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Chavez legacy ends in Barinas: the state now belongs to the Venezuelan opposition

The state of Barinas, the birthplace of the late Hugo Chávez, now belongs to the opposition for the first time since 1998

January 10, 2022 1:38pm

Updated: January 10, 2022 10:53pm

For the first time since 1998, the state of Barinas, birthplace of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, will cease to be governed by Chavism after the historic victory of the opposition candidate in an election that was repeated due to a court order.

Opposition candidate Sergio Garrido, little known in Venezuelan politics, took a 14-point lead over former vice-president and former foreign minister Jorge Arreaza, Hugo Chavez’s son-in-law and father of his first grandchild.

Garrido obtained 172,497 votes (55.36%) in the first official election, while Arreaza obtained 128,583 votes (41.27%). Claudio Fermín, a third candidate accused of collaborating with the Chavez regime to divide the opposition vote, only obtained 5,996 votes (1.77%).

Arreaza acknowledged his defeat on Twitter more than an hour before the official result was revealed.

"Barinas dear. The information we received from our PSUV structures indicates that, although we increased the vote, we have not achieved our goal. I thank our heroic militancy from the bottom of my heart," wrote Arreaza.

Garrido celebrated his triumph during a press conference saying: "The noble, loyal, and brave people of Barinas are triumphant."

These latest elections confirm the victory of the opposition in the November 21 elections, which were annulled by the Supreme Court of Justice. The court claimed that the opposition candidate, Freddy Superlano, was disqualified over judicial investigations, which prevented him from participating again.

Superlano was not the only opposition candidate that was disqualified. His wife, Aurora Silva, and Julio César Reyes were also prevented from participating in these new elections, leaving Garrido elected to the regional parliament as the fourth option. All three candidates belonged to the opposition party Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD).

The Chavez regime has refused to hand over power in the region. The late president's father, Hugo de los Reyes Chávez, was governor of the state from 1998 to 2008. Chavez’s brother Adán Chávez Frías was also governor from 2008 to 2016, as well as his brother Argenis Chávez from 2017 to 2021.