Venezuela’s illegitimate socialist regime attempted to celebrate the results of its rigged legislative elections Sunday as a “people’s victory” despite record-low turnout that the polling firm Meganálisis estimated to be less than 20 percent of eligible voters.
Rubén Chirino Leañez, the CEO of Meganálisis, told Breitbart News in an interview Sunday that the turnout was especially embarrassing for Nicolás Maduro’s regime because the socialists used extortion and threats, including the threat of losing access to food, to get people to the polls.
“The government was going to deploy its entire apparatus, everything: the infrastructure, the pressure, the military,” Chirino explained. “They pressured people with [threats of] losing [government-distributed] packages of food, losing social assistance, losing their jobs. And of course, that entire infrastructure creates pressure.”
Why won't Venezuela's public servants pick up Sean Penn off the streets? https://t.co/mzp7yNsHgw
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 20, 2017
Maduro regime officials were not opaque in their threats. Diosdado Cabello, a senior Maduro henchman, suspected drug lord, and television show host, stated plainly during a campaign rally: “those who don’t vote, don’t eat.”
“There’s no food for those who don’t vote. I don’t know. Those who don’t vote, don’t eat; they get put in quarantine with no eating,” Cabello said last week, evoking harrowing testimonies from survivors of Maduro’s rudimentary Chinese coronavirus quarantine who have said they did not receive food while imprisoned in abandoned motels.
Chirino added that, in addition to threats, the Maduro regime used other tactics like going door-to-door and pressuring people to leave and vote and, towards the evening, “they extended the voting time because they said there were too many people on line waiting to vote, which was false.”
Venezuela is entering a third decade of socialism, marked by extreme shortages in food, medicine, fuel, and basic goods. Dictator Nicolás Maduro placed the national food supply under the control of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) of Venezuela, which is loyal to Maduro and implicated in several major drug trafficking investigations, in 2016. This allows Maduro’s regime to control access to food in the country and thus deny it to people who do not openly support the regime. Less than a year later, reports began surfacing of large quantities of food rotting under military custody as soldiers demanded bribes for food, but civilians did not have enough money to pay for them. At the same time, reports showed a growing number of Venezuelans digging through garbage for food, killing zoo animals to eat, and brawling over small items like a bag of onions.
Meganálisis estimated that only 19.13 percent of eligible voters in Venezuela participated in Sunday’s election, meaning over 80 percent of the country boycotted the race. This means that about 16.7 million people chose not to vote, compared to the 4 million who did. The Maduro regime claimed a 31-percent participation rate.
BALANCE FINAL DE PARTICIPACIÓN REAL 6-D-2020
Abstención 80.87% pic.twitter.com/ENLO4qJDY3
— Meganalisis (@Meganalisis) December 6, 2020
Chirino told Breitbart News that, taking into account voters who showed up to vote because of threats, the true turnout – meaning people who voted because they wanted to vote – was closer to 12 percent.
“When we get to a 19-percent participation rate, we’re talking about a 19 percent of which I am convinced that there is a six or seven percent that is doing it under pressure, is being extorted, that is doing it under coercive measures imposed by the state, which threatens people to participate.”
“If we are talking about people voting voluntarily, I think we are talking about a 12 or 13 percent,” Chirino concluded.
Maduro, who has not been the constitutional president of Venezuela since January 2019, organized the first National Assembly elections since 2015 on December 6. The last elections resulted in a resounding loss for Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and victories for center-left opposition parties, which campaigned together under the umbrella name “Democratic Unity Roundtable.”
This time, Maduro made sure to appoint key allies to the National Electoral Council (CNE), which counts the votes, and forcibly replace the leadership of major opposition parties with socialist cronies, resulting in all options on the ballot for voters being controlled directly by Maduro. The Organization of American States (OAS) urged the world to reject the results of December’s election a month ago, stating a free and fair vote there was impossible.
As the results of the election were a foregone conclusion – the PSUV swept the race, according to socialist propaganda outlet VTV – the true measure of the public support for Maduro and his party is how many people bothered to participate in the farce.
Venezuela President Juan Guaido Attends Trump’s State of the Union Speech https://t.co/T9OvCtjdLF
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 5, 2020
“We have had a tremendous and great people’s victory,” Maduro said on Sunday. “A cyclical change is coming, a positive, virtuous, change, a change of work and recovery. We are moving towards the recovery of the nation, of the economy, and overcoming the blockade,” he said, referring to U.S. sanctions on his top henchmen.
“An 80-percent abstention rate is a crushing number for the system,” Chirino told Breitbart News.
“Generally, the weakness of the socialist system in Venezuela, of the model as it is structured, is significant,” he explained. “People do not believe in electoral paths in this system because they know that, later, some contraption is going to appear and the participants are going to lend themselves to legitimizing the contraptions as part of a negotiation so … this high abstention rate consolidates that this system is wasted away.”
“The socialist system in Venezuela needs an urgent structural change. The institutions have absolutely no credibility whatsoever, they are on the floor,” Chirino added.
“Venezuelans are tired of this. Venezuelans seek a total rupture from this model. Venezuelans aspire to a country where a different model of government exists, where family is respected, where property is respected. where honest labor is respected,” Chirino said. “They expect the application of order, the application of the law, [and] that corrupt people be punished, whether they are of the government or of the opposition.”