Archive for June 25th, 2006

Things I wished I had more time to write about

June 25, 2006


So many
things going on, it’s hard to write about everything I would like, here
are the things I would write about tomorrow, if I had the time:


–The Head
of the Comptrolling Committee of the National Assembly went to the Supreme
Court to clarify the role of the Assembly in comptrolling how funds are used by
the Government and whether they are spent according to what the Assembly
approved. The Deputy said that the books handed in by Ministries and other
institutions that depend on the Government were “huge useless tomes”,
impossible to audit and lacking the necessary information for any sort of
supervision.

–In October
2004, Carlos Barboza won the race for Mayor of the Miranda municipality of Zulia
state by more than 3,000 votes (with a total of 12,443). Last week, the
Electoral Hall of the Venezuelan Supreme Court ruled that the backing of the
losing candidate from COPEI after the election took place,
giving him more than four thousand votes and thus defeating Barboza. Thus, the
Court ruled, the new Mayor is the MVR candidate Tiberio Bermudez. The most interesting
facts about the decision is that COPEI itself says that it never backed
Bermudez before or after the election. Additionally, it is unheard of that a
party can change who it backs after the decision, COPEI’s candidate was Henoc
Guerere and he campaigned until the last day. Moreover, Barboza is closely
aligned with Zulia Governor Manuel Rosales.

–Hugo Chavez
announced yesterday that General Raul Baduell will be the new Minister of
Defense. Baduell was the man that brought Chavez back in April 2002. He is a strange
character who believes in reincarnation and has personal ambitions. He has told
his close friends in private that if Chavez can be President, he is much better
qualified to occupy the position. Reportedly Chavez did not trust Baduell
sufficiently to name him Minister, but he decided to go for him to strike a
balance within the so called Chavismo sin Chavez movement and the military.

–The much
ballyhooed contract between Petroecuador and Venezuela was suspended due to
imprecisions.

–Chavez promised
to build a gas pipeline to Panama,
despite the fact that experts claim Venezuela does not even have enough
natural gas to send through the Transamazonic pipeline.

–Chavez
said that he will initiate “monetary reform” and change the currency to make it
smaller. The only questions are whether it will still be called the Bolivar or
the Bolivariano and whether he will remove three zeroes or divide by 500.
Dividing by 500 would make the Bolivar 4.30 to the US dollar, exactly the same
it was in the “glory” days of Venezuelans traveling abroad to shop, because
everything ta’barato (it’s cheap)

–The
Government was ready to issue US$ 3.5 billion in debt under PDVSA, thinking
that it would be cheaper for that company to issue debt than for the Government
to do it. However, they apparently did not take into account that the company
has yet to file its 2004 financials (despite announcements that it “was” done
last week and has no plans to make any future filings. In fact, this week,
credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded the four oil partnerships that produce
heavy oil to a notch below Venezuela’s
sovereign bonds. The reason? Increased royalties, increase taxes and, get this,
the risk
that PDVSA may want to control and take over a majority stake of the projects. In
the end, it will likely be a PDVSA issue with a sovereign-like coupon, not what
the Government had planned.

Four people drove straight through the fallen viaduct in a car and died. Here is one tragedy you can’t blame on the Government, these guys must have been really loaded!

–Last week Bill Gates announced he would quit Microsoft to devote himself full time to his foundation, today Warren Buffet, the world’s richest man, announced that he will give 85% of his money to charity with the largest share going to Gates’ foundation, which will go from the best endowed foundation in the world to the best endowed foundation in the world. I must say, it is a great way to spend their money and the world has never seen anything ever in the scale of what these guys are doing. Hats off to both of them!

Daniel sends a letter on the subversive value of futbol

June 25, 2006

Daniel from Venezuelan News and Views contributes this letter to my blog in reply to my letter on Friday, explaining how the futbol watching may even be subversive:

Dear Miguel

I read your great letter of
last Friday
. I think you are quite right
in asking all of these soccer, football, futbol fans to consider giving from
their time at least the duration of one of these games they watched to the
cause of democracy. I could not be more in agreement with you.

However I think there is
something that you missed in the whole phenomenon.

You do point rightly that
in Caracas and the main cities of Venezuela there
is almost no eatery that do not display a TV set during game time, with dozens
of people clustering around. We never see that, even during a “World
Series” featuring some Venezuelan pitcher. I know you cannot quite
make sense of it as you are a devoted Red Sox fans. You even write
“[soccer] is not as much of an integral part of our heritage”. And
that is why I think you missed a critical point.

Of course, I am not writing
to justify my own distraction with the World Cup, to the point of opening a temporary
blog dedicated to it
. You know
very well the uncounted hours I have spent “quemandome las pestańas” describing
all the abuses, arrogance and incompetence of the undemocratic regime we live
under. But where you miss the point is
the almost rage with which we are enjoying this World Cup. At least those of us
who decided to do so: it is almost an act of rebellion.

Last World Cup was stolen
from me. Not only because the time
difference with Korea and Japan was
settled for the European TV market benefit, but because it was 2002 and we were
trying to overcome the consequences of the April 2002 events. The Cup was stolen from us by Chavez and his unwillingness
to settle the issues raised in 2002. He
kept the country askance on whether a truth commission would be installed, on
whether a democratic dialogue will be attempted to reconcile the country. Nothing was done, the tensions were fawned and
we ended up in a painful strike and even more painful Recall Election process. Who could care then about a distant World
Cup?

Since then Chavez has always
wanted to steal all attention to him, be it his social programs (many a failure
but successes in that they keep Chavez at the center), be it his foreign
ambitions and his forgetfulness and obvious boredom as to Venezuelan matters. Thus, in this electoral campaign as Chaves is
trying to tighten the yoke around the opposition neck, he is again trying to
steal the World Cup from us, from me. And
I will not let him get away with it, and we will not let him get away with it. In fact we are succeeding as Chavez has had to
cancel two Alo Presidente, has had to postpone the cadena on
the Carabobo parade. Almost with cruelty
we are letting know that his antics are less interesting than a Tunisia Saudi
Arabia game.

But it goes even further:
football is allergic to authoritarian regimes, futbol is perhaps the most democratic
sports that exists. And not because you
can play it barefoot with a tin can and two sticks as a gate. No, Futbol is a unique combination of individual
brilliance, daring initiative, disinterested team work and art. No Eastern block country could ever manage to
control this team sport the way it control the other ones at one point or
another. Even Cuba can control baseball but is
unable to play football. Such regimes
frown on the values that drive football, the most anti ideological game that
exists. I believe that there is a reason
why Chavez likes baseball so much, the control and “protagonismo” one can reach
there. Pele would have never been Pele
without Brazil and Brazil would have not been Brazil without Pele. When Chavez yesterday said that today was an important
day in futbol because Ecuador
played he did not realize how much of a provincial ignoramus in soccer he
revealed himself to be.

Thus I hope you can forgive
us while we enjoy futbol, perhaps there is more subversion to it than what you
might think.

Mision Matusalen by amieres (Mission Methuselah)

June 25, 2006


One of our
readers, amieres, has been analyzing the Electoral Registry (REP) and found
numerous interesting things that should be made public in detail. I invited him
to write a post on it and he was gracious enough to accept my invitation and
here is the post with all the details. This goes right to the heart of the
question why the CNE does not want a good audit of the REP made, it would show
all of these inconsistencies. Only today El Nacional showed how there are more
people above the age of 45 registered to vote that the National Institute for
Statistics (INE) says there exist in that age group. This incredible
inconsistency is why the three universities rejected by the CNE to perform the
audit wanted a wider audit that would include demographics. Now wonder the CNE
does not want this!

Mision Matusalen by amieres (Mission Methuselah by amieres)

First some background

In March
2004 when the Presidential Recall Referendum (RR) process was in its way the
Electoral Registry (RE) had 12,394,109 voters. In a multi-tiered campaign that
Chavez called “Batalla de Santa Ines” a big push was made to add new
voters to the RE. That’s how the Misiones were created: Mision Robinson, Mision
Ribas, Mision Vuelvan Caras, Mision Barrio
Adentro, Mercal, Mision Milagro, Mision Identidad, Mision Zamora, etc. http://www.gobiernoenlinea.ve/miscelaneas/misiones.html.
A variety of public assistance efforts offering anything from food, health
care, education, land, temporary jobs and of course money.

Particularly
Mision Identidad offered foreigners living in Venezuela a fast-track
nationalization, no questions asked, as long as they showed support for Chavez.
Everyone that benefited from the ‘misiones’ was registered in the Maisanta
database and if they were not already part of the RE they were immediately
entered in a joint effort between the CNE and the ONI-DEX (the National Identification
Office). By July 2004 the RE had grown to 14,037,900 an incredible 1,643,791
new voters or 13% in just 4 months.

In August
15th, 2004 Chavez won a widely denounced Referendum with 60%-40% advantage that
in the exit polls showed as 40%-60% against him.

The Lists

The
Maisanta list
, a by-product of the RR, was created by the chavistas by merging
the infamous Tascon list with the RE of March 2004 and complementing it with
the information from the Misiones and the Reparos. It is a tool that serves the
double purpose of identifying, pressuring and discriminating against those that
opposed Chavez but also to identify, keep track and pressure those that have
benefited from the Misiones. Last year, Maisanta was leaked into the public and
it was being sold by street vendors for Bs 15000 (about 8 dollars). It quickly
found its way into the internet where it can be downloaded.

Following
the lead of Adolfo Fabregat I also downloaded the official RE of January 2006
from the CNE website (http://www.cne.gov.ve/int_generacion_re/html/index.html)
and combined it with the Maisanta list. That allowed me to compare the changes in
the RE between March 2004 and January 2006. By January 2006 the REP had grown
to 14,849,127 adding 811,227 more since August 2004.

The first
thing to note, is that the RE is full of irregularities, practically everywhere
you look you can find something wrong with it.

Several of
the discrepancies have already been denounced:

- The
amazing Gonzalez family
.

- The one
letter names and last names
.

- The
duplicate entries.

- The
extraordinaire longevity of Venezuelans

Partly, I
wanted to verify these findings myself, which I did and so and now I can attest
to their veracity and give you specific instances of those cases.

The Analysis

Based on
the information reported in the TV and newspapers my general belief was that
most new entries to the RE would be from foreigners hastily nationalized, youth
that recently have reached the voting age of 18th and to a much lesser degree
of people that had never voted previously but benefited from the ‘Misiones’.
Thus my expectation was to find only a few new entries with old identity card
numbers, which are lower.

By using a
query that would bring only the new entries that were not present in the 2004
RE the first surprise came when I found so many new entries that had low
Identity card numbers. I expected most new entries to have new ID numbers
around the 20,000,000 figure. But there were thousands with very low numbers,
and I mean very, very low as low as 10. Could it be that so many people had
never bothered to vote until now? Could all of them be beneficiaries of the
Misiones?

Here is a
sample of new voters with low id numbers that I found:

Nac.

Id

Name

Voting
Center

Date of
Birth

Age (2006)

