Venezuela, in two years from the Guaidò protests to the new elections that crown Maduro
A little over two years ago, the Maduro in Venezuela he seemed ready to fall. It seemed a matter of weeks, days, even hours. Donald Trump he had explicitly supported the claims and the role of Juan Guaidò, also recognized as president by various states of the European Union. However, this never happened. Indeed, just over two years after the protests and external pressure, the Venezuela remains firmly in the hands of Maduro, who was also able to organize an electoral round in which part of the opposition also participated, somehow legitimizing a system of power that the United States and Europe continue to criticize but without the conviction of any time ago.
A pattern that is repeated in different parts of Latin America, starting from the South America region to pass to that of Central America. The path of democratization and development that seemed to have been undertaken is experiencing a moment of strong ebb. In addition to Venezuela, also in Nicaragua the recent elections were a substantial farce staged by the regime of Daniel Ortega to perpetuate its system of power based on the systematic elimination of opponents by political means but above all by legal means. It’s not all. There is also a tendency towards polarization and extremism that has reached even an unsuspected country like Chile, fresh from a trajectory of economic and political development that had led him to be considered a sort of “Germany of South America”, or “Finland of South America”, as the Economist recently defined it.
South America in political and economic chaos, from Venezuela to Chile
Two elections were held last weekend, very different from each other but symptomatic of this trend. The first in Venezuela, where Maduro’s party won in 20 states out of 23 ea in the regional elections Caracas. An electoral round characterized by 58.2% of abstention, which took place in the presence, for the first time in 15 years, of a European Union election observation mission. In addition to the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its allies, the winner of the vote was abstention, explained by analysts as the direct consequence of the division of the opposition and the contradictory speeches of its leaders. In Caracas, the former Interior Minister Carmen Melendez won, who came in first place ahead of the opponent Antonio Ecarri of the Lapiz Alliance and the antichavist Tomas Guanipa of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (Mud). The opposition is consoled by the victories in the state of Cojedes, the traditional Chavista bastion, where the governor will be Jose Alberto Galindez of the Mud party, in that of Nueva Esparta with Morel Rodriguez Avila of the emerging Fuerza Vecinal party and in the most populous state of Venezuela, that of Zulia, thanks to the victory of Manuel Rosales, of Mud.
In his speech delivered by the presidential palace of Miraflores, Maduro invited everyone, winners and non-winners, to also respect “political dialogue and national reunification”. For the number two of Chavismo, Diosdado Cabello, the results achieved are “a guarantee of peace and tranquility”. Obviously, the protests are many. Starting with those of Guaidò, who organized a press conference in which he declared that Venezuela “lives in a dictatorship” and 94 percent of its inhabitants live in a state of poverty, so politicians must understand the desire for change. expressed by those who voted for the opposition and by those who abstained from participating. “This was expressed yesterday in the silence in the streets, and it is an even greater commitment to unify us,” he added.
Venezuela, divided opposition and stronger Maduro
Precisely this is a delicate point that seems to have undermined the ambitions of antimadurist change. The oppositions appear pulverized and divided, unable to unite on a common project or line. Guaidò still claims a role that he does not actually have: “Today I am the president in office. For those who have presidential aspirations, the invitation is to fight together for elections. Personal political aspirations must not prevail over the good of the country” . The United States also branded the elections as a farce. “The Maduro regime has again deprived Venezuelans of their right to participate in free and democratic elections,” said US Secretary of State Antony Bliken. According to the head of US diplomacy “the Venezuelan regime had predetermined the outcome of the vote well before” the consultations.
Elections in Chile, the choice is between far right and far left
Chile is not a dictatorship, but it is walking on the edge of a thin line that will require a choice between extreme right and extreme left. In fact, he prevailed in the first round of the presidential elections in tomorrow Josè Antonio Kast, described as a nostalgic for Pinochet, with the second place won by Gabriel Boric of the radical left. It will be the two of them who will compete for the presidency in the ballot on 19 December. A result that, the observers underline, throws further turmoil and is a source of further political uncertainty in the context of the fragility of institutions and historical socio-economic challenges, after two years of very strong protests for the high cost of living and for the request for constitutional changes.
Economic liberal and socially ultra-conservative, with harsh positions against abortion or marriage for all, Kast does not want to be labeled as far right, but is complacent with the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and a follower of the American Trump and the Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro. In the countryside, Kast, a descendant of German immigrants in Chile, has promised a hard-fisted policy against growing violence and building a strip to stop illegal immigration to the north. On the other side is Boric, of Catalan and Croatian origins, former student leader, ecologist and feminist, candidate of Apruebo Dignidad, who unites the Frente Amplio and the Communist Party. A millennial leader, he has a path as a left-wing activist behind him and now holds the title of the youngest presidential candidate in Chilean political history. Born in 1986, he accuses Chilean democracy of having pursued an economic model set up by the dictatorship, making Chile an individualistic country, with a middle and lower class in debt for access to health, education and private pensions.
Whatever happens, it risks being a failure.
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