Repudiate and end the criminal electoral farse of Venezuela’s dictatorship

Carlos Sánchez Berzaín

By: Carlos Sánchez Berzaín - 06/04/2024

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Twenty-First Century Socialism repeats in Venezuela its criminal ritual to falsify the election of a dictator who has over 80% of popular repudiation. The so-called “electoral process” is a series of crimes that have inscribed as presidential candidates the incumbent dictator Nicolas Maduro and 12 other pseudo-candidates of its rigging, preventing María Corina Machado, the sole candidate from the opposition, to participate. The severity and forcefulness of the facts leave Venezuelan democratic leaders and the international community with no other choice but to disavow and end this criminal farse.

The “vote-catching” dictatorship’s system in which people vote but do not elect, created by the 21st Century Socialism in order to indefinitely wield power with dictators who, purportedly, are indefinitely elected, is again in operation in the misnamed “electoral process” of Venezuela that has set this forthcoming 28th of July as election day. The expansion of Cuban Castroism, turned into Latin American Castrochavism in the 21st century, spreads the fallacy that if there is voting, then there is democracy, manipulating the votes that instead of representing the popular will, they counterfeit it.

Voting with one sole political party participating, as in Cuba’s dictatorship, has expanded to voting with a dictatorial candidate that turns out to also be a sole candidate, because he/she is the only one that can win in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. In these satellite dictatorships the casting of ballots that are manipulated under the banner of “elections” the regime imposes its dictator, and a long list of functional actors who have no chance of winning, as candidates. These corrupted electoral actors are the functional opposition’s candidates whose role is to legalize and legitimize the counterfeited pluralism and an inexistent freedom with their corruption.

Beyond simulating a plural participation with functional opposition’s candidates, the dictatorships block true leaders from the true opposition, or those candidates with a real possibility of winning, from participating. They do so by force, using the dictatorial administrative or judicial system to disqualify them with lies, as in the case of Maria Corina Machado in Venezuela, imprisoning or exiling them as in Nicaragua in 2021, or Bolivia in 2020, or with assassination as in the case of Fernando Villavicencio in Ecuador in 2023.

The tragedy is that these sets of crimes occur again and again as a ritual in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. These countries have been turned into narco-States, have turned dictators into presidents, and have kept organized crime in power. Dictatorships remain, indefinitely, in power through the commission of crimes, in spite of “strong objections by the international community” who -on occasion- imposes sanctions that do not prevent the dictatorial continuity.

This year is Venezuela’s turn with the so-called “Barbados Agreements,” seeking to have elections with an acceptable degree of freedom and with the participation of the true opposition, instead it has only been able to strengthen the dictatorship through the recognition of its condition as the Government with the previous elimination of the “legitimate government of Venezuela,” the lifting of sanctions, and the empowerment of organized crime that has taken more political prisoners.

The so-called electoral process demonstrates that in Venezuela there are none of the essential components of democracy. Human rights and individual basic freedoms are violated, there is no rule of law, and the dictatorship concentrates all the powers of the State, including the electoral, that is manipulated at whim, there is no free political organization, and as a result the holding of free and fair elections is impossible.

The dictatorship has drafted the list of presidential candidates with dictator Nicolas Maduro and twelve others who are “functional” because with their inclusion in this list, they are tacitly admitting that the “sole and only candidate from the opposition” will not participate in the elections. The functional candidates know they cannot win because there are twelve of them, reason why the true opposition sought one sole and only candidate who won the primary elections with 92.5% of the votes and she is Maria Corina Machado, disqualified by the dictatorship’s criminal decision.

The dictatorship’s candidate, and local chief of the criminal system is Nicolas Maduro who, this next 28th of July, will proclaim himself as the reelected president. If there would be “the rule of law” in Venezuela, Maduro would have been the first disqualified candidate because he is a wanted fugitive from justice sought by the International Criminal Court for narcotics trafficking with a bounty of $15 million dollars for his capture and is in the process of being legally charged for crimes against humanity and for being a violator of human rights who remains unpunished because he controls the judicial system of Venezuela.

The aggravating factor of the electoral counterfeiting that is underway in Venezuela is that in the midst of a dictatorship under the regime of “State-terrorism” the internationally sought Nicolas Maduro has less than 12% of popular backing, all twelve functional candidates do not even get close to 20% between all of them, and the disqualified candidate Maria Corina Machado has more than 60% of popular backing.

The functional candidates can only withdraw from their shameful candidacies and demand that Maria Corina Machado’s candidacy be accepted. The only option the true opposition and the international community have is to disavow and end the criminal electoral farse, because they run the risk of being accomplices of flagrant crimes the entire world is seeing to occur.

*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Translation from Spanish by Edgar L. Terrazas

Published in Spanish by Sunday March 31, 2024

«The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author».