With presidential elections announced in Venezuela, the US State Department moved quickly to declare that the contest was illegitimate and that its results would not be recognised. But less than a year ago the tune was quite different, as a cursory look through State Department briefings and press releases will show. We also examine how political developments from the past year have led to the current scenario, and how US demands for “free and fair” elections are not only arrogant and hypocritical but also misleading.
We begin by taking a look at what the US State Department was constantly saying less than a year ago. We could equally document the statements of the OAS and its secretary Luis Almagro, the Venezuelan opposition, US-allied regional governments, or the mainstream media. But it is easier to just go to the source. Sadly, when it comes to Venezuela, none of the mainstream actors and media will deviate from the State Department.
As violent opposition protests raged on in the Spring of 2017, there were repeated calls for immediate elections:
“President Maduro […] should hold elections as soon as possible.” (March 29)
“We call for the government of Venezuela to […] hold elections as soon as possible” (March 30)
“We […] echo the Venezuelan people’s calls for prompt elections” (April 10)
“We call again upon the Government of Venezuela to […] hold prompt elections”…