What Will Venezuelans Be Thinking At the Ballot on April 14th?

On April 14th we will once again determine the destiny of our homeland. However this election is very distinct, as we must do more than choose a president.


On April 14th we will once again determine the destiny of our homeland. However this election is very distinct, as we must do more than choose a president, we must choose between the option requested by our eternal President Chavez requested on December 8th, 2012, and the other option which was rejected on October 7th, 2012, and has been rejected for the past 14 years.

Every person who stands in front of the voting machine this Sunday will ask themselves, and will respond with their vote, whether we should grant President Chavez’s last wish. Even many opposition voters will give tribute to the undeniable leadership of Chavez by voting for Maduro, knowing that voting for Capriles is a wasted vote and puts our nation at risk.

Two immediate challenges are upon us. The first is to mobilize a greater amount of citizens to vote on Sunday, as it is important for our democracy and to give legitimacy to Chavismo. The second challenge is to overcome our suffering from Chavez’s death and begin a new era that requires truly collective control and that puts the major issues up for debate. This must be a debate that is open to criticism and proposals, just as it was with Chavez.

But the biggest challenge upon us, on Sunday as well as the days that follow, is to maintain unity amidst diversity, to respect and actively incorporate constructive criticism, and to overcome the sectarianism of some groups inside Chavismo. The humble analysis of the results on April 14th will provide clear hints for understanding the new political situation that is unfolding.

On the other hand, the current leadership of the opposition also has a huge commitment and historic debt with the country. The necessary rejuvenation of opposition leadership is not only about new faces, which has already been demonstrated with Capriles, but rather it is about having a real discussion about the country that they envision and the relationship that this leadership has with the majority. The scorn for the people, seen in their discourse and their actions, will have to be overcome or they are condemned to disappear. And this would not be good for Venezuelan democracy.

Our country needs a real opposition, and socialism requires this in order to create a dialectic process that allows it to grow, not only quantitatively but also qualitatively.

For these reasons, both Chavismo and the opposition have the ethical obligation to go vote on April 14th so that from April 15th on an urgent and necessary debate can begin about the Plan of the Nation 2013-2019, and how the process should be directed. I’ll see you in line at the ballot box, for a Socialist Homeland.

Nicmer Evans is a Venezuelan political scientist and analyst who writes regular opinion columns on the country’s political process.

Translated by Chris Carlson for Venezuelanalysis.com