As his United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) surged to victory in Sunday’s regional elections, President Nicolas Maduro lauded it as a “success for the common people” of Venezuela. The PSUV won governorships in about 20 of Venezuela’s 23 states, according to the chairman of the National Electoral Council, Pedro Calzadilla. Though the turnout of 41.8 percent is low, it reverses a falling trend, since it is higher than the turnout of 30.5 percent in December 2020’s parliamentary elections.
The right-wing United Democratic Table (Mud), which is entirely supported by the United States, did quite poorly this election, winning just Cojedes and Zulia states, while the Neighbours Force party won the governorship in Nueva Esparta. It was the first time in four years that certain significant opposition parties took part in elections, breaking a boycott they alleged was caused by a lack of ‘free, fair, and transparent elections.’ They were unable, however, to derail Maduro’s party’s popularity, which has maintained high levels of support in Venezuela despite growing US hostility, including sanctions and a series of unsuccessful coup attempts.
As the results were revealed, the Bolivarian leader declared: “It is a triumph for the common people, the brave people of Venezuela, who have undergone a horrible conflict.” Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez said she cast her ballot on Sunday “in defense of Venezuela, for peace, democracy, and social satisfaction.” “In the face of colonial aggressions, our motherland will triumph,” she stressed. The poll was watched by over 300 observers from 55 nations, including a mission from the European Union.
Despite reports clearly indicating that the election went off without a hitch, Human Rights Watch’s Venezuela representative, Jose Miguel Vivanco, made baseless charges that armed groups attacked voting stations. Human Rights Watch has pushed for sanctions on Venezuela’s government in the past. Kenneth Roth, the organization’s head, publicly praised the 2019 US-sponsored coup in Bolivia, while a key official in the organization called the sanctions put on Nicaragua last year “excellent news.”