It was a chaotic election day in Venezuela with riots, protests, explosions and, by the time polls closed at 7 pm, at least 16 dead, including a youth political leader.
The “National Constitutional Assembly” elections fostered by Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro are seen by many as the final step toward dictatorship in that country, and several nations, including the U.S., Argentina, Spain and Colombia, outright rejected the election. But others, like Bolivia and of course, Cuba, defended Venezuela’s right to sovereign elections.
Regardless of where you stood, by 10 pm, #PPTenVenezuela (Vote in Venezuela) and #Yonovoteporlaconstituyente (I didn’t vote for the Constitutional) were both trending global topics on Twitter.
On their end, recording artists have, for months, been extremely vocal in rejecting Maduro’s elections and called for dramatic change in Venezuela, with many of them — including Chyno and Nacho — facing harassment as a result of their outspokenness.
On Sunday, Venezuelan artists again took to social media to decry what many are calling “fraudulent” elections. These are not the polite or politically-correct posts we are used to seeing from artists in political situations. The criticism is pointed and specific, and many non-Venezuelan artists, including Spaniard Alejandro Sanz and Panama’s Ruben Blades have made specific calls to action.
“Venezuela fight for your liberty. #VotaNoala Constituyente,” tweeted Sanz, along with a video detailing how the Maduro government has decimated the country.
— Alejandro Sanz (@AlejandroSanz) July 29, 2017
In post after post, singer/songwriter Carlos Baute called out government media for posting fake footage that would seem to indicate throngs of people had gone out to vote.
“These are the official numbers as of 2 pm,” he posted on Twitter. “Voters: 1.223.686 which correspond to 6.12% of registered voters nationwide. It’s important to broadcast these numbers…”
“Accept your defeat @nicolasmaduro and stop lying. LOOOOOOOSER!” he added in another post.
— Carlos Baute (@carlosbaute) July 30, 2017
Chyno, one of the most vocal critics of Maduro’s government posted a lengthy tirade on all his social media channels.
“Nicolas Maduro doesn’t exist!!!! His process is so fraudulent that not even his own system, programmed in Cuba, can lie […] We want a new government that’s efficient and responsible and serves our country, and not Cuba, China and Russia…” Read Chyno’s statement here in full:
Primer voto de la constituyente NULO. Nicolas Maduro no existe!!!! Su proceso es tan fraudulento que ni su propio sistema programado por ellos en Cuba puede mentir. No queremos Constituyente, queremos un nuevo gobierno de gente eficiente y responsable a la orden de nuestra patria, no a la orden de Cuba, China y Rusia … Hoy todos acudimos a las redes sociales para poder enterarnos de lo que está sucediendo en el país. Lamentablemente la censura del gobierno y la cobardía de algunos medios de comunicación nos impiden saber lo que pasa realmente. Por eso quiero usar estos medios alternativos para dar mi humilde opinión. HOY NO SE ACABA VENEZUELA; porque no vamos a permitir jamás que nos roben nuestro país y nuestras libertades. El fraude constituyente es un intento desesperado por conservar el poder, porque el gobierno sabe que al perderlo, tendrá que verse de frente con la justicia nacional e internacional. Esta farsa electoral es el inicio del fin de este régimen corrupto, indecente y opresor. Mañana todos desconoceremos el producto de esta aberrante violación constitucional. Vendrán tiempos difíciles, de lucha y de resistencia, pero estoy convencido que con la gallardía que ha demostrado nuestro pueblo se restaurará la libertad y la democracia. Fuerza Venezuela!!!
Likewise, Nacho, Chyno’s former musical partner, maintained a steady stream of retweets from the opposition during the day.
And Ricardo Montaner, one of Venezuela’s most iconic stars, issued a pointed call: “Non intervention should have a limit…and in Venezuela that limit passed a long time ago,” he tweeted.
— Ricardo Montaner (@montanertwiter) July 28, 2017
Venezuela is only one of eight countries, including Bolivia and Ecuador, that have convened elections to reform their constitution.