I have to take exception with the statements today by CNE
President Jorge Rodriguez when he said that the
CNE Board had backtracked on his earlier decision and in the elections to the
National Assembly 34% of all votes would be “audited”, a term which
has become a euphemism in Venezuela for manually counted. And then Rodriguez
added: “Nowhere in the world with automated voting is one third of the
And I take exception to it for a number of reasons:
–First of all, that nowhere in the world includes Venezuela, where that
percentage has never been “audited” since Mr. Rodriguez has been
involved with the electoral process. In fact, during the recall referendum of
2004, 1% of the votes were supposed to be audited at the end of the voting day and they were not counted.
Anywhere else in the world Electoral Authorities would have been fired or resigned for not
doing their job and failing to follow the procedures that they put in place.
–In that same voting process, which was highly suspect, full of irregularities
and created a lot of suspicions, the cynical Mr. Rodriguez could have
dissipated all of the tensions and doubts by opening all of the ballot boxes or
even one-third of them, but he refused, counting instead only 1% of a
“new” set of boxes chosen with a very peculiar pseudorandomness by the CNE itself.
–But at the end of the day, what matters is what Venezuelan law says. And
Venezuelan Electoral Law is very clear on that matter: All votes are
supposed to be counted manually, which has not been done in any of the
elections presided by Mr. Rodriguez as a member of the Electoral Board or its
Presidency. And apparently the law will not be followed once again.
–But it helps very little to count and audit if the act is not public as
stated by law and all sectors can watch over it. Sorry to be so full of legalities Mr. Rodriguez, but
Venezuelan law says that the act of manually counting the votes is open to
the public, something which did not happen in the 2004 referendum, the 2004
regional elections and the 2005 regional elections, where the military took it
upon itself to bar the entrance of the public in most polling stations
across the country.
Will we be allowed in this tiem around? Who guarantees it? And please
don’t say you do, because you did not fulfill your promises before.
Thus, Mr. Rodriguez has no moral authority whatsoever to say he is doing
anything well or right or better than anyone, because he has never either
followed the law or fulfilled the agreements or regulations that his own Board
approved. In fact, with his cynical arrogance he has always been a factor
against transparency and shown a level of partisanship which is uncalled for
and unethical for someone in his position.
So please, don’t give us a global refrenece to something which you have
yet to do, which two weeks ago you had denied the possibility of doing
because “1% of the ballots was sufficient”. You have yet to hand over
the electoral registry with the addresses of all voters, you have
shifted districts at will and accepted the “morochas” all to the
benefit of Chavez and his MVR party.
But I understand that international pressure is being felt by you and
your organization. The only question is where and how will you try to cheat us
this time around?