Nicolás Maduro and Henri Falcón prepare for Vote
Nicolás Maduro and Henri Falcón, Venezuela’s two main presidential candidates closed their campaigns Thursday, May 17 following the upcoming election to be held Sunday, May 20th.
While the election is set to take place in Venezuela, it will not be recognized by many major democracies and international agencies around the world. The vote, assumed to be in part “rigged” as in past years, calls 20.5 million of 30 million Venezuelan nationals to the polling booth.
Analysts anticipate a large number of non-voters, with the opposition battling it out to decide whether or not it’s worth showing up to the vote. While the opposition party, the Democratic Unity Table (MUD), will not participate in what it describes to be "fraud" election, candidate Henri Falcón continues his fight to convince people that the democratic process is the country’s only hope.
Dispite Falcón’s effort in the United States, the European Union and several countries in Latin America, are questioning the validity of the election, announcing that they will not recognize the results of the vote, due to the fact it will likely not be a fair election.
Even with recent polls showing Maduro lightyears behind his opponents, Falcón, a centrist former Chavista, and Javier Bertucci, an evangelical preacher, most are doubting the election. The assumption being that Sunday will bring “vote buying, coercion, blackmail and ballot stuffing.” In response to the opponents hopeful campaigning most question, "why would this year be any different than the past two presidential elections?"
An article published by the Washington post spoke to one reason it might be. Perhaps now, in a time where Venezuela suffers from total economic and social depression, that the lack food and medicine has begun to reach even the most privileged, can the regime be “cohesive enough to successfully rig an election?”
While the hopeful thought remains, the likelihood of any other outcome than the re-election of Maduro, who seeks re-election for another six years term, is slim.
With Thursday came a riot of opponents imprisoned in the headquarters of the intelligence service in Caracas, as Maduro closed his campaign downtown Caracas. Surprise guest, Argentinian soccer star, Diego Armando Maradona, danced to reggaeton waving a Venezuelan flag while Maduro spoke to onlookers.
"Trust me, if you give me your vote and give us the victory (...), I swear I will lead great economic changes and I will make an economic revolution that will shake the world," Maduro promised in his speech.
The IMP estimates the Venezuelan crisis will only worsen, with a hyperinflation expected to climb to 13,800% this year alone. What will this mean for the Venezuelan people? Even more severe shortages of basic necessities like foods and medicines.
Falcón’s last pre-election rally was held in Barquisimeto. “Venezuela has a new president, fuck!", Exclaimed Falcón, with the song " Caminando" by Rubén Blades in the background. Falcón assured the crowd that he would break through to the non-voter population, running against the boycott of MUD, who continues to ask that he withdraw his candidacy.
With a jacket with the colors of the Venezuelan flag: yellow, blue and red, Falcon said he had "faith" in "that we are going to vote massively, as our country needs".
A third candidate, the evangelical pastor Javier Bertucci, closed his campaign in Valencia on Wednesday, with the promise of "humanitarian aid" from the United States.
So, in the wake of Venezuela’s May 20th election (valid or not) a slight hope exists that perhaps what WP has spoken to as the “bubble of privilege” which shelters some from the severe deprivation experienced by most has shrunken so small that the few remaining officials will not be enough to hold strong against the opposition that continues to fight for the democratic process. In just a few days the world will find out.