US and Venezuelan Oligarchs Suffer Major Electoral Defeat Despite Their Efforts to Undermine Venezuelan Economy
Note: Venezuela is one of the more difficult countries to get accurate information about in the United States from the mass commercial media. Sometimes blatant lies are reported as truth. We find the website VenezuelaAnalysis.com to be the best source of accurate information. Below we reprint two articles on the recent elections. The first provides the context of the landslide victory by Nicolas Manduro’s party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Spanish: Partido Socialista Unido deVenezuela, PSUV), a context of the oligarchs taking aggressive steps to undermine the economy in multiple ways creating food and energy sources and causing manipulation of the currency. It also describes the importance of the election as it has solidified Maduro and the PSUV at a time of great economic stress created by the US and Venezuelan oligarchs. It is a major setback for US efforts to remove Maduro.
The second article focuses on a common lie repeated in the western media that the opposition oligarchs did not have a voice in the election. Indeed, we were going to republish an article from The Guardian on the elections, but the lie that the opposition has no voice was included in their article without rebuttal or explanation. In fact, Venezuela is still dominated by an oligarchic media that attacks Maduro and the PSUV constantly. In reality, the opposition has a very loud voice, disproportionate to their size in the Venezuelan population. What has changed since the Chavez election, especially since Hugo Chavez survived a coup in 2002, is that there is now a citizen’s and community media that provides an alternative view to the voices of the oligarchs. We hope that one of the changes on the horizon in Venezuela is remaking the media, much as Ecuador is doing, so that it more represents the views of all Venezuelans and no loner disproportionately represents the views of the wealthiest. The oligarchic media remains a major threat to democracy in Venezuela.
One final point, the United States still continues to try to undermine Maduro and the PSUV. The US government spends millions annually to assist the Venezuelan oligarchs in trying to undermine the economy and defeat the PSUV in elections. It is a terrible intrusion by the United States into the internal affairs of Venezuela, one that the US would not accept by any country inside the United States. Further, the US is following the playbook of coups they have managed in other countries — undermine the economy, sow dissent in the military, propagandize through the commercial media and then remove the government. No doubt Maduro and the PSUV are aware of this strategy as it has been used multiple times by the United States all over the world going back to the 1950s. The United States is the only country that has still not recognized the Maduro government. These elections make the strategy of removing Maduro much more difficult to accomplish in Venezuela.
Venezuelan Elections See Clear Victory for the PSUV Led by Nicolas Maduro & Their Allies
By FRANCISCO DOMINGUEZ- VENEZUELA SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN (UK)
VenezuelaAnalysis.com, December 12th 2013
Despite right wing economic war in recent months, the candidates of ‘Chavismo’ comfortably won Sunday’s municipal elections, consolidating President Maduro’s leadership, and further enhancing Venezuelan democracy, writes VSC Secretary Francisco Dominguez.
The 7 December 2013 municipal elections in Venezuela have produced a robust and convincing victory for chavismo: late last night the national electoral authority (CNE) announced that with 97.52 per cent of the votes processed, PSUV candidates won 210 mayoralties (76 per cent of the total) whilst candidates of the right wing (MUD coalition) were victorious in 53 (15.82 per cent). A total of about 76 mayoralties have to yet be adjudicated by the national electoral authority (CNE.)
The PSUV and allied candidates got 49.24 per cent of the popular vote, whilst the right wing candidates, got 42.72 per cent. Thus, the PSUV had an electoral victory by a healthy margin of 7 per cent. The electoral turnout was 59.82 per cent. This is high, since in Venezuela municipal elections tend to have low electoral turnouts.
Key sections of the MUD and the MUD’s allies in the US saw the untimely death of President Hugo Chavez earlier this year as a window of opportunity to destabilise and oust the Bolivarian government. And they thought this opportunity increased when at the presidential election to replace president Chavez on 14 April 2013, Nicolas Maduro won by a slender 1.5 per cent.
To prepare the ground in the run-up to April they waged a massive and intense but groundless campaign to discredit the CNE (National Electoral Council.) Believing the moment was ripe, they unleashed a wave of violence prompted by their leader Henrique Capriles, who on April 15, on national TV called upon his supporters to come out into the streets to protest at the ‘electoral fraud’ and invited them ‘to vent your anger’. The resulting violence led to the death of 11 people, and two children.
The false accusation of fraud was a charge used by Capriles and the MUD not to accept defeat and to not recognise the Maduro government. This position of non-recognition is a position supported by only one government in the world: the United States. Still today, Capriles and the MUD have yet to recognise the Maduro government and accept the election result of April 2013. US state agencies continue to fund with millions of dollars (of taxpayers money) the activities of Venezuela’s right wing.
For the municipal elections of December 7, the MUD and its leader, Henrique Capriles, alongside sections of the world media, spread the fallacy that this election represented a plebiscite on President Nicolas Maduro – indeed, Henrique Capriles even called on president Maduro to resign if the PSUV lost the popular vote!
The MUD’s ‘plebiscite deception’ was part of their destabilisation campaign against the legitimate, democratically elected, Bolivarian government.
In this worth noting at this point, that the Right’s campaign of destabilisation had begun well before the 14 April 2013 presidential election and continues today, intensifying in recent months. It has involved discrediting the armed forces with the declared intention to sow internal divisions, sabotage of electricity plants, massive speculation on US dollars in the black market, deliberate creation of shortages of basic commodities such as milk, edible oil and toilette paper, the hoarding of electro domestics, and incredible retail commerce overcharging (usually by 100 per cent and 200 per cent, but which on some items could reach 1000 per cent or 2000 per cent, and with one trader overcharging as much as 12000 per cent!)
