Violence And Death On The Campaign Trail In Venezuela

November 27, 2015


No sooner had the campaign for Venezuela’s Parliamentary elections began that acts of violence began. There have been at least seven acts of violence during campaign events. Curiously, all of them have been against the opposition. These are not simple threats or side shows. As shown above, one of these incidents involved hooded activists, most wearing the emblematic Chavista red shirts, some of them holding machine guns.

Then, two nights ago, as an opposition rally was winding down, the Secretary General of Accion Democratica in Guarico State, Luis Manul Diaz, was shot death. This was no ordinary rally, the wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, Lilian Tintori, was present and close to the shots, there were over three thousand people in attendance and the bullets sprayed walls and luckily did not hit anyone else.

When the violence follows Maduro’s statements that Chavismo will win the elections “Como sea” (In any way…”), it is difficult to dismiss the meaning of these acts of violence. But when there are deaths involved, it becomes particularly dangerous to dismiss the violence or not remind the Government that it is in charge of law and order.

Particularly at fault have been the representatives from UNASUR, the only ones allowed to “observe” the upcoming elections, who have reacted with platitudes directed to the electorate and both sides, rather than remind the Government of its responsibilities to maintain order and prevent violence.

The reaction by the Government has been as cynical as can be. From Godgiven’s “these were all a set up by the opposition”, to suggesting that the dead political leader was a murderer and this was nothing more than a fight between unions. As if human life was only the right of a selected few and the same presumption of innocence, the same one that the Government wants applied to the two “Venezuelans” detained in a drug sting in Haiti, does not appear to apply to these people.

The important question is whether the Government is looking to postpone the election or simply to create fear in the elctorate as well as in the politicians looking for votes. I have never been in the camp of those that believe that the Government will cancel the elections, so I have to go for the second argument. The strategy for Chavismo is a multiple one: From state of emergency in border states, to Min Unidad distracting vote, to violence and intimidation. Once the votes are in, and if they are unfavorable, then the “Como sea” strategy will need to be implemented. But not before.

20 Responses to “Violence And Death On The Campaign Trail In Venezuela”

  1. Roger Says:

    I think the frog is now well boiled and has just started to notice. If the government can’t find the dollars to import food and sell it at a huge loss (including commissions) it has to raise prices and increase domestic production or starvation will set in. All they have done so far it takeover the means of production and steal the assets. Not even one collective where happy bolivarian workers grow food for other workers building a mighty socialist nation. Not that capitalism was doing that well either. I hope somebody has a plan.

  2. Tony Tan Keng Yam Says:

    This is just a small aperitivo of the violence to come next year. After the Chavista disguised Kleptocracy steals, Bribes or intimidates, gerrymanders, disappears all the votes they can, the Boiling Frog bolivarian phenomenon will resume: more repression, it has been announced, by the freaking “president” and “con el mazo dando” week after week. But people seem to be like Zombies at the colas, on some deep Trance. Or complicit, and BRIBED. Enchufadisimos, casi todos.

    They will bribe more, repress more, tighten the screws more, after the final Fraudmatic laughable “parlamento” results. They have too much to lose. 32 Ministerios, world record. The highest Corruption Planet Earth has ever seen. Too many crimes to hide, 200,000 murders in 16 years. Drugs everywhere. Utterly Destroyed country, in debt for decades to come. 1.5 Million of us had to get the hell out of there. That’s irreversible too.

    And people are dreaming of a Rosy, happiness&sweet potatoes, delightful hallacas and a happy 2016 in Cleptozuela. As if were Presidential elections in Norway or Chile.

  3. Kepler Says:

    What if Chavismo is trying to plant as many thugs as possible among opposition leaders? Why doesn’t the opposition try to do a minimal checkup of people’s past before appointing them to any position of responsibility even in such a one-camel town as Altagracia?

    Even if it was the very regime that got this Díaz killed, this will play bad on us.

    We cannot prevent future criminals to take selfies with our politicians but we could prevent guys with unclear pasts to be our representatives.

