Home > IV Online magazine > 2021 > IV552 - January 2021 > Parliamentary elections – Results and prospects

Venezuela

Parliamentary elections – Results and prospects

Wednesday 13 January 2021, by Elio Colmenarez

The election of Venezuela’s Asamblea Nacional (National Assembly - AN) on 6 December 2020 took place in special circumstances and its results, a 31% turnout and a new Chavista triumph, have given rise to different interpretations placing different sides as victors or vanquished. [1] It was the 26th electoral process since the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998, the quarter of a century with the most electoral processes in all history, and the fifth parliamentary election since the approval of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic (1999).

The defeat of Chavismo in the previous election (2015) made the AN the centre of the attack, with US support, against the Chavista government. The decision of the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (Supreme Court of Justice - TSJ) ordering a rerun of the election of the deputies in Amazonas state (three, two oppositionists and one Chavista, out of 165), due to previous complaints of vote buying irregularities, was rejected by this opposition-dominated AN, for which the Supreme Court declared it in contempt, allowing the government to ignore its decisions.

Still in contempt, the AN acted directly against the government. After the failure of an “impeachment” (2016), the activation of a “recall referendum” (2016) and a guarimba coup (2017), the AN became the axis for the strategy of the US and the Lima Group of setting up a parallel government, making the president of the AN, Juan Guaido, interim president, a role stipulated in the constitution for cases of the definitive absence of the president, for a period of no more than 30 days and with the sole power to call elections, not for a parallel government that has already been in place for two years.

This AN, over five years, repealed key laws of the revolution (land, hydrocarbons, banking, housing, media and so on) and approved privatization laws aimed at economic recovery under the direction of the IMF. They were not applied because of their condition of contempt, but that they awaited the arrival of the “new government”. It tried to legitimize imperialist aggression, military intervention and the appropriation of the republic’s assets abroad and their use “in favour of the restitution of democracy in Venezuela”. They authorized parallel diplomatic representations, and created a Supreme Court and a Prosecutor’s Office “in exile” to attack Venezuela.

Taking control of the AN from the right was vital for the Bolivarian revolution, with elections in the midst of a serious economic crisis, mainly the consequence of the blockade imposed by imperialism. The right is divided despite the pressure and threat from the US to apply personal sanctions to those who participated in the election and, based on the talks held in Norway, the National Electoral Council leadership was appointed and the number of deputies increased from 165 to 277, reducing the proportion of nominal deputies (from 79% to 49%) and 48 national deputies were created. But also within Chavismo internal differences regarding economic policy and the selection of candidates led to the emergence of the Alternativa Popular Revolucionaria (Popular Revolutionary Alternative - APR) and the presentation of separate lists to those of the PSUV.

The permanent imperialist threat, the extremely serious economic situation and internal political frictions, both on the right, including imperialism, and within Chavismo, are an indispensable framework for the interpretation of the results of the parliamentary elections. With a participation of just over 30% (6.25 million votes), the vote was 69.43% for the Polo Patriótico, the PSUV alliance and other Chavista organizations; 17.72% for the Democratic Alliance, made up of various opposition organizations (AD, COPEI, EL CAMBIO, CAMBIEMOS and AVANZADA PROGRESISTA); 4.15% for a second opposition alliance (PDV-VP), made up of splits from Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular (Guaido’s party); and 2.7% for the alliance of the PCV and the APR, with Chavista candidates who had left the Polo Patriótico. Other organizations, mostly regional, that participated outside these alliances accounted for the remaining 6%.

This result corresponds to the national vote, which is applied to 48 deputies. Another 96 deputies were elected on regional lists that depend on the results in each state, 130 from the circuits that are elected nominally and three deputies correspond to the indigenous peoples, whose election process is separate and in accordance with their traditions. For this reason, the national result released by the press does not reflect the final distribution of the AN where there were 253 deputies for the Polo Patriótico, 18 for the Alianza Democrática, two for PDV-PV and one for PCV-APR.

Electoral abstention

The press, reflecting the position of the United States, emphasizes the low participation to argue for the lack of legitimacy of the electoral process, something unfortunately repeated by sectors of the left whose anti-Chavismo leads them to chorus, without their own criteria, the discourse of the right, attributing the abstention to a rejection of the electoral process and a defeat for Chavismo. But while the EU were criticizing the Venezuelan electoral process, in parallel parliamentary elections were held in Romania, with an equivalent turnout (31%), which they attributed to the pandemic without speaking of the illegitimacy of the elections.

