More than eight million six hundred thousand Venezuelans have participated in the presidential election this Sunday, whose result has been the renewal of mandate to the current president Nicolás Maduro. The new state councils were also elected, although the focus was placed on the highest executive position of the State.
The current president obtained 68% of the valid votes cast, compared to 21% of his main opponent, Henri Falcón. Javier Bertucci was supported by 11% of the preferences and the fourth in the contest, Reinaldo Quijada reaped just under 35 thousand votes. The electoral act passed unobjectionably and without major incidents, as witnessed by the international observers invited to participate.
In comparison with the flagrant irregularities that occurred in the recent Honduran elections or those denounced by the candidate Efraín Alegre in Paraguay, the election event can be characterized as absolutely legitimate. Nor can the Bolivarian government be accused of forcing the voters to go to the polls, since the vote in the Caribbean nation is optional, different from the Argentine case in which the population must compulsively attend to vote. Because of this freedom to exercise or not the right to vote, it is that the most radical opposition can not fully self-abstain, although its appeal has propitiated this attitude. The number of voters who went to vote was, in the projection of the CNE, 48%, a little more than six points higher than that registered last year on the occasion of the election of the National Constituent Assembly.
Undoubtedly, the boycott of the national and international right influenced, with greater impact on the middle and upper classes, although certainly not to the extent expected by its leaders. Otherwise, the abstention must be weighed considering also some electoral fatigue in the population – called four times in a year to the polls – the existence of an uncertain number of Venezuelans registered To vote who have emigrated and some actions of intimidation or boycott, which reduces the possible total universe of voters. These avatars, although they show the known antagonism of a portion of society against the Bolivarian Revolution, do not make a dent in the very legitimacy of the election. In terms of own vote, Nicolás Maduro obtained a figure close to six million votes (5,823,728 in the first cut with 92% counted), losing part of the seven and a half million votes obtained in 2013.
It is legitimate to think, in a first approach, that among them there is a contingent of adherents dissatisfied with the current leadership and that a certain part of the population accuses the onslaught of daily difficulties, together with the natural wear and tear of every government. On the other hand, the high number of votes obtained and the clarity of the victory speak of the maintenance of a broad core of support for Chavismo in the Venezuelan population.
If it comes to addressing external criticism, such as those expressed by the recently re-elected President Sebastián Píñera, Chile is one of the countries with the highest abstention rate in the world, 51% in the last election. Something similar is manifested historically in Colombia, other countries questioning Venezuelan democratic quality. The outgoing president Juan Manuel Santos was elected with more than half of the votes of 48% of the voters. Percentage identical to that registered in the election in Venezuela, somewhat higher than the average of the Colombian electoral history between 1978 and 2010, according to data from a report of the National Registry itself. And what about the United States, the self-styled universal guardian of democracy? In the last presidential election there was a 55.4% of valid votes on the total number of registered, but due to an indirect election system, the candidate who took a lower popular vote than his opponent governs there (46% Trump vs. 48% Clinton).
Even the accusation of using a clientelist system or captive vote, should blush the governments of Latin America erected as prosecutors of Venezuelan democracy. An extensive gallery of these practices can be studied in the huge antidemocratic Mexican record, another of the governments that supports the attack against Venezuela. The condemnation of the popular mobilization machinery developed by Chavismo, which has guaranteed so many electoral victories, is explained by the critical contempt for the popular organization – decisive to achieve social conquests long denied to the postponed majorities.
The electoral triumph of Nicolás Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution is very relevant, since it is part of a context of economic warfare, commercial sanctions, attempted financial suffocation, acute monetary speculation, intentional hoarding of basic consumer goods or its illegal marketing, harassment and defamation to its main emblematic figures. In short, a picture similar to the destabilizations suffered by many progressive or left leaning governments, which opposed the colonialist weight of the state of the North. The main problem of democracy in Venezuela, is not the product of internal political disagreements, certainly existing, but comes from outside.
The problem is not Venezuela, but US foreign policy
There are no solid bases to delegitimize the re-election of Nicolás Maduro for another term of government. However, the US “regime” (nickname that is usually used in the right-wing hegemonic press for unrelated governments), insists and conspires for the non-recognition of the government elected by a large majority in Venezuela. For this, it has a retinue of conservative voices in Latin America and Europe, whose democratic, but above all social, merits are scarce. Excessive sample has given the Spanish government of Rajoy repressing the population of Catalonia after the referendum won by the independence movement, imprisoning several leaders and forcing the elected president into exile.
