Venezuela Votes for Peace, Sacrificing its Democracy

October 18, 2017 |

By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

Chavismo supporters. File photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — For the vast majority of Venezuelans, it’s a fact that there are two huge problems in their country: a breakdown in democracy and a breakdown in the economy. Both of these ingredients together make the perfect coctail for corruption, tyranny and increased violence. And this has the country in chaos and on the brink of a clear dictatorship.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, but we have to recognize that it has gotten worse with Chavismo. It was a political-ideological project that promised to resolve national problems, had the money to do so, and ended up making things worse.

From my corner, carefully picking up pieces from manipulated news articles and really calling upon the elements of my reasoning, I will dare to say that the election results last Sunday were to be expected. The Venezuelan people have put down their arms and are letting themselves be dragged along by tyrannical inertia, for the sake of peace.

Experts in crowd psychology are behind these adsorbent processes of sovereignty, just like they are behind the wealthiest politicians in any country. They know about fear, exhaustion, shortages, insecurity and they use all of these factors to their advantage.

The great “trump card”, the Constituent Assembly, was illegal and opportunist, a massive blow to the Right. A single-party entity that does anything but worry about ammending the Constitution and doesn’t know why it has to do this in the first place. They gambled on leaving them out of breath and befuddled and they managed to do just this. This brought about the much-needed peace on Venezuela’s streets and this crowned the Constituent Assembly as the “peacegiver”. Incredibly-enough, this strategy worked.

Then, while they stepped up repressive and intimidating bodies both in sight and behind the scenes, and increasing the Venezuelan people’s dependence on the Government-State-Army with bags of food and other handouts, they called for these elections to elect state governors. A perfect strategy to prove their adherence to democracy and the Constitution, which they had trampled all over before.

And, bingo! Experts in manipulating the masses were right, people supported Chavismo again. It doesn’t matter whether the vote was because of encouraging euphoria like before or because of exhaustion and fear, like now. What they needed was support to continue in “power” and to satisfy this sick addiction that they have for it, which is the same thing as Cuban leaders.

Beyond the possible election manipulating strategies they had, of an electoral body that was clearly at the government’s service, the main interpretations are the following:

  1. Chavistas have a much larger “sincere” constituency than the opposition does, even when they aren’t the majority, who follow them blindly because they have been indoctrinated. The deciding vote belongs to the group of undecided people, who move between one group and the other as they see fit.
  2. The opposition’s program has never been sufficiently attractive for the Venezuelan people and their victory in the National Assembly was more the result of people’s disappointment in Chavism rather than their belief in them: it was a punishment vote.
  3. People paid with their lives and uncertainty for the rebellion on the streets and shortages have increased, they didn’t achieve anything. The only people who came out of this winning was Chavism with its Constituent Assembly.
  4. Now, Chavistas appear to be stronger and the Venezuelan people are becoming more and more dependent on the Government and are afraid to face them. Even opposition leaders are running risks, they have been disqualified in the electoral process, they are being tried in courts and some need to emigrate.
  5. Submission “to the strongest” isn’t exactly a conscious attitude, it’s a basic animal instinct, that has been dormant in our brains as an instinctive reponse and it’s what people do for the sake of stability and peace. Beating it would mark the difference and despotism and democracy, but there isn’t an opposition leadership that is capable of reversing this situation.

In such a situation, this victory could be a step towards what could happen next year if presidential elections are held as scheduled. If when the time comes, Chavism still hasn’t neutralized its main opponents, it will postpone the vote until they are confident they will win. If they didn’t stop when they lost the majority in the National Assembly in December 2015, who will stop them after this victory.

Now, I’m sure that a more intense witch hunt will begin so as to disqualify adversaries from running for office by opening up cases against them, which will put them in prison or in exile. Only those who don’t endanger Maduro’s reelection will stay in the dispute, Maduro being “Chavez’s son”, his political hier.

Shortly, Venezuela’s political system will become a similar regime to the Cuban one, where “democracy” is believed to be a political system that is controlled by an elite that holds tyrannical power and who believes they are the owners of truth and justice. The Venezuelan people voted for peace, but they sacrificed their democracy, or their hopes in democracy.

Soon enough, there won’t be any traces left and the nostalgia of what they once had and could have improved will settle in. And it will cost a lot of bloodshed, time and scarcity to get it back. If they want to know how much, they can just ask us Cubans.

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