The reasons for abstention cover a wide spectrum. Indeed, there is a militant sector of abstention, favourable to imperialist intervention, but also, at the other extreme there are sectors that traditionally vote for Chavismo, that did not feel attracted towards a process devoid of polarization and with predictable results. These were not the ANC elections, three years ago, where people had to dodge barricades and confront the guarimberos that destroyed several voting centres. This time there was not a single demonstration promoting abstention beyond the networks and interviews in the media. In fact, they have been the most peaceful elections in the last thirty years, and many people were in the plazas enjoying the start of the Christmas season and a period of easing of the quarantine. It is therefore not possible to assign abstention to a single political opinion, and still less present it as a questioning of the legality of the elections.

On the other hand, there is data, numerical and historical, that is conveniently ignored. Some 2.4 million emigrants form part of the electoral roll (the opposition always speaks of 6 million, but now they do not even mention this) which represents at least 12% of the population that did not vote. Nor are these the first parliamentary elections sabotaged by imperialism. In 2005, Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s Secretary of State, took over the reorganization of the opposition, hit by defeat in the recall referendum (2004). “Señorita arroz”, as Chávez called her, anticipating a defeat, ordered the parties subsidized by the US to withdraw from the electoral process to detract from its legitimacy. At that time there was an intense popular mobilization favourable to the revolution and a growing economy that overshadowed the sabotage actions of the bourgeoisie and imperialism, but abstention reached 75%.

As they are doing now, expert analysts awarded victory to the campaign for abstention and announced the debacle of Chavismo, but a year later Chávez defeated the unitary opposition candidate, Manuel Rosales, with a record 63% vote. With several years of blockade, with the economy destroyed and frictions within Chavismo, participation has been higher than in 2005, so it is very difficult to present this as a triumph of anti-Chavista abstentionism. Furthermore, if the percentages of the PP and the PCV-APR are added (1.87%), the vote for Chavismo is higher than in 2005, a floor of 20% over the total electorate, which no ruling current in the countries of the Lima group can claim. Therefore, abstention cannot be presented a priori as a defeat for a Chavismo that has achieved the objective of regaining control of parliament.

But neither does the low participation give reasons for celebrating Chavismo. Covid, in one of the countries with greater control of the pandemic, did not influence the low participation. The participation in the barrios was almost 40%, but in middle-class urban development it did not reach 20%. The Chavista mobilization teams had difficulties in getting people to vote. Certainly the absence of polarization influenced this, even though Maduro challenged the right by announcing that if they won parliament again he would resign, trying to increase the confrontation and encourage Chavista sentiment, but it did not work. The problem is that without there being support for the right, there is discontent, lack of hope and among a significant sector of the population, especially the younger ones, apathy and depoliticization have won, an impact of the setback imposed by the economic situation.

The debacle of the right

The dominance of the US over opposition activity since 1999 has produced a metamorphosis of the opposition. The parties of the Punto Fijo Pact that dominated the country for forty years, AD (social democratic) and COPEI (social Christian), with those that originated from the old left, MAS (with a brief passage through Chavismo) and CAUSA R, imploded when the coup activity in the first Chávez government focused on civil society avoiding the old parties. Hundreds of NGOs and “social groups” emerged to the sound of the dance of dollars that the NED distributed to finance opposition activity. After the failure of the coup and the oil strike, “civil society” succumbed with the victory of Chávez in the recall referendum (2004).

As a party, AD survives as the only one with a significant presence, a vestige of the popular roots of that organization in the pre-Chavismo stage. The others have been reduced to small groups. From the remnants of “civil society” came Primero Justicia (PJ), organized by the IRI, the international arm of the Republican Party and the UNT, a split from AD, mainly in the state of Zulia, which had been a fundamental bastion of civil society. Many NGOs also created small right-wing parties. Later, the CIA would use middle-class youth sectors to create ultra-right shock groups, the actors in the guarimbas from 2006. Although initially they were linked to PJ, they ended up creating the far-right organization Voluntad Popular (VP) and other small groups.

The opposition activity involved guarimbas and terrorist actions, which included the assassination of several Chavista leaders (Danilo Anderson, Eliezer Otaiza, Robert Serra among others), but the greatest triumph of the right was winning the parliamentary elections of 2015 with almost 56% (36% of the electoral roll) and the allocation of 65% of the deputies. There was an imperialist offensive against Latin America, displacing the progressive governments of the previous decade, the death of Chávez had been a negative impact and at the internal level, the combination of the effects of the blockade, the fall in oil prices, the attack on the currency and sabotage of production had destroyed an economy with a strong state dominance which was highly dependent on imports, which had been built in the previous stage as a transition to socialism. Long queues of people searching for essential goods were common. The US managed to gather the opposition archipelago around the “big four” (the 4G: AD, PJ, UNT, VP), and the slogan was to call on the population “to make the last queue”. Indeed, broad sectors of the middle class, who normally do not participate, then believed that a victory by the right would end the blockade and sabotage that affected the economy.

The conjunctural electoral triumph launched them into a coup strategy that led to new failures. The image of an “imminent fall of Maduro”, prompted by international media strategy, turned the opposition into a federation of presidential hopefuls eager to take over from the government that was supposed to fall in a few weeks. The triumph of 2015 and the subsequent coup strategy was the beginning of the opposition debacle, a debacle into which groups that detached themselves from Chavismo were also dragged in search of the formation of a political centre (neither Chavismo nor the right). The coup strategy led to the guarimbas of 2017, which marked the highest moment of the opposition struggle with a predominance of the extreme right, defeated by the mobilization and resistance of the population.

The parallel government strategy, implemented in January 2019, to ignore Maduro’s triumph in the 2018 elections, did not occur amidst a rise in the opposition but in the midst of its debacle. Guaido was a total unknown, a CIA operative, a second-line VP cadre, who assumed the presidency of the AN as part of the 4G rotation pact. The improvised strategy dictated by the US had initial resistance from the opposition itself, which did not recognize any leadership, forcing Guaido to swear himself in an assembly in a plaza, despite the existence of a parliament dominated by the opposition. The US had to build unity behind Guaido with dollars and a promise to intervene “for a prompt departure by Maduro”.

After 30 days of the parallel government, an attempt was made to introduce humanitarian aid from Colombia by force, as part of a plan to establish a “liberated territory” next to the border, which with international support would serve as a beachhead against the government. But the attempt was defeated again by the mobilization and resistance of the population, in addition to a total absence of any internal mobilization favourable to the aggression. Two months after the failure of humanitarian aid, in April, they launched into a caricature of a military uprising, a new failure fuelled by the false idea of a fracture in the Bolivarian armed force that made the US intelligence services look ridiculous.

The sad history of the parallel government after these failures has been reduced to more than sixty calls for protests with little uptake, including 29 unsuccessful calls for a national strike and at the beginning of lockdown, an incursion from Colombia of almost a hundred mercenaries that was crushed by the action of the popular militias. But apart from the internal political failure of Guaido’s parallel government, more than three hundred coercive measures have been implemented by the US, supported by the EU and the Lima group, which have exacerbated the difficult internal economic situation, and “opposition activity” became a prosperous business at the expense of the Venezuelan people.

Billions of dollars from contributions from the US, the EU and other governments for “the establishment of democracy in Venezuela” and the embargo of accounts, assets and companies of the Venezuelan state abroad, are administered by the parallel government, which the opposition themselves call the “Guaido Corporation”. In these two years, with resources that triple the national budget, while access to medicines, food and supplies for industry is closed to the population, the “Guaido Corporation” finances a high standard of living for most of the opposition leaders that have moved abroad, network and media operators, law firms and economic advisers, foreign government officials, the operation of the Lima group, NGOs and groups linked to activity against Venezuela abroad.

Disagreements over the management of resources controlled by the “Guaido Corporation” have fuelled internal disputes, in addition in recent years to the activity of evangelical groups as actors in opposition politics, as in Brazil, who question Guaido’s ineffectiveness. Opponents denounce wasteful financing of what they call “guaidolovers”, to the detriment of internal political activity, now practically extinct. Most of the “leaders” have sought any excuse to go into “exile”, even for a traffic fine, to more easily access the torrent of dollars that finances activity against Venezuela abroad. The opposition was able to organize a demonstration in favour of Trump in the United States but could not set up a meeting in a plaza in Venezuela in favour of its abstentionist policy. Finance has been the main source of internal clashes in the last two years.

It has been from the opposition itself, rather than Chavismo, that the corruption and business scandals of the “Guaido Corporation” have emerged. A few months ago, Guaido’s ambassador in Chile resigned, denouncing “democratic” resources going to groups that squandered them at parties. The same thing happened previously with the ambassador in Colombia. After Trump’s defeat, the ambassador to the United Kingdom resigned, saying that there were huge debts to her and several “operators” in that country, because the US was blocking resources. Elliot Abrams himself had to respond, stating at a press conference, “that the salaries of the Venezuelan opposition had experienced an administrative delay but that they were going to be paid”. Such a scandalous confession of a “salaried opposition” did not shock the EU, much less the Lima group.

In January of this year, when the rotation of the president of the AN should have taken place, and the US decided to extend Guaido’s “mandate” to avoid friction, dissidents from various groups took umbrage. Chavismo took the opportunity to return to the AN and support the faction opposing Guaido, who preferred to be absent to avoid the election. Since then, two ANs have operated, one in the official headquarters chaired by Luis Parra, who split from PJ to form Primero Venezuela and another by Guaido that works in the function rooms of residences in eastern Caracas, both inoperative. At the end of the AN period, the elections produced the foreseeable crisis. The decision, without legal basis, to extend the mandate of the old AN “until the dictatorship falls” caused hilarity and new splits in the opposition.

Certainly the government took the opportunity to influence the crisis, by judicially favouring dissident groups, granting them control of the organizations and electoral representation, but the campaign that indicates that the opposition that participated in the elections was confected by Maduro to deceive the international community, a stupidity that some groups on the left repeat, is mistaken. All the leaders and candidates who participated on the right have been associated with the coup, the oil strike and the parallel government strategy, some even were part of Guaido’s AN and his phantom government.

The most serious analysts recognize that the groups participating in the elections bring together most of the opposition activists who are still really active, especially in the recently emerged evangelical groups, which allowed them to have expectations much higher than the 8.5% obtained. But they did not participate in a united front either and they were spread over several alliances, mainly, that of PDV-PV, splits from Primero Justicia and Popular Will, and the Democratic Alliance where they did not present single lists either, which dispersed their vote and facilitated the greater allocation of deputies to the Polo Patriótico, than if they had presented a single list.

For this reason, beyond the international campaign against Chavismo, the opposition themselves doubt that even if they all participated together, without calling for abstention, they would have defeated Chavismo, and would hardly have reached the 36% obtained in 2015. The idea that the growing discontent against the economic situation was going to favour the opposition was a fantasy because the people hold them responsible for the aggression against the country. Even the groups that broke from Chavismo in previous years with a “nini” policy (neither Maduro nor Guaido) were diluted between abstentionism or local candidacies without any weight or profile.

Discontent and criticism of Bolibureaucracy

Aside from the influence of the right, the low participation points to Chavismo. Even if the vote in favour of the Polo Patriótico reflects a vote for the homeland, anti-imperialist and against the blockade, it also involves a lot of criticism and discontent against the government.

There are more and more critical voices within Chavismo against the economic policy, against growing social inequality and against the corruption that is evidenced in the high standard of living of a bureaucracy in the government, in the party and in the Bolivarian army. The growing predominance of the bureaucracy, the decline of popular power, the growth of depoliticization is an indirect triumph of the imperialist aggression and the blockade, which has not managed to defeat the Bolivarian revolution, but gains space in the demoralization of the population. A depoliticization and apathy that enters the corridors of government where there is reluctance and discontent, and many leading officials obey the guidelines of groups and cliques, rather than the action of the government. Corruption is gaining ground and an apolitical neoliberal technocracy also dominates the spaces of economic decision and development. This is the achievement of imperialist aggression, a Bolibureaucracy with bourgeois appetites.

This Bolibureaucracy has caused demoralization in the population, achieving what imperialist aggression has not been able to achieve, and a broad Chavista sector that militates selflessly in defence of the revolution, that understands that the enemy continues to be imperialist aggression, suffers from the domination of the bureaucracy and the gross privileges of some groups in the government, linked to corruption and business, while the majority of the population often depends completely on social programs.

The people understand the difficulties imposed by the blockade, but they do not understand the ineptitude in combatting corruption, speculation and the internal actors of the imperialist aggression. They do not understand the enormous wage restrictions, responsible for the fall in income, when the bureaucracy goes to expensive nightclubs, has luxurious transport and acquires mansions and farms. This discontent exist not only in those who abstained but also among many of those who faithfully went to vote.

