Archive for the ‘Venezuela Elections’ Category

NORIEGA Y CARDENAS: Washington no debe olvidar a Venezuela

| March 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

POR ROGER NORIEGA Y JOSÉ R. CÁRDENAS

La anexión rusa de Crimea es una violación flagrante a las normas internacionales que exige una reacción internacional concertada. No obstante, mientras los  ‘expertos’ en política exterior se acomodan en su zona de confort eurocéntrica , Washington no debe descuidar sus intereses estratégicos en un mundo cada vez más interconectado.

Tome en consideración a Venezuela. Un país con una gran riqueza petrolera, con lazos históricamente profundos con Estados Unidos y estratégicamente situado en medio de las principales rutas de contrabando de drogas hacia Estados Unidos. Por más de 30 días, Venezuela ha estado rodeada por protestas callejeras que han sido reprimidas brutalmente por el gobierno. Desafortunadamente, parece que sólo un pequeño grupo en el Congreso de EE.UU está interesado en una respuesta eficaz por para lidiar con el caos que se vive en Venezuela.

Existen muchas razones por las cuales el gobierno de EE.UU debe poner ... Read More

Venezuela’s municipal elections: Maduro’s hollow victory

| December 13th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Economist

ON THE face of things, Venezuelans were simply voting for their mayors and local councillors on December 8th. But the opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, had called for a massive protest vote that he hoped would turn into a plebiscite on the erratic, economically incompetent and increasingly totalitarian rule of President Nicolás Maduro (pictured), the successor to the late Hugo Chávez. By that standard, Mr Capriles failed.

The opposition coalition, called the Democratic Unity alliance (MUD), made gains, especially in urban areas. The four biggest cities, including Caracas, now have opposition mayors. In all, the MUD won nine of the 23 state capitals. The most painful loss for the ruling Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) was Barinas, home of the Chávez family. But outside the main cities, the electoral map remains chavista red, a reflection of the government’s stranglehold on rural Venezuela, which has most of the 337 mayoralties.

For the MUD, the bitterest ... Read More

Why is Venezuela’s President Maduro happy about mayoral races? (+video)

| December 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor

BY ANDREW ROSATI

CARACAS, VENEZUELA

Voters handed President Nicolás Maduro a tepid vote of support, as preliminary results showed his political allies winning a majority of mayoral seats nationwide.

Since taking the helm after the March death of Hugo Chávez, President Maduro’s tenure has been marred by claims of fraud, an ailing economy, an inflation rate of over 54 percent, and chronic shortages of consumer goods. His opponents cast Sunday’s municipal elections as a plebiscite on his presidency and attempts to preserve his predecessor’s socialist policies.

Partial results showed that the Maduro administration was set to win the majority of mayoral spots, passing the electoral “test” by much more than the razor-thin margin with which Maduro beat opposition foe Henrique Capriles in April. Voters gave the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its allies more that 49 percent of the popular vote, compared to 42 percent for the opposition.

“It’s symbolic,” says Mariela Heny, a homemaker who lined up before sunrise Sunday ... Read More

Venezuela’s local elections: A country divided

| December 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Economist

NO ONE can really feel satisfied after Venezuela’s municipal elections on December 8th. Urban Venezuela is turning its back on the ‘socialist revolution’ of the late Hugo Chávez and his successor, President Nicolás Maduro (pictured). But polls that the opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) alliance had sought to turn into a plebiscite against the eight-month-old Maduro government have, in the short term at least, consolidated his grip on political power.

A total of 335 municipalities and two metropolitan districts were up for grabs in Sunday’s poll. In 2008, with Chávez at the height of his power, a divided opposition managed to hang on in just 15% of them. Its consolation prize that year was to seize metropolitan Caracas, but the punishment was severe. The government cut off central funding to mayor Antonio Ledezma, ejected him from city hall and transferred most of his powers to an unelected ‘chief of government’. It is ... Read More

Ending Venezuela’s Addiction to Populism

| December 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

BY RAUL GALLEGOS

The victory of Venezuela’s left in Sunday’s municipal elections suggests that voters are comfortable with their growing dependence on the government’s generosity. Opposition leaders must help Venezuelans overcome their addiction.

As of yesterday, President Nicolas Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela had captured a majority of the country’s municipalities – 234 out of 337 precincts — and had taken 44.2 percent of the vote versus the opposition’s 41 percent, with ballots still being counted.

Opposition candidates may have won key cities, including the municipality of Barinas — home of the late President Hugo Chavez. But for those who expected a major defeat for Maduro and his allies, the election should serve as an eye-opening experience. Political analyst Luis Vicente Leon put it bluntly in a Sunday night Twitter post: “The opposition showed growth compared with the previous election,” but it lacked enough votes to “‘punish’ Maduro’s administration.”

