Archive for April, 2013

Fascism Is, Parliamentary Fascism Does, In Venezuela

April 30, 2013

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Tonight seven Deputies, including a female, were injured in Venezuela’s National Assembly. One is hospitalized. While this happened, the President of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello smiled. Funny thing is, only opposition Deputies were injured. They were not allowed to speak in the Assembly. They were told, they would not be allowed to speak in the Assembly where they are the legal and elected representatives of the “people”. Except for Chavismo, the “people” are only those aligned with them. Here is the video:

This is the outright fascism that Diosdado Cabello has been promoting in the National Assembly since Chavez died. Diosdado thinks Chavez should have named him. Instead he named whimpy Nicolas. Maduro may say what he wants, but it is his fascist hordes that are acting and he clearly can not control them. Diosdado is undermining Maduro by being very radical, while he just watches. Diosdado is claiming the ground of the radicals, because he knows Maduro is unsure of himself. Thus, Maduro may not want this to repeat, but he either stops it or he sinks under then wave of fascism of his buddies. Maduro’s peaceful overtures to Capriles of the day before, were erased by Diosdado in a few minutes today.

Facism is, Fascism does.

Electoral Board Says It Will Not Do A Complete Audit

April 27, 2013

As expected the partisan ladies of the Electoral Board announced tonight that there will be no complete audit of the 46% (which is not true either) of the votes, but a simple comparison of machines and votes. Capriles’ request for a complete audit centered on two things: The fingerprints and the notebooks, the CNE partisan ladies denied looking precisely at these aspects.

Funny that the notebooks are now discarded as evidence. The Venezuelan Supreme Court in this decision said clearly in 2012 that notebooks should not be destroyed because:

“cuadernos que representan la prueba fundamental de la legitimidad de los resultados obtenidos, además de ser el elemento más importante de cara a una revisión del proceso por parte de los candidatos”

“notebooks with represent the fundamental proof of the legitimacy of the results obtained, besides being the most important element in the face of a revision of the process on the part of the candidates”

which is precisely what Capriles’ Comando Simón Bolívar argued had to be compared and wanted to do.

In this video you can see the former Head of the CNE arguing the same line when the opposition candidates agreed to destroy the notebooks after the vote, in which Capriles almost doubled the next candidate:

Everything said by Lucena was manipulated. She said nothing about the duplicity of fingerprints test, for example. She said no proof of certain things happening, like witnesses being threatened, but videos were presented in which they are. She concentrated in the minor aspects of the request and not in the main argument of the request, the fingerprints and the notebooks. The main focus of the opposition in their request, double voting and usurping identities will not be able to be checked in this audit. She also lied saying this was contesting the election, this was not that, this was a legal request for an audit.

The duplicity of fingerprint file/test, was promised before the election, was requested after the election, was part of the audit request and Lucena said absolutely nothing about it tonight.

As I said the first day after the election, there will not be an audit/recount, because the fraud would be shown.

Who fears the truth?

Note: This is post 6,000, never thought this would take up so much of my life. Ironic what it is about.

Crass Ignorance And Naiveté From Venezuelan Government Officials

April 26, 2013

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It is starting to get spooky listening to Government officials as to how problems will be solvedor how clever they are about knowing what Capriles is doing. The question is whether this is crass ignorance or naiveté. Do they really think people are that stupid? Maybe they are, but…

-Take President Maduro´s statement yesterday in Zulia:

“We will facilitate the requirements so that Venezuelans can bring their foreign currency from abroad and invest in a national savings fund in dollars. This fund will invest in the priorities established by the Government”

Wow! I really don’t even know how to begin to dissect this statement. Why would Venezuelans want to bring their foreign currency back? Who will manage the fund? What are those priorities? Will it be a socialist fund? Where will the custody be? What is the management fee? How many dollars do you think will come back to this fund Nicolas? How will you guarantee that these dollars are not converted to Bolívars?

But the real question is: Nicolás, do you think there is a single Venezuelan who will actually bring back one hundred bucks for this?

