In Venezuela, opposition wins historic victory on Hugo Chavez land

Decades of the Chavez family’s stranglehold on the post of governor of the state of Barinas ended on Sunday, January 9. The Venezuelan opposition won a historic victory in the election for this post held since 1998 by the family of the former Venezuelan president in this strategic state, at the end of a poll which saw the power do everything to wrest the victory, after a first election canceled by the courts in November 2021.

Almost unknown a few weeks ago, the opponent Sergio Garrido, elected regional, replaced at short notice the opposition candidate, Freddy Superlano, who was leading the vote when the justice canceled the vote and declared it ineligible. According to the results announced in the evening by the National Electoral Council, Sergio Garrido won a comfortable victory, collecting 55.36% of the vote, against 41.27% for Jorge Arreaza, the candidate for power.

The Chavez dynasty began with the president’s father, Hugo de los Reyes Chavez (1998-2008) and continued with his brothers Adan (2008-2016) and Argenis (2017-2021). “We did not achieve the objective” to win, Mr Arreaza, Chavez’s former son-in-law, wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday evening, even before the results were announced. Former vice-president of Venezuela and ex-minister of foreign affairs, Jorge Arreaza, heavyweight of Chavismo, had been parachuted into this state in the west of the country to replace the outgoing governor Argenis Chavez, who had given up standing for re-election after the first ballot.

Divided opposition

“The noble people of Barinas have won the victory”, meanwhile rejoiced on Twitter Sergio Garrido, propelled governor. “With the unity and strength of each of you, we have succeeded… succeeded in overcoming obstacles and adversities despite all that we have had to face. “ Divided in the elections of November 21, the opposition had suffered, at the national level, a stinging defeat in the face of power, which had won 19 of 23 states and the town hall of Caracas.

In addition to the symbolic aspect of the victory against the Chavez, the opposition wins a key region for President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s successor, with its agricultural plains, its oil reserves and its location near the Colombian border where guerrillas are rife and drug traffickers. During the campaign, Garrido had criticized ” diversion “ State resources to favor the candidate for power. And on Sunday he denounced the arrest “Unjustified” of two activists in Barrancas.

Agence France-Presse could not confirm these arrests. The ballot was supervised by a large security system, with some 25,000 law enforcement officers, including 15,000 soldiers. In November, while the results were published for the other states, those of Barinas were delayed for days, then finally suspended, while, after the counting of 90% of the ballots, Freddy Superlano led with 37.60% of the vote. , against 37.21% for Argenis Chavez. The opposition denounced a “Hack”.

Read also In Venezuela, the opposition mobilizes after the cancellation of the election in the stronghold of Chavez

The Venezuelan power has mobilized its electoral machine for the new election and sent ministers and senior officials to the region to pave the way alongside Mr. Arreaza. Barinas is, like the rest of the country, embroiled in an economic crisis that has caused the per capita GDP of this oil-producing country to fall to the level of that of Haiti. Before the ballot, the director of the Delphos Institute, Felix Seijas, estimated that “The government does[sai]t all he p[ouvai]t to win the Barinas “ while the opposition wants to organize a referendum to try to remove the president, Nicolas Maduro. The opposition could try to take advantage of this coup to launch a campaign in favor of the referendum.

The World with AFP

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In Venezuela, opposition wins historic victory on Hugo Chavez land

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