So What Is It?

 Let’s get to it…It may be unclear who actually said “People get the government they deserve” but it certainly has a lot of truth to it. Another popular more recent saying is “If you don’t vote you have no right to complain”. These may both apply to the real world but I’m not sure how well they apply to Venezuela. So what is it with the Venezuelan voters?

 Reuters reports that Venezuela faces deep voter apathy as the opposition is scheduled to announce a date soon for the primary election, looking for a candidate to unseat President (dictator) Nicolas Maduro.

 The people are struggling to afford food and other basics as the monthly minimum wage is now about $6 and inflation, despite the slight economic recovery, is a stubborn 234%. They also endure frequent electric power outages and seemingly perpetual shortages of fresh water. (Before Chavismo 84% of Venezuelans had regular access to fresh water) You would think people would be anxious for a change and the last approval rating we saw for Nicolas Maduro was 5%.

 That said, a recent survey said just under 26% of people said they will vote in the upcoming primaries. The opposition is disjointed and with CNE (Electoral Council) involved in the primary process (Most Venezuelans and others that follow Venezuela politics, including us here at TFT, view CNE as just another arm of Nicolas Maduro and the Chavistas) many are disillusioned.

 “The tiredness has to do with the extreme socioeconomic situation that we’re living through” said Justice First Party candidate, Juan Pablo Guanipa. “The challenge is how to make the primary credible” said Juan Guaido, the recently ousted opposition “interim president”. He is expected to declare his candidacy. “Most people feel little connection with politics” said Luis Vicente Leon, head of pollster Datanalysis. “It’s  urgent that we coordinate and give strength and legitimacy to a new political direction” said Maria Corina Machado, former lawmaker and primary candidate, our personal favorite.

 Our take…Venezuelans are tired, worn out. They’ve been starving and struggling to survive almost since the day Maduro took power in 2013. They’ve seen him unconstitutionally neuter their vote when the opposition won a super-majority in the National Assembly in 2015 only to have their power usurped by Maduro and his TSJ (Venezuela Supreme Court). Maduro crushed massive protests in 2014 and 2017, killing, wounding, beating, and imprisoning protesters. Now, when they could really use an infusion of energy and passion to oppose Maduro, over 7.1 million Venezuelans have migrated, many of them young people, the very ones that have the much-needed energy and passion for a movement.

 The mood of the people can be summed up in a quote from 54 year-old vegetable seller, David Lugo, who lives in the once-prosperous city of Maracaibo. “We’re poorer every day and I don’t think more elections will be the definite solution to this disaster. The economic situation is so hard that voting is a waste of time.” While part of me agrees with the concept of “People get the government they deserve”, I’m not sure any people deserve the total destruction wrought by the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.

 Then we have IFEX telling us that a group of civil society organizations is calling on the international community to condemn outright the new legislative initiative by Maduro’s National Assembly to “criminalize Venezuela civil society organizations and their legitimate activities. Both the organizations and their activities must receive protection under the right to freedom of association. We call on the international community to support all efforts to prevent this and other similar legislation from proliferating in the region.”

 They are referring to a proposed bill in the National Assembly with new requirements for registration, information, disclosures, and compliance by NGOs including fines for non-compliance.

 Despite claims that the proposal is simply an ordinary regulatory measure, the true purpose of the bill and how it will be used by the Chavistas when it becomes law was evidenced by the stigmatizing discourse from government officials. They characterized civil society organizations that promote Human Rights or carry out social or humanitarian work as “enemies of the homeland”.

 It’s important to remember that until a couple of years ago Maduro didn’t allow most NGOs to perform humanitarian operations in Venezuela and blocked vast quantities of food, medicine, and other supplies for the suffering people of Venezuela from entering the country.

 It’s also worth noting that this legislation comes following the Maduro regime’s agreement with the Venezuela opposition for the creation of a $3.2 billion UN-managed humanitarian fund utilizing proposed unfrozen assets. They agree, on one hand, to a UN-managed humanitarian fund while at the same time imposing new restrictions and government controls on the NGOs that would work with the UN to provide the much-needed assistance. The Chavistas don’t like anything they don’t control and, one way or another, will see that humanitarian aid is regulated by the Maduro regime.

On the lighter side we have Gothamist with the headline “NY Philharmonic Appoints Venezuela Superstar Gustavo Dudamel It’s Next Music Director” He is an internationally recognized and immensely talented individual and we here at TFT are thrilled to see this. We also commend his, albeit limited, condemnation of the Maduro regime.

 That will do it for the week. We’ll be back Monday with another Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment and more current news. Until then…Have a great weekend everybody!

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