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Venezuela News And Views

A blog about life under, and resisting, a dictatorship


How to legally cheat

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 21:35:34 PDT

The most surprising thing about Sunday's election fraud is how unprepared the MUD opposition was. I admit that it was difficult to prepare for the out of norms regime onslaught, but still...

And yet the electoral machinery of the regime was so powerful that it may well have "won" the election.

A great piece by Hernan Lugo Garcia illustrates how "legally" the regime managed to rescue what was a losing election into a victory of sorts.  Mr. Galicia is usually well informed and seems to have network of informants inside the regime. Sometimes he misses, though we must consider there is also significant misinformation produced by the regime: "fakenews" is a concept long practiced under chavismo.  This time around his tale rings true and informed because there is too much coherence in what he describes, and mostly because it narrates well how the regime has been learning from one election to the next, something that the MUD does not seem to do.

If you read Spanish it is definitely worth a read. Below just some of the main illegal points.

- there was collusion between the army and the regime and the CNE. That is, each one kept each other informed at all time and the army acted decisively in some centers inspiring terror and what not. As for the regime it has several organizations it could count on, even the recent one of "chamba juvenil" which is a pay check for the unemployed youth that became the excuse for them to work on election day. What was illegal here is for the CNE to offer advance results form their predictions, almost by the hour, according to previous voting patterns on who had already voted. AND OF COURSE the active participation of the army. The alleged legality here is to preserve order and the army can do as it pleases to achieve that. But the whole thing is totally illegal even though the regime pretends that it did nothing or what the fuzz is.

- the voting times at polling stations was grossly manipulated. The law clearly states that voting stations close at 6PM and only people still in line are allowed to vote. Many stations were open as late as 10 PM. NO NORMAL polling station has that much people that it needs to remain open 4 more hours.  The reason was that the regime could ferry in people it blackmails through food program CLAP or the infamous "tarjeta de la patria" which allows them an exact census of the people they have on leash.  There again it is legal to keep open past 6 IF you have people in line but it is illegal if there is no one waiting. Twisting the law here is easy since there is no way you can force clsoing of the voting center, a prerogative of the military in poractice.

- moving polling centers is legally an option. But in case of natural disasters, floods, lack of electric power. Not because there was some trouble three moths ago even though all is quiet now. So, abusing of that "legal" escape the regime moved voting centers of opposition bastions to far away and even dangerous locales. This resulted in increased abstention as the opposition had no time to organize its electoral machinery to move these people to their new centers.

The point here is that actually the regime acknowledges that they did all that in purpose. The campaign head of the regime said that "half an hour more and we'd won Zulia". That is, has the CNE delayed a half an hour more there would have been enough to flip over Zulia from the opposition column.

The amazing thing here is that just like for narcos the regime makes its legality as it goes along.  This election was the conclusive proof of that, that there will never be a legal predictable frame to work with as long as these people hold the levers of power. Never.

Even the Mafia respects better its rules.

Numeral inconsistencies

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:24:01 PDT

While the opposition logistic mess (so far this is what we see) may or may not prove electoral fraud (that fraud exists from before election day, so there is electoral fraud no matter what) we can only look at some glaring inconsistencies.

Voter participation

This last one is particularly galling for the regime and its electoral ministry, CNE.  For those late in the game, Smartmatic was an electronic voting machine manufacturer which test run was the most controversial recall election on 2004. A new comer got to organize its first try a NATIONAL election! Needless to say that this was highly controversial and Smartmatic has been enveloped in a cloud of suspicion ever since. Note that the amounts of money paid to Smartmatic by the regime, amounts never quite clarified and showered over successive elections, have allowed it to become an international company that has Venezuela as a mere client now.

Thus the questions. First, what compelled Smartmatic to come out and state that its client padded its vote result by an outrageous 1 million votes (1 in 8, or 12,5%)?  Note also the "least" in the Reuters text ....  Second, are we allowed to doubt previous elections held through Smartmatic machines?

So that is that.

A little comment: in spite of all that electronic speedy voting the CNE is not publishing complete and detailed results. Yet it is declaring those who won seats.  The problem?  The total 8+ must match the sum of all the individual votes. If indeed "at least 1M" were added, who got them? Which candidates were favored? Which wing of chavismo got ahead?

Interesting hours ahead.