Abstention: the hallmark of local election in Venezuela
Only in 2008 there was high turnout
Keeping the share of power both for Chavezism and the dissent after the local election in Venezuela on Sunday will depend on the movement of voters.
How many people are entitled to vote? Except for the local election of October 31, 2008 –where mayors were also chosen- such kind of process does not usually prompt Venezuelans to cast their ballots.
The worst time concerning turnout was during the local election of 2004. By that time, the opposition rank and file was discouraged, partly because of the claims of fraud during the presidential recall referendum. In this way, abstention smashed a historical record of 54.72% of total voters. This means that 7,821,061 citizens would not vote then.
Notwithstanding, the abstention eight years ago cannot be viewed as a one-time event. In the election for state governors in 1989, 54% voters did not show up.
Neither the steps at decentralization nor two coup attempts embolden people to vote in the local election of 1992. A total of 50.72%, or 4,979,439 people enrolled in the register of voters refrained themselves from going to the ballots.
A simple reason: there is oil galore, would suffice to explain Guyana's actions. Another explanation lies in the little or none efforts made by the Venezuelan government to thwart the move by the Guyanese. This is certainly not a new problem, but a problem only recently highlighted because oil is involved. But what other resources does the disputed area hold? For most of us it is a section on the map with black and white stripes on it, a depiction of something distant, alien, a nothingness not worth paying much attention to in geography classes back in elementary school.