• Wide angle. The Patria Grande suffers a slowdown and augurs a change in the political cycle
  • Venezuela. Barbados Agreement. Maduro's 'legitimization'

There is something very profound about the Venezuelan anthem, "Gloria al bravo pueblo", so that its people are moved every time they sing it. Much more so on days like this Saturday, when verses such as "down with chains" and "the poor man in his hut for freedom asked" resounded from east to west of the country and in corners of half the planet, where the eight million Creoles who fled from Chavismo live.

This October 22 already marks a new historical milestone of the resistance and the struggle for freedom thanks to the achievement of the opposition primaries, which exceeded all expectations. Self-managed elections that triumphed against all odds, against the abuses of the regime and against the friendly fire of those who already play at collaborating with the Bolivarian revolution. Ultimately, people took ownership of the process to shout for change.

Popular enthusiasm transformed the difficulties into a civic feat, which has gone all the way thanks to the efforts of the National Primary Commission (CNP), with its president, Jesús María Casal, at the head, and the persistence of Washington, which imposed it as a sine qua non condition for the signing of the Barbados Accords between the government and the opposition.

If Nicolás Maduro wanted licenses to sell his oil at a better price, he was obliged to allow a process that has become a headache for Chavismo, in the face of direct criticism from the candidates and the growing popular fervor towards the conservative María Corina Machado. Social researchers and foreign agencies have been surprised by the enthusiasm she has aroused in the most popular neighborhoods, where the leader of Vente Venezuela, always in pristine white, is compared to Commander Hugo Chávez who won his first elections in 1998.

In those same working-class neighborhoods of Caracas, the interior of a country destroyed by Chavismo, in the cities spread all over the world that already welcome eight million emigrants, the great diaspora of the planet. Even in Barinas, the cradle of the revolution that doesn't want any more revolution. "I voted for change to end this dictatorship and to be able to see our families back. To have the Venezuela we love so much," Erasmo Castillo, who has three children outside the country, told El Mundo.

People came out everywhere to vote for change. "What I've been able to see all over the country is extraordinary, it's unprecedented. Expectations fell far short. I feel like this is a miracle," said Machado, the only candidate with a chance to win. In fact, in the first count carried out in Australia, Sydney swept the votes against his rivals (183 to 1), especially the Social Democrat Carlos Prosperi, who threatened for days to withdraw in the face of the beating that was coming his way.

Venezuelans went everywhere to vote despite the obstacles, despite the non-participation of the National Electoral Council (CNE) under Maduro's control, knowing that 85% of the country wants change. And not only in the face of a Bolivarian revolution, but also in the face of the traditional parties crushed by reality. The challenge was enormous, symbolized by the long queues.

"The democrats of Venezuela are happy today, people are leaving throughout the national territory," said journalist Roland Carreño, released this week thanks to the Barbados Accords after three years without trial in the dungeons of Chavismo. His party, Voluntad Popular, led by Leopoldo López, withdrew its candidate to support Machado.

"Today a new legitimacy of origin is emerging. The country changed and many political actors did not see it coming. This event is going to have political consequences far greater than we imagined just a few hours ago," confessed political scientist Piero Trepiccione, who is close to the Jesuit think tank.

Of course, Chavismo tried until the last moment, it's in its essence. Paramilitaries threw tear gas bombs at polling stations and stole material with a clean shot, communal councils threatened to take away subsidized bags of food, police intimidated those waiting in queues and ordered the removal of electoral material... Even the Syrian priest of the Orthodox parish of San Jorge, in the Caracas neighborhood of Montalbán, backed down at the last minute and left the place where the ballot boxes were to be installed without him.

The response of the people measures the extent to which these primaries became a new act of resistance: the neighbors set up the polling station in the nearest square with tables and chairs that came down from their homes.

  • Venezuela
  • Chavismo
  • Nicolas Maduro
  • Politics
  • America
  • Hugo Chavez