Main menu

Is Venezuela a Dictatorship? A Key Election Will Offer Clues

October 12, 2017

Venezuelans go to the polls this Sunday in state elections seen as a test of President Nicolás Maduro’s willingness to share power. But with polls showing the ruling socialists at risk of landslide losses, the authoritarian government appears to be falling back on a trifecta of tactics. 

Manipulation, confusion and fear. 

Two and half months after the creation of a super congress that gave the government nearly absolute power, Maduro has called the vote for state governors clear evidence that democracy remains alive here. Nevertheless, opposition leaders are decrying a dirty campaign by the Venezuelan government, which President Trump has denounced as a “socialist dictatorship.”

Yet the vote is still seen as a key test. If turnout is high, polls suggest the opposition could capture governorships in up to 19 of Venezuela’s 23 states. Analysts are watching to see whether the government faces allegations of vote rigging similar to those that emerged during the July election. Despite the polls, Maduro last weekend said his party is “expecting a historic success"...

...“I suspect the government would use a defeat as a kind of victory — to try to push back against the evidence that it’s taking total power,” said Guillermo Zubillaga, head of a working group on Venezuela at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, a business and educational group based in New York...

Read the full article here.