A Dying President and Electoral Gamesmanship: Violent Thoughts in Venezuela

Chávez stands at his death door. The opposition is poised and united. State media are at the service of the Chávez 2012 campaign.

I see promise for Venezuela. Perhaps not because of the successes of the revolution. Perhaps not due to a promising electoral environment. Maybe just because things can’t get any worse.

The Wilson Ramos kidnapping made evening news in thee US. Some 30 percent of the population saw this poignant example of the nightmare all Venezuelans live every day. If only govrnment largesse could solve the rampant murders, threats and violence facing citizens on the streets of Caracas or Barquisimeto. Plus the unspeakable psychological impact terrorizing the minds of all ages.

Simply put, this situation will not stand. Citizens are frustrated and scared. They are so desperate that the vast majority yearn to leave their beloved homeland at all cost. Either the controlling and paranoid Chávez government will begin to govern for all as opposed to divide the nation (unlikely), or the opposition (Capriles, López or Pérez) will take over the reigns on October 8, 2012.

This does not mean that Chávez will not do everything he can get away with to cheat the 2012 elections.

All domestic and international attention should be on Chávez use of State funds for his campaign. Although prohibited by Venezuelan law, the State regularly uses public resources to buy votes, attack opponents and openly promote its own candidates and policies. While this abuse is documented, it has not yet been discovered nor exploited by media and political actors.

Elements of the voter registration process, redistricting and the electoral calendar have also been manipulated to serve the political interests of Chávez and his allies.

This abuse should be vigorously investigated, exposed and fought in the courts and before Venezuelan and international public opinion. In addition to being illegal locally, abuses committed by Chávez fall far short of regional and international standards and treaty obligations. It must be denounced and stopped.

Demonstrating the necessity to adhere to democratic principles of fair play is essential to safeguarding democracy in the future throughout the region as well as in Venezuela.

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About Roberto Silvers

Roberto Silvers is a US American living, working and writing about politics, democracy and culture in Caracas, Venezuela. He has a blog and a comedy news show. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
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