Monday, December 7, 2020

Maduro wins legislative vote boycotted by opposition (Dec. 7, 2020)

 Venezuela's legitimacy challenged President Nicolás Maduro claimed a sweeping victory in legislative elections yesterday that were boycotted by most political opposition parties. The elections have been widely criticized in the international community as lacking the basic conditions to be considered free and fair. The vote has been characterized as a political theater aimed at eliminating Venezuela's last opposition-controlled political institution, reports the New York Times

Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela and allied parties captured 67% of seats in the National Assembly in Sunday’s election, said Indira Alfonzo, president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council. Just 31% of the 20 million registered voters participated in the election, she said. (Associated Press, Efecto Cocuyo) The participation rate is comparable to that of 2005 legislative elections, which the opposition also boycotted in protest of alleged fraud. (Efecto Cocuyo)

The day was characterized by nearly empty polling stations and unfulfilled promises of food bags in exchange for participation, reports Efecto Cocuyo. Voters have been scared by rumors that they will lose food benefits if they voted "wrong" in the election. And several articles noted that lines for fuel were longer than lines to vote, yesterday.

But the election's flaws run far deeper. Venezuela’s top court this year stripped three of four main opposition parties of their leadership, allowing the parties to be co-opted by politicians friendlier to the government. The Supreme Court also appointed a new election commission, including three members who have been sanctioned by the U.S. and Canada, without participation of the opposition-led Congress, as the law requires.

Regardless of the election's legitimacy, or lack thereof, the current National Assembly's mandate will end January 5. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó's claim to be the country's legitimate interim leader will also end, as the argument stems from his post as National Assembly president. It could be the final fizzling out of a coalition that promised to rapidly oust Maduro two years ago, but has become increasingly mired in disillusion and fragmentation. (Wall Street Journal, Associated Press) Though analysts expect Guaidó to remain on the scene in the short-term, the election marks the end of an era, reports the Guardian.

Guaidó's coalition is holding a referendum of sorts over the next few days, asking Venezuelans whether they want to end Maduro’s rule and hold new presidential elections. Guaidó's popularity has waned over the past two years, as his promises to rapidly oust Maduro fizzled. Many government critics were disappointed he chose to boycott this weekend's elections, despite their evident flaws. (Efecto Cocuyo)

In the meantime, Maduro's government has turned its electoral eyes on next year's gubernatorial elections, reports Efecto Cocuyo.

More Venezuela
  • An attempt by mercenaries to forcefully oust and kidnap Maduro this year -- "Operation Gideon" -- failed spectacularly. What is less clear is how it came to be. Rolling Stone interviews the operation’s leader, former U.S. Green Beret Jordan Goudreau.
"The Cartel Project"

Mexican journalist Regina Martínez was preparing to publish an explosive report on thousands of people who had mysteriously disappeared in Veracruz in the months before she was killed in 2012. This year a team of international and Mexican reporters continued her investigations of the two state governors — Fidel Herrera and Javier Duarte — and examined her homicide inquiry. (Washington Post

They are part of "The Cartel Project," a consortium of 60 journalists and 25 media outlets around the world, organized by Forbidden Stories, aimed at continuing the work of murdered Mexican colleagues. 

Martínez was not the first reporter to be assassinated in Mexico, but the killing of a high-profile correspondent for a national magazine marked the start of a wave of targeted violence which has made ​it the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, outside a warzone, reports the Guardian. Last month alone, three Mexican journalists were shot dead within 10 days, bringing the death toll to at least 119 since 2000, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Of those killings, 90% ​have gone unsolved.

News Briefs

  • Mourners buried two young girls killed by stray bullets in Rio de Janeiro. Emily Victória Silva dos Santos, aged 4, was hit in the head. Her cousin, Rebeca Beatriz Rodrigues dos Santos, who was 7, was struck in the abdomen. Eight children have been killed by stray bullets so far this year in the city. (Associated Press)
  • Brazilian singer Luedji Luna talks about the country's racism. (Guardian)
  • Brazil is in the midst of a deadly Covid-19 second-wave -- but politicians and citizens are unwilling to enact broad restrictions aimed at reducing contagion. (Washington Post)
  • Biden's win in the U.S. is inspiring for Brazilians who seek to prevent President Jair Bolsonaro from obtaining a second term in office, but reproducing Biden's winning strategy will not be straightforward according to Oliver Stuenkel in Americas Quarterly.
  • The magnitude of the devastation wrought by two November hurricanes in Central America is only beginning to be grasped. Eta and Iota affected more than five million people — at least 1.5 million of them children — creating a new class of refugees with more reason than ever to migrate, reports the New York Times.
  • Nearly 100,000 Hondurans are living in shelters, many of which have become coronavirus hotspots, and the economy has been paralyzed. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández warned in an interview with the Washington Post that in the absence of a coordinated international response, migration from Honduras to the United States could surge.
Regional Relations
  • U.S. president-elect Joe Biden has more Latin America visits under his belt than any previous U.S. president or vice president. While his agenda towards the region in general, and Argentina specifically, is unclear, Juan Gabriel Tokatlian argues that a new approach towards Venezuela -- hinged on multilateral diplomacy -- could be in the offing. (Cohete a la Luna)
  • The U.S. arrest of a former Mexican defense minister sparked anger among Mexico's military officers, a key reason President Andrés Manuel López Obrador pushed for Salvador Cienfuegos' release. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The so-called "Havana Syndrome" that afflicted U.S. and Canadian diplomats stationed in Cuba was most likely caused by “directed, pulsed radio frequency energy," according to a U.S. government investigation. (Guardian)
  • Talks between Cuba's government and the San Isidro movement, a collective of artists against legal restrictions of their work, reportedly broke down on Friday. While the government has called for peaceful dialogue after breaking up a hunger strike in November, artists reported police vehicles outside their homes and house arrests lasting hours. (Guardian)
    • Ancient rock paintings in Colombia hint at the history of human interaction with the Amazon rainforest, and give clues on how to manage its ecological riches, according to a Guardian editorial.
    Thank you Eduardo Romero for your excellent coverage of the news last week. As always, thanks to the readers as well, and comments are welcome.

    1 comment:

    1. Omg I Finally Got Helped  !! I'm so excited right now, I just have to share my testimony on this Forum.. The feeling of being loved takes away so much burden from our shoulders. I had all this but I made a big mistake when I cheated on my wife with another woman  and my wife left me for over 4 months after she found out..  I was lonely, sad and devastated. Luckily I was directed to a very powerful spell caster Dr Emu who helped me cast a spell of reconciliation on our Relationship and he brought back my wife and now she loves me far more than ever.. I'm so happy with life now. Thank you so much Dr Emu, kindly Contact  Dr Emu Today and get any kind of help you want.. Via Email or Call/WhatsApp +2347012841542