V

10

RIERA
FORTIQUE GREGORIO JOSE

190502001

1886/12/08

120

V

14

PIMENTEL
PARILLI ENRIQUE

131601051

1894/07/24

112

V

37

ESTEVA
RIOS LINO GUILLERMO

10101008

1912/09/23

94

V

56

CONTRERAS
UNDA FELIPE

30601015

1911/11/11

95

V

66

SUAREZ
MANTILLA HERNAN

131901011

1916/07/25

90

V

88

CA-IZALES
VILLEGAS DARIO EDECIO

130102002

1918/02/18

88

V

111

HERNANDEZ
GARCIA RENE

191502001

1895/04/28

111

V

117

GONZALEZ
PADILLA ELOY GUILLERMO

101501001

1873/06/25

133

V

123

HERNANDEZ
GUTIERREZ MELECIO

71201016

1872/02/12

134

V

126

LUCIANI
LOERO ROBERTO

21401001

1895/02/14

111

V

134

MARCANO
BETANCOURT IGNACIO

70101006

1879/11/27

127

V

163

PEREZ
ALCANTARA FRANCISCO

120201002

1879/03/07

127

V

167

BARRIENTOS SANTIAGO

240111010

1909/05/23

97

V

176

MERCADO
RAMOS RAQUEL DE STURIK

190701006

1926/04/24

80

V

196

BOUQUET
HIDALGO JOSE ESTANISLAO

211803020

1906/10/12

100

V

222

DELIMA
DELIMA ANTONIO JOSE

160804003

1906/12/15

100

V

223

ARMADA
RODRIGUEZ ANTONIO

190506005

1898/04/08

108

V

231

MADRID
ROJAS ALFREDO

180501001

1883/02/14

123

V

552

MARTINEZ
OQUENDO RUBEN

21702002

1907/04/20

99

V

596

GIFFONI
CASTILLO FRANCISCO

130501011

1903/07/15

103

V

667

COBOS JUAN BAUTISTA

210605003

1903/08/29

103

V

731

LANDER
LUGO PEDRO TOMAS

190706001

1882/02/14

124

V

1010

SCANNONE
LAPADULA ANTONIO

201201010

1876/09/06

130

V

1223

PERNIA
CASIQUE NARCISO

240101012

1891/10/29

115

V

1263

CORDERO
SUTIL OSCAR

21401006

1895/05/17

111

V

1270

CARRASCO PEDRO

210901009

1883/05/19

123

V

1290

LEON
ARELLANO BUSTAMANTE ANTONIO JOSE

70301007

1908/09/13

98

V

1359

MATHEUS
FUENMAYOR FRANCISCO JOSE

130901111

1914/09/22

92

V

1467

RODRIGUEZ
GUEVARA OSCAR

190303004

1912/06/11

94

V

1474

RIVAS
SU-E HIPOLITA

50210005

1890/08/22

116

V

1486

ELIAS
PEREZ FRANCISCO

51001002

1924/11/02

82

V

1535

FLORES
HERNANDEZ ANTONIO

160301037

1900/08/24

106

V

1665

LANDAETA
CARRILLO DANIEL

60109004

1900/07/21

106

V

1713

CARBONELL
RAMOS NESTOR

131001010

1904/10/20

102

V

1765

FOMBONA
PACHANO JACINTO

51102002

1901/05/19

105

V

2080

DIAZ
ALONZO AURELIANO

130901096

1898/06/16

108

V

3245

MAIZO ACISCLO

150101006

1967/11/17

39

V

3333

HENRIQUEZ
CUBILLAN LUIS

211301001

1914/08/26

92

V

3407

LANDA
MORALES CARLOS ALBERTO

21401006

1901/09/16

105

V

3520

GARCIA
SUCRE LUIS ENRIQUE

131101032

1919/08/28

87

V

4343

CASTILLO
VILLASMIL RAFAEL ANGEL

10112003

1902/10/24

104

V

4364

STEINER
STEINER ESTEBAN RODOLFO

30601013

1906/12/09

100

V

4444

DELFINO
WILCKELMANN ALFREDO ELIAS

41701011

1891/07/20

115

V

5559

NOVELLINO
GARRIDO ITALO

211902002

1916/04/18

90

V

6999

GARCIA
DELEPIANI PEDRO JOSE

131501004

1904/02/22

102

V

9084

ALVARADO JUAN

121602001

1892/05/27

114

V

10000

VARGAS
CARDENAS MARIO RICARDO

210704005

1913/05/29

93

V

10104

GOMEZ
FIGUERA ANIBAL

120405001

1912/03/14

94

V

10168

LOPEZ FRANCISCO

180805002

1900/10/10

106

V

10467

ARISTEIGUIETA TORRES FELIPE

170903016

1885/05/01

121


But the
really big surprise came when I noted the ages. It had already been reported that
there were many entries in the RE of people older than 100 years old. Those can
easily be attributed to a carelessly maintained database where deceased were
not removed appropriately. But this is different, this are NEW ENTRIES! People
who were not registered to vote before 2004!

Here is a
sample of the 50 oldest NEW voters.

Nac.

