Laughable: Joe Biden plans to lecture Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro about the virtues of free and fair elections
After rolling in to the U.S. presidency on a wave of election fraud, which is a view held by more than half the voters, what's Joe Biden's big plan for U.S.-Venezuela relations?
According to Bloomberg:
President-elect Joe Biden's advisers are preparing for potential negotiations with Nicolas Maduro's regime in Venezuela in an effort to end the Western Hemisphere's worst economic and humanitarian crisis, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The Biden administration intends to push for free and fair elections, offering sanctions relief in return, said the people, who requested anonymity because the new team is forming. In a departure from the Trump administration, which insisted it would only negotiate the terms of Maduro's surrender, Biden's advisers aren't setting that as a precondition.
Free and fair elections? From a guy whose presidential "victory" was sealed with Venezuelan Smartmatic technology? Oh, this is going to be a good one, hearing Maduro's response.
Maduro, like Biden, insists that all was free and fair with the elections in his country. He's in there despite the shambles he's made of his country, yet somehow Venezuelans can't get enough of him, electing him and his party for six consecutive terms.
That's garbage. Venezuela's elections since 2004 have all been plagued by allegations of and considerable proof of fraud. The fraud is forensic, it's statistical, it's in total ballots cast, and it's in the declarations of disinterested international observers. It's also visible in the behavior of Venezuela's voters, huge numbers of whom don't bother to vote anymore.
Now Joe Biden's going to fix things in Venezuela by offering Maduro a deal — an end to U.S. sanctions in exchange for free and fair elections?
Maduro is going to be laughing up his sleeve.
We all know what Biden thinks of free and fair elections, yelling about "threats to democracy" with every successive challenge to his "presidency" and making his first big post–Electoral College vote speech arguing that he somehow legitimately "won."
Can you imagine Biden, whose coming "presidency" is going to be asterisked forever with allegations of election fraud, telling a guy like Maduro that he's got to hold "free and fair" elections?
Maduro would laugh in his face.
Biden is the last guy who ought to be preaching to Maduro about free and fair elections.
Biden himself was anomalously "elected" after cheating his primary opponent Bernie Sanders out of the Democratic nomination and then moving on to bigger and better President Trump, an enormously popular president, with the aid of four corrupt blue cities. Biden's a guy who "won" more ballots than the very popular Barack Obama, and won despite not having 90% of the black vote. He won without Florida or Ohio, and Florida, remember, is where a large number of Venezuelan-American voters vote — he certainly didn't get their votes. Biden had a charismatic opponent, showed zero political coattails, made few campaign appearances and drew nearly no attendees, had both the press and social media in his back pocket, and has since seen a massive bank of witnesses who testified to multiple instances of stunning election fraud in just four solid-blue cities, along with voting technology representatives with big conflicts of interest.
Biden somehow "won"?
Maduro is going to advise Biden that he, too, has used Smartmatic technology, same as Biden just did, so right there, he's even-Steven with the Americans and their standards? He will also show massive voter turnout, at least in past elections, "proving" his voters' enthusiasm, because socialism always "won." He'll tell Biden he's actually the model for Biden's own "victory," alongside Mexico's old PRI.
(Smartmatic, by the way, in 2018, pulled out of Venezuela's elections, saying there really was evidence of machine fraud, but that was quite late in the game, well after the 2004–2018 damage had already been done. Its declaration a likely bid to preserve its foothold in bigger international markets, such as the U.S.).
Now Biden's going to lecture Maduro about making Venezuelan elections all free and fair? That's his plan? Give us a break.
Besides the laughability of the whole idea, unless Biden's plan is to declare Venezuela's elections free and fair, same as he's doing for himself, which might be another problem, Biden's also late to the party.
Free and fair elections have been a U.S. foreign policy focus since at least 2004, with the U.S., including the Obama-Biden administration supporting those brave Venezuelans who have stood up for such elections in the face of massive Chavista thugcraft and massive electoral fraud. Remember this famous photo from 2005?
It was in May 2005 that President Bush was standing up for free and fair elections in Venezuela and supporting its brave advocates. The lady in the picture is Maria Corina Machado, a trained Venezuelan engineer who ran an organization called Sumate, a civil society group dedicated to clean elections, following the disastrous 2004 vote-flipping recall referendum on Hugo Chávez, courtesy of Smartmatic. In that fiasco, Chávez was reaffirmed by a 59% to 41% margin, which just happened to be the same numbers, flipped the other way, from a poll from respected pollster Penn-Schoen. Machado's Sumate had accepted a grant from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy, which made Chávez scream. But the work went on, with U.S. help, and by November 2005, it emerged that not only were the votes flipped, but the ballots cast were not secret, prompting an opposition boycott I witnessed firsthand in Caracas in December 2005. And yes, I met with Machado on that trip, too, and found her an honest, sincere, steely advocate of clean, fair elections. She later won a seat in Venezuela's National Assembly, and Chavista socialist thugs beat her up in 2018.
My point on that is that a lot of water has passed under this bridge. Successive U.S. presidents from three administrations have sought to encourage Nicolás Maduro and his mentor, the late, unlamented Hugo Chávez, to do free and fair elections. There's been talk and negotiations about it for decades, including the Obama-Biden administration, where apparently old Joe was asleep at the wheel. Biden's magic plan for free and fair elections as the cornerstone of his big new Venezuela policy is just plagiarism from administrations past. In each and every case, none has been successful because Maduro, like Chávez, doesn't do free and fair elections.
Unless the Biden plan is to claim the Venezuelan elections were all free and fair same as his own, two peas in a socialist pod, and then drop sanctions in exchange for nothing, this policy is going to be a joke. No wonder Maduro is likely to start laughing.
Image credit: Bush White House Archives, public domain.