That Chavismo — the movement started by Chavez — ... Read More

Venezuela’s ruling party channels Chavez for municipal vote

| December 6th, 2013 | No Comments »
From AFP

Nine months after his death, Venezuela’s ruling party is still running Hugo Chavez as its standard-bearer in upcoming municipal elections seen as an important test of strength for his lackluster successor Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuelans go back to the polls Sunday, for the first time since Maduro’s disputed election, to choose mayors and city council members in a country still unsettled by Chavez’s death March 5 of cancer.

“December 8 is the day of loyalty to Hugo Chavez, and we are going to go and vote,” roared Diosdado Cabello, leader of the governing United Socialist Party (PSUV), at a recent campaign rally.

Cabello then yielded the floor to a videotaped speech by the late president, a deeply polarizing populist who sought to carry out a socialist revolution during his 14-year rule over this oil-rich country.

“Chavez continues to be the calling card of the ruling party heading into December 8,” said political expert Nicmer Evans.

Angel ... Read More

Post-Chavez politics descends into insults

| November 21st, 2013 | No Comments »
Gulf Times

The tone of politics in Venezuela has only become rougher since the death eight months ago of socialist president Hugo Chavez, and the rhetoric is becoming even nastier with local elections looming.

Chavez made his international reputation through his own confrontational style and aggressive populism.

With the approaching December 8 local polls – to elect 340 mayors and 2,400 town councillors – seen as a referendum on the government, Chavez’s handpicked successor, Nicolas Maduro, has used both word and deed to press its case against the opposition.

Maduro, 50, slams the opposition as “parasites,” “fascists” and “criminals” at every turn.

The opposition is hardly mild but has struggled to be heard amid the din made by the powerful, pro-government media bloc.

Venezuela’s political divisions have deepened since April 14, when Maduro narrowly beat opposition leader Henrique Capriles, 41, in a presidential election.

The opposition never acknowledged the result.

Capriles is not quite as strident but attacks Maduro ... Read More

Venezuela grants president decree powers

| November 21st, 2013 | No Comments »
Financial Times

BY ANDRES SCHIPANI

Venezuela’s legislature on Tuesday granted decree powers to President Nicolás Maduro, as the Chávez successor pledged to wage an “economic war” to battle inflation and shortages.

The president has said that among the first laws he will issue will be one to limit businesses’ profit margins to between 15 and 30 per cent and another to create a new state body to oversee dollar sales.

“Mission accomplished Commander Hugo Chávez. In your name, as president of the republic, I sign the execution of this enabling law,” Mr Maduro said from the presidential palace in Caracas. “Chávez lives, the fatherland continues.”

Although the president said he needed the powers to fix the economy and eradicate corruption, critics have accused him of amassing power ahead municipal elections on December 8. Mr Maduro’s opponents are casting the polls as a referendum on his mandate and ability to manage the economy.

Venezuelans are struggling with ... Read More

More Uncertainty Ahead of Venezuela’s Municipal Elections

| November 21st, 2013 | No Comments »
The Huffington Post

BY JASON MARCZAKAND & PETER SCHECHTER

Where is Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro taking his country? Clearly, it is radicalizing further and faster than under his predecessor, Hugo Chávez.

Exactly one month before the December 8 municipal elections, Maduro announced the “occupation” of the Daka chain of electronics stores and security forces proceeded to arrest several executives. A few days later he asked the “Bolivarian Militia” to take to the streets to hold back the “fascist right wing that wants to wage economic war on Venezuela.”

Next up, a promise to go after food, textile, footwear, toy, vehicle, and hardware stores–all of which he accuses of price gouging. He will soon have new tools to do so after the National Assembly grants him year-long emergency decree powers that he says are need to stamp out corruption.

Nationalizations and occupations are nothing new to Venezuela. Chávez often resorted to blaming the bourgeois when he needed to ... Read More

Si Fredo Corleone gobernara Venezuela . . . o lo hace?

| October 3rd, 2013 | 3 Comments »
The Miami Herald

Imagínese si al morir el personaje de la película El Padrino, Don Vito Corleone, dejara a su hijo infortunado, Fredo , a cargo de la empresa familiar. Esto es esencialmente lo que sucedió en Venezuela cuando el caudillo Hugo Chávez murió el año pasado y Nicolás Maduro asumió el poder. Como resultado , el inevitable colapso económico y  una lucha interna de poder tendrán consecuencias muy graves para la estabilidad y seguridad de las Américas .

Los observadores se rieron la semana pasada cuando Maduro, en camino a Caracas después de una visita a Beijing, canceló su aparición en la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas en Nueva York argumentando que se estaba fraguando un atentado en su contra orquestado por mí persona. Como he afirmado categóricamente en el pasado, la acusación de Maduro es completamente falsa. La pregunta debe ser el por qué este caudillo dejó pasar la oportunidad de ... Read More

Venezuela Opposition Claims New Govt Crackdown

| August 8th, 2013 | No Comments »
ABC News

FABIOLA SANCHEZ

Venezuelan authorities ordered the arrest of a close aide to opposition leader Henrique Capriles and military agents removed documents, computers and cellphones from the man’s apartment Wednesday, the opposition said.

