La Jornada newspaper
Monday, November 22, 2021, p. 30
Caracas. Another election ended in Venezuela. This time it was regional, to elect 23 governors, 335 mayors, 253 state legislators and 2,471 councilors, in a contest crossed by developments, mainly two: the participation of almost all of the opposition, and the presence of international missions previously absent observers, such as the European Union, the Carter Center, the United Nations, in addition to the presence of, for example, Parlasur and the Latin American Council of Electoral Experts.
The vote in Caracas, capital and center of political power, was marked by a calm that showed two elements. On the one hand, it showed the general context of the current political conflict in the country, and the progressive return of most of the forces to the electoral scene. We have managed to direct our differences by voting and only in this way will we be able to resolve them, settle them, said Jorge Arreaza, former Foreign Minister and current Minister of Industries and National Production.
“Let’s go out and vote, the time of the guarimbas, of the street protests, has already died, that what left was blood, that we have to say goodbye to waiting for a coup, the time has come to say goodbye to asking for sanctions, to be telling the other countries of the world to come to invade Venezuela, it is Venezuelans who have to solve our problems, and we are going to solve our problems during the electoral process, ”said Bernabé Gutiérrez, from Acción Democrática (AD), an opposition party that is divided between its leadership and that of Henry Ramos Allup, with a dispute over the ownership of the party card.
The calm in the streets during election day put on the table, on the other hand, the possibility of a high abstention, in the continuity of what happened in the 2020 legislative election, when 30.7 percent of the electoral roll came to vote. The element of participation was one of the central factors of analysis during the day, since a low participation would be the reaffirmation of a political scenario marked by the erosion and social distancing of political representations, while a higher participation than that of 2020 on the contrary, it would indicate a reversal of this trend.
The contest was marked at the end of the afternoon by a complaint headed by Henrique Capriles Radonski, who pointed out the existence of a serious irregularity in almost the entire national territory, due to the fact that, he affirmed, several polling stations remained open despite having finished the voting time and there are no queues of voters waiting to vote. Abstention, that is, the levels of participation are not occurring in those who want change, the serious problem of non-participation is faced by the lords of the ruling party, that is, Maduro and his party affirmed, and, for that reason, irregularities would have existed.
This complaint occurred within the framework of a conference with few cases of incidents, such as the one that occurred in the state of Zulia, on the border with Colombia, where a man was killed by firearm. The fact was, in the version of opposition actors, the product of armed groups, something that was denied by the Minister of Internal Relations, Justice and Peace, Remigio Ceballos, who affirmed that it was a criminal act isolated from the electoral process. Diosdado Cabello, vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), said, for his part: the acts of violence the security organizations are working on.
It is expected that starting this Monday, with the results of the vote, the different reports of the missions and international oversight will take place. In this regard, President Nicolás Maduro highlighted the importance of the presence in the country of electoral centers, centers of intellectuals, centers of experts, from Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia.
In this context, he pointed out that the mission of the European Union is one more oversight, all observers, international companions must respect the laws of Venezuela, the Constitution, and must respect the regulations of the Electoral Power that invited them. The only thing I would say to the oversight of the European Union, have the humility of observers from other countries, to this day they have behaved up to the task, respecting the Constitution and the laws, I hope this is the case until the end of their term. mission, hopefully. His statements came after different alarms from members of the government and the PSUV, such as Cabello, that the European Electoral Observation Mission could have come with a report already prepared with the intention of delegitimizing the regional elections in the country.
The elections will result in an update of the regional and national political power map that, so far, has been under the majority of Chavismo with 19 of the 23 governorships. It is also expected that after the electoral event there may be announcements about the suspended dialogues in Mexico, although Maduro affirmed yesterday that they were suspended because the United States stabbed the dialogue in the back, and that there are no conditions to install it yet because They have to answer for that kidnapping (that of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and Venezuelan diplomat extradited from Cape Verde to Miami), and as soon as we believe that there are conditions, we will announce it to the country in that way.