| Legitamacy of Maduro | MR Online

The legitimacy of Venezuela’s President

Originally published: Granma on February 15, 2019 by Oscar Sánchez Serra (more by Granma)  | (Posted Feb 19, 2019)

The truth will come out, because its force is overwhelming. In Venezuela on January 23, sectors of the right-wing opposition, openly and publicly directed by a foreign government, the United States, with its president, vice president and secretary of state at the head, orchestrated an utter fallacy to mislead the world.

Based on the dissemination of this deception, they have attempted to mount a coup d’état and impose an interim president, a figure not recognized in the Venezuelan Constitution, on the grounds that Nicolás Maduro is an illegitimate president.

Mexican academic Fernando Buen Abad, referring to U.S. and OAS scheming in Venezuela, tweeted: “We will regret it for eternity if we do not manage to generate a global movement in defense of the Venezuelan Revolution. It is time to rock the world with a cry for peace and democracy alongside the Venezuelan people who are fighting for their independence.”

It is precisely for this reason that the truth must be known, and the grounds of the legitimacy of the democratically elected President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. We should ask ourselves where the notion of his illegitimacy came from.

Let’s recall this text: “The electoral process carried out in Venezuela on May 20, 2018, lacks legitimacy due to the lack of participation of all Venezuelan political actors, without the presence of independent international observers, or the guarantees and standards necessary for a free, fair and transparent process.”

Who wrote such a statement, and when? It was January 4, at a summit of the Lima Group, which is as self-appointed as Juan Guaidó, who swore himself in as interim president of Venezuela. Neither this Group nor Guaidó have any legal status. In the case of Guaidó, because he belongs to a parliament in contempt, was not sworn in before any public authority, but merely a group of his followers, and because that act followed the mandate of a foreign government. Meanwhile, the Lima Group cannot act as a bloc or be recognized by any international organization, as it does not belong to the multilateral system.

Lies are short lived, the truth will always come out. The elections of May 20, 2018, were held under the same electoral system used in the December 2015 parliamentary elections, in which Venezuelan opposition forces won. Thus, there is no moral authority to claim that Maduro is a usurper. The Twitter account of the “Con el mazo dando” television program, referring to the President of the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela, Diosdado Cabello, posted: “@dcabellor states that he talked with Guaidó yesterday (January 22) and that he did not keep his word. And that he also requested a new meeting arguing that the self-swearing-in was due to “a lot of pressure,” that he would only be performing a pantomime in that act and that he knew that Maduro was the legitimate president of Venezuela.”

With information from teleSUR, below we highlight the grounds that support Nicolás Maduro’s legitimacy as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

  • The presidential elections were held on May 20, 2018, that is, before January 10, 2019, at which time, in accordance with articles 230 and 231 of the Constitution, the 2013-2019 presidential term concluded. The Constitution would have been violated if the elections had been held after January 10, 2019, or, worse, had not been carried out at all.
  • The Venezuelan opposition requested early elections. They were carried out in May and not in December, as is traditional, because this was what they requested, within the framework of talks held in the Dominican Republic, in the first quarter of 2018.
  • In Venezuela, voting is a right, it is not a duty. Those who freely, although influenced by certain undemocratic political organizations that called for abstention, decided not to go to the polls, had every right not to do so, but in no way does this delegitimize the electoral process. To do so would imply disregarding the 9,389,056 Venezuelans who did decide to democratically exercise their right to vote.
  • 16 political parties participated in the elections. In Venezuela it is not obligatory for all political parties to participate in electoral processes. They are fully entitled to decide whether or not to participate, precisely because it is a democratic system. The fact that three parties (Democratic Action AD, Popular Will VP, and Justice First PJ) freely decided not to participate, does not make the electoral process illegitimate.
  • There were six presidential candidates: Nicolás Maduro, Henri Falcón, Javier Bertucci, Reinaldo Quijada, Francisco Visconti Osorio, and Luis Alejandro Ratti (the last two decided to pull out).
  • Maduro won with a wide margin, securing 6,248,864 votes, or 67.84%. He was followed by Henri Falcón with 1,927,958 votes, 20.93%; Javier Bertucci with 1,015,895, 10.82%; and Reinaldo Quijada, with 36,246 votes, 0.39%.
  • Approximately 150 people accompanied and observed the electoral process, including 14 electoral commissions from eight countries; two technical electoral missions; 18 journalists from different parts of the world; a parliamentarian, and a technical-electoral delegation from the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation.
  • Elections in Venezuela use an automated system subjected to audits before, during, and after the vote. This process guarantees the principle of one vote per voter, as voting machines are only activated by scanning voters’ fingerprints. The system also guarantees the secrecy of the vote.
  • A total of 18 audits were performed on the system. Representatives of candidate Henri Falcón participated in all 18 and signed the audit reports. The audits are public and televised live on the National Electoral Council channel. Once the audits are done, the system is blocked and the only way to access it again is with the simultaneous introduction of the secret codes that each political organization holds.
  • None of the candidates who participated in the electoral process contested the results.
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