I find it depressing how even historians joining the wagon of Venezuela analysts tend to select rather limited time frames when they want to measure up the development of anything. Now they mostly choose the period 1998 to 2011, as if everything that came before Chávez could be subsumed under 1998.
In some cases we may do well by comparing literacy levels or murder rates at least for a century. In some cases we may want to try to get key data about industril production for a few decades at the very least.
In the case of abstention, we should look at the time frame 1958 until now.
I just took the data found at the CNE and started to plot it.
Take a look.
But I will go deeper into this. That is not what it is all about.