Since 1992, Venezuela has entered a period of change, tension, and constant polarisation that has led to an acute crisis in recent years. What was initially meant to be a hopeful process of change, ended up becoming a path towards constant instability. Following the death of Hugo Chávez in 2013 and the subsequent rise to power of Nicolás Maduro, the social, economic, and institutional crisis has worsened, to the point where some experts have come to consider Venezuela a failed state.
Irregularities in the 2015 elections led to an institutional blockade that continued throughout 2016 and part of 2017. The legislative elections of December 2020 were no different. The opposition led by Juan Guaidó did not participate, alleging a lack of electoral guarantees and that the elections were not recognised as valid by a good part of the international community. Despite the high abstention rate at the polls (69%, according to official figures) and the lack of international recognition of these elections, which were only recognised by a score of countries allied to the regime, Maduro managed to regain legislative power, nullifying the political maneuverability of Guaidó and a large part of the Venezuelan opposition.
With the Election Observation Mission, the EU wanted to assure the security, transparency and veracity of the Regional and Municipal Elections in Venezuela in 2021. An Election Exploratory Mission was deployed during July 2021 to assess whether the deployment in Venezuela of the European Union Election Observation Mission was useful, feasible, and advisable. The main purpose of the Election Exploratory Mission is to collect information concerning the election process, including the political situation, election administration, potential for electoral violence, general security of the country, and logistics.
Once the EU Election Observation Mission was declared viable, the logistical, administrative, and security aspects of the EU Election Observation Mission are implemented to achieve the project objectives. To ensure that elections are free and fair elections, and that all citizens are able to vote freely, DT Global deployed team of experts in Venezuela. The Elections Observation Mission covered most of the territory of the country, except for certain areas that were avoided due to security concerns (Amazonas State, restrictions in States of Barinas, Sucre Táchira, Apure, and Zulia).
The Mission took into account the risks that could arise during the implementation and guaranteed the security and safety of its experts. The safety and security of the election observers was ensured following the guidelines developed by the European Commission. Moreover, due to the pandemic situation, Covid-19 standard operating procedures were created in adherence to Colombia’s rules and restrictions.
The EU Elections Observation Mission goals include: