Venezuela’s presidential campaign begins under shadow of problems

World Today

Handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency’s press office showing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L), accompanied by his wife First Lady Cilia Flores, waving at supporters during a campaign rally in Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar State, Venezuela, on April 23, 2018. Campaigning in Venuzuela got off to a muted start on Sunday ahead of a divisive presidential poll on May 20 which is being boycotted by the opposition and branded illegitimate by much of the international community. (AFP PHOTO / Venezuelan Presidency / Feliciano SEQUERA )

Venezuela’s presidential campaign is underway. The snap election has been delayed twice.

It’s now scheduled for May 20, but some opposition parties are boycotting it.

The poll also comes as the country is grappling with an economic crisis and a massive corruption scandal.

CGTN’s Stephen Gibbs reports from Caracas.

So it has begun– campaigning in this unusual presidential election.

The campaign team of incumbent President Nicolas Maduro has released this video which features a catchy electoral theme tune.

“We are all with Maduro” is what they sang. Venezuela’s main opposition parties, of course, disagree with that.

Maduro’s political opponents said the government, which has disqualified several candidates from standing, is not planning to hold a fair election, so they are calling for mass abstention.

But it is not a total boycott. This man, Henri Falcon, has broken with the opposition coalition. He said someone has to stand against Maduro and he believes he can win.

“Venezuela today is suffering from its most acute humanitarian crisis of the last one hundred years,” Falcon said.

Venezuela is in the midst of a recession of wartime proportions, with triple-digit inflation. The Falcon team is proposing replacing the now near-worthless local currency with the U.S. dollar.

President Maduro has ruled out dollarization. He instead is putting his faith in a new digital currency called the “Petro.”

Meanwhile, 16 regional governments have already announced at a summit in Peru this month that they believe the election result will not be trustworthy.

That leaves the country facing a presidential election that is proving controversial before a single vote has been cast.