Despite the results, the fight continues
Last Sunday, about 7 million citizens showed their disagreement with the National Constituent Assembly established by Nicolas Maduro’s government. The exact number of voters, according to the official results on the web page of the National Assembly, was 7’186.170 Venezuelan citizens. These individuals, encouraged by the political opposition, expressed their displeasure for the current policies through their legal rights as residents.
The referendum had a wide participation rate if one takes into consideration that there were fewer voting stands than what are normally used in presidential elections. The participation was not limited to the national frontiers; Venezuelans in countries like Spain, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and the United States also went out to vote and peacefully protest.
The called made by the opposition was a manifestation against the National Constituent Assembly that Maduro’s government is preparing to install on July 30th. Even though the sovereign consultation wanted to show the disagreement of the people towards the constituent, the government chose to call the political gathering a ‘drill’ undermining the importance of the outcome. This can be seen in the official government’s Department of Communications page.
This name change overshadows the real content of the consultation which had questions like:
- Do you reject or not recognized the realization of a constituent proposed be Nicolas Maduro without previous approval of Venezuelan people?
- Do you demand the National Armed Force and every civil servant to obey and defend the constitution of 1999 and to support the decisions of the national assembly?
Despite the strong victory of the opposition, the results won’t be recognized by the government who will continue with the preparation for the constituent.
The political struggle between the government and the opposition goes back to the presidential elections of 2013 when Nicolas Maduro won the election against Henrique Capriles by a difference of 1,59%. Since then, the opposition has denounced the bad management and rejected several of the policies the government has taken.
The economic and social situation of the Venezuelan people has been decaying over the past few years to the point that there is a critical food and medicine shortage that has forced people onto the street to protest. The brutal repression of the administration against the protesters have left at last 91 deaths and 1400 wounded according to the latest report of Amnesty international, as well as arbitrary detentions and other violations to human rights of both civilians and political opponents.
The results of the referendum sent a clear message to the government and to the international community, but what will happen on July 30th will have an impact on the future of the Venezuelan people. Due to the impossibility to revert the process of the constituent, the opposition would have to look for effective strategies to influence the results.
Latin American Post | Diana Cárdenas
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto