The low turnout in the Guyana referendum is ruining Maduro’s plans

“Jorge Rodríguez (President of Parliament) is screaming like crazy on his cell phone and thinks he can mobilize with threats. These people have the sun behind them. The tomb of Madurismo is built in El Essequibo. The message was written on the social network X by the former Minister of Tourism, Andres Izarra, who now lives in Germany and is considered a traitor to the “Bolivarian Revolution”. It was still midday on Sunday and reflected the alleged desperation of Venezuela’s ruling leadership over the low turnout in the referendum on the territorial dispute with Guyana.

More than 15,000 polling stations were set up for the day, but there were only a few images throughout the day that showed widespread enthusiasm for voting among the population. Empty centers or with only a few voters were the rule. During a tour of various locations in Caracas conducted by LA RAZÓN, the presence of between six and ten voters in two voting centers was barely noticeable. Incidentally, more military guards voted than civilians. After 2 p.m. in the afternoon, some centers reported a turnout of 30% in traditionally Chavista areas.

A mayor of Chavismo, Marisel Velasquez, from the east of the country, explained that the low voter turnout was due to the fact that automated voting was very fast and there was no time to accumulate people at the polls. The President of the National Electoral Council, Elvis Amoroso, also stated that the turnout was huge. “We currently have three times the turnout of other electoral processes,” he said at midday. He did not specify who he was comparing to.

Two weeks earlier, Amoroso had claimed the same thing during an election simulation: voter turnout had tripled, without mentioning the number. Then Maduro assured that about three million people had voted in this simulation and that he expected 12 million to do so on December 3rd. In Venezuela, 20.6 million voters are eligible to vote.

This Sunday, Nicolás Maduro cast his vote early in the morning in Caracas. “We had a coffee and went straight to the voting center, I wanted to be the first to feel that feeling.” “I’m very excited,” he said. He added that with the consultation they hope to present a united national front so that Guyana “returns to the Geneva Agreement and the mechanisms of peaceful and diplomatic negotiations.”

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The election consultation asked five questions that had to be answered with “yes” or “no”. At issue was the approval of the 1899 arbitration award that handed over the Essequibo territory to Guyana (and which Venezuela denounces as illegitimate) and the 1966 Geneva Convention (which raises the dispute and its mechanisms). by not recognizing the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (which is currently examining the case), by defying Guyana’s control over this territory and by establishing its own autonomous state in this approximately 160,000 kilometer long strip rich in petroleum , gold and other natural resources (which would require a constitutional amendment and could violate the Geneva Convention itself).

Several opposition leaders took part, such as: Henrique Capriles, Henry Ramos and sitting governors who argued to defend voting as a tool. Opposition presidential candidate María Corina Machado rejected this, calling the event unnecessary because “sovereignty is exercised and not consulted.”

Meanwhile, reports mounted of pressure in the official sector to participate, with lists of public servants and social program recipients having to be checked when they went to voting centers, threatening penalties and exclusions.

People in Guyana are taking to the streets

People in Guyana took to the streets this Sunday to demonstrate for “the conservation” of Essequibo, EFE reports. Guyanese met in different areas of their country to form a “chain of hands” with the aim of sending a message of unity in the face of the dispute with the neighboring country, which is proposing in a referendum the annexation of Essequibo on its map, what Georgetown categorically rejects.

During the day, Guyanese, who also marched and danced, waved their flag and wore T-shirts with their map – which includes the disputed territory – and the words “Essequibo is part of Guyana (Essequibo is part of Guyana).” Participating in the activity several authorities, including the president Irfaan Aliwho this Sunday called on Venezuela to act “responsibly” regarding its non-binding referendum.

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