After longtime Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s death and the hastily thrown-together special election to choose his successor, their Supreme Court flatly and immediately rejected the opposition party’s calls for an investigation into reports of election fraud and the subsequent demand for a thorough recount; meanwhile, ostensible victor Nicolas Maduro proceeded with a rushed inauguration and has been attempting to squash the hints of protest throughout the country ever since. As Roger Noriega points out at AEI, these certainly don’t look much like the actions of a regime that is sure its win was legitimate:
The self-declared winner, Nicolás Maduro, is behaving very much like a man who knows he lost on April 14. In resorting to violence and brute force to silence the opposition’s demand for an honest recount, Maduro has signed the death warrant for chavismo’s legitimacy.
Numerous videos of soldiers and other chavista thugs chasing, beating, and shooting unarmed protesters have circulated around the world since last month’s election. …
Post-election analyses have shown that even many of those who had supported caudillo Hugo Chávez before his recent death were among a majority of Venezuelans who voted for change last month. And that majority now has no choice but to resist the Cuban-backed regime that cannot hold on to power, let alone govern, unless it uses violence against the Venezuelan people.
The opposition party, led by Henry Capriles, has so far refused to concede, and on Tuesday night the violent mood spread into the Venezuelan legislature itself when the assembled lawmakers got into a massive brawl:
Fistfights broke out in Venezuela’s parliament on Tuesday, injuring a number of legislators during an angry session linked to the South American nation’s bitter election dispute.
The opposition said seven of its parliamentarians were attacked and hurt when protesting a measure to block them from speaking in the National Assembly over their refusal to recognize President Nicolas Maduro’s April 14 vote victory. …
One assembly worker, who asked not to be named, told Reuters the trouble began when opposition legislators shouted “fascist” at the National Assembly leader and unfolded a protest banner reading “parliamentary coup.”
Government parliamentarians attacked them. Laptops and tables were hurled in the ensuing melee, with one legislator hit over the head with a chair, the witness said.
The opposition party isn’t ready to give up, and of course the post-Chavez installations now supporting Nicolas Maduro aren’t going to want to tolerate many more challenges to their entrenched authority; tensions are high, to say the least, and I’d bet there’s plenty of violence still to come.