The economic situation facing the masses in Venezuela has suffered a sharp turn for the worse over the Christmas period. The problems that already existed have worsened, with prices spiralling out of control, a further collapse of the transport system and an aggravation of scarcity (of food, fuel and cash). This has led to scattered protests and incidents of looting.

As was expected, Venezuela’s municipal elections on December 10 produced a landslide victory for the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV). It won 308 out of 335 local councils winning in 23 out 25 state capitals. The opposition, which stood divided and largely boycotted the election, only managed to win two significant local councils, those of San Cristobal, the capital of Táchira and Libertador, the capital of Mérida.

 The fact that the main Venezuelan opposition parties have decided to boycott the December 10 municipal elections has opened the space for candidates representing the revolutionary wing of the Bolivarian movement to stand against official hand picked candidates from the ruling PSUV party. The bureaucracy and the state have responded by using all sorts of tricks to prevent them from running. The campaigns of Eduardo Samán in Caracas and Angel Prado in Simón Planas (Lara) have brought out the simmering contradictions within chavismo.

Last month the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (“PSUV”) won a decisive electoral victory in the face of an extremely difficult economic and political situation. However, despite temporarily stabilising the political situation in Venezuela, this victory has done nothing on its own to alleviate the growing tensions in Venezuela. Meanwhile, the pressures of inflation and the shortage of goods which have been weighing heavily on the masses for several years require an urgent solution.

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