The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela went to elections of governors and mayor on November 21. The governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won 19 of the 23 governors and more than 200 out of 335 mayors, including the capital city of Caracas.
These numbers indicate a great victory for the Chavismo. On the other side, some argue that electoral victory was facilitated by the fact that the opposition was divided in itself. Paul Dobson from Venezuelaanalysis.com has calculated departing from election results that the right opposition would have won 11 more governors if it were united.
We spoke about the electoral results and the path of the Bolivarian Revolution ahead with Jacobo Torres de León. He is member of the Venezuelan National Assembly representing workers, member of the Vice-Presidency of the PSUV and International Coordinator of the Bolivarian Socialist Confederation of Workers (CBST). He is also National Coordinator of Revolutionary Workers’ Movement Alí Rodríguez Araque MOARA in the electricity sector. De León has actively participated in the first Chavista rebellions of 4th of February and 27th of November 1992. He also actively defended the recuperation of power after a coup against Hugo Chávez in 2002.
How do you evaluate the results of the elections?
The results have given reason for great optimism, because the elections were held under very difficult circumstances. There was the blockade of the United States against Venezuela, which has cost us around 35 billion US dollars and consisted basically that Washington neglected the existence of the legitimate government of Venezuela. Biden continued Trump’s policy.
The empire has intended to kneel us down economically, causing an artificial dollarization of the country and inflation maybe unseen in human history. Additionally prices of basic goods increased and the purchasing power of the people and workers has declined. And of course there was the Covid pandemic that affected the whole world.
Under these circumstances, the election results are for us optimal, very optimal. Besides of the huge number of governors and mayors, we have also won concerning the state and town councils. Additionally, the high participation, usually seen only in presidential elections, has also been a success.
The Chavismo has gained the great majority of the public posts in these elections of November 21.
Two challenges in elections
We had two challenges in these elections. First was the proposal of Comrade Nicolas Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic, to hold the elections of governor and mayors at once, as these are the two institutions closest to the citizens.
The second challenge was the participation of parts of the opposition, which until very recently had followed the agenda of inciting violence against Venezuela. Today, these fractions have entered the democratic and constitutional path by participating in these elections.
How will these results affect the dialogue with the opposition?
First of all, the dialogue with the opposition has been suspended for the approach of the gringos to detain the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab illegally. He has been a victim of the US blockade against Venezuela. They carried him away to the United States under false accusations. He has been disposed to torture and psychological pressure in order to incriminate the Venezuelan government. He has been put to trial in the US now, but the court has rejected 8 of the 9 accusations already. We are sure that he will be spoken free of any charges and set free any moment.
Notwithstanding, our government has left the dialogue led with the violent parts of the opposition in Mexico upon Alex being hijacked by the US. Our government has displayed dignity by this act and also defended our country’s sovereignty as well as this comrade’s human rights.
The case is a matter of national sovereignty, because we are trying to crush the criminal blockade against our country by all means to guarantee that our people gets all the goods it needs. All the goods needed for alimentation and also for development.
And within the electoral victory of the 21st of November, which by the way was acknowledged by all international observers, who have praised our electoral system’s transparency, we expect steps to be taken very soon.
The elections have been transparent, and winners and losers are given now. The opposition has won three governors, one of them being a very important one: The governorship of the state of Zulia, located at the border with Colombia. They also have won around 100 mayors and a significant of council members.
Opposition in a way legalized itself by taking part in elections
And here, President Maduro proposed the following: a dialogue carried out in front of the people. The representatives of the governorships or the city councils are now called to enter a dialogue to reach fundamental agreements concerning the country’s governability, administrative functions and coexistence between the legitimate government and the opposition. These oppositional fractions in a way now have legitimized themselves by taking part in these elections.
And the call other recalcitrant oppositional fractions is also maintained. They have to acknowledge that there is a legitimate government here, there is a constitution here, and there is a people that confirmed in the elections its devotion to defend the Bolivarian revolution.
Remember there have been more than 70 thousand candidates for the 3088 positions to be elected. We had one candidate for each position, while the opposition presented the remaining thousands of candidates. This is the most legitimate act and the greatest opportunity for a dialogue.
