Venezuelan president’s speech conditioned by avoidance

Sociologist Maryclen Stelling and political expert Luis Salamanca agreed on saying that the political wording of President Nicolás Maduro at the National Assembly resembled fear of the political cost



TODAY VENEZUELA (EL Universal) In his address to the nation at the National Assembly (AN) on Wednesday, January 21, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro upheld his commitment to dialogue involving all sectors as part of his strategy to resolve the domestic standoff, ahead of the parliamentary election this year. In this context, sociologist and university professor Maryclen Stelling explained that the president’s speech occurs in a “difficult, strained” political atmosphere.

In her view, the economic situation has produced an “abstention scenario” in light of the upcoming parliament election. “The economic crisis is real, complex and apparent; therefore, it could make an impact. There must be somebody very convinced in political terms so as to say that, in fact, somebody else but the government is responsible for the stalemate.”

“The speech was very conditioned by vote and the parliament election, because it is no more a question of swing vote, abstention vote or punishment vote in connection with the issue of shortage, but the Chavista hardcore vote that would be somewhat affected for better or for worse,” she added.

“Except for the annual report at the National Assembly and prior to it, it is an abstention scenario that deserves to be taken into consideration. Avoidance was a not very welcome guest in the president’s speech,” Stelling reasoned.

She recommended a see-and-wait approach following the annual report to determine the results of the decisions made there and their potential impact on abstention. “The area of offsetting measures has to do with abstention.”

The economic crisis is also of a political nature

Stelling noted that, as previously, Maduro made an appeal to dialogue, “to build and rebuild.” Nevertheless, she underscored as “new and interesting” the invitation to academies, researchers and economists “to join the economic discussion as such, which is not the political dialogue convened by him at any other time.”

“The economic crisis is also of a political nature. We cannot mark the boundaries between them right now. That speech was characterized by the effect of both factors on the parliament election.”

Changing the model

Stelling explained that while President Maduro had postulated productive socialism in previous days “not much productive socialism was tackled; that is also a politically sensitive issue.”
“He is not talking against productive socialism , but, at the same time, he has invited private think tanks to take part in the situation.”

“Deprivation produces more conflict”

For his part, political expert and attorney Luis Salamanca agreed on saying that “people are looking at abstention as punishment against the government” in light of the impending parliament election. Such a situation could thwart the expectations of ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) at the parliament.

“There is some non-organized agitation in the masses that used to follow (late President Hugo) Chávez and have taken refuge in abstention.”

In his view, “the worst condition to win an election is having the public opinion against.”

“Maduro has the public opinion against him; he is not appreciated; people are pessimistic about the future; economy is in depression and the PSUV also is crumbling as the baseline for Chavistas.”

Salamanca noted that shortage is the predictor of a great political impact, as it creates “further impoverishment, social anguish, tension (…) Deprivation produces more conflicts.”