Really…

-Then, there is Jesse Chacón, the new Minister for Electric Energy who gave himself (?) an ultimatum:

“If in one hundred days I have not managed to stabilize the electric system, Iresign and give way to a Venezuelan that can do a better job”

Well Jesse, you should have given the address for people to apply to replace you by sending their CV.

Because Jesse, you were in the Cabinet in 2006, when the Government created “Mision Revolucion Energetica”. You were also in the Cabinet in 2007 when the Government issued the “Organic Bill for the reorganization of the Electric sector”. You were about to leave the Cabinet in 2009, when the Ministry of Electric Energy was created. I know, you were no longer part of the Cabinet in 2010 when Chávez decreed “National State of Emergency of  electric matters on and the creation of the Electricity Chiefs of Staff”. Sounds a lot like what you are saying today.

And now you want to do the same thing that was not done in seven years in 100 days? Let me give you a tip: In 2006-2007 there was money to invest and you are telling us Merentes is looking for money for you. Hope he finds it, hope he gives it to you too.

Dream on!

BTW Jesse, have you noticed the light bulbs you want to force people to to use cost ten times more than regular ones? Just a thought.

-And then there is the new Minister of the Interior and Justice, holding a press conference telling us that as Head of the intelligence police, he knew that Capriles was not going to recognize the election.

What is most remarkable about this, is that in his own words, the intelligence plan was called “Connection April”, like in April election,  which in October, November and December detected this outrageous plan by Capriles not to recognize the election.

Definitely very interesting. In particular, I would like to ask The former Head of Sebin: Exactly how did you know that Chávez would die in March, leading to elections in April?

Just a thought…

Why not May, or February, or July for that matter? I guess your SEBIN was both an intelligence and fortune telling unit.

BTW did you tell Maduro you knew all this? It could have helped him, you know?

Just wondering.

What Capriles Wants From The CNE

April 24, 2013

In this video, Roberto Picón, in charge of the technical challenge to the vote, explains what it is the Capriles command wants from the CNE to do the complete and real audit and cross correlation of all the information on April 14th. .

He says:

We don’t need the automated part, the ballots, the tallies, the tallies of the audit and the totals. Those are automatically produced. Thus, they will coincide with the CD, except for the variations in the tallies.

But we also need:

-Complete access to the voting notebooks.

Capriles wants to know who voted, if dead people voted, if people with the same name voted, we want to know if the same person signed that they voted or used the same fingerprint.

Capriles also wants to know the cases in which the fingerprint machine was activated by a fingerprint that did not match. Is this random or is this in particular poll stations?

Capriles wants to know what happens when the 1.5 million people who did not have fingerprints in the system voted. Was this randomly distributed or not? Did they go against Capriles?

Capriles wants to know if each fingerprint is compared to all the 15 million voters. Did people vote more than once? This comparison has to start now.

Capriles wants to know: When there is a match, what is the maximum tolerance of the system? If there is no match, the machine should shut down after 7 tries. When this happens, CNE has to liberate the machine. How many times did this happen? Was the password used systematically? Was this random, sequential?

Finally, Capriles wants it certified that this happened at the time of the vote and it was not altered afterwards. This can be done securely. There is a digital certificate for this.

We believe, said Picón, that people that should not have voted, voted and Capriles would have won without them. Thus, we are asking for all of this information.

That is what Caprilesis asking for in a “true” audit of April 14th. .

Chavismo Evolves Into Madurismo-Fascismo

April 24, 2013

Its been an amazing week. Seeing Chavismo change to Madurism, the same s.. with a much higher dose of fascism in which threatening the other almost half (Or is it half ?) of Venezuela is fair game.

Like the sweet Minister of Housing who said he would personally fire anyone who supports Capriles, never mind human rights, never mind the Constitution, never mind a Bill that was issued by the now extinct Chavismo that says you can’t fire anyone: Here is sweet Richard in person and live:

And this is but one attempt within the Government to create a new Tascon List (The old one is still in use believe it or not) In Tachra, Nueva esparat and Apure, Government workers have been fired this week for voting for Capriles.

