Anybody Surprised ?

 So, before we left for the Thanksgiving holiday the big story was the upcoming regional and local elections on November 21st. The monitors were coming from everywhere, many of them tailor made for the Maduro regime. The question wasn’t really about the outcome of the elections as almost everyone expected a big win for the Chavistas even with the Maduro regime’s approval standing at 15%. The election fraud was committed long before election day but what would all these observers report? Let’s take a look…

 First, just to get it out of the way, it was a landslide victory for the Chavistas. They won all but three of the governors races with two results still up in the air and they took the majority of the local elections. The EU Observation Mission won’t have it’s final report for a while yet but we do have some preliminary information. Europa.EU tells us that yes, election conditions were better than those of the recent past,(how could they be worse?) but the Mission observed structural deficiencies such as arbitrary political disqualification of candidates, unequal access to media, and unbalanced use of state resources. The final report is expected in a little over a month. The Mission went on to say that the lack of judicial independence and disrespecting the rule of law negatively impacted equality the election’s transparency.

 Alarabiya News put it simply, regarding the EU Mission’s take, “Lack of adherence to the rule of law.” Short and sweet and something we have known all along. In Venezuela the law is what the Chavistas say it is.

 In the US many conservatives have a determination of some Republicans as RINOs, Republican In Name Only. I guess the Venezuelan version would be OPPINOs, Opposition In Name Only. This is true for candidates as well as the electoral council. I had to laugh when,in the run up to the elections, the Chavistas would simultaneously praise the international observers for being there and trash them for impartiality. As an observer of these criminals up close and personal for twelve years I knew exactly what I was seeing and would see.

 Chavismo portrayed the new CNE (electoral council) is being inclusive since they now had two opposition members (OPPINOs) on the five member board. The EU Mission saw it like this…” The new CNE is the most balanced in 20 years but board members who don’t have ties to the government (the two new OPPINOs) lack executive powers…more like an advisor.” They also noted the distance between the regime’s methods and international standards.

 The Spanish government also weighed in with this observation, “Venezuela’s elections didn’t comply with democratic expectations.” Maybe a bit understated but right on the money.

 Voto Joven reports that there were 755 election related irregularities including “Puntos Rojos” (the big red Chavista tents at polling stations used to both entice and intimidate…the one’s Maduro assured everyone would not be there), use of public resources by candidates (Chavistas), propaganda by members at voting stations, bribe offers, and voting machine failures.

 Speaking of irregularities, is it just me or does it seem a bit suspicious that in the state of Merida the opposition won 14 of 23 mayors races but lost the governor’s race?

 It is also worth noting that there were 38 attacks on journalists reported during the election.

 In other news, the latest migrant caravan headed to the Southern US border with Mexico has over 20% Venezuelans according to the caravan’s organizer. This as Telesur (government media) is heralding the “Return To Homeland” plan again telling us that they have repatriated 249 Venezuelans from Peru. No mention of the over one million Venezuelan immigrants and refugees currently in Peru.

 And in financial news we have AFP  projecting Venezuela GDP for 2021 will be down 5% with inflation at about 2,700%. They also note that cash reserves are almost nonexistent at $6.2 million.

 In other money matters we have BCV (Venezuela Central Bank) reporting that they  have now injected $175 million into the financial system (now we know why cash reserves are so low) which accounts for 23% of the total liquidity in the system. They are desperately trying to support the bolivar which is already falling even after the Maduro regime lopped off 6- zeros from the failed currency.

 Oh, and to absolutely nobody’s surprise, the Maduro regime rejects the US Secretary of State’s statement that Venezuela’s electoral process is neither free nor fair.

 I’ll leave you with this quote from former NFL head football coach Dennis Green, “They are who we thought they were.”

 More tomorrow….


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