Caracas, November 24 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela dismissed declarations issued by both the US and Canadian governments that attempted to discredit the country’s recent regional elections that saw a dominant United Socialist Party (PSUV) win at least 19 of 23 governorships.
“It is the height of cynicism that a country where there is an indirect democracy, with second-degree elections and that has declared a brutal economic war against Venezuela, [...] purports to have the morals to question the elections alleging lack of freedoms or other conditions.” read a statement by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry. It added that “US imperialism and its allies were the big losers” in the process.
On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the contests “flawed” and claimed they did not “reflect the will of the Venezuelan people.”
Sunday’s “mega-elections” saw US-backed hardline opposition parties return to the ballot after boycotting. The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) secured two governorships, with a possible third one still undeclared. Blinken commended anti-government forces for participating but stated that the election was not “free and fair” as a result of efforts by the Nicolás Maduro government to “grossly skew the process.” The US official failed to provide any concrete evidence to back the charges.
Canada’s statement by Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly similarly proffered accusations with little substance. Like her US counterpart, Joly praised the participation of opposition political parties in the vote that saw a turnout of 42 percent of voters.
In response, Caracas criticized Canada’s mimicking of US foreign policy and said Ottawa had resorted to “the disqualification of an electoral process, widely validated by more than 300 international observers.”
“Unlike Canada, Venezuela is a country free from foreign tutelage and it demonstrates this in each election in which the model of participatory and protagonist democracy, enshrined in the Constitution and backed by the democratic will of the Venezuelan people, is deepened,” read the Foreign Ministry text.
The Venezuelan process was accompanied by international groups such as National Lawyers Guild (NLG) whose members said they “observed a balanced and transparent voting process” and rejected Washington’s characterization of the vote.
“The US’s consistently false narrative of elections in Venezuela is formulated to legitimize the continuation of U.S. sanctions, which are violations of international law and amount to economic warfare,” said Suzanne Adely, NLG President and member of the delegation, on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the European Union’s (EU) observation mission likewise delivered a long awaited preliminary report.
The document asserted that the elections had seen “better conditions” than previous ones but that “structural deficiencies” remained. It concluded that “the Venezuelan electoral legal framework complies with most basic international electoral standards.”
The Brussels team, which had 136 members deployed throughout the country, highlighted the alleged use of state funds for PSUV campaigns as well as unequal access to state media, the barring of certain candidates and a “lack of judicial independence.” A final report is due to be presented in February.
In a press conference to present the preliminary findings, mission chief Isabel dos Santos warned against using the report for “partisan purposes.” She went on to praise the electoral authorities’ professionalism.
Caracas welcomed the EU conclusions, with Vice Minister William Castillo calling them a “slap in the face” against the US State Department claims by not putting the legitimacy of the process in question.
Castillo called the European report “respectful” and recalled the past tensions that nearly jeopardized the mission.
Edited and with additional reporting by Ricardo Vaz from Caracas.