better off. The man never fixed roads or building that were being ruined. So think before you offend people who lives or have family that currently lives in Venezuela. But I am done replying to you, case and point you have no idea what you're talking about and your ignorance toward the subject just annoys me.

ssuarez
ssuarez like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

It may not be neutral, but it is true. I live in Caracas, I should know.

MarkAnderson1
MarkAnderson1

@ssuarez Chavez gave 300,000 for Native Americans to heat their homes in South Dakota, the federal government wouldn't do it.  Not everything is so cut and dried.  

pds
pds like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

@MarkAnderson1 @ssuarezNot everything is so cut and dried? Tell that to the millions of people who have died, to the victims of insecurity. You shouldn´t be defending them if you have no idea of how it´s like to live in Venezuela, the goverment is very generous to eveyone but the venezuelans. #MaduroPresidente ILEGITIMO

ssuarez
ssuarez like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

Yes, he was very generous to foreign countries, and allied with such stellar nations as Iran, Belarus, Siria, Cuba (To which he gifted 100000 daily oil barrels, that are still being gifted, in total 6 billion dolllars a year) While Venezuela, the country he supposedly was governing, rotted and fell to shambles.