It called the action proof of a new wave of political repression.

Venezuela’s highest court, meanwhile, rejected Capriles’ bid to void the April 14 presidential election, which he narrowly lost to ruling party candidate Nicolas Maduro. It also fined Capriles $1,700 for what it called a “disrespectful” filing and asked the attorney general to prosecute the opposition leader for filing the petition.

The 12-party MUD opposition coalition did not elaborate on the government’s stated reason for issuing the arrest warrant for Oscar Lopez, the chief of staff to Capriles in the Miranda state governor’s office.

Maduro had announced earlier in the day that the government “today captured a chief of the corruption and of the mafias of the Venezuelan right.” He did not ... Read More

¿Está perdida la oposición venezolana?

| July 15th, 2013 | 4 Comments »
Felipe Trigos-01

El capital político amasado por el candidato de oposición, Henrique Capriles, se ha ido desgastando. La oposición en Venezuela parece retomar ese estado catatónico e inerte donde el estatus quo regresa como la forma de lidiar con la dictadura.

Nicolás Maduro, no pudo contrarrestar, por lo menos democráticamente, la voluntad popular y el descontento generado por 14 años de demagogia e ineptitud por parte del régimen chavista.

El pueblo, aun con una intervención desmedida por parte del oficialismo, eligió a un candidato que representaba el NO a la criminalidad, al caos económico, a la corrupción y a la descomposición social.

No obstante, como en todos los gobiernos autoritarios y con el auspicio de Cuba, Nicolás Maduro se robó la elección presidencial y asumió la presidencia ilegítimamente bajo un descontento generalizado.

Días antes de la toma de posesión de Maduro y poco después de su asunción, la oposición contaba con las herramientas y el capital ... Read More

Jimmy Carter Gives Seal of Approval to Venezuela Election

| June 21st, 2013 | No Comments »
Commentary

BY BEN COHEN

When the Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez passed away back in March, one notably unctuous commemorative tribute came from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. “Although we have not agreed with all of the methods followed by his government, we have never doubted Hugo Chavez’s commitment to improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen,” the statement, carried on the website of the Carter Center, intoned. Carter then praised the “positive legacies” of a man famous for embracing genocidal dictators like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, before ending with a vague plea to Chavez’s successors to forge a “new consensus” in taking the country forward.

Three months and one disputed election later, has Carter revised these views? As the Miami Herald’s Andres Oppenheimer discovered this week when he interviewed Carter, the answer is a resounding no.

“Would Carter now approve of the results of Venezuela’s April 14 elections, which according to the ... Read More

Cabello caldea más el ya tenso ambiente venezolano

| June 21st, 2013 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

ANTONIO MARIA DELGADO

El presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, Diosdado Cabello, atizó el jueves el ya bastante caldeado clima político de Venezuela, al acusar a la oposición de estar adelantando planes para desestabilizar al régimen de Nicolás Maduro y advertir que el chavismo está dispuesto a salir a la calle a defender la “revolución bolivariana”.

Y en lo que acentúa las dudas sobre la transparencia del sistema electoral, Cabello conjuró nuevamente el fantasma de que el voto no es secreto en el país sudamericano, declarando que el oficialista Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) tiene identificado a los electores que no votaron a favor de Maduro en la última elección, y proponiendo a los seguidores del chavismo que salgan a tocarles sus puertas.

Cabello, quien hablaba en un acto público organizado por el PSUV, acusó a la oposición de organizar un atentado contra la vida de Maduro, en un desesperado intento de evitar ... Read More

Observadores europeos: Maduro hizo trampa en los comicios de Venezuela

| June 20th, 2013 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

ANTONIO MARIA DELGADO

El régimen de Nicolás Maduro incurrió en una serie de delitos electorales que generan dudas sobre los resultados de los comicios presidenciales de abril, concluyó una misión de observadores independientes del Instituto de Altos Estudios Europeos que estuvo presente en Venezuela durante la jornada de votación.

El presidente del instituto, Gustavo Palomares, quien encabezó la misión, dijo creer que los delitos electorales pudieron haber alterado el verdadero resultado de los comicios.

“Yo creo que sin duda pudo haber habido una alternación importante en cuanto al resultado final”, declaró Palomares desde España, ofreciendo una opinión como experto electoral que va más allá de las conclusiones del informe.

