Crisis-weary Venezuelans are voting in election decried as a Maduro power grab Venezuela's Highly Unusual Presidential Election Will Venezuelans vote to end the hell? Venezuelans, rocked by poverty and inflation, head to polls Tepid turnout as Maduro seeks re-election in condemned Venezuela vote

Crisis-weary Venezuelans are voting in election decried as a Maduro power grab

Opposition parties have been largely prevented from fielding candidates.

Traditional opposition parties in this crisis-plagued nation of 31 million have been largely prevented from fielding candidates. Since joining the paper in 1994, he has served as bureau chief in Berlin, London, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and New York. The MUD’s decision to boycott the election should be puzzling. The main reason for the uncertainty in polling is the boycott. John Pilger . Opposition leaders are urging voters to abstain.

The International Monetary Fund expects that inflation in Venezuela will reach 13,000% in 2018. Maduro has also promised a “prize” to those who scan their cards after voting. Government food boxes are a lifeline for the hungry. More than a million Venezuelans have already left the country. But if he loses, the nation may begin to climb out of a deep hole. Este es un modelo (no válido) de tarjetón de la elección del próximo 20 de mayo.

Like many young people in Caracas, Barrios has seen friends leave the country to work abroad in search of work and income. Spring St. FILE - In this Nov. Most notably, six months ago Maduro named Maj. Government officials claimed a massive early turnout, with more than 2 million — or 10 percent — of registered voters already casting ballots by 9:45 a.m. He has also covered global economics from Washington.

Venezuela's Highly Unusual Presidential Election

This is the best opportunity since 1998 that the opposition has to defeat the Bolivarian Revolution. So why are they boycotting the election? Greg Wilpert asks

A man walks past graffiti in support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, (CNN) Polls opened in Venezuela on Sunday morning for the nation's presidential election. Falcon was once a Chavez supporter. Three state workers also told Reuters they were being pressured to vote, while government activists hovered around some polling stations, saying they were assisting voters. Maria Yolanda Godoy Valecillos worries she will lose her food rations if the opposition wins. “They say to me: ‘But are you blind?

They say their proposal would unwind years of byzantine currency controls and provide monthly subsidies to offset the adjustment. Maduro en la reelección vs. The other day, the baby developed a stomach sickness. His girlfriend has gone to Argentina, where she sells ice cream and earns more in a day that he can in a month. Oil-rich Venezuela should be among the world’s most prosperous nations, but misery is everywhere as President Nicolas Maduro seeks six more years in Sunday's election.

Nobody knows exactly how many soldiers have deserted. But at a sampling of a dozen stations in the capital, voting lines were thin to empty after polls opened at 6 a.m. Follow @Anthony_Faiola The story must be told. So why is the MUD boycotting the election? Opposition polls say it will be no more than 35 per cent, while pro-government polls put the participation figure at 70 per cent. Lisa Macdonald .

President Nicolas Maduro is seeking reelection for a six-year term in an electoral process that has been criticized both inside and outside Venezuela. In 2010, he broke with the ruling party and has been a vocal critic of the government in recent years. BOYCOTT Many Venezuelans are disillusioned and angry over the election: They criticize Maduro for economic hardships and the opposition for its dysfunctional splits.

Will Venezuelans vote to end the hell?

Most of the candidates who might have run against Maduro have been barred from running, including Henrique Capriles and Leopoldo Lopez. It cost two-thirds of Venezuela's monthly minimum wage to buy a tiny jar of medicine, says López. "She's better now. That way she could earn some hard currency to support her family. The nation is in economic free fall and hungry migrants are fleeing his autocratic socialist regime.

In addition to the economic strains, many soldiers fear being deployed again to hold back masses of angry protesters calling for a new government. Voting was set to close at 6 p.m., though some stations were expected to remain open later. Your subscription supports journalism that matters. The official explanation is that there are insufficient guarantees that there will be no fraud. Regardless of who wins, however, Venezuela’s future remains extremely uncertain.

The alternative to Maduro on Sunday isn’t perfect. The main opposition coalition is boycotting the election, though Maduro is not without challengers. He believes the way out of the financial crisis is the dollarization of the country -- pinning the country's economy on the US dollar. Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro casts his vote at a polling station, during the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela May 20, 2018.