The whole of Europe is besieged by a wave of neofascist extremism, a product of the severe austerity to which the system of international usury has subjected its population. It is not in a position to give lessons of any kind. Extremism has also been the outstanding feature of the Trump government, putting the planet on the brink of a nuclear cataclysm. The threat to erase North Korea from the face of the earth, the breakdown of the Agreement with Iran over its nuclear production, the abandonment of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the resurgence of sanctions against Cuba, Russia and Venezuela itself, indicate the unilateral bias of the current North American foreign policy.
The increase in spending on armaments and the demand on its allies in NATO to do the same, the attacks against Syria, the complicity with the Israeli regime, guilty of the assassination and the apartheid of the Palestinian people, the alliance with the Saudi monarchy, responsible of multiple violations of human rights in their own country and the death of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, constitute clear evidence of the violent nature of those who occupy the White House today.
In Latin America, after repeated attempts to bend and overthrow the elected government antidemocratically, the North American geopolitical rancour has become an explicit threat of armed intervention. The experience accumulated by the US in a large number of previous conspiracies, suggests the confluence of various illicit tactics, among which would be false flag operations, financing of mercenary groups, co-option of members of the Security Forces or constitution of alleged “alliances of the international or Latin American community”. Even assassination attempts can not be ruled out.
Beyond reaching or not the objective of removing the Bolivarian government, what is pursued with all this pressure is to institute a kind of exemplary punishment – as old as history itself – to intimidate anyone who dares to rebel against the injustice instituted. The most probable thing is that for now there will not be an open aggression, which does not have consensus even among the right-wing governments and which would surely be strongly resisted. But there is no doubt that the US will continue operating to close an iron fence on Venezuela, a tactic that will not only cause acute problems to the population that supposedly wants to help but, as happened with Cuba in the 60’s, will have as counterpart the strengthening of alliances of the Venezuelan government with Russia, China, Turkey, Iran and other actors of the emerging multipolarity.
Means that justify the ends
The Wikipedia online encyclopedia states that the expression “the end justifies the means” – whose origin was unjustly attributed to the Jesuit order by its detractors – was stamped by Napoleon on the last page of a copy of “The Prince” by Nicolás Machiavelli, presumably as a synthesis of its reading.
No doubt that the principle can be attributed to the Florentine political philosopher, especially in view of the content of chapter XVIII of that work. The most eloquent passage of the same: “Dedicate, then, the prince to overcome always the difficulties and to preserve his State. If it successfully achieves his goal, the means conducive to it will be considered honorable.”
Centuries later, in an equally pragmatic inversion of the aphorism, the means are called to justify the ends. The mass media of diffusion. It is through them, with propaganda, biased information and appealing to elaborate film scripts, that they try to convince the public about the benefits of the capitalist system, the Western culture and about the necessity and fairness of the wars (“Crusades”?) they are undertaken in their name. These media, owned by a few economic groups, monopolize the spectrum overwhelmingly concentrating audiences. They decide which contents should be shown and which ones should not, exercising an undue but effective manipulation and informative censorship. Its editorial lines prevent the free exercise of the journalistic profession, expelling from its ranks all those who do not become ideologically militant for their commercial and political purposes, betraying elementary deontological ethical principles.
These hegemonic audiovisual vehicles are those regularly used to generate consensus prior to an aggression against a country. The demonization of the enemy, the insidious caricature of some of its aspects, are the techniques used to generate aversion and fright in the unsuspecting spectator. This communication aggression is always the first step to soften public opinion, to produce a matrix of acceptance, in order to justify the immense suffering that the devastation of war will bring.
This happened with Libya, with Iraq, with Syria – just to mention recent events – and the same old stratagem is being used against Venezuela. Therefore, as a preventive and effective defense of peace, it is necessary to stop the wave of misinformation that pre-announces the conflict and resist its harmful effects. If for people of good will it is universally accepted that ends do not justify the means in any way, it is necessary to institute also the full opposite. The media should not serve to justify any ends.