The ‘mega-elections’ held in Venezuela on 21 November reaffirmed the Venezuelan people’s support for the Bolivarian revolution. The ruling Chavista PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) led by Nicholás Maduro won a landslide victory capturing 19 of the 23 state governorships and 212 out of 335 mayoralties (including the important Caracas mayoralty) in the country’s 27th election since 1998.
For the first time in almost four years, US-backed opposition parties, which had previously been boycotting elections, participated – with underwhelming results. In previous Chávez/Maduro-era elections, the opposition parties had consistently cried ‘fraud’ and ‘dictatorship’ in response to their electoral losses (except in 2015 when they had some success).
Embarrassingly for the imperialists, former US president Jimmy Carter, who could hardly be described as a friend of the victims of imperialism, has said of Venezuela’s electoral machinery: “Of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”
In the most recent elections, observers from the European Union (which has participated in implementing crushing sanctions against Venezuela) reported significant improvements in the already impressive electoral process. At the same time, they made vague claims about unspecified ‘irregularities’ – thus providing the imperialist media with their desired headlines.
Compradors accept defeat even as their backers cry ‘foul’
In Venezuela itself, however, even the most ardent compradors have been forced to acknowledge the legitimacy of the vote.
Self-appointed ‘interim president’ and lackey of US imperialism Juan Guaidó was unable to muster any evidence of wrongdoing, instead attributing the opposition’s resounding defeat to disunity within its own ranks.
“Today a new phase is opening,” he said, without providing specifics. “Today is a time for reflection amongst our leadership … It is not the time for fights nor egotism among political leaders.”
Guaidó said that the result pointed to “the obvious need for unification” among opposition forces if they wish to mount a meaningful challenge to the PSUV and President Maduro in the 2024 elections.
Of course, this acknowledgement by his own proxies did not stop US secretary of state Antony Blinken claiming: “The Maduro regime deprived Venezuelans yet again of their right to participate in a free and fair electoral process.”
As ever, he offered no evidence up to back up his claim.
Blinken affirmed that the US will continue to ‘recognise’ Guaidó as Venezuela’s ‘leader’ (despite the fact that he has neither participated in nor won a single presidential election) and will continue to wield its genocidal sanctions against Venezuela’s people. The imperialists are desperate to force their former slaves back into their ‘sphere of influence’ and to regain control of Venezuela’s oil, which are the largest proven reserves of this vital commodity in the world.
Genocidal collective punishment through imperialist sanctions
Back in February, Alena Douhan, the United Nations special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights visited Venezuela. She has since issued a stinging report condemning US and EU sanctions and their effects on the people of Venezuela, demanding that they be lifted at once.
“Sanctions on the oil, gold and mining industries, the economic blockade, the freezing of central bank assets, the targeted sanctions imposed on Venezuelans and third-country nationals and companies, and the over-compliance by banks and third-country companies have exacerbated the pre-existing economic and social crisis, with a devastating effect on the entire population, especially those living in poverty, women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities or with life-threatening or chronic diseases, and the indigenous population.
“No strata of society has been untouched. She recommends that these sanctions, which were mostly imposed in the name of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, be lifted as they undermine these very principles, values and norms.”
Quantifying the human costs of sanctions against Venezuela, a 2019 report from the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) concluded that at least 40,000 Venezuelans died in one year (2017-18), as the result of the shortage of food and medicines caused by US sanctions. A March 2020 report by former UN expert Dr Alfred de Zayas estimated that at least 100,000 Venezuelans had died as a result of US sanctions.
Despite all the hardships piled onto them as a punishment for daring to strike out for independence and freedom, the people of Venezuela continue to show that their support and allegiance is to the people-centred PSUV and its leaders.
The Bolivarian revolution has made tremendous improvements in the material conditions of the people, despite the best efforts of imperialism. The literacy rate in Venezuela is now above 97 percent, almost four million homes have been built for the poor, and a state-subsidised food programme (CLAP) provides food to millions of people who would otherwise suffer because of sanctions.
Moreover, the moral strength gained by Venezuela’s poor as they work together to overcome their difficulties is incalculable.
These are the very real gains that the masses are defending so steadfastly. With the increasingly assertive global anti-imperialist camp at their back, there is every chance that it is not the mighty US imperialists but the poor masses of Venezuela who will prevail.