Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Venezuela is in for more hard times.

Correction:Weds. Dec. 9, 5:55 am New York time: The opposition took 57 % of the popular vote. The Chavista coalition took 43% of the popular vote. The opposition won the popular vote by a margin of 14%, not  20% as was stated in the article.

The people have spoken, and as the expression goes, "The voice of the people is the voice of God."

Almost 75% of Venezuelans over the age of eighteen voted on Sunday night, and after some delay the electoral authority announced the complete results. With 112 out of 167 Assembly seats the former opposition coalition will have the power to re write the Constitution,  which they will, launch a recall referendum against President Maduro, which they will unless he resigns first, set up an Assembly Committee to investigate the United Venezuelan Socialist Party, which also is certainly on their short "to do" list.

From what I can see President Maduro, though he conceded the results, doesn't get what happened. He and his way of doing things was repudiated by a margin of 20 percent of the popular vote and his party's power to govern is soon at an end. He now talks of a review of the lessons of the defeat. The time to review is past for him, I'm quite certain. If the members of his party do not press him to resign, with his cabinet the National Assembly will relieve him of his duties this coming May 10th under the current constitution , if not sooner under a revised constitution that they are empowered to write and enact.

The former opposition did not win. The governing  (soon to be non-governing) party lost.

It allowed the "economic war" that it complains about to go unanswered. It allows up to this moment a distorted lopsided monetary exchange policy to feed the black market, inflation and shortages. It boasts of the gains that have been largely pissed away: free medical care, that was never in effect in all parts of the country, and which has crumbled where it did exist. An educational system plagued by shortages of everything from desks, to books, to underpaid teachers. A housing program that was not proprttionately bigger than the old regime's, and which in many cases is crumbling, in other cases the buildings taken over by criminal gangs. Over the past 17 years more than 200,000 Venezuelans have been murdered and it was only this year that an effort, or the appearance of an effort was made to do the most basic job that a government has - to reasonably assure the safety of law abiding people within its nation's borders.

United States dollars are sold to multi national corporations and "insiders" at 6.3 bolivars each. There is no effective audit of where these dollars actually go while a black market dollar can be sold formore than nine hundred bolivars today.

Gasoline, much of it imported (!) is sold at pennies a liter, benefiting those Venezuelans who can afford to buy automobiles and of course those whose fortunes are built on smuggling.

Hunger is now once again the lot of the majority of Venezuela's people.

The new bosses in town proved incapable of organizing mass protests against these conditions because they do not have a real dedicated mass following.  They have voters fed up with President Maduro.

Five million Venezuelans voted for Chavista candidates in spite of everything.  I'm hoping a new leadership steps forward. If the revolution is to stay alive it will have to fight outside the halls of the National Assembly.  That's been lost. The new crew will be looking to bring in the IMF, genetically modified organisms, and privatization at pennies on the dollar.

The 23 enero district is an historic bastion of Chavismo. This Sunday it barely elected an anti Chavista to the National Assembly.

That's me standing in front of a mural of Presidents Chavez and Maduro right outside the wonderful zoo in Merida last year. The Barrio Adentro free clinic just outside the picture was locked shut on a weekday afternoon as are most.

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