Besides, the government and the Bolivarian Revolution have honored all the different agreements that were signed in different forums of dialogue, including the call to elections and the transparency of the voting. Now, the winners and losers are given and this is the basis to continue the dialogue.
Alex Saab must be released before a dialogue can start
But there is the very important precondition before a dialogue can restart: the liberation of our diplomat Alex Saab. And this is, as far as I am informed by the comrades participating in the negotiations, is non-negotiable. And of course, I do support this position, which is also expressed by our President.
How will the elections results affect relations between Venezuela and the United States?
The spokespeople of the United States continue with not recognizing the elections and instead, recognizing such a grey personality as Juan Guaidó is. There is no such thing as a provisional government; this is purely a US-invented eyewash against the Bolivarian Revolution. They don’t want to recognize the legitimate government of President Maduro.
But we have stated clearly that it is not the United States that decides who is the President of Venezuela or who is a candidate to the presidency. Therefore, we don’t care about the opinion of Joe Biden and his administration.
No relations with the US under circumstances of blackmailing
They once again commit a grave misjudgment and miss another opportunity to establish normal relations with Venezuela. And we are also not interested to establish any kind of relations under these circumstances of blackmail.
We have always stated that we are ready to discuss with the United States, wherever they want, but under conditions of equality and mutual respect. Obviously there have been attempts to do so, but these have not born any fruit. And as long as the US continues with the diplomacy of the microphone, they will continue isolating themselves.
And remember: Of the 192 countries, which are, members of the United Nations, around 188 recognize the legitimacy of the Maduro Government and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. And we have defeated them again and again in the UN Security Council as well, in the sense that we will not permit any intervention into our domestic affairs or allow any country to decide in the name of Venezuela.
We are ready, in this sense, as President Maduro has proclaimed, to enter a dialogue with the US for mutual benefit.
Do you observe a general change of tide in Latin America?
We are coming from a serious reflux for the progressive movements in Latin America. This started with the US supported coup against Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, then continued, like a domino effect, with the toppling down of Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, the absurd case that was made against Dilma Roussef in Brazil, which ended in her impeachment. Hen followed the defeat suffered by the Kirchners in Argentina, where Macri, a representative of the extreme right gained a victory. The defeat, which the FMLN suffered in El Salvador. Of course the coup they organized against comrade Evo Morales in Bolivia.
There was a moment when Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba were isolated in Latin America
There was a moment when Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba were left isolated and resisting. In case of Venezuela, we suffered continuous attacks in the OAS (Organization of American States), in the Group of Lima, in the United Nations, were excluded from the MERCOSUR. To conclude, we found ourselves in an extreme situation of resistance against the imperial attacks and the aggressions of their helpers.
But this political landscape has started to change. First came the victory of the Fernandez’ in Argentina, which was a first respiration if you will. Then followed the miraculous victory of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico. The followed the victories in Peru and Nicaragua.
Process of re-composition on the continent
Our President Nicolas Maduro had already stated that a new progressive wave was building up in Latin America, and this is becoming evident more and more. With Lula in Brazil, with reorganizations in Paraguay, in Chile, where the people itself have established a constitutional assembly, permitting to restitute Pinochet’s constitution.
In summary, there is a process of re-composition going on in our continent that deserves attention for its consequences: for instance the re-emergence of the CELAC as proposed by comrade Lopez Obrador from Mexico. Or the possible re-entry of Venezuela to MERCOSUR. Back then Venezuela had been excluded from MERCOSUR by initiative of the fascist in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. …Our recent electoral victory pushes this process forward in a revolutionary way.
Venezuela has provided an example of resistance against US and European attempts to first isolate and then crush down our revolutionary attempts. These attempts have failed and will fail. We have resisted so that others could advance, and we expect that other’s progress will make our resistance worth it. This is of course a dialectical process.
Latin America is one unique bloc
This progress permits to establish new economic models and new models of integration. We have said the Bolivarian Revolution, and if Simon Bolivar has left us a message, it was this: We are in Latin America one unique bloc. We are a great nation of republics. This is the concept that our Commandante Chávez has carried to our days, and this is the project that we are in now.
This interview was shortened for editorial purposes and conducted by phone.