Venezuelans abroad are skeptical that the presidential election will bring about change in their country

Paola Pulgar, a 34-year-old Venezuelan, will not be able to vote in Panama's presidential election in two months. He did not update his information as a voter because they required a local ID which he did not have at his place of residence for humanitarian reasons, he said. It's quite an emotional roller coaster.

“At first, it kept me awake. I resigned myself to anger, it was so frustrating,” he said. Voice of America Bulkar graduated in chemical engineering and was active in an opposition political party before immigrating nine years ago.

At least 58,000 Venezuelans live in Panama, but, like him, the majority cannot participate in the vote, where Nicolás Maduro wants to be re-elected president in an unfavorable environment, where all the polls of private companies show Edmundo. González Urrutia, the candidate of the traditional anti-Chavismo parties.

Although he cannot vote, he has a clear say in his country's politics. He said it was “hard to believe” in regime change Voice of America. “I don't think there will be any different results in this election than what we've seen before,” he said.

Chavismo already has 25 years of government, but its opposition hopes to turn popular discontent into an electoral victory in the face of the political, social and economic crisis of the past decade.

According to the R4V platform, which brings together 200 agencies and NGOs, local anti-chavismo does not seem to have the same amount of hope invested in the Venezuelan diaspora.

“I have no hope, although I'd like to be surprised,” Mariangel Alana, a 33-year-old Venezuelan accountant living in Santiago, Chile, said of the final outcome of the presidential election.

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As part of the 444,000 Venezuelans living in Chile, he said he had two opposing answers when asked who he thought would be elected in the July vote: one dictated by his “heart,” longing for the victory of candidate Gonzalez Urrutia; The other he described as “authentic,” where Chavismo wins.

“We've lived with a flawed electoral system for more than 20 years, so the best thing I can do remotely for my mental well-being is to accept reality,” Alana said, assuming Maduro would be re-elected. .

Low participation

According to Votoscopio, an NGO run by journalist and electoral environmental analyst Eugenio Martínez, 6,000 Venezuelans managed to update their data in the voter register, and only 508 registered as new voters abroad, which lasted 1 month.

According to their study, immigrants and refugees abroad make up more than 4 million of the nearly 8 million voters.

Esteban Campos, social communicator, 43 years old, living in the United States since 2021, does not expect a political change in his country either.

“Nothing is going to happen that hasn't already happened. “What exists is a simulation, a show,” he said VOAHe strongly believes that the solution to the crisis must go through an agreement between international actors such as Russia, China or the US, which he does not see today.

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An estimated 545,000 Venezuelans are living in the United States with legal status or awaiting a response to their asylum claims.

Since the two countries' governments have not had diplomatic ties since 2019, neither of them will be able to vote in July, voiding the logistics of the vote, including updating voter data.

A generational issue and social differences

Dedicated to digital platforms, Campos fears social differences in his country will worsen after the election.

“The gap between the poor and the government or those who do business with them is going to widen. The misery is going to deepen, and people will continue to live off the money that Venezuelans send abroad,” he predicted.

Gustavo Barrios, 47, of the popular Florida resort chain, has a similar opinion. “The panorama, although it looks encouraging, I believe it will not change with the elections. It is difficult and difficult to say, but this is what we have experienced in recent years,” he said. Voice of America.

María Alejandra Cáceres, a Venezuelan who has lived between Uruguay and Chile for 10 years, doesn't believe the government will recognize or allow her defeat.

“I don't think there will be any major change politically. “Socially, it will take generations to see big changes,” which would allow his country to reverse what he called “social damage” throughout this century, he said.

The opposition is pushing democratic and economic developments in favor of the return of Venezuelan migrants as part of its government and election campaign plan. The government, for its part, launched a migrant return program in 2018, the Vuelta a la Patria, in which 900,000 people took part, according to official figures.

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Mariana Martínez, a 22-year-old young woman who immigrated to the United States in 2022, feels not only 2,000 kilometers away from her Venezuela, but also “too far” from its current politics and news.

He believed that registering as a voter was a “waste of time” as it was already clear to him that he would immigrate to the United States once he reached voting age in his home country. Today, he stressed, his faith continues to be intertwined in “building” the future abroad, no longer in the idea of ​​a political turnaround.

“Politics has consumed us too much. Yes, I want to vote, but I don’t even know who is contesting,” he admitted, focusing more on his work than election campaigns.

Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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