Venezuela Elections

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Venezuela Elections

Chávez Supporters Win 17 out of 23 Venezuelan States, But Lose 3 Most Populous

Quote:
President Hugo Chavez's governing party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), got mixed results in the regional and local elections today, winning strongly in 17 out of 23 states, but losing the country's two most populous states and the Capital District of Caracas, with two more states still to be decided.

[...]

According to Lucena, participation had reached an unprecedented high for a regional vote, at 65.45%. Over 17 million voters were registered, which is several million more than in the last such election four years ago. As a result, lines tended to be long and many polling places had to remain open far longer than the official closing time of 4pm.

Chávez's PSUV lost the governorships of the two most populous states, Miranda and Zulia, and the mayor's office of greater Caracas, which will be a significant blow to Chávez and his movement.

The perhaps greatest surprise is the upset victory, with 52.45% of the vote, of opposition leader Antonio Ledezma, of the Brave People's Alliance, in greater Caracas. Ledezma once was governor of the city, from 1992 to 1995, when it was an appointed office. He was then elected as mayor of the city's main municipality of Libertador in 1995. Ledezma is considered to be an integral part of the country's old political guard, given his ties to former President Carlos Andrés Pérez.

His challenger this time around was Aristóbulo Isturiz, also a former mayor of Libertador, and former education minister for Chávez. Isturiz is one of the few Afro-Venezuelan politicians of Venezuela with national name recognition.

[...]

In a late-night address to the nation, President Chávez congratulated the Venezuelan people for having participated in the electoral event in a "civic and joyful" manner.

The event "ratifies" Venezuelan democracy, but not like the "democracy before" his election to the presidency, which "belonged to the elites," said Chávez.

Chávez also conceded defeat in the state of Miranda and of the capital district, asking, "Who can say that there is a dictatorship in Venezuela? Well, perhaps some will continue to say so."

P.S. I can't find an existing Venezuela thread, so this will have to do.

KenS

Reports I read said that in Caracas and other cities Chavez didn't even do that well in the slums. So it does not appear to be as simple as the same old: wealthy and middle classes and oil workers voting against him.

Chavez is secure, but his popular coalition appears to be showing some cracks.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Venezuela's Elections of November 23: A Briefing

Quote:
Over 5000 candidates will contest 603 elections for 22 state governors, 328 mayors, 233 state legislative councillors and a range of other local positions. 17 million Venezuelans will have the opportunity to vote in these elections.

The elections will be the 14th set of national votes held since 1998 when Hugo Chávez was first elected as President. Hugo Chávez and his coalition of supporters have won 12 of the 13 previous national elections and referenda. This is in stark contrast to the 40 years prior to President Chávez‘s election, when only 15 national electoral contests were staged in Venezuela.

Elections under the government of Hugo Chavez have been verified as free and fair by a range of independent international observers including the Organisation of American States, the European Union and the US Carter Centre. A total of 134 foreign observers will take part in November's election, according to Venezuela's independent National Electoral Council (CNE). The observers will come from 34 member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS), and include representatives of electoral organizations from America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

With regards to equality, half of the candidates standing in the local and regional elections will be women, following the implementation of legislation to ensure gender equality earlier this year. This is a tremendous advance for women in Venezuela - when these elections were last contested in 2004, 82% of candidates were male and 18% female.

Ghislaine

Interesting article in the New York Times today:

 

"

The defeat in some of the slums of Caracas irked Mr. Chávez to the point that he went on state television Monday night, chafing at the election results. Warning the opposition, he said, “Don’t think you control Petare.”

Among the pro-Chávez candidates who lost were members of the president’s inner circle, including Mario Silva, the host of La Hojilla (translation: The Razorblade), a program on state television used to attack Mr. Chávez’s opponents. Sometimes Mr. Silva played taped recordings of opponents’ intimate cellphone conversations or aired their instant-messaging transcripts.

