Saturday, November 22, 2008
VENEZUELAN REGIONAL ELECTIONS NOVEMBER 23RD
Tomorrow, Sunday November 23rd, are the regional elections here in Venezuela. You can listen to live broadcasts on the interview from the ground in Venezuela with RADIO VENEZUELA EN VIVO all throughout the day today and tomorrow. There are 22 state government posts at stake, 328 mayorships and hundreds of council member positions in the running throughout the entire nation. This is the first year that President Chávez's new political party, the PSUV - Socialist Party of Venezuela - is participating in elections and it will be a test for the strength and popularity of the party. Candidates in all states that have received Chávez's endorsement are all from the PSUV party and in fact were selected through an intricate primary voting process earlier this year. While the traditional opposition remains divided and weak, new opposition - dissidence - has arisen from the ranks of the revolution, with parties such as PODEMOS and PPT postulating candidates to oppose and compete with the PSUV candidates.
WHAT IS REALLY AT STAKE TOMORROW
Many have speculated on the importance of Sunday's regional elections in Venezuela. Opposition media here in Venezuela claim the elections are about the future of "democracy and freedom" (their usual bantering) and President Chávez and others in his government have declared these elections pivotal to the future of the revolution and its widespread consolidation and unity throughout the nation. Those unaware of the progress and future objectives of the Bolivarian Revolution might not understand how regional elections could be so important to a national government nor why the President himself would campaign for months backing candidate after candidate throughout the country. Projects of the Chávez Government, such as agricultural development, industry, factories and new production models depend widely on the support and active participation of regional governments. Those still unclear about what is taking place in Venezuela must understand that we are in a revolution with an adamant, determined and vicious enemy that operates within. Those regional governments that actively oppose Chávez and his policies make a point of sabotaging and subverting his programs and projects, despite their clear benefit for the nation or for those particular regions. Therefore, it is essential that regional governments, particularly in key strategic states, like Zulia and Bolívar, border states such as Táchira, Apure, Mérida, Falcón, and those states near the capital city of Caracas, including Aragua, Carabobo, Anzoátegui and Miranda, remain in or are won by candidates that support the revolutionary objectives put forth by the Chávez Administration.
In play tomorrow is the decision by a majority of Venezuelans to continue to deepen and consolidate the revolutionary process and to allow for a more unified nation that is capable of implementing projects destined to accelerate production and development in the country on an economic and social level. At stake is the future capacity of President Chávez to govern a nation in revolution and not a nation divided and run in part by coup-leaders, saboteurs and proponents of free-market capitalism.
There will be no fraud - our electoral process here is time tested and fraud proof as recent past elections have proven solidly. But the opposition continues to threaten with violence and destabilization activities in the case of a sweeping win by Chávez's party. Just last night on the television program "Buenas Noches" on opposition Globovision network, a guest was speaking of how barbaric Venezuela has become under Chávez and his "africanization" of the country. The guest, a local political analyst from the opposition, spoke of the necessity for "civilized society" and the "democratic forces" to take back the nation in tomorrow's elections. This racist, classist attitude is typical of the opposition leadership in Venezuela, which is why their return to power would be devastating for a nation with majority poor to lower-middle classes of mixed race that have been given a voice under almost 10 years of revolution with President Chávez.
Most polls indicate that the PSUV party will win the majority of states and mayorships across the country, but some important states are in serious contention, such as Zulia, Carabobo, Sucre and Miranda. The results will depend upon voter turnout and weather conditions (we have had torrential rains the past few days) throughout the day tomorrow. Those monitoring the elections from abroad beware of media manipulation and early posting of results. The only results that will be considered are those from the CNE (National Elections Council) that will not be available until after all polls have closed in the evening.