Email us at [email protected] . He’s said the economy must be fixed, corruption fought, and the nation’s humanitarian crisis healed, but has offered few ideas about how he might go about doing that. I'm ready for the battle, ready to make history," Maduro said. "Who is it who gets to elect the president of Venezuela? But it's hard to get stuff for the baby. Her brother has migrated to Colombia, where he washes cars.

Venezuelans, rocked by poverty and inflation, head to polls

Polls opened in Venezuela on Sunday morning for the nation's presidential election.

For what?” said Freddy Álvarez, a 43-year-old merchant arguing with his friend about the election at a bakery in western Caracas. This is the best opportunity since 1998 that the opposition has to defeat the Bolivarian Revolution. Key opposition demands and the creation of a new National Electoral Council and the dropping of charges against several key opposition leaders. US efforts at radical regime change – targeting not just the presidency, but all state institutions – will make governing the country difficult no matter who wins.

Henri Falcon is a former member of Maduro’s ruling party who defected to the opposition in 2010. Maduro's chief rival in Sunday's vote is Henri Falcon, a former state governor and onetime loyalist of the ruling party who broke ranks in 2010. Many of those who are boycotting the election believe it is rigged. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins Pro-boycott activists planned some scattered protests, but authorities deployed 300,000 soldiers and policemen to protect voting stations.

Venezuela holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. The polls are officially open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time, and analysts say abstentions may hit 50 percent. A military coup? … The government of Colombia? …. I'm very concerned." Finding milk means getting up at 2 a.m. and joining one of the many food lines that snake along the streets of Caracas, she adds.

However, Maduro has jailed his most potent rivals and driven Venezuela’s main opposition to boycott the vote. FILE - In this Aug. Vladimir Padrino Lopez, who commands Venezuela's armed forces as minister of defense, announced plans in March to bolster conditions for soldiers struggling with economic challenges. I do not understand why people are so apathetic.” [ A Venezuelan woman had grown used to shortages.

Tepid turnout as Maduro seeks re-election in condemned Venezuela vote

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was seeking a six-year term on Sunday in a poorly attended vote that was condemned by foes as the "coronation" of a dictator and likely to bring fresh foreign sanctions.

Amid allegations from leaders in the region that the election process lacks legitimacy, Maduro said the outcome will be respected. The event is an afterthought for so many citizens battling despair, fatigue and economic insecurity. "Both my family and I are very undecided about whether we're going to vote," said Betty Fernandez. In the mountainous city of San Cristobal near Colombia, three cloth dolls representing loathed officials, electoral council President Tibisay Lucena, Socialist Party No.

President Nicolas Maduro, fighting to keep control of a restive state, called a vote months earlier than it’s traditionally held. Have a confidential news tip? The cost of living and lack of basic goods has led to street protests in recent years. Stories of similar ordeals are common among Venezuelans, who are enduring an exhausting daily struggle to survive, coupled with constant anxiety and fear.

The challengers draw scant crowds and citizens are more focused on their next meal than their next president.  That the vote proceeds seems certain. Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez arrives for a session with the Constitutional Assembly at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela. Odalys Bermudez, wife of a National Guard sergeant, said she relies on "miracles" to feed her four children aged 5 to 12.

First, there was a snap election in 2013, a mere five weeks after president Chávez died of cancer on 5 March. Under such circumstances governing from an opposition-controlled presidency, even under Venezuela’s somewhat presidential system, would be extremely difficult. If Maduro wins, the US will no doubt intensify sanctions, perhaps prohibiting the import of Venezuelan oil. Venezuelan Presidential candidate Henri Falcon, right, embraces a supporter during a rally in Barquisimeto, Venezuela May 17, 2018.

Let no one miss this historic day," Maduro said after he cast his ballot, claiming his was the first vote of the day. According to the minister of communications, Jorge Rodríguez, speaking at a news conference Sunday morrning, more than two- and-a-half-million people had voted. Diosdado Cabello and Vice President Tareck El Aissami, were hung from a footbridge. Opposition politicians say the election is a fraud and are calling on people not to vote.

The Latest: US State Department Blasts Venezuela Elections

Hyperinflation, along with a $70bn bond default means that basic food and medicine can not be imported. For many, the worsening economic crisis and a deep distrust of the government seem to have corroded their appetite for — or faith in — politics. It's a big, confusing, messy world, and Parallels draws on NPR correspondents around the globe to connect the dots and make sense of it all. Supporters wave to President Nicolas Maduro at a Caracas rally in February.

