Opinion: Aftermath of the Venezuela Vote

Openly condemned by the world, Maduro’s win is already proving troublesome for the South American nation, from sanctions to missing politicians and police brutality.

On August 30, the polls were opened in Venezuela. Maduro’s Socialist Party hailed victorious. Officials said 8.1 million citizens cast their vote. Yet the opposition estimates the true number was anywhere between two and four million. Voter turnout varied across the country. In the blue-collar district of Petare where voters claim they were threatened with job and government subsidy losses, few voted and Maduro even held the polls open for an additional hour to accommodate them. However, in Caracas, at the Poliedro sporting arena, crowds waited to vote. Nonetheless, the U.S. has called the election a “sham”. The U.S., Peru, and Colombia are among the nations imposing sanctions on Venezuela. Meanwhile, leaders of the opposition have been kidnapped in the last 48 hours, and at least 14 protesters have been killed, though the Venezuelan government denies this. The Constituent Assembly is said to be set up within three days of the vote, and many believe that Attorney General Luisa Ortega will soon lose her post.venezuela fi.jpg

On Tuesday, the family members of Lepoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma, leaders of the opposition who urged citizens to boycott the vote, were taken from their homes where they had been serving house arrest for their role in anti-government protests in 2014. Lopez’s wife tweeted, “12:27 in the morning: the moment when the dictatorship kidnaps Leopoldo at my house”. She described the details of what happened, adding that the vehicles they had been taken in were marked, “Sebin”, indicative of Venezuela’s intelligence agency.

“Venezuela stands on the brink of disaster.” – Boris Johnson, British Foreign Secratary

As for the rest of the world, there has been a rare show of international solidarity condemning the election and following violence. The U.S., Peru and Colombia have imposed harsh financial sanctions on Venezuela, with the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying, “Yesterday’s illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people…”. Furthermore, European Parliament president Antonio Tajani was quoted saying, “We will not recognize this election, president. “It is very clear that the current regime is clinging to power. The will of the people is to change the regime. It is necessary to go to elections now.” Venezuela’s fellow Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, and Paraguay also oppose the vote. Britain has also spoken out against Maduro’s win. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says, “Venezuela stands on the brink of disaster.” Certainly, Venezuela is on a path to total dictatorship and worldly isolation.

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