There have been several plans, full of neoliberal measures justified in the need to break the blockade, which have only served to increase social inequality, stratifying the population to pre-Chávez levels. Certainly supplies have improved and commerce has proliferated, but the people continue to suffer from low incomes and hyperinflation while others line their pockets. There are people who depend exclusively on CLAP and bonds, and others who wallow in luxury, and we are not talking about the bourgeoisie. People want to defend the revolution, the conquests achieved in these two decades, and confront the blockade, but they hate the gross privileges of the bureaucracy and corruption. That is why there was abstention among Chavismo and it was difficult to get people to vote, when it became clear that the right had no chance of victory.

This is the reason for the growing dissent within Chavismo, the voices of protest, the claim that the construction of socialism has been abandoned, that a sovereign economy is not being built to confront the blockade. Certainly many mistakes made in the past, even with Chávez as president, allowed the imperialist blockade to destroy our economy, but much of the current situation is not attributable only to the blockade.

With the new plan, the Anti-Blockade Law, the voices of protest within Chavismo have increased. Many do not understand that constitutional norms and legal controls imposed by the revolution with the intention of facilitating foreign and national investments are “de-applied”, or that state companies should pass into private hands, much less when these were expropriated from the bourgeoisie in the past decade. It may be tactical to apply certain measures to achieve an economic revival, but what people fear the most is that, despite the name of the Law, it will not end up defeating the blockade, and as has already happened, will end up strengthening business and the corruption of the Bolibureaucracy. The disappearance of the revolutionary democracy that filled communities and workplaces with assemblies, the setback in political debate, increases the distrust of the Chavista base.

The dissent was made public with greater force during the preparation of the lists of candidates for parliament. This did not involve the previous anti-Chavista dissidents, or those who called themselves anti-Maduro Chavistas but ended up chorusing with the right. It is a decidedly Chavista and anti-imperialist vanguard, which questions bureaucracy, corruption and neoliberal deviation in economic recovery policies. They question the imposition by hand of candidates, some without roots or trajectory in the Chavista base, over the natural leaders, representatives of the daily fight against the blockade. This gave birth to the Alternativa Popular Revolucionaria, which, more than an organization, is a critical, oppositional movement within Chavismo.

Unfortunately, spaces were closed for political discussion, democratic debate, and many were crushed with bureaucratic methods. Unlike the Constituent Assembly elections of 2017, where the expression of all currents that wanted to present candidates was allowed, in these elections the closed electoral legislation only allowed expression through parties, even for the nominal candidates.

The tactically understandable facilities given to the right wing to participate were not extended to dissident APR candidates, to whom every possibility was closed. Only the PCV, which separated from the Polo Patriótico, kept its electoral card that allowed the alliance with the dissident currents of the PPT, Tupamaros and some of the APR. Unfortunately the Communist Party is not the best exemplar of anti-bureaucratic struggle and it ended up behaving like the criticized bureaucracy. Instead of putting its campaign at the service of the grassroots candidates, it ended up making the APR the tail of its particular policy of confrontation with the PSUV and Maduro, facilitating the attacks of the PSUV, who portrayed them as a new form of anti-Chavismo.

Unlike the candidates on the right, the PCV-APR candidates were not given free access to the state media, even in a presentation by Maduro explaining the location on the electoral screen of the Polo Patriótico parties he concealed with the other hand the PCV card. Accusations of victimization and persecution wrongly became the axis of the PCV’s campaign, and there were even pronouncements by the Mexican and Chilean CPs “repudiating the attack on the PCV”. This anti-Madurist and sectarian campaign repelled many who identified with the APR, and the initial sympathies aroused by an alternative Chavista list waned. It is not true that everyone in the government are agents of the bureaucracy and corruption, nor is this true of many of the candidates on the Polo Patriótico lists. In the end, the PCV-APR alliance elected only one deputy, the president of the PCV.

But the failure of the PCV campaign does not mean that the critical voices questioning bureaucracy and corruption in the PSUV and the government have ended, whether in the APR or inside or outside the PSUV or the government, the revolutionary movement stands in defence of the revolution, against the Bolibureaucracy, the “endogenous right” which are the internal expression of imperialist aggression.

