Common Frontiers participated in monitoring the elections. This is a report back from the delegation that was led by CODEPINK.
Why Observe Elections?
Ever since the election of Hugo Chávez as president of Venezuela on December 6, 1998, in apparent defiance of U.S. hegemony in Latin America, the United States Government has made innumerable attempts to destabilize and even forcibly overthrow the elected Government of Venezuela. Over the course of 25 elections since 1998, among the most extensive exercises in electoral processes in the Americas, the U.S. has increasingly decried these elections to be “fraudulent” and “illegitimate” despite earlier more balanced reports by international observers, including the Organization of American States, the United Nations, the Carter Center.
The day after the National Assembly elections of December 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of State condemned the elections as “fraudulent” which “failed to meet any minimum standard of credibility.” It claimed that “Maduro brazenly rigged these elections in his favor through the illegal seizure of political parties’ names and ballot logos, manipulation of the process by his loyalist electoral council, violence and intimidation, and other undemocratic tactics.”
Canada’s Ministry of Global Affairs asserted without evidentiary basis in a Joint Declaration with a number of other Latin American countries that the elections “lack legality and legitimacy because they were carried out without minimum guarantees of a democratic process, which include freedom, security and transparency, the integrity of ballots, the participation of all political forces, and inclusion of international observation.”
Given the extreme polarization of class politics in Venezuela and the coercive interventions of external actors – such as sanctions, interceptions of ships in international waters, and armed assistance to opposition militias – it is essential that independent neutral election observers verify first-hand whether the elections are free, fair, secure, and have integrity. Accordingly, CODEPINK, a grassroots peace and justice organization centered in North America, assembled a delegation of journalists, activists, and academics from the United States and Canada to travel to Venezuela to observe firsthand and without prejudice the National Assembly elections.