When a constitution is to be changed, you have to ask the people first. But for the Government of Venezuela, this step seemed “unnecessary” leading them to jump directly into the elections of the constitutionalists (Constitution writers), all in an environment of intense protesting where thousands got arrested, hurt, and more than one hundred people got killed. Is it the beginning of the end? While the opposition parties don’t seem to know what to do, the faith of a constitution that can upend democracy forever is in the hands of the people.
- The Fraud
2.483.000 people voted in the constitutionalist’s election, according to the MUD (The Union Of The Venezuelan Opposition Parties). This means that there was an 88% abstinence margin, in front of a 7.186.170 that voted in a symbolic referendum, organized by the opposition, revealing the rejection of the Venezuelans for the government’s new constitution project. Never the less, the government claimed that “8 million Venezuelans voted for the election of the constitutionalists“.
- The International Response
These are the countries that stated they will not acknowledge the new constitution: Argentina, España, Chile, Brasil, Perú, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, México, Panamá, Paraguay, The United States, The European Union, Guatemala.
These are the countries that support it: Nicaragua, Bolivia, El Salvador.
These are the countries that will apply sanctions: The United States, Colombia, Canadá, México, Panamá, Perú.
The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, asked yesterday for the European Union to sanction Maduro’s regime by freezing his assets and limiting his movements through the territory. He already communicated with the president of the European Council Donald Tusk and the president of the European Comission Jean Claude Juncker.
The United States personally sanctioned Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, by freezing his assets in the country and forbidding anyone in the US from dealing with him. This way, he just joined the other 13 senior Venezuelan officials that also got sanctioned recently.
- The National Response
1) After strong protesting, the government changed leaders of the opposition; Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma’s conditions from prison to house arrest less than a month ago. Last night, late, they got arrested again, randomly.
2)Although there have always been problems between the government and the media, Maduro threatened private media, the opposition and the Republic’s prosecutor right after the results were released. He warned the new constitution will take away political immunity and asked for the national channel “Televen” to be investigated. Yet, days ago, the president of the national electoral council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, announced that press could not be present in voting centers.
3) The rector of the National Electoral Council, Luis Emilio Rondon, will not validate the results of the elections. He explained, through tweets that he cannot trust the process, which lacked the necessary control to be valid.
4) “As a rector of the CNE, for the first time since I assumed this commitment with the country, I cannot endorse the consistency or the veracity of the results from 30J”
5) “I cannot trust on a number that came out of a process that did not count with all the controls from previous years”
6) The National Electoral Council’s website, early morning the day after the elections, was hacked with a very clear message ” What do you think? That we don’t know it is a fraud?”. The responsible ones call themselves “The Binary Guardians”.
8) Today, early, the enterprise “Smartmatic” in charge of counting the votes during electoral processes, declared the elections have been manipulated. The director of the firm, Antonio Mugica, stated “We can assure the numbers declared and the real numbers do not match”. He added that there was no presence of opposition witnesses for the totalization of the votes and explained that an audit would give the exact participation that is off for “at least a difference of 1 million votes”. Around 20 technicians left the country shortly before the conference. This enterprise has also been accused of fraud before in Philippines.