VERNON -- Over the years, much has been written about Gen. Let’s defend President Chávez’s legacy! The following year the opposition launched another wave of violent protests (known as ‘guarimbas’) that lasted about three months and left 43 people dead. Those who know about Venezuela from mainstream media no doubt dismiss Venezuela’s electoral system as a sham. Venezuela Elections: Trump vs. It’d be hard to blame Venezuelans for staying home Sunday, when the nation votes whether to keep authoritarian leader Nicolas Maduro as its president.

Polls close at 6 p.m. CNN's Paula Newton, Natalie Gallon and Joe Sterling contributed to this report Home World U.S. Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said some 2.5 million Venezuelans had voted by 10 a.m. Government workers were required by their bosses to attend Maduro rallies like this one. He faces a former governor, Henri Falcon, and a televangelist, Javier Bertucci -- but the main opposition coalition told its supporters to stay home.

Leaving the country:  Many citizens are choosing to leave the country. Yet López has become determined to vote, even though she, too, doubts whether the election will be fair. Want to know more? A man walks past campaign graffiti for Falcon and Bertucci. FILE - In this May 15, 2018 file photo, soldiers hold signs of the names of schools that will serve as voting centers as they leave the Military Academy to go to those schools in Caracas, Venezuela.

How Venezuela's President Keeps His Grip on a Shattered Country

Nicolás Maduro is using access to food and money as a weapon in Sunday’s election.

Don’t stay at home!” a loudspeaker boomed from one of the vans. Meanwhile, following president Chávez’s death, Venezuela’s economic situation began to deteriorate significantly. However, contrary to popular belief, Venezuela actually has one of the most transparent and fraud-proof election systems in the world. As the Venezuelan presidential election draws closer, the campaign of imperialist aggression intensifies.

Street protests in 2017 were brutally put down, with more than 150 people killed. ET Sunday. Africa Americas Asia China Europe Middle East Opinion U.S. Should Maduro win, he may choose to deepen a successful purge of critics within the ruling “Chavismo” movement. But when state television cameras pointed in their direction, workers cheered. State television has broadcast images of invited election observers from around the region and from Russia and Europe.

Have your say. Polling makes it hard to gauge: While some recent surveys have Maduro in the lead, some put Falcón ahead, while others have them tied. Check out our "About" page . Supporters watch as Falcon campaigns in the decrepit manufacturing hub of Maracay in April. Marilu Moreno gives an interview about her son Peter Moreno, an Air Force Lieutenant who was arrested for conspiracy against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Maracay, Venezuela.

He added, “The real truth is that this is an orchestrated farce to keep Maduro in power without popular support.” [ Oil was the only thing keeping Venezuela afloat. At first, the 22nd of April was the agreed-upon date, but in the last minutes before the agreement was to be signed in late February, opposition representatives decided to withdraw. This is not the place to go into this in detail, but it is a dual balloting system, in which paper ballots and electronic ballots are both cast and compared against one another.

Venezuelans Vote in Election Overshadowed by Crisis

Venezuela holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come.

Results are expected Sunday night or Monday. International Confirm U.S. Various high-profile figures, including former ministers under both him and Chavez, are in exile or jail. Everyone was eager to be seen, and most important photographed, supporting Mr. The United Nations has refused to certify Venezuela’s polling as fair, and the U.S. has said it won’t recognize the winner. Four candidates are running for president.

Many Venezuelans are expected to abstain from voting. FILE- In this Feb. Maduro addresses a crowd of supporters and militia members during a May Day rally on International Workers' Day. Air Force Lieutenant Peter Moreno, who was arrested for alleged conspiracy against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, are displayed at the home of his mother Marilu Moreno in Maracay, Venezuela. Spring St.

Rodriguez Zapatero went out of his way to criticize the opposition’s last-minute withdrawal,  stating , ‘I find it shocking that the document was not signed by the opposition representation. The main problem that opposition candidate Henri Falcon faces now is not the voting system, but the lack of institutional support. As the Venezuelan presidential election draws closer, the campaign of imperialist aggression intensifies.

The hell that Venezuelans have endured can’t go on much longer. Maduro has been Venezuela's President since former President Hugo Chavez died in 2013. International Arabic Español © 2018 Cable News Network. Abroad, Maduro is likely to face an avalanche of western protests should he win, although Russia and China remain allies and have been important financial backers. Sometimes, people get surprise text messages from the government telling them they will get cash bonuses, often on holidays.

