Chavista military deployment for the repetition of the elections in Barinas
BARINAS.- This Sunday the elections will be repeated in the state of Barinas, Venezuela, where Chavismo lost the regional elections last November, after two decades in power. For the occasion, the government of Nicolás Maduro requested a broad military deployment; more than 24,000 security officials will guard the machines and equipment for the voting, according to the newspaper El País. The number of military contingent would be six times greater than that of the last election.
Last November 21 in the regional elections in Venezuela, the opposition candidate Freddy Superlano celebrated his triumph over Argenis Chávez, sister of former President Hugo Chávez, and who is part of the Chavista succession that has ruled in the territory of Barinas for more than 20 years. But the opposition’s happiness did not last long. The defeat struck a chord in the government, and thanks to the country’s Supreme Court, which blocked the result with a sentence, they managed to repeat the elections on January 9. The excuse to return to the polls is that Superlano had a supposed disqualification.
Tomorrow’s elections will be held in a militarized environment, information collected by the newspaper El País after complaints from some NGOs. Although Superlano, the previous candidate, in November had more than a hundred votes ahead of Chávez, it was never possible to know with certainty what was the total of votes he obtained since three minutes were not completed. And it is this lack of oversight that the opposition fears. Although these elections were part of the negotiations between them and the government, which also brought international observers to Venezuela, this time, they will not have that guarantee. In fact, the European Union mission was expelled.
Sergio Garrido, 54, was chosen to replace Freddy Superlano in the elections for the governor of Barinas. “This is a fight more or less to what is written in the Bible, which is the fight between David and Goliath”Garrido told Reuters on Friday. The new candidate will have to face Jorge Arreaza, 48, former Foreign Minister of Nicolás Maduro, and recognized Chavista leader. He will replace Argenis Chávez on the ballot.
The status that is being disputed this Sunday at the polls is important because it extends to both sides of the border areas, a place where the increase of Colombian illegal armed groups has been seen, and also because It is one of the famous points of Chavismo, where, as has been seen, they will not give their hand to twist to maintain power through the government.
Despite what might seem like an uneven contest, the opposition accepted to participate in this new vote in case they manage to ratify the victory that they had reached last November in the plains state of Barinas. For its part, the ruling party hopes to reverse the situation, despite the fact that in the last regional elections it won 19 of the 13 governorates in the country.