Sunday, July 30, 2017

Venezuela Vote Explainer Explained

Venezuelans are voting today on members of a Constituent Assembly. TeleSur's handy explainer tells us a lot, actually more than it probably intends. Three main points:

1. The nine stated goals (as laid out in a decree from Nicolás Maduro) make no sense. Somehow this assembly will mean Venezuela is no longer dependent on oil and Venezuelans will all get along. Laying them out so uncritically would be amusing if it weren't so perverse.

2. The sectors are confusing and the voting system chaotic.

A post at Caracas Chronicles highlights how confusing it is for voters. Even if you sort out your sector (there are nine sub-sectors within workers too) then you have to figure out who the candidates actually are and where to vote.

Conditions change by the minute, and because there are so many candidates, people will vote for a number, not a name. Chances are, people will just pick them at random.   
The grandpa scratched his cheek. 
“Well, first I’ll vote for number one, that’s Delcy (Rodríguez). Then I’ll vote for the number a friend is going to tell me, someone she knows and I like.”
There's too little information available and the voting system is intended to be opaque. Just choose a number and get a Chavista. The state will work out the rest.

3. The process is an explicit rejection of representative democracy.

This has been described as an attempt to deepen the kind of participatory democracy mentioned in the 1999 Bolivarian Constitution, but developed more explicitly after 2005 by the government of Hugo Chavez. However it is anathema to those who believe representative democracy – electing representatives every four or five years and leaving it to them – is the only acceptable form of democracy.

This almost renders #2 moot. Who cares about the name of the candidate when they have no plans to represent you anyway? And that really sums up the explainer and the process itself.


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