Venezuelan Opposition "Consultation"
Playing Alone and Losing
Date Written: 19/07/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21128
The Venezuelan opposition "referendum", which in reality was nothing more than a non-binding 'consultation' without any legal status, was predicted as a major political earthquake that would instantly change the country's landscape.
It is hard to understand the over-the-top statements of opposition officials and media. The turnout, while significant, was smaller than in previous elections, way smaller than the outlandish predictions, and that is giving a pass to all the dubious number manipulations. The demands have been heard for weeks and were echoed by leading figures even before the "results" were tallied. The entire show was irrelevant because "victory" had been pre-announced, and the corresponding massive chavista participation in an electoral dry-run (see below) was surely not expected. Jorge Martín summarised the current crossroads for the Venezuelan opposition:
"We can therefore say that the opposition "referendum" backfired. At the time of writing, the opposition leaders have not yet come out to say what are the next steps they intend to take. Their rhetoric before July 16 was fiery. The consultation was to be the "zero hour" for a national uprising and the removal of the government before the July 30 Constituent Assembly elections. They might still try that, but now it looks less likely that they will achieve any such thing. Of course they will not stop trying. Both Spain and the US are already mulling over the idea of sanctions against Venezuela (perhaps targeted at selected officials) "if the Constituent Assembly goes ahead."