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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Nicolás Maduro promises to shake Venezuela’s economy


Nicolás Maduro, the president of Venezuela, closed his presidential campaign Thursday with a rally on Bolivar Avenue in Caracas. The concentration required a huge logistical effort in which many official buses brought sympathizers of ministerial offices and volunteers from the interior of the country. There, the Venezuelan leader continued to make promises of a better future for its citizens.

Far from the years of power of Chavez, the rally had the notorious presence of Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona, who greeted the masses and danced on the stage carrying the flag of Venezuela. As described by several media, an angry and irritable Maduro repeatedly asked his followers to "not leave him alone" before the size of the company that had his government ahead and promised a profound transformation of the economy if the citizens owe him their vote. Maduro had harsh words for his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, whom he blamed for maneuvering to break the stability of his government and which he sent "to hell" on several occasions. Responsible for causing an unprecedented economic and social earthquake, the successor of Hugo Chávez said he has a financial plan that "will shake the whole world" if he is reelected this Sunday. "Do you know me well? Do you trust me? (...) Today I am not the candidate of five years ago, I am a seasoned president, more qualified," he said to a militancy diminished by the Chavismo divisions.

Under the threat of the triumph of abstention in an election qualified as fraudulent by the opposition coalition Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), Maduro has called for the support of opposition voters to consolidate the public peace. Meanwhile, in its campaign, which lasted 26 days, he ordered the arrest of 12 Banesco executives and the bank's intervention for three months; the taking of Kellogg's facilities in Venezuela and even the repression of political prisoners at the headquarters of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), known as El Helicoide, in Caracas. The rejection of Maduro's government is undeniable. His economic management of the country has triggered an uncontrollable hyperinflation, the shortage of food and products, scared off investors and reduced production to extreme levels. The president insists that he is sabotaged from abroad to destroy "the Revolution".

The Chavista political-electoral apparatus is organized and hermetic, but the burden of the crisis weighs heavily on the possibilities of Maduro, whose acceptance figures are around 28%. Almost all the pollsters agree in giving an advantage to Henri Falcón, his rival opponent, in a range that oscillates in 12 percent, if those who "probably" decide to vote are included in the sample. Both are flanked by Javier Bertucci, who does it for level close to 14. More than half of the voters consider unreliable the organization of elections and the conduct of the CNE. However, this is not the first time we face such a situation, and Chavistas have always won. Will this time be different?