The illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro has scheduled National Assembly elections for December 6th. But there is no point in holding such a vote, because as U.S. Special Representative Elliot Abrams noted in a recent briefing, “none of the basic conditions for free elections exist in Venezuela.”
“Opposition parties have been stolen and regime agents appointed to run them; the national elections commission is completely under regime control; freedom of the press does not exist; repression and intimidation by the police and colectivo gangs continues,” noted Mr. Abrams. Indeed, there aren’t even reliable and tested voting machines in Venezuela.
Moreover, the rules were recently changed by the Maduro regime, which created over 100 new National Assembly seats and changed voting district lines. For these reasons, Interim President Juan Guaidó and a coalition of 37 parties have said they would not legitimize such fraud by participating in the election.
The United States has supported the diverse and broad array of democratic actors fighting for liberty and democracy in Venezuela. Special Representative Abrams cautioned those who have decided to participate in the National Assembly elections, saying, “you have a special obligation to demand the necessary, internationally accepted conditions for free and fair elections, and to speak openly about the repression and corruption of the Maduro regime.”
The United States is able to distinguish between democratic actors who differ on strategy and people who work with the regime to undermine democracy, said Mr. Abrams. “We will not hesitate to apply the full force of U.S. sanctions to the latter group, as we have been doing in the last few years. To all Venezuelans who struggle for free elections and a restoration of democracy, we continue to pledge our full support.”