quite hard to win an argument with the Chavistas. After the recall vote they
would always resort to the argument that the international observers had given
their approval to the process and thus all charges of cheating and treachery
were simply sour grapes on the part of the opposition. This time around, not
only was it discovered that the voting machines did something they were not
supposed to do, raising questions about the secrecy of the votes in the recall vote, but both the OAS
and the EU,
question even the legality of the process and the reaction is typical: While
the Head of the National Assembly called
the observers drunks, the President of the CNE graciously called them
liars, while the Foreign Minister questioned why
the bombs the day before the election were not mentioned in the reports,
forgetting that every single bomb in the last seven years has been blamed on the
opposition, but not one case has been proven, despite the fact that most of the
explosives found are typically military and as far as we know the opposition is
as far removed form the military as anyone can be.
the Head of the Electoral Board continued acting in the same partial way that
the observers accused him of today,
as Mr. Rodriguez
saw his job in possible jeopardy by the recommendation of both observer
groups, saying he would not twist his arm, not understanding that he
was suppsoed to be fair and balanced to both sides and not the one
sided bias he always exhibited. In fact the EU suggest the new CNE
should have “professionals of prestige and
independence, that may enjoy the trust of all sectors”, a dramatically
strong critique of
Mr. Rodríguez and his cohorts.
leave some details of the statements and comments by the EU and OAS to others here
and here, so as not to extend
myself too much, but one thing is clear: The usual diplomatic observers noted
quite a number of irregularities and illegalities in the process, questioning
its validity even if they later used the word transparency and tried to praise
the CNE in its accommodations to the opposition complaints. The fact is, that
each and every one of the “concessions” of the CNE were requested by the opposition
from the beginning, via the technical recommendations of Sumate. But even in
the end, and as ratified by the observers, for example, the agreements and the
law that says that polling stations close at 4 PM if no voters were present
were violated in flagrant fashion by the CNE. And this was only one of many
illegalities committed in the process that in any country with the rule of law would
imply that the Courts would force the Electoral Board to repeat the elections
under better conditions.
The EU observers
noted, among many different things the following:
sectors of Venezuelan society simply do not trust the CNE
framework is inconsistent and even contradictory
Government created a mechanism of fear in the Maisanta database
Government used public transportation to mobilize voters
officials campaigned in violation of the law
possibility of compromising the secrecy of the vote was found, the EU thins its
remote, but it used to be impossible two weeks ago.
questioned the legality of the Electoral Board and the contradictions in naming
the violation the spirit of the Constitution with the use of the morochas or
accuses media on both sides of being partisan, but it acknowledges that state
media does not give access to all citizens, while private media gave more access
to pro-Government views!
assistance questions the secrecy of the vote during the voting process
illegal campaign by Government forces near voting centers
people were coerced into signing and stamping their fingerprint as “proof” that
they had voted and for whom.
were extended illegally!
Electoral Registry should be independently audited (Another forgotten promise)
The OAS is
equally drastic, while shorter, as detailed by Daniel and PMBcomments.
clear to me is that both groups of observers without explicitly saying it were questioning
the legality of the vote that took place on Sunday, from illegal abuse of
power, to extended hours, to a questionable CNE board; the observers basically
said this process doe not fit the expected standards for an electoral process.
Chavez, has not attacked the observers, but even if he questioned
he seemed to gloating once again about his damaged popularity and once
promised the failed mirage of his 10 million voters. If he fails to
happened on Sunday, he may not even get 10% of that. The opposition did
a victory at the illegal elections on Sunday, but Chavismo certainly
defeat and the reports by the observers underscore that this happened
despite the numerous violations of the law by the Government and the
use of massive state resources.