On January 5, 2020, the Venezuelan National Assembly will vote on its president for 2020 — that is, if they’re allowed to exercise their democratic rights.
Recent actions by the former Maduro regime suggest otherwise.
Amid arrests, extortion and rampant corruption committed by Nicolás Maduro, the U.S. government reinforced its call for a free and fair electoral process for the National Assembly.
Maduro will “threaten, exile, detain, bribe,” Elliott Abrams, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela said December 20. The regime is said to be offering up to $500,000 per vote. “That is step one. Step two will be to try to grab control of the National Assembly by preventing free elections in 2020.”
The National Assembly, the last democratic institution in Venezuela, has been targeted by Maduro over the past year as he tries to render the nation’s democracy ineffective.
Twenty percent of the National Assembly’s deputies “have been detained, forced into exile, or had their constitutional immunities from prosecution revoked,” said Abrams.
In the last presidential election, Maduro bribed Venezuelans by trading food for votes — a tempting offer for the millions of starving Venezuelans trying to survive widespread food shortages and hyperinflation.
“The Maduro regime fears free elections,” said Abrams, and only a true democratic electoral process “can bring Venezuela out of the repression and poverty that have been the hallmark of the Maduro years.”