October 19, 2017, Caracas, Venezuela – On October 15, Venezuela’s ruling United Socialist Party won a surprise victory in regional elections, taking 18 states with a record 61,14% turnout. Chavismo won over 5.8 million votes, marking a significant comeback from its landslide defeat in 2015 parliamentary elections. Promptly after the first official announcement made the CNE, the opposition gave a press conference, crying fraud and calling for immediate street protests.
Venezuelanalysis spoke with Iraida Morocoima, a Miranda state resident and member of a Landless People’s Movement, who was involved in mobilizing voters to the polls in order to maximize Chavista turnout in these high-stakes regional elections.
According to Morocoima, Sunday’s election was “full of joy but more than anything, a loyalty to the revolutionary process.” She notes that the grassroots of Chavismo made an extraordinary effort to mobilize people to voting centers, focusing especially on “undecided” voters not identified with the government nor the opposition.
“This 15th there was no punishment vote, it was the ‘undecided’ who voted…” states Iraida, pointing out, that in the case of her state, the failings of the incumbent opposition administration weighed heavily on the final outcome.
“The people who live in Miranda see the holes in the roads, they see that Miranda has been abandoned and that gives you an example of how they [the opposition] are as a government, and that was the response that we gave yesterday.”
She also adds that the “lack of respect” of the opposition-held National Assembly towards the people the people, the “unforgivable” violence sparked by the opposition from April through July of this year, and the ever-intensifying threats of US intervention helped to build consciousness and a spirit of resistance in the general population.
“17 state governments is not just anything, in such a difficult moment, what the people are saying is, “bring it on”…the people are conscious of what could come, but the people are not going to let the ‘gringos’ win. We’re not going to make it easy for them.”
From Morocoima’s perspective, the opposition suffered mass abstention – “They could not move their people” – which she directly relates to their contradictory leadership and lack of a clear political project.
Though the opposition has declared fraud and called their supporters to the streets, as they have in many other elections where the results were not in their favor, Morocoima states that she does not believe that they will be able to mobilize the same level of violence as they had earlier this year.
“They are going to have to think it over because they don’t have the people.”
For Morocoima, this electoral victory opens up a new and urgent horizon of hope for the people to work together with their regional governments and the National Constituent Assembly in order to develop concrete solutions to the deep economic crisis and the continuing threats from Washington.
“It’s like this is the last breath…The people only want a free and sovereign Venezuela…that we have our food and productive sovereignty…the people are tired, but loyal…and they want their country free and sovereign.”