With Mr. Silva trailing in polls ahead of the election, Mr. Chávez threatened to mobilize tanks in Carabobo State in the event of his ally’s defeat, one of many of his menacing comments that linger, as if to remind voters of the vulnerability of their democracy to threats and intimidation.

During the campaign, Mr. Chávez called opponents “traitors” and “swine,” and his government blacklisted almost 300 candidates, preventing them from running in what has been argued to be a violation of the Constitution. "

 

ps - can someone tell me how to quote the way you used to be able to?

ceti ceti's picture

It's the crime issue, pure and simple. Chavez has been trying to reform the police forces (who sided with the opposition in the 2002 coup), but without much luck. Plus, Venezuela has not followed other Central and South American countries in paramilitarizing their response to the hemisphere wide crime epidemic which has led to atrocious human rights violations from Mexico, Jamaica, and Colombia to Brazil.

Still, 17 out of 23 governorships is still pretty good for 10 years in office. What of course the biased press doesn't mention is that the PSUV still won 6 million votes to the opposition's 4 million, maintaining the same split of past elections.

It's funny to see how to media focuses on certain elections and slants them a certain way, but ignores others in a clear ideological thrust. I've seen more coverage of Venezuela then the entirely fleeting attention paid to the Canadian election in the international press.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Catchfire wrote:

Quote:
The elections will be the 14th set of national votes held since 1998 when Hugo Chávez was first elected as President. Hugo Chávez and his coalition of supporters have won 12 of the 13 previous national elections and referenda.

Now make that 13 out of 14 - in ten years.

Is there another country in the world that has more national elections and referendums? And yet still the skeptics on both left and right talk about how Chavez doesn't like democracy.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The significance of the socialist victory is clear if we put it in a comparative historical context:

1) Few if any government parties in Europe, North or South American have retained such high levels of popular support in free and open elections.

2) The PSUV retained its high level of support in the context of several radical economic measures, including the nationalization of major cement, steel, financial and other private capitalist monopolies.

3) The Socialists won despite the 70% decline in oil prices (from $140 to $52 dollars a barrel), Venezuela’s principle source of export earnings, and largely because the government maintained most of its funding for its social programs.

4) The electorate was more selective in its voting decisions regarding Chavista candidates – rewarding candidates who performed adequately in providing government services and punishing those who ignored or were unresponsive to popular demands. While President Chavez campaigned for all the Socialist candidates, voters did not uniformly follow his lead where they had strong grievances against local Chavista incumbents, as was the case with outgoing Governor Disdado Cabello of Miranda and the Mayor of the Capital District of Caracas. Socialist victories were mostly the result of a deliberate, class interest based vote and not simply a reflex identification with President Chavez.

5) The decisive victory of the PSUV provides the basis for confronting the deepening collapse of world capitalism with socialist measures, instead of pouring state funds to rescue bankrupt capitalist banks, commercial and manufacturing enterprises. The collapse of capitalism facilitates the socialization of most of the key economic sectors. Most Venezuelan firms are heavily indebted to the state and local banks. The Chavez government can ask the firms to repay their debts or handover the keys – in effect bringing about a painless and eminently legal transition to socialism.

- [url=James">http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/11/victory-for-venezuela%e2%80%99s-so... Petras[/url]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Quote:
The results of the elections for local mayors and state governors held in Venezuela on November 23 underlined the continuing mass support for the Bolivarian revolution led by President Hugo Chavez.

In a clear vote of confidence in the project to build socialism of the 21st century in Venezuela, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) - formed just six months ago with Chavez as its president - won 17 of the 22 states in which governors were elected. The United States-backed right-wing opposition won five states with a total of about 4 million votes, compared to the 5.5 million votes for the PSUV candidates.

The elections were also a victory for democracy in Venezuela. The voter turn-out was the highest ever in regional elections, with 65.45% of those eligible casting their vote (compared to 45% in the last regional elections in 2004). Despite some opposition leaders threatening not to recognize the results if voting hours were extended, polling centres were kept open until 10.30pm in some places to ensure that everyone waiting in the long queues was able to vote, and international observers report that it was a completely free and fair ballot....

