Venezuela assembly vote ‘endorsement’ of government

August 1, 2017 3:30 pm
Turmoil continues to grip in the wake of its National Constituent Assembly vote. The government has put the turnout at 41.5 percent. But the opposition, which had boycotted the vote, has reacted with mockery and anger, claiming that 88 percent of voters had abstained. President Nicolas Maduro has hailed the result as the endorsement of the Bolivarian Revolution. Rejecting the vote, the White House has slapped an asset freeze on Maduro and called him a dictator. The Venezuelan president, however, has remained defiant, saying he won’t be sacred by the empire’s “sanctions.” Following is a synopsis of an interview Press TV has conducted with Michael Lane, the founder of the American Institute for Foreign Policy, and Jason Unruhe, a political commentator, about ’s controversial vote.
Jason Unruhe interprets the high public turnout in Venezuela’s vote as a big failure for the United States and the opposition forces who have been seeking to delegitimize the current political process in the Latin American country.
“They are trying to delegitimize the democracy in order to justify harsher measures against the Venezuelan government,” Unruhe said.
“If it was such a fraudulent political process, why would so many people be involved? Why would so many people be voting if it was merely symbolic?” he said, describing the vote as the Venezuelan population’s endorsement of the Bolivarian government that has been continuously democratically elected and certified by the international groups who have monitored their elections,” he continued.
Unruhe further criticized Washington for disrupting the democratic political processes of countries that are not aligned with it, asserting that American officials want to drag Venezuela back to the colonial era.  
“Venezuela was not a big democracy before the Bolivarian Revolution. It was one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It had one of the worst crime rates. It had terrible poverty which was cut in half by the Bolivarian Revolution in a while,” the analyst noted.
“So, if the Western powers seek to subjugate Venezuela back towards a colonial status, it doesn’t really matter. It matters what the Venezuelan people want and their voting turnout has spoken for that.” 
However, Michael Lane, the other panelist on the show, dismissed the allegations about the Western countries’ intervention in Venezuela. He said that, in his opinion, the current disastrous economic and political situation in the country was the result of the Socialist Party’s measures.
“It is very sad what has become Venezuela. If you look back 18 years before the Socialists took over, it was a shining democracy and a shining economy in all ,” Lane said, adding that Venezuela has turned to an economic basket case where there is no future for people and everything is falling apart.
“What [former] president [Hugo] Chavez and now Maduro have done to that country is incredibly sad,” he underlined.
Lane further described the election as “an illegitimate vote” that would not help Maduro control the situation.    
When President Chavez wanted a new constitution, he put it to a referendum and he got a ‘Yes’ vote, Lane said, but President Maduro just declared by edict that he was going to write a new constitution and have all his cronies elected to the Constituent Assembly.
“It is a vote that is not being really recognized by the world. It is a very very small list of countries that view this as legitimate,” Lane said, predicting that Venezuelan people will continue to suffer.
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