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Venezuela: Maduro wins in a landslide

Commentary by Sean Orr |
May 21, 2018
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President Nicolás Maduro
President Nicolás Maduro

Milwaukee, WI - In Venezuela's first presidential election since 2013, President Nicolás Maduro was re-elected in a landslide, receiving 67% of the vote in an election where the opposition was deeply divided and unwilling to unite behind a candidate. Henri Falcón, the most prominent opposition figure to run, received the endorsement of only a handful of parties and only got 27% of the vote. The majority of the right-wing opposition refused to even participate, pre-emptively condemning as fraudulent the very electoral system praised by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter as “the best in the world.”

Weeks before election day, the Trump administration said they would not recognize the results.

There is no doubt that Venezuela is a democratic country. What angers the opposition and the U.S. government is what the Venezuelan people have done with their democracy. Over the 20 years of the Bolivarian Revolution, the Venezuelan masses have written one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, slashed poverty in half, provided universal health care and education, adopted some of the most pro-worker labor laws in the world, taken control of natural resources for the benefit of the nation, and set their nation on the path of economic and political independence on a continent where the U.S. wants them to have neither.

Nicolás Maduro’s re-election represents the desire of the Venezuelan people to continue and deepen their Bolivarian Revolution. He has the support of the many political organizations of the Bolivarian movement that want to see genuine revolutionary change happen in their country.

Venezuela is in the midst of deep crisis. The economy is in tatters due to years of U.S. sanctions, Venezuelan capitalists actively working to undermine the country, and the structural weaknesses of a capitalist economy dependent on oil production in the current global market. The political system is in havoc as the right-wing opposition embraced mass acts of fascist violence in 2013, 2014 and 2017. When the lynchings and barricades failed to deliver them political power, the opposition imploded. They now have little legitimacy among the Venezuelan people, and zero chance of retaking power by electoral means.

The opposition boycott of universally recognized free and fair elections shows their true colors. They have no desire in observing democratic processes or the rule of law because they know it cannot lead them to their goal of counter-revolution. They will seek other means to get there, and they have a U.S. State Department and CIA willing to do whatever necessary to break the Maduro government.

Challenging times are ahead for the Venezuelan masses. Their desire for national independence is irreconcilable with the profit hunger of U.S. imperialism. As the drive for revolutionary change gains steam, this contradiction will only sharpen and reach a breaking point. History, though, is on the side of the masses and their desire for freedom. Imperialism belongs in the history books, and we must continue to stand in unflinching solidarity with the Venezuelan people as they work to build a better world.

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