By Paul Roberts
Nicolás Maduro, the Chávista candidate, won yesterday’s Presidential election in Venezuela.
However, Venezuela’s right wing, which coordinates with the US, is determined to escalate its destabilisation campaign, so is refusing to accept the result.
Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), that supervised the contest, reported early results this morning (with over 99 per cent counted) that Maduro had defeated his main rival, the right’s Henrique Capriles. He won by 50.7 per cent to 49.1 per cent – a margin of 1.6 per cent or about 275,000 votes. In any normal country that would be considered a victory, albeit by a small lead.
And Venezuelan elections are more secure and accurate than most other countries, because it uses advanced voting technology. Voters indicate their choice on a touch screen and then a paper receipt is printed, which the voter examines before placing it in a ballot box. So there are two records of every vote cast.
The dual electronic and paper system used prevents fraud such as double voting and identity theft. It is also 100% auditable and the CNE subjects 54.3 per cent of voting machines to random paper ballot audits to confirm the accuracy.
It is a voting system that is almost impossible to manipulate as the electronic and paper records can be verified against each other. Few countries have such a secure system, which is why it is so highly regarded internationally and why former US President Jimmy Carter described last October’s election process as: ‘the best in the world’.
In addition Venezuela invites international monitors to its elections. Yesterday 150 from across the world, including the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Carter Centre, visited polling stations around the country and observed counting and verification procedures.
Right steps up destabilisation and rejects the result
Despite the system’s renowned accuracy with the planned verification audit of over half the voting machines, Capriles has refused to accept the results. In a violent speech to his supporters he has called for a full recount of every single vote – which would take weeks allow the right to whip up political instability.
Venezuela’s right wing will contest Maduro’s mandate regardless and explore all possibilities of provoking crisis. It previously rejected the results when it was defeated in the 2004 referendum despite the Carter Centre and Organisation of American States standing by that result.
As set out in an earlier article on this website, the US and the right have been preparing the ground, this past month, for rejecting yesterday’s result by making unsubstantiated allegations that the process has been undemocratic and smearing the CNE.
Through out the campaign Capirles mobilised his supporters to expect fraud and told them the government planned to ‘change the results’. Unlike last October’s Presidential election, this time Capriles refused to sign the document issued by the CNE committing candidates to abide by the official results.
Unsurprisingly Capriles now claims Maduro’s victory is ‘illegitimate’.
Further attempts to destabilise the continuing consolidation of the revolution should be anticipated.
During this current election campaign there were numerous acts of sabotage against the electricity grid to force blackouts on parts of the country. Also there were violent attacks on Maduro supporters in several cities, including yesterday. The Capriles campaign were assisted by a group of armed mercenaries from El Salvador who were stirring up chaos.
Imperialism, using its local allies in the Venezuelan capitalist class, is stepping up its destabilisation campaign – the priority in Latin America is to defeat Venezuela’s socialist revolution.
Maduro has made clear he plans to continue Chávez’s work of constructing a worker’s state that defends the interests of the majority.
Defence of the Venezuelan revolution is at the forefront of the struggle for socialism in the world today.
Socialists need to mobilise opposition to the counter-revolution’s destabilisation campaign and provide active solidarity.
Venezuela Solidarity Campaign event
Saturday 27 April 9.30am – 5.00pm, University of London Union London
Venezuela – Showing There Is An Alternative In the 21st Century