Girish Gupta

HOME

BY COUNTRY

Brazil
Colombia
Cuba
Ecuador
Egypt
Guyana
Iraq
Jordan
Lebanon
Mexico
United Kingdom
Venezuela

BY MEDIUM

Text
Photo
Radio
TV/Video

BY PUBLISHER

Al Jazeera
BBC
BuzzFeed
CBC
Christian Science Monitor
CNN
Daily Mail
Datum
Ecologist
Economist Intelligence Unit
Emerging Markets
Financial Times
Foreign Policy
France 24
Fusion
GlobalPost
Guardian
Independent
La Prensa (Panama)
LatinFinance
Mancunion
Monocle
National (Abu Dhabi)
New Internationalist
New Statesman
New York Times
New Yorker
NPR
PBS
PRI
Radio France Internationale
Reuters
RTE
Sky News
Sun
Sunday Times
Telegraph
TIME
Times of London
USA Today
Vice
WLRN

ABOUT

About
CV
Contact (PGP Key)

Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Vote shows Venezuela a 'great democracy,' says envoy to U.S.
Dec. 7, 2015 — Caracas, Venezuela

Published by Reuters

The stinging defeat for President Nicolas Maduro's candidates in Sunday's legislative election has proven Venezuela's democratic credentials, belying warnings from the opposition that it might not be fair, a senior government representative said on Monday.

Voters punished the ruling Socialists over the OPEC nation's severe economic and social crisis, handing the opposition control of the National Assembly for the first time in 16 years.

"Venezuela is a great democracy. I went to vote and I'm very impressed. Nobody can question the system itself," said Maximilien Arvelaiz, who is Venezuela's top diplomat in Washington and has been proposed as ambassador.

"Democracy has prevailed. Let's say the result had been the other way - what would people have said? That's the irony," he added in an interview at a Caracas hotel, with one finger still purple from the indelible ink used to prevent multiple voting.

In the run-up to Sunday's vote, Venezuela's opposition had accused the government of tilting the electoral playing-field through irregular use of state resources, harassment and jailing of opponents, and manipulation of electoral districts.

But in the end, the Democratic Unity coalition won comfortably and Maduro quickly acknowledged the results, calming fears of protests or violence.

"Since 1998, we've had 20 elections and each time we won, they said there was fraud," said Arvelaiz, 42, referring to the stream of national elections and plebiscites since Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez won power.

"It's a double standard. Democracy prevails when the right wins. When it's us, (they say) 'Maduro controls everything.'"

'TURBULENCE' IN U.S. TIES

Although opponents have lambasted Maduro for persisting with dysfunctional economic controls, Arvelaiz said global economic woes and the slump in the price of crude oil - Venezuela's main export - had dealt the president a harsh hand.

Venezuelans are suffering a brutal recession, the highest inflation rate in the world and shortages of everything from milk to medicines, leading to long supermarket queues.

"Maduro is not responsible for the oil prices ... When you see the world right now, there's not a single region that can say it's doing very well with the economic situation," said Arvelaiz, repeating the government's complaint of economic "sabotage" by hostile businessmen and politicians.

Nevertheless, the government will reflect long and hard on Sunday's vote and make changes where necessary, he said.

"Maduro is a very pragmatic person. I'm sure Maduro will do what he has to do, making sure whatever happens will not affect the social gains of the people here," added the French-born Arvelaiz, who was a senior aide to Chavez and has also served as ambassador to Brazil.

Since Chavez won power, Venezuela has had a tumultuous and often acrimonious relationship with the United States. The two nations have not had ambassadors at their respective embassies since 2010.

A recent rapprochement stalled over Venezuela's jailing of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez whose case Washington had championed. But the Venezuelan diplomat said channels of communication were still open - though bumpy.

"Sometimes I feel I'm in a plane and every five minutes I need to put my seatbelt on because of the turbulence."

(Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Frances Kerry)

Filed from
Caracas, Venezuela






More...

Exclusive: Venezuela holds 5,000 Russian surface-to-air MANPADS missiles
May. 22, 2017


Venezuelan opposition activists march to Leopoldo Lopez' jail
Apr. 28, 2017


Venezuela says inflation 274 percent last year, economists say far higher
Apr. 20, 2017


Venezuelan protests against government leave three dead
Apr. 19, 2017


Venezuelans return to streets, roused by ban on opposition leader
Apr. 8, 2017


Venezuelan opposition, security forces clash in anti-Maduro protests
Apr. 6, 2017


Venezuela security forces battle anti-Maduro protesters
Apr. 4, 2017


Venezuela money supply up 200 pct in year, fastest rise on record
Apr. 3, 2017


Amid protests, Venezuela's Maduro seeks to defuse court row
Mar. 31, 2017


Venezuela begins republishing key economic indicator after hiatus
Mar. 23, 2017


Crisis-hit Venezuela halts publication of another major indicator
Mar. 21, 2017


Back in Venezuela, 'world's worst skier' proud of his performance
Feb. 26, 2017


Some poor Venezuelan parents give away children amid deep crisis
Dec. 15, 2016


Desperate to dump soon-worthless cash, Venezuelans flock to banks
Dec. 13, 2016


Inflation-hit Venezuela to pull largest bill from circulation
Dec. 11, 2016








© Girish Gupta