This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 18, 2017:
Venezuela’s Marxist dictator Nicolas Maduro celebrated the phony, fraudulent election on Sunday as if it were real and meant something:
We have won 75 percent of the country’s governorships … Chavismo [the socialist policies that have driven once-prosperous Venezuela into the ground] is alive [and] triumphant.
He rejoiced in the election’s supposed slap against foreign devils, including the United States: “This victory is a moral and political feat of the Venezuelan people who have learned to resist the onslaughts of the oligarchy’s war and who have said ‘no to sanctions,’ ‘no to interventionism.’’’
He didn’t tell his supporters that his victory is likely to be very short-lived.
That his election was clearly manipulated was spelled out by U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert: “We condemn the lack of free and fair elections yesterday in Venezuela. The voice of the Venezuelan people was not heard.” She added that there had been “last minute changes to polling station locations without public notice, manipulation of ballot layouts, and limited availability of voting machines in opposition neighborhoods.” In addition, independent credible outside monitors of the elections were prohibited from overseeing the election process by Marxist dictator Maduro’s regime.
Those manipulations were similar to the ones instigated by Maduro during the July 30 election of his “constituent assembly.” There he had 6,000 handpicked supporters running for the assembly’s 550 seats. To cement that election into place, his people manipulated at least a million votes. And finally, his own voter council “ratified” that election as being legitimate.
What options are open to what remains of the opposition? With more than 400 political prisoners in jail, many of them legitimately elected as mayors opposed to Maduro, and any of those from Sunday’s election not pledging allegiance to his regime likely to join them, what can be done? Those rampaging violent street riots that protested Maduro cost the lives of 120 individuals. With Sunday’s election results appearing to cement Maduro’s regime into place for the foreseeable future, their options are limited.
Outside sanctions by Argentina, Spain, and Columbia are having little effect. The European Union is threatening to apply sanctions, but so far that is just talk. The U.S. has limited Wall Street’s ability to continue to fund Maduro’s regime through the bond market, and Trump has applied sanctions onto Maduro and many of his henchmen. All they have done so far is push Maduro into the arms of his enablers: Russia, China, and Cuba.
There are two ways the Venezuelan people could regain their freedom. President Trump has so far not applied sanctions to the oil companies operating the Gulf Coast refineries which are supporting Maduro to the tune of $1 billion a month through their purchases of Venezuela’s heavy crude. The president has been persuaded that shutting off that flow would cost American jobs and might raise the price of oil, so he has kept his hands off that lever.
But exercising that lever most likely would hasten the other element working for freedom in that sad and declining country: default and seizure of precious energy assets. Maduro’s country has external debt approaching $600 billion, far beyond its ability to pay back. Even interest and principal payments are going to push Maduro to the limit. Those payments due in October and November amount of $3.5 billion, and he simply doesn’t have the funds. Shutting off that flow from America would mark the death knell for Maduro. Those defaults would trigger the seizure of precious energy assets and end his regime.
Maduro bought some time with his fraudulent election victory on Sunday but his time is running out.
Latin America Herald Tribune: Venezuela’s Maduro Says Chavismo Still Alive after Party Wins Regional Votes
The Wall Street Journal: Venezuela’s Latest Election Fraud
The Wall Street Journal: Venezuela Opposition Has Few Options After Vote Many Call Fraudulent
The Wall Street Journal: Venezuelan Officials Tampered With Election, Voting-Software Firm Says
The Miami Herald: U.S. imposes first economic sanctions against Venezuela