Venezuela elections 2018: A look at the key points

Venezuelans are heading to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president and representatives for the state councils.

Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories. Falcón's decision to run has enraged Venezuela's main opposition parties, who are boycotting the vote. Posted: May. Bertucci's rallies were carnivalesque, featuring Christian hip hop, bouncy castles and free soup and medical services. Posted: May. Even more were worried about losing access to subsided government food boxes — known as CLAP boxes — that have become the main source of sustenance for millions.

On top of it all, Falcon must convince opposition voters not to participate in the boycott. has regularly provided very useful description, analysis, and commentary on developments in Venezuela, rarely available in the US". Inflation is projected to reach 13,000 percent this year. Hunger and disease have seeped into every corner of the country — malaria, tuberculosis and the measles are growing scourges.

That could trigger oil sanctions from the U.S. government, and more censure from the European Union and Latin America. Apps Newsletters Reuters Plus Advertising Guidelines Cookies Terms of Use Privacy All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. For poor citizens, it can be equivalent to several weeks wages. While many polls have given a commanding lead to Falcon, a former soldier and governor, he’s struggled to gain widespread support as many Maduro opponents accused him legitimizing a sham vote.

As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers. I believe Mr. Updated: May. Maduro promises to launch an `economic revolution' in a second term. CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) � He enlisted in Venezuela's National Guard to earn a ticket out of poverty. After uninviting Maduro to the Summit of the Americas last month in Peru, the Lima Group — 12 nations spanning the Americas — said it would reject the vote.

Venezuela To Hold Presidential Election But Main Opposition Is Boycotting It

Deep economic crisis and distrust of the government seem to have corroded many Venezuelans' faith in politics. Main opposition parties are even boycotting Sunday's vote.

Maduro, on the other hand, has the formidable machinery of the PSUV at his disposal. Noam Chomsky . Venezuelan money trades at 700,000 bolivars to the dollar. People flee at a rate of 5,000 a day. Many Venezuelans saw him as the hero of the poor. The self-described “son” of Hugo Chavez says he is battling an “imperialist” plot to crush socialism and take over the OPEC member’s oil wealth.

That’s enough to convince many to vote for Mr. And Bertucci has further split the diminished opposition bloc. Falcon is Maduro's primary opponent and was once a Chavez supporter. Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro greets supporters during a closing campaign rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday. That is not going to happen." Yet Falcón insists the boycott plays into Maduro's hands, and that you cannot defeat him unless you actually enter the contest.

Bertucci supporters listen at a rally May 16. He said he couldn't feed his pregnant wife and 2-year-old son on his National Guard pay. The Russians, in particular, have emerged as Maduro’s main benefactors, through loans and investments in Venezuela’s crumbling energy sector. Henri Falcon has always been a bit of a ‘maverick’ politician. Opinion polls have been all over the place in terms of who is ahead in this race.

Almost everything’s in short supply: food, water, medicine — even the population is dropping fast. Production of oil, the fulcrum of the Venezuelan economy, is slowing to a relative trickle. Before he died, Chavez picked Maduro as his successor, which helped put Maduro over the top in the 2013 presidential election. But opponents say the leftist leader has destroyed Venezuela’s once-wealthy economy and ruthlessly crushed dissent.

US sanctions Venezuela socialist boss for drug trafficking

The Trump administration has slapped sanctions on Venezuelan socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello as well as his wife and brother as tensions between the two countries mount ahead of Sunday's presidential election

But when I go to the slums, I see something changing. But even as Maduro, 55, has consolidated political power, reviving Venezuela’s economy has been beyond his grasp. In an op-ed written for the New York Times, Falcon said he decided on the break because "electoral boycotts almost never work. When Ariles López takes a break from her fruit stall and begins to describe her life in Venezuela, there is a moment when she chokes up and begins to cry.

With another associate, he allegedly seized drug loads from small-scale traffickers and combined and exported them through a government-owned airport. A cataract of confetti almost obscures Maduro at a rally in Caracas. He sought work changing tires on days off, earning double the roughly $2 a month he takes home from the military. Last week, the Venezuelan human rights group REDES accused the government of enlisting leftist Colombian guerrillas to pressure Venezuelans in the border region to vote.

