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Elections in Venezuela? You must be kidding!

By Daniel Duquenal

Thursday 25, March 2004 - Part 1: To run for office or not to run? Hamlet had it easy! Among the many splendorous things happening in this new land of Magical Realism (with my apologies to Garcia Marquez), it seems that we are going to have local elections on August 1, 2004. If we are to believe the Electoral Board, CNE, we are going to renew the mandate of 23 governor and state assemblies, and 300 something mayors.

And the Recall Election? Fine, thank you!

Considering the unquestionable evidence of the CNE bias favoring Chavez, one would be justified in wondering the use of running for office. Is Chavez going to allow for opposition governors? Sure, he will leave a few to shore up his pseudo democratic image. But letís not forget that some contested elections from the year 2000 have not been decided by the courts yet, while the chavista beneficiaries have been ruling those states since that time. It goes without saying that any close election in August will probably fudged for the chavista candidate and the opponent will have to trek the judicial system for 4 years.

But is it wise not to run? Making a grand stand and not run for election will give away the very few remnants of influence that the opposition has at the administrative level. Victorious chavistas, even by default, will have no qualms in taking office and screw up the opposition once and for all. Democratic check and balances is not part of their vocabulary.

So we will have to get ready for these elections, whether they will eventually take place not being the issue. While of course keeping up the fight for the election that really matters, the Recall Election.

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