Id

Name

Voting Center

Date of Birth

Age (2006)

V

1212277

ESPINOZA PEDRO JUAN

140706020

1870/06/29

136

V

22598

VARGAS JOAQUIN

80201012

1870/08/16

136

V

18728

ANDRADE SEGUNDO

130401023

1870/05/13

136

V

11291

SILVA
BLANCO JUAN BAUTISTA

211803020

1870/01/30

136

V

1572011

SANDOVAL
BARRIENTOS JOSE ANTONIO

211001001

1872/04/21

134

V

47594

CASANOVA
DE LOSSADA MARIA ANTONIA

210513015

1872/01/03

134

V

22645

MEZA MEZA
JOSE DE JESUS

180803009

1872/03/19

134

V

13048

DURAN
CHACON BENIGNO

110205006

1872/02/13

134

V

123

HERNANDEZ
GUTIERREZ MELECIO

71201016

1872/02/12

134

V

11892786

DOMINGUEZ
GUERRERO GLORIA BENITA

211401010

1873/07/18

133

V

18204

LAREYAH
DE CASES CADEN

140402005

1873/04/18

133

V

18016

MANZANILLA
RIVAS MANUEL MARIA

30101002

1873/09/07

133

V

17778

JIMENEZ
HERNANDEZ TIBURCIO

71401011

1873/03/22

133

V

117

GONZALEZ
PADILLA ELOY GUILLERMO

101501001

1873/06/25

133

V

20440996

OLIVERO
OLIVERO EDICSO SEGUNDO

211805009

1874/03/03

132

V

22120

MONTEVERDE
MAC-CLONG EDUARDO

211805013

1874/06/17

132

V

1012790

ESPINOZA
ABREU EDUVINO

191301004

1875/10/17

131

V

941366

MARTINEZ
DE HERNANDEZ MARIA GUILLERMINA ELO

240108004

1875/06/25

131

V

22640

GONZALEZ
PEREZ JESUS MARIA

180804005

1875/02/18

131

V

18741

SENIOR
LOPEZ HENRIQUEZ JACOBO ISAAC

210513001

1875/09/14

131

V

209582

LOPEZ
RODRIGUEZ ANA

20901006

1876/10/27

130

V

1010

SCANNONE
LAPADULA ANTONIO

201201010

1876/09/06

130

V

1371898

RIERA
ORTEGA RAMONA

212001005

1877/01/25

129

V

318567

ORAMAS
DELGADO PABLO

10104025

1877/06/18

129

V

174163

CARRERO MARIA SACRAMENTO

160601034

1877/09/06

129

V

195371

VALERO
BAEZ VICTOR

10107020

1878/12/23

128

V

174340

SALAZAR
CACERES CONCEPCION

160801018

1878/06/06

128

V

18374

PEREZ DE
RODRIGUEZ ISABEL

210303009

1878/11/08

128

V

15954

VASQUEZ
MELENDEZ RENATO

220104001

1878/09/20

128

V

14137

ANDERSON
GARCIA MANUEL

211805023

1878/01/13

128

V

14103036

QUINTERO
CAMACHO YIRELYS YELITZA

70801008

1879/07/19

127

V

14015657

DIAZ
RAMOS YSMERYS DEL VALLE

10111013

1879/04/04

127

V

12384486

ROYER
ESPINOZA ROMA MICHELE

40107014

1879/06/10

127

V

11552731

MEDINA
CARVAJAL DAYDEE MILAGROS

130901059

1879/12/15

127

V

10847209

ZAMBRANO
HERNANDEZ HUMBERTO GREGORIO

110202023

1879/03/24

127

V

10727961

BOZA QUEVEDO
FELIDICTA MARGOT

160301001

1879/07/09

127

V

10560837

ARIAS SELENNE ISABEL

50207006

1879/07/18

127

V

1004406

BRICE-O
PEREZ JOSE IGNACIO

230101002

1879/11/06

127

V

725563

GONZALEZ BARTOLO

10118003

1879/08/10

127

V

23232

SEMAH
VALENCIA LOPEZ PE-A JULIA DELIA

10101010

1879/01/03

127

V

18183

VELASQUEZ BORRA MATIAS

130401021

1879/02/24

127

V

163

PEREZ
ALCANTARA FRANCISCO

120201002

1879/03/07

127

V

134

MARCANO
BETANCOURT IGNACIO

70101006

1879/11/27

127

V

24369789

FERNANDEZ MONTI
MINERVA

210203002

1880/11/02

126

V

21087130

CASTILLO
PEREZ NELSON

220103001

1880/07/06

126

V

19181123

QUEIPO
SALAS SONIA DEL CARMEN

80101004

1880/08/13

126

V

19108503

PIEDRAHITA
VIVEROS ELISA

70203013

1880/02/02

126

V

14230500

SOTO
GALINDEZ YAQUELIN ROSMARY

40108007

1880/07/14

126

V

14015246

MARIN PEREZ
YESENIA CAROLINA

110203003

1880/05/17

126

V

11092813

DELGADO FELIX ANTONIO

40601004

1880/10/06

126


What does it mean?

