Three experts agreed that the campaign was a different process marked by the inequalities and censorship that Nicolás Maduro’s administration imposed on traditional media. They consider that there was also a lack of democratic commitment on the part of the main political parties.
In addition to choosing a candidate for the 2024 presidential election under a democratic consultation mechanism, the primary election campaign organized by the Venezuelan opposition also had the objective of mobilizing citizens, activating participation and recovering hope in the vote. . This is what three analysts consulted by The Electoral Guachimán to evaluate the process that ended this Friday.
María Alejandra Semprúm, political scientist, anthropologist and university professor, affirms that the objective was met: Venezuelans became active and regained hope. However, she clarifies that the campaign did not feel like it traditionally should.
«The means on which they rely are different. Before they were press, radio, television and billboards. This time it was not like that for several reasons such as budget, censorship and relevance of digital platforms. So TikTok, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram became means of campaign expression. In addition to the tours, and the tours themselves are moderated and organized by social networks,” explains Semprúm.
Stefania Vitale, a researcher in Political Science, indicates that the mobilizations registered in the country due to the primary campaign express a gradual “awakening” of the population’s interest in politics. She attributes the moderate participation to the financial and operational restrictions resulting from the multidimensional crisis that Venezuela is experiencing and the authoritarian nature of the Nicolás Maduro administration.
«Clearly, the electoral dynamics of the opposition reflected an unequal level of financing between the candidates. The difference between digital eras was evident. The performance of the National Primary Commission (CP) is notable, due to the full and effective fulfillment of its functions, at least until today. It must be kept in mind that the role of the CP has a certain scope and that other organizational functions rest on the parties that live in the Unitary Platform,” says Vitale.
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For the political strategy and communication consultant Mayra Contreras, the primary campaign did not escape the national reality: the economic contraction, financing capacity and other elements of the political context that played a fundamental role in a process that she describes as “quite eventful.” ».
«In a country where the priority of a fairly high percentage of the population is finding what to eat, the issue of primary school is secondary. The percentage of direct participation of citizens in the campaign has been low, but it is present on the agenda of people’s daily conversations. In one way or another it could be said that the campaign was felt, but in a different way than what we are used to. I highlight that, that it was different. It was a hard-fought electoral campaign, based on people’s desire for things to change for the better,” explains Contreras.
Democratic commitment in campaign
In the opinion of researcher Stefania Vitale, the lack of a stronger and more complete political commitment to democratic practice overshadowed the primary electoral campaign. “There was not enough restraint from some of the political standard-bearers when it came to showing their differences, undermining trust between them and their followers. This is apart from the government’s digital strategy of stirring up discord between opponents.
It also points out that the information treatment in some media has not been totally balanced. «This is why it is necessary for the CP, the Unitary Platform and civil society to evaluate the process regarding these three failures, among others. “These practices mark a distance from the greater purpose, the construction of a democracy in Venezuela.”
Contreras agrees with Vitale and assures that the opposition political factors that did not participate in the primary election must have contributed to the process, despite their particular interests in recovering democracy.
«They should have understood that changing circumstances changes them for everyone. Remaining as an external factor leaves you outside the space of struggle; Participating even if you don’t agree should be the rule. Everyone who really wants to generate change must participate », he emphasizes.
Among other elements of the campaign, Professor Semprúm highlights the concentration of voting intention on only one of the options in a context where there was a significant number of candidates. She believes that citizens’ sympathy for the more radical position represents the frontal rejection and anger that Venezuelans feel against the ruling political regime.
«It is an electoral strategy that always moves. The president who will come, if he brings the solution we buy his electoral offers, sometimes we even resort to magical thinking. Chávez offered that change, Carlos Andrés Pérez did it at the time, María Corina also offers it: a radical change. He would add that the electorate is looking, as always, for messianic figures,” says Semprúm.
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