Venezuela is experiencing a schizophrenic situation, on the one hand an electoral festival and the declaration of the early beginning of the Christmas season by the regime and on the other hand an unbridled inflation, scarcity and devaluation, the Central Bank of Venezuela “evaluating” a dollarization of the economy and a situation extremely critical associated with fuel. There is not enough gasoline, there are no Iranian ships in sight bringing it, and the refineries are producing more problems than fuel. Will we be living the story of the boy crying wolf with the fuel, the arrival of gasoline to save us has been announced so many times that at some point it will finally actually disappear and the country will be totally paralyzed? Meanwhile, the OVCS (Observatory of Violence) registered 18 protests in Venezuela this Monday and this with the raging pandemic still going on. Therefore, the OilPrice portal wonders if Venezuela’s economic crisis will remove Maduro from power? As the regime has lived one day at a time for a long time, is it their bet that a Biden Administration will miraculously remove the sanctions, lend money and support their continuity in power?
Domestic politics in the United States are preventing the development of actions necessary to protect their own security. It is difficult to understand that regardless of whether the Trump Administration is trying to legally challenge the election results, it is not simultaneously sharing security information with Biden’s team. There is a risk of creating voids that will most certainly be exploited by the enemies of the United States. It is a situation that has already been identified related to information gaps associated with the 9/11 attacks. Not to mention the paralysis with regard to foreign policy that the next administration will inherit and that will impede or hinder future actions.
Meanwhile, the European Union and the United Kingdom extend sanctions on Venezuela. On the other hand, there is a suspicion in Spain that Vice-President Iglesias took advantage of his trip to Bolivia to secretly meet with the Venezuelan Foreign Minister. This in addition to a private dinner in Bolivia by Iglesias with the president of Argentina that irritated the Foreign Ministry and the King himself. One more proof of the joint actions of the Sao Paulo Forum and the Puebla Group. A solid and joint future approach from Europe does not seem simple at all. Latin America no longer has a firm position in the face of the tragedy and the Venezuelan threat, for internal reasons Peru, Chile and Colombia have weakened. In addition, Argentina and Mexico are increasingly more aligned with Venezuela regime. A very complex situation for the opposition in Venezuela.
The Election Environment in Venezuela
Preparations for the parliamentary elections this December are in full swing. The media is already saturated with electoral propaganda in the best traditional Venezuelan electoral style. It includes jingles repeated all throughout the day in all media. Conditions are being created that make more people wonder wether it is appropriate to vote. The participation of “opponents” is notorious, selling the Assembly as a means of improvement for the people. Among these “opponents” are those who offer this future Assembly as a replacement for the National Constituent Assembly. There is no clarity on how the votes will be counted, the only thing that matters is that a body appears to eventually replace the legitimately elected National Assembly.
In parallel to all this, the opposition promotes consultation, competing at a disadvantage because it does not have access to media, beyond social networks. It is assumed that for several days the process will be digital and the final day will be a physical collection. There is not much information available either and doubts remain about the magnitude of participation and how it will be reported. Behind this there is the enormous question of what will be done with the results of the consultation? What are the real goals? What capacity is there to achieve the objectives of said query?
A role for the Opposition
There are three clearly defined blocs in the opposition: (1) The G4 group working the consultation and looking to extend the duration of the National Assembly, now reinforced by the presence and actions of Leopoldo Lopez in exile, (2) The opposition that accepts cohabitation with the regime, some participating in elections and others justifying their collaboration and acceptance of the existing situation with various arguments and (3) The group that only accepts negotiation accompanied with Maduro’s exit and that include Soy Venezuela, Vente, ABP, Gente and various personalities. Of course, there are also the “keyboard warriors”.
This past week, I had the opportunity of attending a Chat-Forum on the “Is Venezuela rich country?” subject, that I found very interesting and I have tried to collect more information related to it. It is a continuous program organized by the political party Vente, that covers different subjects and it is open the public. It is focused on providing political, social and economic culture and it uses a WhatsApp platform. Because of that it is somewhat awkward, but it allows the participation of many people, especially from the interior of the country, where web access is very limited. The presentation is through audio, the questions are made in writing in the chat and are answered via audio. There is an average attendance of 200 people, the recording is listened to by another 200 and the written version goes onto a platform that registers 300-400 additional visitors. The people that attend come from places like Delta Amacuro, Monagas, Zulia, Falcon, Sucre, Apure. The message is related to a liberal view of the world, in contrast to the deep socialist education that Venezuelans have suffered historically. It is a commendable educational effort, reaching deep into the country. It provides a long range view that maintains alive the hope in a troubled country. It is the type of activity that all political parties have to be doing.