Some of
the impossibly old ages could be attributed to typographical errors while
registering new voters due to the sloppy and rushed process of the Mision
Identidad (like in the case of FERNANDEZ
MONTI MINERVA CI: V-24,369,789
DOB 1879/11/27)

But that
explanation falls short when considering someone with ID numbers V-10 or V-14
or V-117 or V-123. How did their information find its way into the RE. They
didn’t register themselves, we know that much. That information could only have
come from the ONI-DEX, the government agency in charge of issuing the Identity
cards and could only have been entered into the RE by someone in the CNE as
they are the sole custodians of that database. This is incontrovertible proof
that the RE was tampered by the CNE.

How important is it?

How much
damage can a couple of thousand deceased cause?

The fact
is that we don’t know how many people were added fraudulently into the
database. What made it obvious in this case is their impossibly old ages, but
there could be hundreds of thousands more for all we know.

Look at
the distribution of new voters based on their ages (only Venezuelans):

Less than 20

143,122

between 20 and 29

1,762,709

between 30 and 39

525,913

between 40 and 49

140,263

between 50 and 59

78,957

between 60 and 69

32,600

between 70 and 79

11,284

between 80 and 89


2,341

between 90 and 99


461

between 100 and 109


619

between 110 and 119


175

between 120 and 129


163

between 130 and 139


22

Total

2,698,629


And based
on their ID card numbers (only Venezuelans):


less than 1,000,000

983

between 1,000,000 and 1,999,999

1,191

between 2,000,000 and 2,999,999

1,298

between 3,000,000 and 3,999,999

1,312

between 4,000,000 and 4,999,999

1,557

between 5,000,000 and 5,999,999

3,274

between 6,000,000 and 6,999,999

12,654

between 7,000,000 and 7,999,999

12,968

between 8,000,000 and 8,999,999

14,625

between 9,000,000 and 9,999,999

23,455

between 10,000,000 and 10,999,999

50,395

between 11,000,000 and 11,999,999

83,752

between 12,000,000 and 12,999,999

126,160

between 13,000,000 and 13,999,999

157,665

between 14,000,000 and 14,999,999

194,420

between 15,000,000 and 15,999,999

290,386

between 16,000,000 and 16,999,999

395,826

between 17,000,000 and 17,999,999

462,864

between 18,000,000 and 18,999,999

301,823

between 19,000,000 and 19,999,999

117,330

between 20,000,000 and 20,999,999

46,998

between 21,000,000 and 21,999,999

38,314

between 22,000,000 and 22,999,999

213,110

between 23,000,000 and 23,999,999

80,901

between 24,000,000 and 24,999,999

59,511

between 25,000,000 and 25,999,999

5,857

On the
other hand if they added deceased people, what would stop them from adding
non-existent people with new ID card numbers? Remember Mision Identidad? That may
explain why the CNE doesn’t want to release the voters addresses, virtual
voters simply don’t have real addresses.
But why do it?

In 2004
Chavez started the ‘Misiones’ and he desperately needed to show enough new
voters to be able to swing the result. My guess is they didn’t get as many new voters
as he needed, so they started creating new ones. The same seems to be happening
now when Chavez boasts about winning the December elections with 10,000,000
votes, which is a ridiculous figure. Considering what he allegedly got in the
RR after all the tricks and manipulations.

By adding
their own virtual voters they can ensure a minimum of votes whenever they need
them as long as the ballots are not counted. Also, by inflating the RE the CNE
can make any result hard to audit because anything that falls outside the
historical pattern can always be argued saying that is because of all the new
voters that are in favor of Chavez.

This makes
it so much clearer why the CNE doesn’t want a thorough audit of the RE. This is
really incriminating evidence. If this much can be found by a few individuals
working in their free time, just imagine what a team of dedicated specialists may
find.

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