Have those who state that Nicolás Maduro is a dictator, a usurper, and that the 2019-2025 presidential period lacks legitimacy, asked themselves why he is illegitimate? Or do they just repeat what they hear?
This opinion was first advanced by the 12 Latin American countries that make up the Lima Group. Their statement reads: “The electoral process carried out in Venezuela on 20th May 2018 lacks legitimacy in that it didn’t have the participation of all Venezuelan political actors, nor the presence of independent international observers, nor the international guarantees and standards needed for it to be a free, just, and transparent process.”
The leaders of the Venezuelan opposition, the non-democratic ones, repeat ceaselessly, and without arguments, that Maduro is a usurper.
In a desperate act, the United States Vice-President Mike Pence, having had to call personally for the opposition march on January 23 due to the incompetence of the opposition’s leaders, insisted and repeated that President Nicolás Maduro is a dictator, usurper, and illegitimate.
The strategy is clear: repeat the lie a thousand times to turn it into truth. Let’s dismantle this lie.
There was a presidential election. It was carried out on May 20, 2018, months before January 10, when according to articles 230 and 231 of the Constitution, the 2013-2019 presidential period runs out. The Constitution would have been contravened if the election was carried out after January 10 — or never held.
It was the Venezuelan opposition that requested an early election. It was held in May rather than December, as is tradition, because the opposition asked, during a dialogue with the government held in the Dominican Republic, for it to be conducted in the first term of 2018.
In Venezuela voting is a right, but not compulsory. Those who freely, although influenced by undemocratic political organisations that called for abstention, decided not to vote had every right to do so. But in no way does this delegitimise the electoral process, especially when this would imply disregarding the 9,389,056 people who decided to vote and exercised democratically their right to suffrage.
Sixteen political parties participated in the electoral contest, including governing PSUV and the MSV, Tupamaro, UPV, Podemos, PPT, ORA, MPAC, MEP, PCV, AP, MAS, Copei, Esperanza por el Cambio, and UPP89.
In Venezuela it is not compulsory that all political parties participate in electoral processes. It is their right to choose whether to participate or not. That’s exactly why our system is democratic. The fact that three parties (AD, VP, and PJ) decided freely not to participate does not delegitimise the electoral process.
Six candidates competed for presidency: Nicolás Maduro, Henri Falcón, Javier Bertucci, Reinaldo Quijada, Francisco Visconti Osorio and Luis Alejandro Ratti (the last two later decided to withdraw.)
Maduro won by a wide margin, obtaining 6,248,864 votes, that is 67.84%; followed by Henri Falcón with 1,927,958, or 20.93%; Javier Bertucci with 1,015,895, 10.82%; and Reinaldo Quijada, who obtained 36,246 votes, or 0.39% of the total. The difference between Maduro and Falcón was of 46.91 percentage points.
The electoral process was observed by about 150 people, including 14 electoral commissions from eight countries; two technical electoral missions; 18 journalists from different parts of the world; one member of the European Parliament, and one technical-electoral delegation from the Russian Electoral Centre.
This election was carried out with the same electoral system used in the election for Venezuela’s National Assembly in December 2015, in which the Venezuelan opposition won. This system is automated, and audited before, during, and after the elections. The system guarantees the principle of “one voter, one vote” because only fingerprints enable the voting machine, as well as guaranteeing secrecy of vote.
Eighteen audits were carried out on the automated system. The representatives of Henri Falcón participated in all 18 and signed the minutes in which they state their conformity with the voting system.
The audits are public and broadcast live by the National Election Council’s TV channel. Once the audits are done, the system locks, and the only way of accessing it again is by introducing simultaneously the passwords that each political organisation has.
None of the candidates that participated in the electoral process contested the results. There is no proof of fraud; no evidence or concrete reports of fraud have been presented. The presidential elections of May 20, 2018 were free, transparent, reliable, secure, and conforming with the Constitution and the law, despite the anti-democratic calls to abstention from a sector of the opposition.
It is others who aspire to usurp the presidency. They argue there is a supposed absent power, which is not contemplated in our Constitution, and seek to establish a “transition government”, a concept that does not exist in the Constitution either. Furthermore, they aspire to exercise power outside our borders, in violation of article 18, which defines Caracas as the location for the public office.
In view of all this, it is clear that it is not Maduro but others who are the usurpers, illegitimate and anti-democratic.
The fact that some sectors of the opposition intend to assert themselves, with the support of foreign imperialist governments, to exercise an authority that neither the people nor the Constitution gives them is clearly illegitimate and an attempt to usurp.
Let’s repeat this truth a thousand times.
[Pascualina Curcio is an economist based at the Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, Venezuela. Translated by Pedro Alvarez from 15yUltimo.]