Political analyst and economist Luis Vicente Leon was the guest today on Jose Vicente Hoy, an interview television show that airs on Sunday on the Televen network. During the interview, Leon criticized the opposition for its decision to not participate in the May 20 presidential election, and on Maduro’s continued unpopularity.
On the matter of voter abstention, Leon pointed out that the opposition could not possibly hope to win the election if it did not participate. He also chastised Venezuelans who are planning to not take part in the vote, saying:
If you don’t vote, you’re giving power to the other political actor.
Leon did not address the fact that the opposition believes that the elections are rigged in favour of Maduro, and that he is guaranteed to win the vote regardless of how many people vote against him.
On Maduro’s unpopularity, Leon cited a recent survey:
The margin [that Maduro occupies] when it comes to popularity is between his worst moment–18% acceptance–and his best, which is now, when he’s seeing between 25% and 26% acceptance.
Leon also said that as a result, Maduro’s unpopularity would make it impossible for him to win a general election against an opposition candidate. Leon made it clear that as a result, Maduro has designed the presidential election to guarantee his victory. Leon explained:
How can he win if he has 25% [popularity]? (…) There’s a non-competitive election. This is true (…) There’s an election where you can only vote for the [candidates that] they allow you to vote for.
The fact that the presidential election has already been rigged in favour of Maduro is evidenced, Leon argued, by the fact that the most popular opposition leaders are banned from running for office .Leon said that surveys continue to find that jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez of the Voluntad Popular party is the most popular leader in Venezuela, and that former Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles is the second most popular politician. The Maduro regime has banned both men from running for office: Lopez through of his criminal conviction, and Capriles through an administrative ban.
The strongest [opposition] candidates in this presidential cycle, for example, cannot run. Leopoldo Lopez–whether or not we agree with his politics–Leopoldo Lopez is the strongest Venezuelan opposition leader in terms of popular support; and not only in the opposition. He’s the number one leader, politically, much more than president Maduro.
When you look at the [second place spot], you find that Henrique Capriles has been banned [from running for office. But still, if you look at [opposition] political parties like Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, they’ve been outlawed. (…) in a democracy, it cannot be that every political actors who are anti-establishment have committed crimes and cannot participate [in elections].
Maduro Calls on Venezuelans to Vote to Continue “Towards Prosperity”
Through his Twitter account, Maduro sent out a message today calling on Venezuelans to vote in the upcoming May 20 presidential election so that the country could continue to move forward under his leadership. In the tweet, Maduro made a number of dubious statements, including the assertion that Venezuela was “the world champion” in democracy and freedom.
Below, Maduro’s tweet:
Venezuela is the world champion when it comes to guarantees [sic], democracy and liberty. All of the People [sic] of Venezuela will go vote for peace, for stability. Because voting is the way to guarantee that Venezuela will continue on the road towards prosperity.
US Senator Claims Maduro Sent Envoy to Negotiate in Washington
US Senator Marco Rubio tweeted this morning that Maduro had sent Carabobo state governor Rafael Lacava to Washington, D.C. in order to negotiate an end to the US sanctions on regime officials.
In his tweets, Rubio referred to Lacava as a “money launderer”, apparently in reference to allegations made this week in the Spanish press that Lacava had attempted to move money into Andorran and Swiss bank accounts in 2009.
Below, Rubio’s tweets:
Rubio represents the state of Florida, which has a sizable Venezuelan population. As a result, Rubio has become a leading figure inside the US government when it comes to speaking out against the Maduro regime.
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