Overall, the November 23 vote for the PSUV - for the revolution and socialism - increased by about 1.3 million on the pro-revolution vote in the Constitutional reforms referendum last December. In contrast, the anti-revolution opposition's comparative vote declined by about 300,000. As well, the Chavez suporters won back three states (Aragua, Guarico and Sucre) in which the incumbent governors had, over the last 18 months, defected to the opposition.

- [url=Source[/url]

">http://www.venezuelasolidarity.org/?q=node/7669]Source[/url]

 

P.S. Why doesn't the above-quoted material appear in a box with a grey background???  Why doesn't the word "Quote" appear in boldface? Why is it not indented like the rest of the text?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Quote:
In the aftermath of the November 23 regional elections, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition has launched, in the states it won, an all-out assault on grassroots community organisations.

President Hugo Chavez and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won a clear mandate in the elections for the project to build socialism of the 21st century: the PSUV won 17 states with 5,730,774 votes nationwide, compared to the opposition’s 3,948,912 votes. The opposition’s vote was concentrated in key strategic areas, giving them the governorships of five states and the mayor of Greater Caracas.

In the days following the elections, grassroots activists in Caracas, Miranda and Tachira have reported that the public community health clinics (part of Barrio Adentro, the free universal healthcare program), communal councils and other centres where social programs operate are being shut down or attacked by opposition party, despite the public assurances of at least one right-wing govenor-elect that the legal frameworks would be respected.

Venezuelan radio station YKVE Mundial reported on November 25 that “people sent by the new authorities of the governorship of Miranda arrived in the early hours of the morning in Baruta, to an Integral Diagnostic Centre [public health clinics], where they shut down a House of Popular Power” where the local grassroots communal councils operate. Cleira Ruiz, local coordinator of Mission Ribas in Mariche, reported that people from the far-right Justice First party harassed the centre, and tried to remove the people inside and take the keys.

Gerson Rivas, a representative of Fundacommunal (communal bank) in the municipality of Guaicaipuro in the state of Miranda, reported that Cuban doctors were being intimidated by Justice First supporters, who were threatening to kick them out of the Barrio Adentro modules.

William Castillo, vice-president of Venezolana de Televisión, reported that groups have also tried to attack the Caracas office of alternative television channel Avila TV.

More disturbingly, three election candidates, all activists in Venezuela's national trade union peak body, the UNT, were brutally murdered two days after the elections.

From the state of Tachira, won by the right wing, Ana Rivero reported to YVKE Mundial that, although the new governor, Cesar Perez, had not yet assumed his position, “functionaries” had ordered coordinators of the missions to leave the state schools where the missions operate, and that this order is being applied across the whole state. She said that classes in Mission Ribas in the school Timoteo Chacón de Santa Ana, in the municipality of Cordoba, where she studies, have been suspended until they can find another location.

María Malpica, the PSUV mayor-elect in Colon municipality in Zulia, reported that riots were being promoted by the opposition with the aim of preventing her from taking office, and that eight people were injured in the clashes.

YKVE Mundial reported that street battles broke out in Los Teques, the capital of Miranda, on November 26. Carmen Bermúdez, who witnessed the incident, told YKVE Mundial that the violence erupted when right-wing governor-elect Capriles Radonski arrived in Plaza Bolivar in Los Teques accompanied by men on motorbikes and police from the municipalities of Rosales and Carrizal. The police and Capriles’ private thugs violently attacked people congregated in the plaza for the inauguration of the new PSUV mayor of Los Teques, Alirio Mendoza.

As well, workers in the Integral Diagnostic Centre in Los Dos Caminos in Sucre municipality reported on November 27 that members of Justice First have threatened to burn down the building and are circulating a petition to remove the Cuban doctors. Similar incidents have been reported in Carabobo. In the state of Barinas, which was won by the PSUV, opposition groups have launched violent attacks, refusing to accept the outcome of the vote.

