Tibisay Lucena, who was behind Chavista electoral fraud, dead at 63

The politician headed Venezuela's National Electoral Council. She faced accusations of electoral fraud from the international community surrounding numerous Chavismo victories.

It is not surprising that Chavismo has come out to praise the figure of Tibisay Lucena. The Minister of Higher Education of the Venezuelan regime died on Wednesday in Caracas for reasons that have not yet been made official. Lucena was the director of the National Electoral Council from 2006-2020. She was the director at the time of the 2018 elections which resulted in Maduro remaining in office as president of Venezuela, despite the international community's accusations of electoral fraud. "Tibisay Lucena was a woman of great courage, who remained loyal to her principles and ideals, always defending the just causes of the people. Venezuelans will always remember her for her integrity and moral strength," wrote Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on his Twitter account shortly after the news of her death.

Maduro was probably referring to the role Tibisay Lucena played in the December 2015 elections to the National Assembly which the opposition won by a large majority, which she refused to confirm. In those elections, 74% of Venezuelans voted and the MUD (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática) obtained 110 of the 169 seats in the assembly. Lucena took hours to announce the official results and, although she initially accepted the opposition victory, in 2017 Lucena and Maduro called on the National Constituent Assembly for new elections, which at the time was controlled by Chavismo. Chavismo won by a wide margin. Tibisay Lucena declared these illegal elections organized by Maduro as legit. It was as if she were pulling an ace out of her sleeve. The opposing National Assembly appointed Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela in January 2019 with a very clear roadmap: "To put an end to the usurpation of the government," as Guaidó himself declared on the day of his appointment.

Tibisay Lucena, born in Barquisimeto on April 26, 1959 and a graduate of the Central University of Venezuela had been sanctioned by several countries and was banned from entering Colombia. In 2017 she and twelve other high-ranking Chavista officials associated with the National Constituent Assembly were sanctioned by the United States for "undermining democracy and human rights." Canada sanctioned her in September 2017 as did the European Union in 2018. The EU blamed her for her role in the "deterioration of democracy in Venezuela."