Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on Monday congratulated Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) for fending off the opposition Democratic Unity Movement (MUD) in Sunday’s municipal elections, which appear to have split the oil-producing country along rural and urban lines.
Despite presiding over a government plagued by a disastrous economy, frequent power cuts and soaring violence, Maduro’s electoral machine was able to mobilize enough voters to best the opposition 49.2% to 42.7%, according to the official vote tally. Overall, the party founded by deceased president Hugo Chávez won 196 of 335 municipalities, while the opposition MUD took 53 municipalities, including several of the most important cities in the country.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who was unable to translate Venezuela’s economic mismanagement into a resounding victory over the ruling party, said the poll results show that Venezuela remains a deeply divided country. “2014 is looking like it’s going to be a very difficult year for Venezuela but we will be there with you to look for a way out of this economic chaos,” Capriles tweeted, adding “NO ONE owns Venezuela.”
Maduro, meanwhile, dedicated his party’s victory to the memory of Chávez, who died of cancer in 2013.
“December 8th is the day of loyalty and love for Chávez and the homeland. When I say I am Chavista, I’m saying that I am the homeland,” Maduro tweeted on Sunday.
The PSUV’s victory also inspired President Ortega to indulge in a bit of political poetry of his own:
“Chávez, the Giant
the Transcendental Brother
Always Victorious…!” Ortega wrote in his congratulatory letter, which reads suspiciously like it was written by his wife, Rosario Murillo.
“Venezuela continues to be victorious, from Bolívar to Chávez, fulfilling step by step the Plan of the Patria,” reads Ortega’s letter, which is peppered with inexplicable capitalization. “Yesterday you achieved a New Triumph in the formidable Battle that you are fighting, with the Heroism of your best Children in this Sister Land.”
Ortega’s one-page letter to Maduro, which works in five mentions of Chávez, says the Sandinista government “congratulates you with happiness on each of your victories” and remains a faithful ally in “all of your battles.”