Maduro’s victory marks a defeat for the right and western imperialism, but this does not mean the end of US hostility, argues Jonathan Maunders
Venezuela’s recent National Assembly elections produced a clear victory for Nicolás Maduro, with his coalition recording 69% of the vote, winning 177 of the 277 available seats.
The election comes after an increase in parliamentarians and efforts to legitimise the ballot process.
While US-backed Juan Guaidó and his opposition group boycotted the elections, 106 organisations participated (very few supportive of Maduro’s coalition).
Guaidó has demanded his international allies reject the election results and refused to rule out violence to remove Maduro.
He has jumped on the relatively low 31% electoral turn-out as proof of fraud, both ignoring the ongoing Coronavirus context and the modest success of centrist parties.
The UN and EU refused to send election observers, whilst the US government made a rash of corruption allegations. Despite the EU predictably refusing to recognise the election results, they stopped short of restating their support for Guaidó, unlike the US.
This is no doubt a reflection of the political reality of Guaidó’s position.
Guaidó's support crumbles
The elections saw Guaidó lose control of parliament and, with it, much of his authority.
In 2019 the UK, US and Germany had backed his coup and claim to the presidency, using his leadership of the National Assembly as justification.
As he has lost that control, it will be harder for those countries to make such a justification. None will suddenly recognise Maduro’s presidency, but it’s likely Guaidó will slowly lose their backing as certainty of his failure grows.
The collapse in his support-base, in Venezuela and abroad, was recently underlined by the resignation of his UK envoy, citing uncertainty around his leadership.
Meanwhile, many former domestic allies have criticised his decision to boycott the elections.
Donald Trump’s two-year campaign to oust Maduro has ended in failure. In fact, Maduro is now in a stronger position, politically, than he was at the outset.
However, this victory and Trump’s subsequent departure will not suddenly mean a different relationship between the US and Venezuela.
Joe Biden has openly referred to Maduro as a ‘dictator’ and is unlikely to break with much of the Trump administration’s hostility.
Biden’s administration will undoubtedly work internationally to further undermine and isolate Venezuela’s government, preparing the groundwork for another attempted coup.
There is little doubt the election results represent a major victory for Maduro and opponents of US imperialism, but the threat will remain and demands a continued vigilance, both domestically and internationally.
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