Without democratic rules and after removing the largest opposition candidate from the game, Venezuela repeats the elections in Barinas

The opposition candidate Sergio Garrido and that of the regime, Jorge Arreaza
The opposition candidate Sergio Garrido and that of the regime, Jorge Arreaza

After an imminent defeat halted by a court ruling, Chavismo set in motion all its machinery to maintain control of Barinas, the state where Hugo Chávez was born., become the center of Venezuela’s politics with the governor’s elections this Sunday.

Today’s elections represent a controversial repetition ordered by the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) which annulled the results of November 21. It is that according to data from the Chavista CNE itself, opposition candidate Freddy Superlano (Popular Will) won the governorship with 37.60% of the votes, compared to the 37.21% harvested by Argenis Chávez, brother of former president Hugo Chávez and former state governor. But the dictatorship could not allow itself to hand over power in the “cradle of the revolution.” In the first instance, in an absolutely unusual and arbitrary maneuver, he annulled the elections. Then, he disqualified Superlano from holding public office and called a new election for today, January 9, 2022.

“This Sunday, we swept!” He harangued Jorge Arreaza, the candidate of the dictatorship, on a platform where he kissed a replica of the sword of the hero Simón Bolívar and showed the relic of a bayonet of a local 19th century hero, Ezequiel Zamora. His message to the cheering crowd was clear: It is a key battle for the government of Nicolás Maduro.

Jorge Arreaza (Federico PARRA / AFP)
Jorge Arreaza (Federico PARRA / AFP)

In Barinas, posters with Arreaza’s face appear everywhere. Ministers, Chavista governors from other states and senior officials have paraded through Barinas, with tasks that have ranged from garbage collection to the delivery of stoves, refrigerators, televisions and even popular housing.

The value of Barinas goes beyond the symbolism of being the land of Chávez. There is its agricultural and oil potential and its proximity to the border with Colombia, with areas where activists denounce the mobilization of armed irregularities. The process summons 607,000 of its 870,000 inhabitants.

Furthermore, 2022 is a year in which the opposition could attempt a referendum to revoke Maduro’s mandate.

Almost 25,000 security officials, 15,000 of them military, were deployed on Friday in an operation never seen before in this region of western Venezuela. The electoral authority, in a press conference in a military battalion, confirmed the installation of the 961 tables in 543 voting centers.

“They have not had, as we say, peace with misery,” the candidate of the largest opposition alliance, Sergio Garrido, told AFP. “Barinas is right now the capital of Venezuela.”

The Chávez fiefdom has been governed since 1998 by a member of the former president’s family. The dynasty began with his father, Hugo de los Reyes Chávez (1998-2008), and continued with his brothers Adán (2008-2016) and Argenis (2017-2021), who aspired to reelection, but resigned after the Court Supreme Justice (TSJ) ordered to repeat the elections when the opponent Freddy Superlano claimed the victory.

Superlano, whom the Supreme Court took out of the way claiming that he was the target of judicial investigations, concentrated 37.60% of the votes to 37.21% for Argenis Chávez.

Garrido took Superlano’s place, after the excluded candidate’s wife and another possible candidate were also disqualified.

The third in contention in these elections is Claudio Fermín, considered a dissident of the opposition by the majority anti-Chavez bloc, who accuses him of having sold out and presented himself to divide the voters.



The governor of Barinas will not carry the Chávez surname for the first time in more than two decades, although Arreaza, a 48-year-old from Caracas, has a link with the Chávez beyond politics. He was the son-in-law of the “commander” and father of his first grandson, whom he affectionately called “El Gallito”.

Faced with questions about his application as a stranger -voted in Caracas in November-, he declares himself an “adopted son” of the place.

The familiar wink to the disappeared Chávez has been constant, with “El Gallito” in most of the campaign events, as well as his daughters María Gabriela and Rosa Inés. Rosa Virginia, Arreaza’s ex-wife, has been absent.

The candidate of the opposition Democratic Unity Table (MUD), Sergio Garrido, organized a caravan for his final campaign act (AFP)
The candidate of the opposition Democratic Unity Table (MUD), Sergio Garrido, organized a caravan for his final campaign act (AFP)

Dealing with the consequences of the economic crisis without blaming the Chávez governments has been a leitmotif for Arreaza, who opts for the official discourse of blaming the United States sanctions.

Faced with the official deployment, the opposition tries to reactivate. “With high turnout, the opposition should win, but abstention pulverizes its options,” says Luis Vicente León, president of the Datanálisis polling station. A long caravan of vehicles accompanied Garrido as he closed the campaign: “The Chávez are over!” A man on a truck shouted while waving a Venezuelan flag.

With information from AFP and EFE


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Helen Hernandez is our best writer. Helen writes about social news and celebrity gossip. She loves watching movies since childhood. Email: Phone : +1 281-333-2229

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