Venezuelan dictator is holding elections but the opposition is boycotting

Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro continues to cling to power over the failed state. In fact, this weekend he’ll finally remove the last opposition voices via an election for the country’s National Assembly. Members of the Assembly including Juan Guaido are boycotting the election rather than lending credibility to what they know will be a rigged outcome. Socialism is triumphant and democracy has become a sick joke:

With the political opponents of President Nicolás Maduro boycotting Sunday’s election for the National Assembly, his socialist party is expected to dominate the vote, giving him control of the last major institution in Venezuela outside his grasp.

The opposition contends the election is rigged and has called its own referendum to counter it. Both votes are playing out in the waning days of the Trump administration, which leaves office with Maduro firmly entrenched despite its efforts to bring about his departure through diplomacy and sanctions.

By taking over the National Assembly, some experts say Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela will effectively smother the last remnants of democracy in the country.

“Everything indicates that he will achieve what he has always sought, which is to have total, authoritarian, hegemonic control of all the country’s institutions,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue.

Central to this takeover of the National Assembly is the elimination of Juan Guaido. Guiado was recognized as the rightful leader of Venezuela two years ago by the U.S. and 50 other countries. But his authority came from his position in the National Assembly, a position he is about to lose. Guiado is leading the boycott of the election but is encouraging people to participate in a referendum of questions about replacing Maduro. Since Guiado is not allowed to appear on state media, he has been meeting people in the streets and talking to them while they wait on lines for food.

Another thing the elimination of the opposition-controlled Assembly will do away with: Regular economic numbers which the Assembly began publishing every month after the Maduro government stopped doing so. The most recently published numbers show annual inflation is over 4,000 percent:

Consumer prices in Venezuela rose 65.7% in November, the opposition-controlled National Assembly said in a report on Friday, marking an acceleration in inflation in the crisis-stricken South American country.

That pushed the interannual inflation rate up to 4,087%, according to the congress, which publishes monthly figures due to the absence of official economic data. President Nicolas Maduro’s government has stopped regularly publishing indicators as the economy has spiraled into hyperinflationary collapse.

Getting rid of the opposition also makes space for more Maduro supporters including Maduro’s son who is running for office:

In 2017, he was elected to the National Constituent Assembly, a legislative body created by Maduro’s government to circumvent the opposition-controlled congress, the National Assembly.

In his first year in that body, the son became the target of ridicule after countering President Donald Trump’s suggestion of military force to overthrow the elder Maduro. “The rifles would reach New York, Mr Trump,” Maduro Guerra said. “We would arrive and take the White House.”

Luis Vicente Leon, president of the Caracas-based polling firm Datanalisis, said Maduro Guerra does not appear to be a popular figure who might have a bright future in politics, noting that his father has little political currency to share with a popularity rating of about 15 percent.

That would be a good point if Maduro’s popularity, or lack of it, mattered. But of course the whole point is that it clearly doesn’t matter. That’s the beauty of being a dictator, you get to carry on regardless of how people feel about it. Maduro may not have any popularity to share with his son, but he can prepare him to take over the family business, which is socialist dictatorship. We started with democratic socialism under Hugo Chavez but a decade later we’re back to the line of royal succession or something indistinguishable from it.

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