I did not do predictions, I limited myself to write that logic would have required in a normal country an advantage of half a million vote for the opposition, that maybe a plebiscitary quality to the vote would bring totals to 6 million for each side. I also stated that the cheating factor of the regime is about 5% which could disguise a half million vote opposition advantage. I cannot say how close to reality this is since the CNE announcement was confusing and we need to look in depth at the "other" candidates results to figure the real separation between opposition and regime. Thus on this respect I cannot evaluate myself yet.
Where I am happier is with my "board game" as a reader called my evaluation tool of the result. I said that I was expecting 30 points and so far I did get 29, pending a couple of unclear results that may cancel each other anyway. I suppose that I should have posted it earlier to allow people to play along, sorry. According to my own evaluation chart 29 falls in the "good score, Maduro questioned", but in the lower range, very close to "small progress". And this is exactly what we can say at this point about yesterday.
The regime has managed to hold back the push of the opposition, at a heavy price, but it did register some significant losses, and some very symbolic ones. It is impossible for the regime to find excuses for the losses of Barquisimeto and Barinas, two places which for political tradition or dynastic ones, for that matter, should be strongholds of chavismo.
In a way both sides can claim some form of success but the one that has lost ground is Maduro. For him to ensure that chavismo did not suffer further losses meant that he has wrecked the commercial sector of Venezuela and thus most certainly made the economic crisis worse for next year. He is the one that will pay the political cost. What did he gained by driving into bankruptcy who knows how many stores, and into unemployment who knows how many hard workers? From a quick view of results finally available on the CNE pages this only helped him to retain Caracas Libertador and weaken the bid of Ledezma for mayor at large, which he won anyway. 2%? 4% nationally? Too bad the opposition cannot afford good exit polls.
To measure that the regime result is rather paltry we must remind the reader that the opposition had to make its campaign under the following conditions:
- Lack of funding while the regime plastered the streets of Caracas with perhaps more posters than actual votes gained by Villegas.
- Lack of access to media. The opposition message was for all purposes shut down from TV, and limited on the radio, while the state TV system was a mere 24/7 propaganda machinery serving chavista candidates. Even the New York Times chimed in strongly: "Government-operated television stations continually promoted Socialist candidates and vilified the opposition."
- Political prosecution was a favorite tool for the regime, disabling many a candidate and creating a self censorship inside the press that did not want to get into trouble.
- The constant direct and grievous insults from Maduro to anyone inside the opposition, as well as those coming from his principal associates contributed to create an atmosphere of fear, fear of becoming part of the political apartheid that is the true foundation of this regime since the Tascon List was set in 2003. How many public employees and Mision participant simply voted for the regime out of fear?
- Plus many other "details" from gerrymandering to an accomplice silence of the CNE, when not helping actively the regime, without forgetting the use of ambulances to post posters for a chavista candidate....
If we consider all of that, the opposition got a respectable score, which would have been even better if some mistakes had not been made, but that is for other entries.
Thus as a general evaluation we can say only that the opposition improved its positions but that it is still weak, that the lack of a strong message is blocking it from making further progress in front of a regime of clearly fascist tendency which will use any possible trickery to stay in place.
Now we must wait to see how the economic crisis play and how weakened internally will Maduro be. At least he escaped the plebiscite effect against him, but he certainly got zero approval. To pat myself in the back, I realize that I did write the conclusion of this election before the election was held...... not that it is of much comfort considering what awaits us.