    Just saying…we need to be more Catholic than the Pope.

  4. FrankPintor Says:

    Nothing subliminal about Maduro’s message, eh? 😉

    BTW, I thought the implied was a settling of accounts, where did “nothing more than a fight between unions” come into it?

  5. Toño Says:

    There is no reason to postpone the election. The one thing that gives legitimacy to a regime (in the eyes of the OAS, UNASUR, etc.) is continuity in the executive power. We have seen statements from Mercosur saying that the democratic process has not been broken in Venezuela because there are elections and the president has not been overthrown. If Maduro loses congress next month he will still be the president. Legitimacy in Latin America means presidential continuity. What happens in congress doesn’t matter. No such thing as loss of continuity in the legislature (much less the judiciary). Have the election (como sea) and stay in power.

    • moctavio Says:

      Es todavia mas complejo, en ese momento era lider de AD o del PSUV? El cambio fue mas o menos en esa epoca.

    • Dr. Faustus Says:

      An interesting point. Here’s the problem, however. Forget about the National Assembly totals for now, focus on total vote count. If those numbers are anywhere near the 70-30 polling numbers, the legitimacy of the Chavista’s is dead. It’s over. Toast. New presidential elections will be demanded. Madura vs. Anybody, he loses.

      • M Rubio Says:

        Indeed. And isn’t 2016 the year that the Venezuelan Constitution says a presidential recall can be held? Not that the Constitution means anything other than ass-wipe for these thugs.

      • RobertoN Says:

        Not so fast, Kemo Sabe.

        While total vote count is an important bellwether, what does matter here is how many congressional seats the oppo get.

        I get what you are trying to say, but a 70-30 split today may not mean much in 6 months or three years time.

      • Dr. Faustus Says:

        RobertoN, I am assuming that the NA seats will be manipulated as such, providing a ‘slight’ majority to the opposition. Anything less would indeed be seen as fraud by the world. But, they’ve already stacked-the-deck with fraudulent gerrymandering behind the scenes. A ‘slight’ majority, that’s what will be conceded. You can see this one coming a mile away. The total popular vote, however, is much harder to rig. The numbers should break in the 70-30 polling range. Those numbers will resonate throughout the country, and the world. A clear and compelling reason to call for NEW elections..

  6. Gerry Says:

    Maduro thinks (whatever that means to him) that whatever happens he still has a job. So he will cling to his buddies who will throw him under the bus (pardon the pun) before its their turn to be disrobed and become the kings with the invisible clothes.
    The Government knows full well who the opposition contenders are and where they are going to be at any given time. They (the gov) have an obligation to protect all citizens and a special one to protect all who are politically contestant, lest they be seen as not impartial.
    I love Venezuela very much. I used to live in Valencia, I would be happy to go there again to be with my wife. ( each of us are over seventy – old people).

  7. Kepler Says:


    It would be interesting if the murder in Guárico is investigated by an independent commission one day. The thing is: it seems Mr Diaz was detained in 2010.

    Look at this:

    One way or the other, lots of questions: if he was detained and accused of murder back then, what has happened to his trial?

  8. Floyd Says:

    They don’t need to cancel the election, just lie about the results and keep their veneer of legitimacy.

  9. TV Says:

    What makes you think there is a strategy? Chavizmo never struck me as a movement that had one. These incidents could easily be a few overzealous pricks doing “como sea” to “win” the elections.

  10. Kim Says:

    The president of Valenzuela is preventing by leaving the presidential palace. Everytime there is a up coming voting something bound to happen. It is time the Valenzuelan people to wake up and smell the real coffee. This is a hiding of communist and is growing very slowly til is to late now is the time vote it is time pick the person to lead the not another communist to continue to destroy the country. No Democratic presidential don’t wear military uniform at any premises and that a fact or take a away properties. Only communism take property and control people like Cuba and others 3 countries. It time to Valenzuelan to back to the right place not starving. Good luck

  11. ErneX Says:

    The arrests were made in Haiti not Dominican Republic (if you are referring to the nephews that is).

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