The real discussion

Some leaders of Chavismo, justifying openings to right-wing groups, say that the country needs a decent and patriotic opposition, others speak of the need for a “revolutionary bourgeoisie”. The Bolivarian revolution does not need a decent or indecent right-wing opposition, and there has never been an opposition more divorced from the concept of homeland, totally in hock to imperialism, like that of Venezuela, as José Vicente Rangel has pointed out. If an opposition has to emerge, it is from the left, against bureaucracy and corruption. There will never be a revolutionary bourgeoisie. Chávez, in the first years of government, gave enough space for a sector of the bourgeoisie to redeem itself, to join in the construction of the homeland, even after the April coup, and did not achieve anything, concluding that socialism was the only possibility to transcend capitalism.

It is not about pointing out who is more treacherous than who, behind-the-scenes pacts, or epithets and unsubstantiated accusations designed to morally destroy colleagues. After the elections, it is about opening spaces for political debate throughout the revolutionary movement, to confront the imperialist blockade, bureaucracy and corruption that are sides of the same coin, and win the people, detach them from apathy, for economic reconstruction of the country, and a plan to achieve economic and productive sovereignty.

In this new parliament, the elected deputies must guarantee the active participation of the municipalities, the union and peasant organizations, the student movement, and all the grassroots organizations, to build the plan for a free, productive, independent and socialist homeland. With 92% of the deputies, a closed order in the discussion does not make sense, on the contrary, it must be an open debate. The parliament, the new deputies must promote debate, giving space to the grassroots movement by placing it ahead, not the other way around. Recovering democratic spaces, permanent assemblies, street parliamentarism must be the main objective.

The danger to the right will not be in parliament, it will be in the streets, in the internal actors of the imperialist aggression. Biden will modify the Trump plan, but seeking the defeat of the Bolivarian revolution, that will not change. That is why we have to advance a plan to defeat the internal enemy. The actors of the imperialist aggression must be separated, those who have lived off the assets and money seized from the Venezuelan people must be criminalized and their property and accounts confiscated, as well as their relatives and front men. Companies from countries that do not recognize the right of the Venezuelan people to choose their own government must leave the country. No more impunity, no more contempt for the actors of imperialism. Social movements, the Latin American revolutionary movement, must be summoned to a campaign for the immediate dissolution of the Lima group and the recognition of the Venezuelan parliament.

The fight against bureaucracy and corruption must be an axis of the next stage. The AN’s comptroller commissions must fall to the deputies linked to the organizations of popular power. Investigate the assets and accounts of all senior government officials. Return to the course set by comandante Chávez.

The monitoring and control, based on popular power, of the economic plan should be an orientation for all of Chavismo. It is not questionable that special measures are taken to recover the economy, but precisely because they are special they must be specific, with precise objectives and with total transparency. They cannot be general or secret plans, as if it were a military action. There are many appetites for plundering state companies and bureaucrats who want to be bosses, so everything must be very clear and public.

The conquests, the rights achieved, are not temporarily or definitively unenforceable. For example, the elimination of home foreclosures and job tenure are historic conquests of the revolution, tomorrow they cannot be “de-applied” to favour investment by real estate banks or the Polar group, because what is rebuilt then are the pockets of capitalism, not the economy. If it is necessary to associate with national or foreign private investors for specific situations, the objectives must be clear, why it is done, facing the country, the popular movement, with monitoring and control of compliance with the plan. The origin of the capital must be clear, whoever wants to invest in secret for fear of imperialism is of no use to us because they will flee at the slightest pressure.

It is about conquering economic and productive sovereignty, to build an independent and socialist homeland, that is the objective of the Bolivarian revolution, for which it is necessary to generate a broad Chavista movement promoting the political revolution against corruption and bureaucracy.

13 December 2020

Source insisto-resisto.

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Footnotes

[1The article, “An illusion of election” by Patrick Guillaudat, published in International Viewpoint on 2 January, concluded that December’s elections in Venezuela, for the National Assembly, were illegitimate. This is the view of a number of supporters of the Fourth International, as it is of the Venezuelan organisation, Marea Socialista, which was in sympathy with the Fourth International for a number of years. Luchas, Permanent Observer organization of the Fourth International in Venezeula, takes a different view published here and in the article “2021 begins with a new National Assembly. Will it lead to advances?”.