Such destabilisation efforts are all part of a well orchestrated campaign aimed at creating conditions such as those that led to the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973. Right wing propaganda kept making ominous predictions that during October and November Venezuela would face ‘total collapse’.
This is worth keeping in mind when noting that whilst having suffered another electoral defeat, the MUD has scored reasonably well in some urban centres, where the worst manifestations of the economic war have been felt.
However, whilst Opposition strategists counted on discontent resulting from the difficulties arising out of economic sabotage and ongoing destabilisation, President Maduro took speedy and effective measures to counter the economic war. He tightened the market on hard currency, thus substantially reducing black market speculation, and imposed limits on the outrageous overpricing being practiced by traders.
The President’s countermeasures seem to both have proved rather popular and also deflated the opposition. In response to his measures, on 23 November the MUD organised a poorly attended ‘monster march’ in only a few cities in Venezuela to oppose Maduro’s measures, including a law putting a very reasonable ceiling of 30 per cent profit on non-food retail items and a substantial reduction of the price of rents to commercial establishments.
Thanks to the leadership of president Maduro and his government’s effective measures, Venezuela had its 19th election in 14 years taking place peacefully, with civic consciousness by a calm and relaxed population, who, despite opposition efforts to discredit it, clearly trust the electoral authority. Indeed, this was yet another impeccably conducted electoral process, characterised, as every previous election since 1999, for its total transparency.
In this sense, thanks to Bolivarian politics, Venezuela’s democracy, permanently under threat from sections of the right wing in cahoots with key US agencies, has had another boost.
Finally, in terms the nonsense about the 7 December 2013 election being a plebiscite on what the opposition claimed was an unpopular Government, the democratic verdict of the Venezuelan people’s behaviour tells us exactly the opposite. After the death of Hugo Chavez, they elected a Chavista president, somebody recommended to them by Hugo Chavez himself, exactly one year ago on 8 Dec 2012, just before he went to Havana for his last cancer treatment. They have also given chavismo a majority in the National Assembly (99 against 64), a majority of governors (20 out of total of 23), a majority of local legislatures (22 out of 23), and now a majority of mayoralties.
Venezuelan democracy is alive, vibrant and now stronger. At the victory rally President Maduro asserted that the economic war unleashed against Venezuela could not defeat the Bolivarian process. Maduro also called for a process of national dialogue with all the elected mayors, regardless of political allegiance. About the electoral victory, he said: “the people of Venezuela has told the word that the Bolivarian Revolution is as strong as ever.”
Will Venezuela’s right and their supporters and sponsors in the US ever respect the will of the people?
AP and the Myth of the Voiceless Opposition in Venezuela
By JOE EMERSBERGER- ZNET
Venezuela Analysis.com, December 13th 2013
One of the lies most relentlessly peddled about Venezuela by the international press is that the opposition is voiceless. It is certainly true that the government, since the 2002 coup that briefly deposed it, has aggressively worked to alter the media landscape. It has gone from one where an oligarch owned media had so much power that it was able to lead a coup, to the situation today – one in which the opposition still has an edge if you look closely at a detailed study of the TV media by the Carter Center, but nothing like the advantage it had a decade ago.
Careful media studies aside, the ease with which the opposition, in May, spread the Mario Silva recording that it somehow acquired throughout the Venezuelan media dramatically illustrates how very far from voiceless it is.
Widespread public disgust with the private media has also driven change over the past decade, not simply government action.
The private media didn’t just spearhead a coup in 2002. It also supported massive economic sabotage. The international press has used apocalyptic language to describe Venezuela’s current economic woes despite the fact that the economy has grown in 2013. In contrast, during the private media’s onslaught in the early 2000s, Venezuela’s economy contracted by 30% under the combined impact of the coup and economic sabotage. This media led destruction earned press barons and journalists tremendous hostility from millions of people they seriously hurt.
This AP article is typical in the way it depicts the Venezuela government “tightening its grip” on the media. However, a very curious sentence appears in this report:
“Cadena Capriles’ founding owners aren’t directly related to the politician who shares their last name.”
In other words, the founders of Venezuela’s largest print media conglomerate are related to Henrique Capriles, the leader of the Venezuelan opposition. The author of this article, Fabiola Sanchez, is forced to mention that embarrassing fact. It would be hard, even for AP, to say nothing at all about why this major media conglomerate shares its name with the leader of the opposition. Even casual and not very well informed readers might be left scratching their heads. Sanchez could also not truthfully write “no relation”, so she wrote “not directly related” in a feeble attempt to suppress a small clue as to real nature of the Venezuelan media.
And the lies continue (post municipal election update, Monday, Dec 9):
This AP report grudgingly concedes that the opposition failed to make any significant breakthrough at all in Sunday’s municipal elections. The government and its allies won the majority of the races and the overall popular vote.
Nevertheless, this is AP report about Venezuela, so howlers simply must be included. For example the article claims “Venezuela’s economic troubles have deepened, with inflation touching a two-decade high of 54 percent..”
In 1996 (i.e. within two decades ago) the inflation rate in Venezuela was 99.9 percent according to IMF data. So contrary to what the AP reports, inflation is nowhere close to being at a “two decade high”.
Moreover, an examination of the IMF data cited above shows that inflation averaged about 40% during the 15 year period before Hugo Chavez took office. Since Chavez first took office, it has averaged roughly 25% even if one includes 2013’s spike in the inflation rate (which is not yet included in the IMF data).
Good luck trying to find those easily verifiable facts anywhere in the corporate media. Lies of omission elsewhere facilitate AP’s brazen dishonesty.