Chavism’s enemies’ campaign to discredit progressive forces has failed. However, the course the Venezuelan government must take will be treacherous since the country is deeply divided. Dialogue is the antidote that Venezuelans need to overcome the crisis.
Finding the causes of Nicolás Maduro’s victory in the presidential elections on the 20th May 2018 corresponds to the broken-down Venezuelan opposition.
Without much discussion it can be agreed that on the day the election’s big loser was the abstentionism incited by the most radical local right-wing faction, which, leaving a large democratic deficit, was unable to consolidate its forces behind a candidate.
The Bolivarian Revolution achieved its twenty-second victory with the re-election of Maduro, who obtained the support of 6,157,185 Venezuelans (67.7% of the vote), out of nearly nine million valid votes, from an electoral register of more than 20 million people, according to the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE – National Electoral Council). It was a vote for a strong and solid Chavista faction, the working-class forces convinced of the justice of the process initiated by Hugo Chávez.
Henri Falcón, the candidate most voted for by the right-wing (21.2%), was beaten by abstention, without counting 20 % of voters from that sector, who were not interested in going to the polls, analysis shows.
Even when adding the votes for Falcón to those for the candidate Javier Bertucci, in favour of the ex-governor of Lara, Maduro still emerged the victor by more than three million votes. The Venezuelan opponents’ inability to evaluate strategies cleared the way to Miraflores for the champion of the Frente Amplio de la Patria (Popular Front of the Homeland), analysts deem.
In this regard, the political scientist Carlos Raúl Hernández stated that the problem was not the conditions, but the decision of opposing affiliations to not vote in favour of the option presented by Falcón, the presidential candidate of Avanzada Progresista (AP – Progressive Advance), Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS – Movement toward Socialism) and Copei.
Speaking to the Globovisión channel, Hernández asserted that “we should not continue to invent scare tactics”, given that the strategy (abstention) applied by radical right-wing sectors was implemented.
Allegations of fraud that Falcón made in advance are unfounded. What happened is that six million people did not vote for the opposition or at all, said Hernández, who is identified with adverse Venezuelan factions.
“The only triumph that abstention can celebrate is having defeated Henri Falcón”, he stated. “I do not see what this is good for. I think that the opposition is unstructured and leaderless and can’t start from scratch”, he said.
Here begins the difficult course that Venezuela must follow after the result of the elections, which must obligatorily go through Maduro’s appeal for a dialogue with all the sectors of public life in order to reach an agreement for the benefit of the nation.
“Dialogue is the only way to resolve problems and smooth over the rough edges”, Hernández said in his analysis.
The approach laid out by the Venezuelan President will be a difficult one, that is, establishing a constructive agenda to face the crisis induced against the country, an almost impossible task without the participation of internal sectors, and without distinction of ideology.
“I call all the presidential candidates who participated in the election on 20th May and their political teams to a day of conference and dialogue to establish a constructive agenda. I am ready to meet to talk”, Maduro declared on social networks.
How far can the factions opposed to Chavism proceed on this course? To what extent will the United States and its foreign allies allow the path towards dialogue to be opened?
With Maduro’s re-election Venezuelans ratified their right to self-determination and to vote for peace on Sunday.
In the coming months, the national dialogue will become the government’s main task, in the same way that confronting corruption, smuggling and controlling the country’s retail prices have. Today all Venezuelans have open expectations of Maduro’s call for dialogue to deal with economic recovery and to overcome foreign aggression, so that peace can prevail.
The course the Venezuelan government must take will be treacherous since the country is deeply divided; the opposition lost an opportunity with its call for abstention.
However, the sustained aggression against the government also affected many Venezuelans, who preferred not to attend voting as a form of punishment against the authorities they blame for a situation provoked from abroad. (PL)
(Translated by Hannah Phelvin-Hartley – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)