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  • The obviously battered and bruised opposition is reeling under the body blows of yet another heavy electoral beating at hands of the majority of Venezuelan voters.

    The obviously battered and bruised opposition is reeling under the body blows of yet another heavy electoral beating at hands of the majority of Venezuelan voters. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 October 2017
Opinion
The winners cannot afford to underestimate the determination of the losers to pursue regime change.

Now that Venezuela’s ruling United Socialist Party, PSUV, has won the October 15 gubernatorial elections, the mainstream Western media has again shifted gear, speeding faster along the global disinformation highway to flash early doubts on the results.

After eagerly participating in the votes for 23 governors, following the announcement of the results, the defeated opposition started crying foul. 

Scribblers of Doom

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And once again, the overly anxious scribblers of Venezuela’s doom immediately went to work, crafting, casting and planting doubtful stories to create confusion.

The Western media has once again helped the opposition accuse the Venezuelan authorities of stealing election victories. 

Yet, they still cannot explain why the PSUV accepted its only two losses – when voters rejected President Hugo Chavez’s first referendum in his first term; and when the PSUV lost the December 2015 National Assembly vote under his successor, President Nicolas Maduro.

‘Best in the World!’

The mainstream international press absolutely refuse to quote or recall the words of former US President Jimmy Carter, who, as leader of his Carter Centre, after observing a presidential poll under Chavez, stated publicly that Venezuela’s election system is “the best in the world”.

They refuse to see the current Venezuelan opposition just as it portrays itself: demonstrably intent on removing President Maduro from the Presidential Palace before his five-year term expires in 2018.

Instead of recognizing the power of the Executive Presidency, the opposition MUD alliance chose to use its majority in the National Assembly to simply forever checkmate the President’s every legislative move. 

Failing to gather electoral support for its declared intentions, the MUD resorted to a combination of often-violent street protests and open invitation of foreign intervention.

But all along, national polls clearly indicated Venezuelan voters favored the opposition addressing domestic economic and political issues instead of inviting foreign military intervention and external economic punishment.

Failed Exercise

The MUD tried to demonstrate some level of popular support in July, when it mounted a failed exercise aimed at collecting signatures of Venezuelans -- at home and abroad -- opposed to the government’s plans to legally introduce an alternative National Constituent Assembly (ANC).

The chaotic MUD exercise – in which voters were not registered or required to prove they hadn’t already voted – was claimed by the organizers to have turned-out 7 million "no" votes. However, the official verified poll for the ANC was held later -- and turned out 8 million voting ‘yes’. 

As expected, the MUD challenged the "yes" count – and then, strangely, decided to burn all the votes and ballot boxes, robbing itself of any chance of ever proving its ‘seven million’ claim.

Next Target

The veracity of the ANC’s democratic election proving unchallengeable -- the next target was the gubernatorial poll.

Fearing it could rule itself out as being electorally obsolete, the opposition registered to participate and fielded candidates for all 23 states involved. 

But despite winning more governorships than the last time, the moment its loss was confirmed, the MUD’s not-largely-unexpected claims of fraud immediately started pouring in, aided and abetted by the traditional Western media outlets.

Free and Fair

Venezuelan socialists claim victory as opposition cries foul, cried an AP headline story on October 16, 2017 -- the morning after the poll.

Totally ignoring the official verdict that this election had the least complaints in recent history, the AP story quoted opposition candidates saying the results were in “stark contrast” to pre-election polls. 

In the elections, 61 percent of the total 18 million voters (9,886,425 votes in all) gave 54 percent to the PSUV, winning it a least 17 of the 23 states contested in a poll regional and international observers considered both free and fair, and free from fear.

The likes of AP, CNN and BBC had basically ignored the governors’ election, but have now shifted gear and changed the narrative to suit their latest efforts to continuously blemish Venezuela’s established democratic electoral record.

Losing Ground

The MUD and their foreign backers, still losing ground, can now be expected to intensify their desperate attempts to hold on to their rapidly slipping legitimacy as reliable forces for regime change.

Despite President Maduro’s order for a full official audit of the results for the benefit of the "Doubting Thomases", the MUD immediately called on its supporters to return to the streets as of Monday – the very day after its poll defeat.

‘Military Option’

Washington, whose support for the opposition has again been rejected by the majority of voting Venezuelans, will also switch gear. But the anti-Caracas alliance will certainly not change the ultimate aim of keeping a "military option" on the table.

The U.S. insistence on possible military intervention has isolated its South American allies at the Organization of American States, OAS, which have been unable to summon enough support for Washington’s interventionist plans.

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A small group of member-states (led by Peru and including the likes of Mexico, Colombia and Chile) lined-up against Caracas ahead of the ANC poll and supported the U.S. economic sanctions and other punitive measures. 

But they too haven’t been able to influence change on the ground as much as they would have liked – and like all others south of the U.S. border, cannot support U.S. military intervention without paying heavy political costs.

Circling the Wagons

Meanwhile, the Washington posse south of the border continues to circle the wagons around Venezuela.

Just days ahead of Sunday’s election, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro was seen on TV supervising, in Washington, the "swearing-in" of the equivalent of a virtual Venezuelan Supreme Court-in-Exile.

Colombia had previously let it be known it’s prepared to be Washington’s great facilitator on Venezuela’s border, while the opposition continues to see-saw on the issue of peace talks with the government.

The opposition’s supporters in the European Union, especially Spain, have also been playing along, even now joining the claims for clarity about the results of the latest elections won by the PSUV.

Constant Vigilance

The obviously battered and bruised opposition is reeling under the body blows of yet another heavy electoral beating at hands of the majority of Venezuelan voters.

The majority of voting Venezuelans clearly prefer the PSUV over a divided opposition alliance that cannot even agree on how to unite – and which openly invites external intervention while failing to address the very economic and social issues they complain of.

The opposition’s loss in Miranda state is perhaps the biggest PSUV gain in the poll, but the government’s losses in important border-states can pose possible challenges in the near future.

Despite winning less states than it had before the poll, more than half the registered voters gave the PSUV a strong mandate.

But in a situation where the ultimate objective is regime change in Venezuela, no demonstration of majority support for the PSUV -- however genuine -- will be accepted by the antagonists in Washington and the protagonists in the mainstream international media, or their beneficiaries in Caracas.

It is quite clear that despite scoring another clear-cut, democratic electoral victory against the domestic opposition -- with the PSUV now having won 20 of the past 22 national polls -- the Venezuelan state needs, now more than ever, to maintain the highest levels of vigilance.

In this situation where the vanquished refuses to even recognize the gains of the victor, it is perhaps even more necessary, in the year of the 50th anniversary of his death, for Venezuela to invoke one of the best-held personal policies of Ernesto "Che" Guevara on the battlefields of war and politics – forever exercising "Constant vigilance and mistrust!"

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