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Venezuela’s Illegitimate President

9:31 AM, Apr 23, 2013 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
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In other words, Venezuelan authorities are not conducting the audit to find out who really won the election, but rather to confer greater legitimacy on Maduro, who was formally inaugurated on April 19. Opposition figures worry, with good reason, that the whole thing is just a charade. After all, Caracas can happily remind everyone that governments across Latin America have already recognized Maduro as president.

So what can the Venezuelan opposition do while they’re waiting for the (sadly predictable) audit results? For starters, they can file a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; they can bring their case to the United Nations; and they can go public with any documented evidence of electoral fraud and intimidation. Meantime, they can continue organizing peaceful protests to show the world just how many Venezuelans are outraged by the government’s shenanigans. Given all the irregularities listed by Capriles, along with the Chávez regime’s history of autocratic power grabs and political thuggery, a large proportion of Venezuelans will never accept Maduro as a legitimately elected president—at least not without a fair, honest recount.

Jaime Daremblum, who served as Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2004, is director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Hudson Institute.

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