South America. “Patient but rebellious”, Venezuela goes to the polls

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For the duration of a melody, the mist which surrounds the hills of Caracas seems to dissipate. It’s a tune that says anger, difficulties, hopes too. “The people who are poets sing their own prayers even if they wear a rosary of sorrows on their breasts. “In this Venezuela which is currently celebrating the 80th anniversary of the birth of Ali Primera, the verses of the popular singer resonate strangely on the eve of the regional and local” mega-elections “which will be held this Sunday, November 21 in 23 states and 335 municipalities.

Considerable stakes

After three years of boycott, the opposition – in all its components – is back in the game with more than 80% of the 70,000 candidates in the running. Alas, the bourgeoisie’s strategy of insurrectional violence and the bet on external interference have failed, but, at the other end of the social scale, a drastic embargo, galloping inflation, free-falling oil production and an inadequate monetary and budgetary policy, poverty soared to reach more than 80% of the population.

If usually, the electoral campaigns have the air of “carnival”, to use the expression of Carolus Wimmer, member of the political bureau of the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV), this time, the heart is no longer at the party despite the considerable stakes of the ballot. “The government’s food aid program helps prevent famine, but water and electricity cuts and the state of transport weigh heavily on people’s minds. The Venezuelan people have a high political conscience, they are patient but rebellious. Nobody can say today what face would take a possible social explosion ”, comments Carolus Wimmer, whose formation competes in the name of the revolutionary popular alternative, a competing alliance of the Large Patriotic Pole led by the Chavistas.

Weariness wins

The Covid is therefore not enough to explain this demobilization which has forced the ruling Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to redouble its efforts in the streets and on social networks thanks to rejuvenated and feminized candidates. If, in the popular districts, the ideal of the Bolivarian revolution continues to vibrate, weariness wins. After years of discrediting the elections, the opposition is also struggling to mobilize. Evidenced by the stencils of the unsuccessful presidential candidate Henri Falcon which are displayed on the walls of the municipality of Libertador (“if we vote, we win”).

On Wednesday, the deplorable images of two right-wing candidates from the state of Bolivar fighting before the astonished eyes of observers from the European Union (EU), which is deploying its first mission in fifteen years, spoke volumes about the divisions that run through this camp. Strategic divisions also while part of the opposition seems to have given up neither oil nor fire. A week ago, the government announced the dismantling of a terrorist plan against the deposits of the National Electoral Council (CNE) in Mariches and consequently demanded from Spain the capture and extradition of the violent opponent Leopoldo Lopez, suspected of being the instigator.

First step towards political coexistence

Suspended since the extradition to the United States of diplomat Alex Saab, Nicolas Maduro’s special envoy to Iran to negotiate food and medicine, discussions with the opposition in Mexico have nevertheless led to these elections, the stakes of which go beyond local and regional executives. As a first step towards political coexistence, these elections, if they were legitimized (the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, reopened a crisis by considering himself the sole judge of their legality), could in time make it possible to rediscuss sanctions.

“These elections are essential for the respect of the Constitution and for peace. Each election is a victory over the war and over the most violent sectors of society, ”confirms the deputy of the capital district of Caracas, Tania Diaz (PSUV). “We are ready to return to the negotiating table. These elections can be a game-changer and allow Venezuelans to make the world understand that they want to decide their future legally, ”continues Tania Diaz, whose party has made sovereignty one of the key themes of these polls. .

Elections under close observation

The EU is not the only one to send observers, the American experts of the Carter Center are also in charge of writing a report, just like those of the United Nations. In Paris, under the watchful eye of Emmanuel Macron, Colombian President Ivan Duque, whose country benefits greatly from the strangulation of Venezuela, has already decreed that the elections would be “neither free nor democratic” . Always ready to draw. At the end of November, Caracas once again referred to Ali Primera: “The worms of the people can be flowers or balls. The bullet that defends him, or the bullet that kills him. ”

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