As the Maduro regime prepares to hold presidential elections tomorrow, the extent of its vote-purchasing power is but one of a long list of issues that are guaranteed to make tomorrow’s vote little more than a play to legitimize Maduro’s continued rule.
Manuel Rondon, the head of the Coalicion Sindical Nacional [National Union Coalition”[, a union organization that represents public sector workers, told El Nacional today of some of the complaints his office has received from individuals who are being forced to attend pro-regime rallies and to vote for Maduro tomorrow.
According to Rondon, 15 workers at the Instituto Nacional de Servicios Sociales [National Institute of Social Services] were fired yesterday for refusing to attend Maduro’s campaign rally in Caracas a day earlier. Rondon said that the workers were fired effective immediately, without any kind of administrative procedure. He said:
They were fired because they weren’t [at the rally] when they went through the list at the march. All of their rights have been violated.
In Venezuela, public sector workers are often forced to attend regime events in order to give the impression for television cameras that there are large crowds at these events. It is not uncommon for entire offices to be bused together to rallies, and for individuals to have to sign-in with a supervisor at the event to confirm their attendance.
Servando Carbone, the head of the Federacion Nacional de Trabajadores del Sector Publico [National Federation of Public Sector Workers], explained that some workers who are forced to attend rallies in Caracas take the chance to buy food while they’re in the city. He said:
They make a list, and you have to sign this attendance list when you arrive and when the event ends. The people who live in the interior of the country, the ones that they bus in, they sign and then they take the opportunity to buy things because there is not food in other states, and then they head back [to the rally] to sign.
Carbone said that the regime’s tactic of forcing workers to attend rallies is tantamount to “using hunger and misery” to its benefit.
Manuel Rondon also said that some of the workers that he represents have complained that ruling-party officials have threatened to withhold subsidized food unless they vote for Maduro tomorrow. Rondon said:
Employees have been told that if they do not vote for president Nicolas Maduro, they will not be allowed to enter [their workplaces] on Monday and they will not be paid social benefits. They’ve also been threatened with withholding [social benefits] and the CLAP [food subsidy].
Servando Carbone said that despite the threats, he is convinced that an overwhelming majority of public sector workers will not vote for Maduro. Carbone said:
The president has been in power for five years and we have no security and no rights. The government has forced families to separate. Even government officials have their children abroad. He has destroyed employment, the family, life and prosperity.
Maduro Promises “Surprising” Turnout
Maduro spoke during a Facebook Live event this evening on tomorrow’s election, and foreshadowed what he assured would be a shockingly high voter turnout.
During the event, Maduro said:
Right now, there is fervor on the streets about going out to vote tomorrow. In Venezuela, the president is elected by the people. And that’s what is going to happen in about 11 hours, which is when they will open the voting centres [and when we will see] the magnificent participation that will surprise the world.
As Maduro made his comment, Tibisay Lucena–the head of the Consejo Nacional Electoral [National Electoral Council]–announced that all of the infrastructure needed to conduct the election was now in place, and that voting centres would open tomorrow at 6:00 AM.
A total of 20,526,989 voters are registered to cast their ballots tomorrow.
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