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Venezuela, Maduro, Biden

Venezuela: After Sham Elections, How Will the Biden Administration React?

World leaders like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the Chavismo “show” as an electoral sham. Joe Biden has yet to speak out

[Leer en Español]

This Sunday, December 6th, the regime of Nicolás Maduro tried to deceive the world with sham elections -plagued with irregularities- that sought to legitimize a new and Chavista National Assembly. Nevertheless, world leaders like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Chavism’s “show” as an electoral farce. Joe Biden has yet to speak on the subject.

“What is happening today is a fraud and a farce, not an election,” Pompeo said this Sunday about the “elections” held by Nicolás Maduro.

“The electoral fraud in Venezuela has already been committed. The results announced by Maduro’s illegitimate regime will not reflect the will of the Venezuelan people,” said Pompeo through his social networks.

Likewise, Cuban-American Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart assured that Maduro will not be able to confuse them with these “false elections.”

“The desperate and evil Maduro dictatorship will not manage to confuse us with these false elections of today in his efforts to remain in power. The people of Venezuela deserve freedom and democracy,” the Republican Congressman said on Twitter.

For their part, Democratic Senators Bob Menendez and Dick Durbin spoke out last Friday and denounced that “with these elections Maduro seeks to perpetuate himself even more into power.”

Although Democrat Joe Biden hasn’t said a word about Nicolás Maduro’s electoral farce, sources assured Spain’s ABC newspaper that he will not recognize what happened in Venezuela because the alleged elections “are not free or transparent.”

“The president-elect of the United States, Democrat Joe Biden, will continue to recognize the composition of the National Assembly according to the last free elections, those of 2015, and Juan Guaidó as president of that body and in charge of the country, according to two people with knowledge of the internal discussions of the transition team that will take over the country on January 20th,” reported ABC.

In this sense, Donald Trump’s current administration does not recognize Maduro as the legitimate president. Instead, the United States considers Guaidó as the “interim president” of Venezuela. It remains to be seen what Joe Biden’s position will be in the White House and whether he will maintain support for the South American country’s opposition.

Biden in the White House: What will happen to Venezuela?

Although Biden has shown no signs of making any drastic changes in the U.S. sanctions policy toward Venezuela, during the election campaign his advisors revealed that if the Democratic candidate were to win, the President-elect will dismantle all of the policies toward Latin America undertaken by Donald Trump’s government, to the point that he will be willing to normalize relations with the Cuban regime and negotiate with the tyranny of Nicolás Maduro.

An article published by The New York Times points out that Biden and his team of foreign policy advisors have already drawn up plans for the region with which they will seek to revive the initiatives of the Obama era.

With regards to Venezuela, it is possible that Biden will fully dismantle the strategy designed by the White House of not recognizing Nicolás Maduro as head of State and, consequently, will seek to negotiate with him.

“Biden’s advisors conveyed little faith in continuing to treat Guaidó, who tried unsuccessfully to persuade the military to break ranks with Maduro, as the de facto leader of the country. A senior aide said the White House would seek negotiations with Maduro and pressure him to commit to fair elections,” The New York Times reported.

“The era of ‘maximum pressure’ is over. The era of all ‘options are on the table’ is over,” said Phil Gunson, the Caracas-based representative of the International Crisis Group, according to Univision.

Big Media Legitimizes Maduro’s Show

Although according to the Venezuelan Constitution it was indeed due to hold legislative elections this weekend; as it happens in Cuba, Maduro decided to cancel the opposition and to build custom-made candidacies without any democratic guarantees.

News agencies such as AFP, EFE, BBC and DW and other large media outlets such as CNN or AS decided to call Nicolás Maduro’s “show” an “election.”

The Spanish newspaper El País, for example, decided to legitimize the regime with a odious headline: Maduro takes control of the Parliament in Venezuela, with an abstention of 70%.

But there is nothing further from reality; the tyranny built an electoral day to measure and without opposition to take the National Assembly away from interim President Juan Guaidó, to have a parallel Parliament and to elevate the narrative that he regained control of the Legislative Power. The truth is that the tyrant does not control the legitimate opposition-majority Parliament presided over by Guaidó which is recognized by more than 50 governments around the world.

As expected, since no democratic conditions or guarantees existed, the abstention rate exceeded 80% due to the fact that Venezuelans decided not to participate in a set up that they also described as an “electoral farce.”

Guaidó continues to be Venezuela’s Interim President

The international community had already warned that it would not recognize the Chavista elections and that Juan Guaidó would remain the interim president of Venezuela until truly free elections were held.

In addition to the United States, the European Union (EU) announced that it would not recognize the results announced by the Chavista authorities. Not even the UN sent an observer mission, in the absence of democratic guarantees.

A manifesto signed by 1,000 jurists from 40 countries maintains the “radical nullity” of Maduro’s alleged legislation. The signatories are grouped in the World Jurist Association, a body that brings together judges, academics and lawyers from 140 countries.

In the document, the jurists state that the elections lack “the legal and political guarantees necessary for them to be considered free and democratic;” and that the legitimacy of the National Assembly [elected in 2015] “must be preserved to guarantee the protection of human rights in the country.”

For its part, the Colombian Foreign Ministry joined Pompeo’s voice and announced that it does not recognize the results announced by the Nicolás Maduro’s regime.

“Colombia does not recognize the results of the fraudulent elections of December 6th promulgated by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro without the guarantees of impartiality, freedom, equality of opportunities, justice and transparency of the democratic system,” assured the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a communiqué.

Likewise, the Brazilian Foreign Affairs Minister, Ernesto Araújo, described the supposed parliamentary elections as an “electoral farce.”

“The Maduro regime promoted today ‘parliamentary elections’ in Venezuela to try to legitimize itself. It will only legitimize itself in the eyes of those who appreciate or tolerate dictatorship or organized crime,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote this Monday in his Twitter account.

Even the Lima Group pronounced itself against Maduro’s fraud: “We reiterate that the elections to renew the Venezuelan National Assembly on December 6th, organized by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro, lack legality and legitimacy because they were carried out without the minimum guarantees,” said a joint statement of 17 countries in the region.

While democratic governments around the world are demonstrating in favor of Juan Guaidó and the fight for democracy in Venezuela, it is still to be seen what Joe Biden’s reaction will be after these false elections. And, above all, the question remains: what will be the position of the Biden Administration towards the Nicolás Maduro regime?

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