The good thing about having followed Venezuelan politics very closely -for almost two decades- is that little of what chavismo does surprises. With respect to the "new electoral authorities", Nicolas Maduro may fool Bloomberg hacks, but not us. We know who Enrique Marquez and Roberto Picón are. In fact, this site's editor saw Enrique Marquez in action, in his role of "opposition watchdog to prevent electoral hanky panky from chavismo", all the way back in 2006, when we shadowed presidential candidate Manuel Rosales for nearly three months. He did nothing then, to denounce the most blatant abuse of resources, electoral laws, and power against his man. Not once, he raised issues about padded electoral roll, lack of independent audits or any form of meaningful scrutiny. Back then Leopoldo Lopez was responsible for the get out the vote drive nationwide. He admitted to this site's editor that the opposition had failed to have electoral witnesses in 40% of polling stations. As per Picón, read this and this.
With the new appointments, Venezuela is meant to be back on its way to some kind of entente between chavismo and opposition... Marquez and Picón are comfort food. Familiar figures. To chavismo, toothless, docile, domesticated old dogs. Neither will rock the boat. Neither will denounce chavismo's "best electoral system in the world" (Jimmy Carter dixit). They are opposition, like Juan Guaido is President of Venezuela. It is not a lack of elections what's pushed the country to its current predicament, neither it is participation, or lack thereof, of opposition candidates in those elections. The whole canard of Venezuela having an abundance of democracy, because it had many elections, is a farce. Marquez and Picón lack independence, freedom and sufficient spine to challenge anything, at Electoral Board level or anywhere else.
Maduro bid his time. He got control of Congress, therefore rendering mute the argument of Guaido's legitimacy. He got Russia, China, Turkey and an army of dodgy operatives to circumvent U.S. sanctions. He could resist, cause he had the measure of Donald Trump since day one. Now, that back channels talks are into play, he's giving the gringos these carrots, as if they mean anything. As if his hold on power might be challenged by a surprising outcome of free and fair elections. What an effing joke. Perhaps cause for celebration in Washington, as it will provide a somewhat elegant exit to the clusterfuck inherited by Joe Biden's administration. Alas a tragic joke nonetheless.
We were ready to go on the record when Guaido appeared. We said nothing would happen, and here we are. Free and fair elections aren't going to take place in Venezuela, now or in the near future, with or without Marquez and Picón. Criminal organizations do not relinquish power through the ballot.