In 2002 the Venezuelan opposition, backed by the United States, launched a military coup against the democratically elected Chavez government. However, the coup was defeated within 48 hours by a mass uprising of workers and the poor, together with rank-and-file soldiers.

In Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, major social gains for the poor and working people have been won by the grassroots movements together with the pro-people polices promoted by Chavez. Extensive education programs have eradicated illiteracy and the introduction of universal healthcare has meant that many poor Venezuelans have been able to visit a doctor for the first time. Under wealth redistribution policies factories have been nationalised and put under workers’ control, and unused land has been distributed to peasants.

The US government has given millions of dollars to Venezuela’s opposition groups in an effort to roll back the democratic revolution in Venezuela. These latest attacks are part of a broader strategy to get rid of Chavez and reassert imperialist control of the nation.

Responding to the opposition attacks, Jesse Chacon, the PSUV candidate for Sucre, told VTV on November 25 that, “Any attempt to roll back what the people have conquered is going to generate conflict, because the people are organised … The people will not allow it!" In a televised speech on November 27, Chavez also responded, stating that the national government and the armed forces, together with the people, would act to defend the missions and social services.

The minister for justice has also made public statements to clarify the obligations and role within the state of the governors-elect, including that they must not abuse the power invested in them. El Aissami specifically reminded the newest governors-elect of the importance of not abusing police powers.

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network stands in solidarity with President Chavez and the grassroots Bolivarian movement against the right wing’s latest attacks. We call for the democratic process in Venezuela to be respected by the new oppostion governors, and for an end to all United States interference in Venezuela’s sovereign affairs.

Stop the opposition attacks in Venezuela!
Stop US intervention in Venezuela!

[url=A">http://links.org.au/node/766][u]A statement from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, November 28, 2008[/url]

KeyStone

"During the campaign, Mr. Chávez called opponents “traitors” and
“swine,”and his government blacklisted almost 300 candidates,
preventing them from running in what has been argued to be a violation
of the Constitution. "

While the NYT may have written a slightly less biased article than the National Post put out a couple of weeks ago, it is no less misleading.

The sentence would seem to imply that Chavez just arbitrarily banned 300 candidates on the grounds that they were opponents, when in fact he banned both opposition politicians and politicians in his own party, based on charges of corruption.

Venezuelan politics has been bloated with corrupt politicians for a very long time, and it is difficult to remove them all. Still, a better approach might be to publicize the corruption and let the people decide for themselves. 

 

old_bolshie

Quote:
"During the campaign, Mr. Chávez called opponents “traitors” and
“swine,”

That sort of thing is SOP in Venezuela where people make a pastime of insulting each other-nothing personal but if you take it personally and can't come up with better/nastier insults you lose.

 

Not the most pleasant of places is Venezuela.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

KeyStone wrote:

Still, a better approach might be to publicize the corruption and let the people decide for themselves.

The corruption was publicized.

Letting the people "decide for themselves" whether to elect the corrupt candidates was not an option under Venezuelan law, which bars them from running.

Quote:
...many of the disqualifications were not imposed recently and are the consequence of investigations by the Comptroller General over a number of years. This decision by the Comptroller General is both lawful and constitutional. Such legal instruments to apply sanctions against individuals whose probity as holders of public office is under question has existed in Venezuela since 1975. The current legislation was adopted in 2002 as an anti-corruption measure by Venezuela's National Assembly in a near unanimous vote, including support from parties opposed to the Chávez government that then had strong representation in the National Assembly. The disqualified candidates have also had the opportunity to legally contest the decision and the disbarring was upheld as constitutional by a Venezuelan Supreme Court ruling on 5 August.
 - [url=http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/3975]Source[/url]

It's Me D

Thanks for the great posts Spector. Best coverage of these elections around! Pity its so at odds with what most people will be reading.

