The Venezuelans go to the polls on Sunday (July 30) to elect delegates who will rewrite Venezuela's constitution.
In Latin America generally, society is broadly divided into three groups: whites, mixed race mestizos and the original native peoples. The elite ruling classes, namely whites, select and have elected white presidents. Evo Morales in Bolivia, the late Hugo Chavez and now Nicolas Maduro are new and notable exceptions. The mostly white opposition in Venezuela is peopled by those holding leadership and management positions in business and industry, and consequently wield substantial financial clout and the ability to inflict economic damage, even chaos.
Challenged on several fronts simultaneously, President Maduro has had problems including a drop in the polls. But the attitude of the Western press and its one-sided reporting has not helped. National Public Radio (NPR) in the U.S. calls itself an independent voice, is deemed sober and left of center, and sides usually with Democrats. But on Venezuela, the mainstream press is united -- also on Russia no matter how contrary the facts.
When the opposition decided to hold its own referendum/'consultation' (July 16) on the proposed constitutional change, NPR reported as follows: Headlined the following day as, "In Unofficial Vote, Venezuelans Overwhelmingly Reject Constitutional Change," the piece goes on to state 98 percent voted to reject. And more than 7 million voted including 700,000 expatriates comprising a third of the electorate.
Obvious questions remain unasked and unanswered. If the opposition was so certain of its numbers and if as NPR headlines, 'Venezuelans overwhelming reject constitutional change', why didn 't the opposition simply wait until the official poll on July 30 instead of this poorly supervised affair with questionable results?
mainstream media in the West also declines to explore the sociological
aspects of the Venezuelan divide. The opposition comprises the elite,
predominantly white segment; the government side is mostly mestizo. The
population is actually 43.6 percent white, 51.6 percent mestizo, 3.7
percent black African and 2.7 percent Amerindian. The political divide
is also social with the white population less than willing to give up
some of their share of the economic pie. It is a tough fight for the
Chavez revolution aimed at greater social equity, given the economic power of the elite.
To make matters worse for an oil exporter, there is a glut of oil. Royal Dutch Shell just put forward a pessimistic vision of the future believing that oil prices will remain "lower forever" although Shell itself is well prepared. Venezuela is not, and a recalcitrant elite class does not help.
(Article changed on July 30, 2017 at 12:04)