Four years on, Venezuela has witnessed a new election Sunday in which, far from surprising anyone, Chavism has materialised a new fraud to consolidate its leadership at the forefront of the country. The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has taken control of 20 of the 23 governorships, managing to wrest some of the most important states from the opposition, such as Táchira, in western Venezuela and a border crossing with Colombia. Naturally, Nicolás Maduro's party retained the mayoralty of Caracas, following the electoral road map designed by the chavista offices.
The turnout of the Venezuelan population is a true reflection of the legitimacy of the elections, which barely reached 40 per cent turnout. According to the National Electoral Council (CNE), just over eight million people went to the polls to exercise their right to vote in elections with 70,244 candidates belonging to 37 different parties. Nicolás Maduro assured that Venezuela "has a world record in electoral events with the best electoral system; easy, accessible and auditable", while inserting his ballot into the ballot box.
"We have recovered three states that belonged to the opposition with votes from the people (...) we are going to work with dialogue. I extend my hand to the opposition governors to work with respect", said the president when the first results offered by the CNE were released. On this occasion, chavismo traced the election results by winning one more state than in the last fraud of 2017, when it took control of 19 of the 23 governorships. Nueva Esparta, Cojedes and Zulia are the three states in which Nicolás Maduro has allowed the victory of an opposition that has called for citizen abstention throughout the campaign.
The elections were marked by a paramilitary attack against some voters precisely in a town in the state of Zulia, San Francisco. A 38-year-old man lost his life during these events, something that Maduro has not only not given importance to, but has completely forgotten, assuring that "the process ended peacefully" and that "there was nothing that disturbed it". Meanwhile, the interim and internationally recognised president, Juan Guaidó, remained silent. He only referred to the elections on the eve of election day, stating that Nicolás Maduro "will continue to be illegitimate, unknown and also investigated by the ICC (International Criminal Court)".
"We are in a dictatorship, we must get out of it and the call is to fight united until we achieve it," Guaidó added on his Twitter account. However, the struggle of which the president-in-charge speaks began almost three years ago with more enthusiasm than results. Many have criticised what was once the youngest head of the Venezuelan parliament in the country's history, believing that his drive and apparent leadership has faded over the years.
The unification that has always been advocated by the opposition to the dictatorship has not been such and has been costly. Up to four governorships have been lost by very slim margins in which minor candidacies have undermined the support of the Democratic Unity. This is what the winning candidate in Zulia, Manuel Rosales, has referred to. The politician, with a career spanning more than 30 years in this governorate, has made reference from Maracaibo to this lack of unity among those who should be allies against chavismo: "We have to be truly united in any process, that there is only one candidate. The people are waiting for it".
The presence of more than 300 international observers from South America and the European Union has not prevented fraud, as was to be expected. Among the observers were some familiar faces in Spanish politics, such as former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the founder of one of the parties currently leading the country - Podemos - Juan Carlos Monedero, who referred to the Venezuelan elections, saying that he had been able to appreciate "the prestige and balance of the electoral body, which should be taken as an example for other countries".