Ken Burch

Is it possible that there was a racial component to the right-wing victory in the Caracas mayor's race?  Do any of the analysts there think that the PSV candidate may have lost because some Chavista voters couldn't handle voting for an Afro-Venezuelan for mayor?

I guess what's weird to me in that result is that the voters in Caracas would actually vote for anyone who was part of the Perez years.   Those were the times of austerity and trade unionists being shot in the street.  It floors me that anyone would want anybody who was part of that era back in political office.

____________________________________________________________________________________________
Our Demands Most Moderate are/
We Only Want The World!
-James Connolly

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Fred Fuentes wrote:
The Chavista vote rose from just over 4 million last year to more than 5.5 million this year, an important recovery of support although only half way to the 7 million votes for Chávez in 2006.

Especially significant are the nearly 5 million votes cast for the PSUV itself, confirming that it is the primary political force in Venezuela, less than a year after it was formally constituted. The PSUV held primary elections for its candidates, involving 2.5 million people, the first time this has occurred in Venezuela’s history.

Chávez called for the formation of the PSUV after his 2006 victory, to unite the dispersed revolutionary forces and create a badly needed political instrument to lead the process towards socialism. The party was formally launched only this year.

The lack of such a party contributed to the defeat of the constitutional reform campaign in 2007.

Previously, the Bolivarian process had to rely on the amorphous electoral machine of the Movement for the Fifth Republic (MVR) — viewed by much of the ranks as a vehicle for opportunists — and on several smaller parties.

In addition to the PSUV vote, 500,000 votes went to candidates from other parties that are part of the of the pro-Chávez Patriotic Alliance that involves the PSUV.

A number of dissident Chavista  candidates who stood against PSUV candidates garnered just over 400,000 votes. These were either candidates that didn’t win PSUV pre-selection or candidates of the Communist Party of Venezuela or the Homeland for All party. Both of these parties have declined to join the PSUV, but take part in the Patriotic Alliance. While some such candidates expressed left-wing discontent with the PSUV, most hold political positions counterposed to the revolutionary process.

Their comparatively low vote indicates a general rejection of attempts to pose a pro-Chávez alternative outside the PSUV.

As for the candidates of the rightist opposition, they tallied just over 4.1 million votes, a drop of almost 10% from the 2007 referendum.

[url=Socialist">http://www.socialistvoice.ca/?p=350][u]Socialist Voice[/url]

If you are reading this, you have just proved once again how annoying signatures/tag lines are. Support their abolition.

NDPP

'They Want Me Dead!' Venezuela's President Claims US Murder Plot

http://rt.com/news/venezuela-maduro-murder-plot-457/

"Acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro believes there is a US plot to assassinate him during his election campaign. He called on his followers to be 'vigilant' and warned conspirators want to prevent his victory in next week's election..."

Ken Burch

There's a good chance he's right.

kropotkin1951

Just because he's paranoid doesn't mean the US isn't plotting to kill him.

janfromthebruce

I know the election is today so following on twitter feed but my Spanish is pretty rusty

Eva Golinger ‏@evagolinger 12m

Venezuelan opposition tries to create chaos & uncertainty amid presidential election results leaning towards victory for Nicolas Maduro Hugo Chavez's heir.

 

 

knownothing knownothing's picture
NDPP

Maduro Wins Venezuelan Presidential Elections With 50.66 Percent of the Vote

http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/8626

"Nicolas Maduro has won the Venezuelan presidential election with 50.66 percent of the vote against 49.07 percent for opposition canadidate Henrique Capriles Radonski. Maduro gave a victory speech immediately after, while Capriles initially refused to recognize the results.

Nicolas Maduro received a total of 7,505,338 votes, against 7,270,403 for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, a difference of 234,935 votes. Total turnout was 78.71 percent of the electorate. Given the closeness of the vote, Maduro's speech focused mainly on ensuring the validity of his victory and the reliability of the electoral body.

