(Elecciones3d) While the Government keeps accusing the opposition of conspiracies and violations of the law, it seems as if it is those around Chavez, as well as the autocrat himself, who seem to be steeping out of line on the eve of the vote.
There was, of course, the autocrat himself last night, turning a one hour interview into a three hours plus tirade where he showed that he cares little about legalities, the rule of law and the separation of powers. He threatened the media, saying he would shut down the TV channels if they violated the law on Sunday. This, of course, has the small conflict of interest that he pretends to be, as President and candidate, the arbiter of what is legal or not and what threatens legality or not. He is not saying that he will call the Supreme Court, or get a judge to order it, he himself, the all powerful will make the decision to unplug TV stations that do not act according to his wishes. Whether as President or candidate, whichever the case maybe.
Lost in all of this is the fact that the Government TV station is the station of Chavismo, despite the fact that it is supposed to be the TV channel of all Venezuelans. But for Chavez there is only one Venezuela: His.
A reporter actually asked the President if under the Constitution a TV station did not have the right to be against the Government if it wanted to, to which Chavez answered that if that was the case, he as the Government also had the right then not to give them a concession. Can this autocracy be any clearer than this? There are no independent powers, Chavez decides, rules and acomodates, according to his whims and thoughts.
During the program Chavez also threatened to change the Constitution if the opposition did not behave “well”, calling any attitude against him, a coup attempt. But then, he said that if he used language like he would “pulverize” the opposition, he was just using “political” language and not being violent. Of course, when the opposition asks that the law be followed on Sunday, they are apparently staging a coup by invoking the law. But Chavez’ violent, confrontational and divisive language is supposed to be only “political”.
Chavez also said he would propose legislation so that if the opposition ever decided not to participate in an election like last year, it would be barred from participating for a few years. (Nice one party system that way) He said the opposition was being destabilizing when it did that for the Assembly elections in 2005, failing to remember the “small” detail that this happened because it was discovered that the voting machines used in the recall referendum and two regional elections maintained the sequence of the vote, despite repeated assurances, over and over and over, by electoral officials that this was simply “impossible” and that the data was randomized and then the sequence erased. Of course, there is no proposed punishment for any these electoral officials, despite the fact that they have been incompetent, violated people’s rights and lied through their teeth repeatedly.
Then we had arrogant pro-Chavez General Silva, the Head of CUFAN, saying exactly the opposite of what the Prosecutor General said yesterday: that people can not hang around the voting centers. Now, you would think than when the man that is supposed to uphold the law in the country says something, all Government officials would simply shut up, but General Silva certainly thinks he is somewhere between Chavez and the Prosecutor General. He said the obvious, that if people dont fit, they can’t go in, but why the emphasis on that rather than what the law says are the rights of the voters. Wasn’t this revolution about “participatory” democracy? I guess they don’t want it to be that participatory!
General Silva is clear proof that one day, we should simply get rid of the military for our own safety and the preservation of our democracy and rights. The role of the military in Venezuelan elections is simply to maintain order and protect the electoral material. No more, no less. They certainly have no role ordering, interpreting or saying what can be done or not. Least of all giving daily press conferences which all they do is create more fera and intimidate the electorate. That is precisely why we have an Electoral Board even if it is not very impartial. The CNE is the only Government body in charge of elections. Period. In fact, I heard a pro-Chavez member of the Electoral Board today contradict General Silva, saying that people indeed could stay until the audits, because the law says they can do that.
Now, you have to understand that the Chavistas are telling their people, rightly so, that they should stay around too to defend their votes. Thus, when General Silva spoke, obviously out of order, he thought he was saying something that the autocrat would be happy with, but Chavismo also wants to be able to be present, count, audit and watch how the votes are counted. It is, after all, the law and their right.
And then there was the CNE press “tent” which had live coverage all day of Chavista leaders offering their “institutional” message for people to go and vote. Once in a while you would see a non-Government official, but it was mostly people strongly identified with the Government. At one point, I felt like going over and issuing an institutional message from the bloggers of the world, but I thought better of it, after all, not only I haven’t been chosen to represent anyone, but most viewers have no clue what a blog or “bitacora” is all about.
And thus, only two days to go, rumors fly around, faster than those at the trading deadline in the baseball Major Leagues. Some are truly juicy, but I will not make myself echo of any of them. But boy, are they juicy!