Venezuelans head to the polls for the fourth time in less that 1 year, this time, to elect the new president for the 2019-2025 term.
The vote takes places amid unprecedented pressure against the South American nation, including sanctions from the U.S. and E.U. which look to exacerbate the economic downturn faced by the OPEC member state since the steep drop in oil prices in 2014.
The country has also seen violent, opposition protests that looked to capitalize on the difficulties faced by Venezuelans, including rolling shortages and erratic pricing of goods and medicines, amid the factors that officials say constitute an 'economic war' against the country.
Some sectors of the country's political opposition have participated in Unasur facilitated dialogues, but did not sign a much-anticipated agreement.
teleSUR looks at the issues surrounding this elections, as well as the process and history of what some consider to be the most secure electoral system in the region, if not the world.
Luis Alejandro Ratti
Broad Front for the Homeland
- Diversify the economy through import substitution and agricultural development.
- Uphold the Bolivar as Venezuela's currency and strengthen the international market for Venezuela's cryptocurrency, the Petro.
- Expand public education
- Boost healthcare with new network for medicine distribution.
- Continue the housing mission by building five million new homes
- Consolidate the Carnet de la Patria, a special ID-card system for social protection benefits.
Luis Alejandro Ratti
- Allow business to have a place in government.
- Lift currency exchange controls, no dollarization.
- Keep social programs.
- “Transform” the organs of Public Power.
- New National Constituent Assembly.
- Re-establish relations with the United States, and encourage foreign investment.
Popular Patriotic Union 89
- Macroeconomic stabilization, including higher gasoline prices, recovering oil production, reactivating the productive sector through dialogue with the business sector, promotion of agricultural development, and new international loans.
- Overcome the historical rentier economic model.
- Replace “indirect subsidies” like the carnet de la Patria with “direct subsidies.”
- Maintain ALBA, CELAC and UNASUR, and criticize U.S. interventionism and economic sanctions.
- Institutional reconstruction for transparency. Create a sixth Public Power to manage currency and economic affairs.
- Dollarize the economy and lift currency exchange controls.
- Diversify Venezuela's historically oil-based economy.
Denationalization (i.e. privatization) of the hydrocarbon industry.
- Accept international aid.
- US$25 monthly cash transfer for all Venezuelans over 18. After 4 years only for “most needy.”
Hope for Change
- Eliminate currency exchange controls, approve a legal framework that generates trust for investors, make Venezuela an international tourist destination.
- Open a “humanitarian corridor” to receive international food and medicine aid.
- Autonomy for the state’s five powers.
- Bilateral relations with all countries.
There are at least four other candidates contesting for the presidential spot.
Reinaldo Quijada is being supported by the '89' Popular Political Unity.
Evangelical pastor Javier Bertucci, the leader of the Maranatha Pentecostal Church, is running as an independent on a vow to “bring Jesus” to Venezuela.
Luis Alejandro Ratti is also an evangelical pastor, but prior to that he was a leader of a group called the Hugo Chavez Bolivarian Front.