'If they want to do an audit we have complete trust in our electoral body,' he said from outside the presidential palaace. CNE Rector Vincente Diaz immediately requested that 100 percent of the electoral results be audited in order to make the results more transparent..."

 

'Number One US Target', Oliver Stone Calls Media Coverage of Venezuela 'Shameful'

http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/8623

"I would say that Venezuela is the number one target of the US media and the State Department that exists today. THe covert actions that are going on in Venezuela are very scary. I don't want to be in Nicolas Maduro's shoes..."

janfromthebruce

thank you both for posting the results. Although by percentage of vote (what a super turnout for democracy) it appears close, in raw vote, it's not close.

Found these passages thought provoking:

“What’s at stake is really two different visions of Venezuela, two different visions of Latin America, and two different visions of how the north and the south should relate to each other. Fundamentally what’s at stake here is control over the largest oil reserve in the world,” Salas said.

“Previously there’s been a vision of Venezuela as connected to the US, as an oil-exporting country, as a nation rushing to join the first world, and one in which Venezuela is counter-imposed with the US as a model democracy.” But another future could be within sight.

“Or a vision of Venezuela that is part of Latin America that recognizes its own internal heritage and recognizes the solidarity it has with the rest of Latin America. Remember Venezuela was the first of the social conscious left governments to come to power in 1998,”
 the professor continued.

The large oil conglomerates are still angry they were kicked out and their energy sector went from private to public ownership.

josh

Turnout was over 80% in the October election.  Wonder if the closeness of the vote compared to then is due, in part, to the dropoff.

A_J

josh wrote:

Turnout was over 80% in the October election.  Wonder if the closeness of the vote compared to then is due, in part, to the dropoff.

I'm not so sure - the turnout is reported as 74.7% this time around, but the votes cast (according to the total posted at wikipedia) are very similar to last fall: 14,814,497 valid votes in 2013 and 14,872,739 in 2012 (i.e. 99.6% as many votes).  There don't appear to be any raw numbers for turnout this time as the invalid/blank votes aren't reported yet.

So with nearly the same votes cast, PUSV has lost 685,794 voters and Capriles has picked up 679,099.

But it would be interesting to see the audit results (the CNE needs to show concordance between local machine tallies, the central tally and the handcounted ballots) and whether the turnout really was only 74.7%.  Assuming no huge increase in registered voters in 6 months, and a similar proportion of spoiled ballots (i.e. a 2013 total that is also 99.6% of last year's 287,550 invalid votes), turnout should be more like 80.1%.

NDPP

Venezuela's Capriles Refuses to Accept Maduro Victory Until Election Audit (and vid)

http://rt.com/news/venezuela-presidential-election-results-853/

"...Capriles stated that his party had reports of over 3,200 irregularities in the voting process and said that Maduro really lost the election..."

 

US Favors Destabilized Venezuela (and vid)

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/04/15/298363/us-favors-destabilized-v...

"A Latin America expert tells Press TV that the United States is engaged in 'destabilization efforts' against Venezuela. Interview with Gloria Estela La Riva."

NDPP

Venezuela: A Developing Coup Attempt

http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org/venezuela_attempted_coup.htm

Urgent Action Needed

DaveW

josh wrote:

Turnout was over 80% in the October election.  Wonder if the closeness of the vote compared to then is due, in part, to the dropoff.

I was walking along Peel St. in Montreal midday Sunday when I came across a big crowd of flag-waving Venezuelans, assumed it was the national day celebration or something, and congratulated one woman ... dunno if she thought I was pro or anti-Chavez....

NDPP

Veneuela's Maduro Accuses US Embassy of Supporting Violent Protests (and vid)

http://rt.com/news/venezuela-maduro-coup-killed-963/

"Venezuela's post-election crisis is growing deeper. President-elect Nicolas Maduro says he has proof that the US embassy is financing the ongoing protests..."