Late last month, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela said that in the event of a defeat for his party in December’s legislative election, he would “not hand over the revolution.” That outcome, he warned, would force him to govern “with the people in a civil-military union.” That message is disturbing. Mr. Maduro appears to be suggesting that if his ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela takes a beating at the ballot box on Dec. 6, as polls predict, he will render the legislative branch toothless. As his support base has dwindled in recent years, Mr. Maduro’s government has arbitrarily prosecuted political opponents and unfairly disqualified opposition leaders from running for office. He gerrymandered voting districts to give his party a leg up and sought to shore up popular support by picking fights with two neighbors, Guyana and Colombia.
The world has noticed. On Nov. 10, Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, sent the chief of the Venezuelan election commission an 18-page letter raising alarm about the fairness of the coming vote. The tone of the letter was remarkable because the O.A.S., of which Venezuela is a member, has historically been reluctant to publicly criticize Latin American leaders. The following day, a group of 157 lawmakers from the United States, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru sent Mr. Maduro a letter urging him to allow international observers to monitor the vote.
Full Article: Venezuela’s Threatened Elections – The New York Times.