However, usually in the week before the election the polling numbers of the two sides tended to converge. Venezuela Analysis is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to know what is happening today in one of Latin America's most dynamic countries". More than a million Venezuelans have fled the country. From subtle policy points to fighting words, our opinions are a click away. Once he took power, Maduro kept up Chavez's practices such as huge welfare programs and price controls for most goods, including food.

Inflation may reach 13,000 percent this year. For a long time, the poor supported Mr. Maduro’s promise of an “economic revolution” is complicated by the threats from U.S. to punish the nation’s oil industry. Among his proposals are the use of the US dollar as a currency instead of the Bolivar to try to stabilise the economy. That will not come as a surprise, when you hear her story.

Venezuelans Head to the Polls for a Vote That's All But Won

Amid boycotts and humanitarian crisis, Venezuelans head for a vote

In the western city of Maracaibo, Ruth Bravo, 21, said she sent her husband into the army for food benefits so she and her two young children could eat. Water, electricity and transportation are breaking down, sparking micro-protests across the nation. However,  he broke from Chávez  in 2010. This time around, though, they have remained as far apart as ever before. Oliver Stone . It’s a plight that has “failed state” written all over it.

Marco Rubio: It's time to hasten Maduro's exit from power Venezuela holds the world's largest supply of crude oil -- which once seemed like an endless gusher of cash for the government. Results are expected by late evening. Few people have enough food, and infants are dying of starvation. Henri Falcón, one of the candidates, pledges decent wages for workers and criticizes Mr. Five years ago, oil was trading at over $100 a barrel, which gave the ruling socialists leeway.

A few months later, López's diabetic mother became ill and fell into a coma because she was unable to find medicines to control her blood sugar levels. Some polls predict President Maduro earning more than that percentage of the vote on Sunday. VERNON -- Over the years, much has been written about Gen. FILE - In this July 5, 2014 file photo, soldiers march during an Independence Day parade in Caracas, Venezuela.

Rachelle Krygier and Mariana Zuñiga contributed to this report.  Read more The Venezuelan oil industry is on a cliff’s edge. Eventually, in 2012, he joined the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) and formed his own political party, Progressive Advance. Pro-government pollsters, such as the company Hinterlaces give Maduro a 17 point advantage. Marta Harnecker . And it’s a plight that Venezuelans should confront at the ballot box.

Empty stomachs drive Venezuela soldiers to desert in droves

With Venezuela's government bankrupt amid hyperinflation, hunger and discontent are penetrating the barracks, raising doubts about the armed forces' continued loyalty to President Nicolas Maduro

Plummeting oil prices crashed the country's economy in 2016. Attendance appeared low across the country, from the wealthier, pro-opposition eastern Caracas to the fiercely anti-Maduro Andean mountains in the west of the country. But he’s still expected to win Sunday’s election. But the fear remains: If you do not vote, you may lose your ration box. Now, it’s near $67 a barrel -- even after significant gains this year -- and the state producer’s creditors are already seizing its assets .

López says she issued an appeal on Facebook, and eventually found someone in Caracas who had the right medication, and was willing to sell it. A re-election would delight Nicolás Barrios, a 25-year-old student who is an ardent supporter of Maduro. Sorry, you are using an unsupported browser. In this Feb. Soldiers once made up a privileged class at the height of Venezuela's oil boom under Chavez, who himself was a former tank commander.

Falcon’s break with the MUD for the 2018 presidential election has caused hardline opposition leaders to regard him very suspiciously. Opposition pollsters, such as Datanalisis, are giving Falcon an 11 point advantage over Maduro. Tariq Ali . True, the chances of Maduro abiding by the collective voice of the Venezuelan electorate are slim to none. Venezuelans, rocked by poverty and inflation, head to polls By Mariano Castillo and Marilia Brocchetto , CNN Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT) May 20, 2018 Chat with us in Facebook Messenger.

Opposition critics say this is a way of scaring impoverished and dependent Venezuelans into sticking with the government. Access to food is a powerful motivator in a country where only 10 percent of people can afford enough to eat. And with most opposition supporters planning to sit it out, low approval ratings or not, Mr. Few expect that Maduro, who insists the crisis is the result of sabotage by business leaders and political foes, will change course if he wins, as expected, another six-year term.

Her mother survived. Barrios appears convinced by the Chavista argument that Venezuela's problems are not of its own making, but the result of an economic war waged by the outside world, notably the United States. This page will not display correctly. FILE - In this June 24, 2017 file photo, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro oversees a military parade on Army Day at Fort Tiuna in Caracas, Venezuela.