“Creo que ante ese margen tan escaso de votos [entre los dos candidatos] y con las más de 1,300 incidencias contabilizadas, y teniendo en cuenta que no se han cruzado los tres instrumentos de control de voto, que son el recuento en voto automático, el ... Read More

Venezuela’s Maduro victory upheld in audit – but opposition says fight not over

| June 14th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor

BY ANDREW ROSATI

CARACAS, VENEZUELA

After nearly two tumultuous months, Venezuela‘s electoral council officially ratified Nicolás Maduro’s presidential victory yesterday. In announcing the results of an audit of April’s razor thin election results, council head Tibisay Lucena said the vote “accurately reflects the will of the [Venezuelan] people.”

But the decision will do little to quell the political crisis here as the country’s opposition now says it’s set to take its case before international courts.

“We first want to exhaust all local, institutional means,” says Gerardo Blyde, a member of the Democratic Unity Table (MUD), the political coalition contesting the results. “We’re waiting for a response to our complaints before going to bodies such as the Organization of American States (OAS).”

Claiming Mr. Maduro’s victory was fraught with fraud, Venezuela’s political opposition lodged complaints before the Supreme Court last month, demanding a new vote. Calls for international action could help to bolster MUD’s efforts at home; however, analysts say ... Read More

Por qué Roberta Jacobson está obsesionada con legitimar a un narcoestado?

| June 13th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
By Roger Noriega

A pesar de que el presidente Obama se ha negado a reconocer al gobierno CubanoMadurista en Venezuela, su subsecretaria de estado adjunto para asuntos del hemisferio occidental parece estar convencida en que sostener pláticas con representantes del narco estado venezolano es el camino correcto para legitimar a ese gobierno y ‘promover’ nuestros valores e intereses en la región.

El encargado de negocios de Venezuela en Washington y crítico acérrimo de los Estados Unidos, Calixto Ortega, comentó recientemente que tiene planeada una reunión con Roberta Jacobson para mejorar las relaciones de ambos países. Ortega ha sido uno de los inquisidores más intransigentes en contra de la oposición democrática en Venezuela.

Que el Departamento de Estado haya aceptado el nombramiento de Ortega como encargado de negocios de Venezuela en Washington es vergonzoso e inconsistente con lo que el presidente Obama ha expresado públicamente.

A menos que exista una agenda bilateral en la que la administración ... Read More

Capriles Starts Internet TV Show to Skirt Venezuela ‘Censorship’

| June 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

BY CHARLIE DEVEREUX & CORINA PONS

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski started a weekly Internet television program today, after alleging that the country’s television stations and newspapers are squeezing him out of their coverage.

It will be the first show hosted by a politician in the Latin American country since the late President Hugo Chavez canceled his Sunday show as he battled cancer.

“All of Us Are Venezuela” will run at 11 a.m. every Tuesday on Capriles’ website capriles.tv and will be interactive, the former presidential candidate said today. Today, the hour-long show was held in a studio where he fielded questions from national and international journalists.

Capriles was labeled a “fascist assassin” by state media following street disturbances after he lost an election in April to Chavez’s handpicked heir Nicolas Maduro by 1.5 percentage points. The government said the protests left nine people dead. The recent sale of private media such as television network Globovision and ... Read More

Editorial: Venezuela gets a lifeline from the United States

| June 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

Nicolas Maduro, the former bus driver chosen by Hugo Chávez to lead Venezuela after his death, has been struggling to consolidate his position since being declared the victor in a questionable presidential election in April. With the economy stalling, inflation spiking and shortages spreading, the new president appears at a loss about how to respond, other than to blame domestic and foreign enemies. Nor has he been able to overcome a serious split in the Chavista movement between his own, Cuba-backed clique and another based in the military.

Perhaps most alarming for Mr. Maduro, an energized opposition has refused to accept the election outcome; its capable leader, Henrique Capriles, has been gaining sympathy around the region. The president of neighboring Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, met with Mr. Capriles on May 29, prompting paroxysms of rage from Mr. Maduro and his aides. Other Latin American governments, while avoiding a confrontation with Caracas, have made it clear they regard the new leader’s legitimacy as questionable; the regional group Unasur called ... Read More

Venezuela’s Uncertain Political Transition

| June 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
International Crisis Group

The death of Hugo Chávez has created a dangerous power vacuum in Venezuela. Today, we rely on the work done by three of our partners to identify the actual nature of this vacuum and some of the steps different actors might take to prevent further instability in a post-Chávez society.

International Crisis Group Latin America Briefing N°28

Overview

The death from cancer on 5 March of President Hugo Chávez triggered a snap presidential election just 40 days later that his anointed successor, Nicolás Maduro, won by a margin of less than 1.5 per cent over Henrique Capriles of the Democratic Unity (MUD) alliance. But the tight result and legal challenges to the validity of the vote cast a shadow over the sustainability of the new administration. A country already deeply polarised is now clearly divided into two almost equal halves that appear irreconcilable. The validity of the election result remains to be clarified ... Read More

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