Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Democratic Opposition Wins a Supermajority in the Venezuelan Congressional Elections

The people of Venezuela have demonstrated a new way to end dictatorship by electing a supermajority of democratic opposition candidates to the national assembly.  The Socialists had won every election in Venezuela in 17 years and had entrenched themselves in power by increasing authoritarianism and handing out benefits to poor voters to win their support. 

The results are a stunning blow to the left, as Venezuela was the heart of the socialist revolution in Latin America.

The Socialist regime had announced after midnight Eastern Standard Time that the opposition had gained a majority of seats, with several results still uncertain, and the dictatorial President conceded defeat and renounced his implied threat of violence if the opposition won.  By the opposition’s count, they have won at least two-thirds of the congressional seats.  Venezuela has been plagued by a severe economic crisis and a high rate of violent crime.  Even when the oil-rich state benefited from high energy prices, there had been chronic power outages in the “Socialist Paradise.”  Oppression and corruption were additional concerns of Venezuelans that helped produce the opposition victory.

With its supermajority, the opposition not only can override the dictator’s vetoes of legislation, but can fire the vice president and ministers, as well as constitutional and other high court judges and appoint judges in their place, which is crucial because the regime controls the courts.  It can also enact constitutional reforms and place referenda on the ballot, as well as recall or impeach the President. 

As I have posted frequently, Venezuela’s anti-American Socialist regime has exported revolution, thwarted drug control efforts by the United States, given support to Colombia’s Marxist narco-terrorists and other terrorists, and, as a member of what I call the “Axis of Rogues,” even allied itself with Iran and other rogue states.  Despite their democratic election to power, the Socialists had curtailed the freedom of the press and assembly, destroyed the independence of the judiciary, and jailed political opponents on trumped-up charges and prevented many of them from standing for election.  Violence and intimidation were tools of the regime and its supporters to maintain their grip on power.

The opposition had to face the threat of death (and one of them was, in fact, murdered at a rally) to campaign for election and the people, too, had to brave intimidation from the regime in order to cast their ballots for their candidates of choice.  Although there is some concern the regime will try to entrench itself further in power in the next few weeks before the incoming congressmen take office, the opposition is confident it can undo such efforts.   

In addition to addressing Venezuela’s terrible problems and beginning to substitute free-market reforms for socialism, among the priorities of the incoming congressional majority are freeing political prisoners and cutting off subsidies for Communist Cuba and Marxist-led Nicaragua.  As a result of the elections, the incoming pro-American conservative President of Argentina, whose election victory late last month was a harbinger of the beginning of the end of Venezuela’s socialist revolution, has now dropped his efforts to exclude Venezuela from a regional body because of its authoritarianism.  

The win by the Venezuelan opposition guarantees that one of the three branches of government will act as a check on the others, and thus the long-suffering people of Venezuela will be able, at least to some degree, to enjoy liberty.  May Venezuela soon enjoy peace and freedom and may the incoming congressional majority be successful in improving the lives of Venezuelans.

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