|Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado speaks during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas this February.|
Communists Ban Candidates
From The Ballot
- With the socialist economy is free fall the Marxists running Venezuela are banning individual candidates from the ballot as well as banning a new leftist political party.
(New York Times) - In recent weeks the government has used measures to rule that (nine) opposition politicians or activists were ineligible to hold office for at least a year, eliminating them as candidates in the coming election. The list includes Leopoldo López, who has been jailed since February 2014 on charges that he incited violence during last year’s antigovernment protests, and María Corina Machado, an outspoken former legislator.
“It was a message to the Venezuelan people: ‘Look, we can do whatever we want,’ ” opposition politician Enzo Scarano said of the move to bar him and at least eight other prominent politicians and activists from running for office. He said the goal was “to discourage people from voting and to create an internal conflict” in the opposition’s Democratic Unity coalition.
Venezuela is sinking in an economic crisis that has many experts predicting that for the first time in years the opposition could win a major victory at the ballot box. The government has not revealed most basic economic data since last year, but economists calculate that annual inflation is well over 100 percent and could reach double that by the end of the year. The International Monetary Fund predicted that the economy this year could shrink by 7 percent, a recession partly caused by a sharp drop in the price of oil, the country’s main export.
|Socialist Election Rigging|
Basic goods are in short supply: A supermarket in a mall that also houses the mayor’s office in this city of about 157,000 people had no rice, beans, eggs, flour, sugar, cooking oil, dishwashing soap or many other staples.
Most opposition parties have agreed to field a single slate of candidates under the Democratic Unity banner, which they have used in recent presidential elections and the last time the legislature came up for renewal, in 2010.
Only about 40 of the opposition candidates for the 167 National Assembly seats were chosen through primaries, and it took weeks of often strained negotiations for the coalition to agree on a full list of candidates, in part because each party wanted to maximize the number from its ranks.
So barring some candidates creates the potential for further divisions.
The government has put up obstacles not only to its traditional opposition but also to a newly emerging opposition on the left. Electoral officials in May refused to allow a dissident group that broke off from Mr. Maduro’s United Socialist Party to register as a political party. The group, Socialist Tide, said it would run candidates on the slates of other small leftist parties.
Nicmer Evans, a leader of Socialist Tide, blamed both the government and the opposition coalition for wanting to keep his group off the ballot, saying that both saw it as a threat. He criticized “the encumbrances and arbitrary actions” of electoral authorities and said, “We are fighting to overcome all of these attempts to exclude us politically.”
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|Banned from the ballot by Communists|
"We want the democratic governments of the world to support the Venezuelan people, while being coherent and firm in defense of democratic principles. It is not about being against a regime or a government. It is about being in favor of democratic values . . .
All we ask for is coherence, for the will to speak the truth and call things as they are. We ask for solidarity with a people that are being subjected to massive and systematic aggression, proven by the recent report released by Human Rights Watch."
Former Congresswoman María Corina Machado
Machado won election to the National Assembly in 2010 as the highest vote-getter in the nation. In 2014 the Marxist dominated legislature voted to throw her out.