By Clodovaldo Hernández – April 15, 2023
The damage done by the opposition leadership (by partisan and media means) to the electoral institution has all the characteristics of being, to borrow Dr. Tibisay Lucena’s emblematic words, an irreversible trend.
This phenomenon is nothing new, having been proven through the results of numerous opinion polls, focus groups, and family gatherings. There were certainly reasons to think that the animosity toward voting was in decline, that the opposition may be reconciling with the electoral process. But developments this week showed signs that there is still a very firm collective stance against voting, judging by the reactions and comments of all kinds of opposition figures to the death of the former director of the National Electoral Council (CNE).
Even after making an enormous effort to ignore the cruelty expressed by many of those commentators (let us leave that in the hands of psychiatrists and exorcists), it is clear that at least the loudest part of the counterrevolution is convinced that their parties and coalitions have won all elections held in the country, and that those they lost were systematically stolen from them.
This conviction having been reinforced throughout the years by a constant barrage of media maneuvers makes it practically impossible for these people to change their minds and enthusiastically accept the electoral route, much less with the urgent makeshift terms that are being proposed.
The accusations, the curses, the debasement expressed against the former president of the CNE stem from a completely false basis that the opposition considers an absolute truth: that they, the insignificant democrats, won all the elections, and Tibisay stole their victories from them.
This belief is one of the most “textbook” demonstrations of the way post-truth operates: not even the most convincing evidence can change what has been consecrated as dogma.
As for the Venezuelan elections, neither the dozens of audits, nor the recounts with witnesses in each electoral center, nor the comparison of receipts against the counts of the machines have served to change the opinion of the people convinced that cheating took place.
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Key victories did not convince them
This belief entrenched in the wild minds of the opposition is so robust that even their own triumphs have not made them change their minds. The opposition’s narrow victory of 2007 (rejection of the constitutional reform) and the great success of 2015 (National Assembly elections) could have signified a reconciliation of the opposition with the electoral system. But those victories did not serve that purpose.
In the first case, if we follow the logic that the CNE is an unrepentant thief, what would have prevented the group of CNE rectors headed by Lucena from twisting the result of the referendum, if that was, according to the opposition’s opinion, their modus operandi and, furthermore, if the difference in votes between YES and NO options was minuscule?
Here, a fundamental element must be stated: if the Bolivarian Revolution needed to win any election, it was precisely that of the constitutional reform, because the new constitution that could have emerged from it would have contained substantive changes defining the course towards socialism. Losing that election paved the way for structural, ideological, and strategic setbacks that have been impossible to overcome so far and may likely never be overcome.
What kind of election thieves would not steal precisely the most important election and would instead steal others of less importance in the consolidation of the political system? Would it not be, to use a metaphor from Shakira, the equivalent of stealing the Twingo and not the Ferrari?
And if we talk about 2015, any moderately rational opposition supporter should ask themselves why a fraudulent electoral body, such as the one headed by Dr. Lucena was supposed to be, would have voluntarily given the victory to the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), recognizing a number of votes that could only be qualified as a knockout. What happened that day with the CNE election stealers… were they on strike?
The victories of opposition candidates in governorships, mayorships, legislative assemblies, and municipal councils over almost a quarter of a century have still not proven reason enough for the opposition leadership (partisan and media) to stop assaulting the electoral system. Even when they win, they want to sow doubts, so as not to lose their pretenses.
The insults directed at Rector Lucena after her death show that an irrational belief can be implanted in all kinds of minds (insane minds, but that is another topic), even in the minds of people who regularly handle and understand the subject under discussion, in this case, politics.
Let us take a quick look at the presidential elections of this century to see how much truth there could be in the belief that the Chavista electoral system has stolen elections in a contemptuous manner. To begin with, who could possibly believe that Francisco Arias Cárdenas, with all his antics, could have beaten Chávez in 2000?
Let us continue: Can anyone really sustain the belief that the insubstantial Manuel Rosales could have won against Chávez who, in 2006, was at his moment of maximum political prominence, which, in his case, could be considered unparalleled?
And in 2012, is it credible that Henrique Capriles—without any unique proposal and as discouraged as he was—could defeat that whirlwind of extreme emotions that Chávez, ill and heroic, symbolized, a warrior fighting his last battle? Here, we could even add the typical chuckle of the middle class of the east and southeast of Caracas to the question: “Really, mrico…?”
Let us move on then to the post-Chávez era, when that same Capriles gave his invaluable contribution to the anti-election stance of the opposition (yes, Capriles, you, who poses as a moderate; don’t pretend to be neutral), when, without evidence of any kind and in the midst of a highly volatile scenario, he called on his supporters to disregard the electoral result and “express their indignation.”
For those who doubt this particular result, remember that the so-called arguments to prove electoral crimes did nothing to indicate the alleged irregularities or even “incidences.” Let us recall the anecdotal evidence that the hot-headed candidate even went so far as to request the annulment of the results from some polling stations in which he won. Strange things happen.
Despite this deluge of defamation against the electoral process, the opposition leadership that comes and goes like a weather vane had its most resounding electoral triumph in 2015 (I insist a lot on this to encourage people to think).
That landslide victory could well have been the beginning of the opposition’s road to returning to power in 2018, only three years later. However, for reasons still unknown, they decided to flush that barrage of votes down the toilet and pull the chain, a collective political suicide to which leaders such as Jesús “Chuo” Torrealba and others who participated in the construction of that electoral capital have testified with stupefaction and sadness.
Then came the year of presidential elections, in which, following foreign instructions, the MUD, brand new winner of 2015, decided to lose by forfeit, betting again on paths outside the electoral route that have proliferated in the time that has passed since then: an assassination attempt, self-proclamation of an interim president, a “humanitarian” invasion attempt with an associated concert, electrical sabotage, coup with green bananas, and invasion by mercenaries. All these strategies and tactics, in addition to the request for and support for the blockade and the unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States which led to the theft of CITGO, Monómeros, and other Venezuelan assets abroad, as well as the freezing of funds and gold deposited in international banks.
This is the current situation, when a part of the opposition knows that it can and must take the electoral route and for that purpose it will have to erase the anti-election ideation from a good part of its members and sympathizers, whom the propaganda has turned into a rare species of election-hating democracy-lovers.
From what we have seen this week in reaction to the passing of former CNE President Lucena, this task will not be easy at all. Many of those people were driven to a point of madness that is already—as she would say, on the morning after an election—irreversible.
[This article is dedicated to the memory of Tibisay Lucena.]
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Venezuelan journalist and writer. He writes regularly for La IguanaTV, Supuesto Negado, and Mision Verdad.
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