And in Barquisimeto, Victor Zambrano’s son happened to be among the close to 70 students jailed for protesting the need for a recount. These students were forced to wear hats with the name of Chavez’ PSUV part and forced to jump like frogs on the ground praising Maduro. Those that refused, suffered severe wounds to their buttocks and backs.

And here is sweet Minister of Prisons Iris Varela, another fascistoid personality, telling Capriles not to worry that she has reserved a jail cell for him and to please stop using drugs. Definitely a worthwhile reason to hold a press conference and to have the station of the other half of Venezuelans cover it live:

Then there is the Minister of Information Villegas, who not only keeps insisting that the opposition damaged Health centers, despite no evidence that this was so. And this nouveau-facsist Goebbelesque figure not only continues saying this, but keeps attacking Venezuela’s most reputable Human Rigths Organization, Provea, over the subject. Provea said it would accept the opportunity to respond, but Villegas will certainly not give them the chance. Sounds like recounts under Madurismo. (At least the People’s Ombudsman recognized that one center burned down last December)

And there are many similar reports, like fascist signs in hospitals that opposition “squalids” will “dissappear” and Governor Falcón is receiving death threats against him and his family.

And, of course, just in, Venezuela’s Parliament, composed oly of those that recognize Maduro’s win, will investigate Capriles’ role in creating violence in order to “charge him”

Sweet Madurismo all around.

Mostly More Of The Same In New Maduro Cabinet

April 21, 2013

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Very few changes in the new Cabinet announced by Maduro tonight. Nelson Merentes moves to the Ministry of Finance, a post he held in 2001 and 2004. He was later President of the Venezuelan Central Bank. Giordani stays in Planning, so that Maduro went the conservative route, splitting the two Ministries. Jesse Chacón is back, as Minister for Electric Energy. He has held at least four Ministries, I lost count. He was also pollster for the Government recently, predicting a 9% Maduro win. Andres Izarra is Minister for Tourism, he is also back to a new Cabinet post. The Head of the intelligence agency SEBIN, becomes Minister of the Interior. The Minister of Health is removed and replaced by Isabel Iturria, the President of the Children’s Cardiological Hospital. And in the Ministry for Sports (picture above), the former Olympian and model Alejandra Benitez.

Maduro shows he either can’t change much or does not know how to. There is still no trained economist in the Cabinet. We thought there would be one. Merentes in Finance is probably good for the Government’s foreign exchange policy, as he is known to be more pragmatic, but bad for debt, as he is likely to restart issuing debt internationally.

Venezuelan Election Postmorten: Maduro Ain’t Chávez

April 21, 2013

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Independent of the outcome of the audit (Just think, besides the irregularities and votes abroad, 166,000 people could not vote because the border was closed ahead of time and 140,000 new voters were not allowed to vote, despite the law saying they could) Nicolas Maduro starts his term weakened by the close electoral result, his backtracking on the audits and the protests and the questioning of his victory. Had he allowed the recount on day one, he would be in a much stronger position, even if still quite weakened by the fact that his candidacy lost some 600,000 votes from the October Presidential election.

Maduro won in 16 states, while Capriles won in eight states, but the latter are the most populous and urban states in the Nation. Among large population states, only Carabobo went for Maduro and in that State is where the opposition appears to have the largest numerical inconsistencies.

Maduro was a very inexperienced candidate and that had a lot to do with his narrow victory. In contrast, Capriles started out weak last year in his campaign against Hugo Chavez, but improved dramatically as the election approached, Maduro had never been involved in a large campaign and the electorate did not get a clear picture of who he is, other that Chavez’ chosen successor. Maduro tried to be Chávez, but he is only a bad imitation, without the quickness, the wit or the charisma.

Maduro´s weakness began in January, when he started out on the wrong foot, as the Venezuelan Supreme Court created the concept of continuity to justify Maduro becoming interim President and guarantee that he would be President and candidate at the same time.

Maduro’s campaign began by appealing to the emotions associated with Hugo Chavez’ death. But he went too fast from mourning to singing, sending a mixed message to the electorate. Moreover, he never defined who he is, trying to sell himself as the son of Chavez, his successor, without clearly explaining what that meant. Voters really knew him very little, since as Foreign Minister he has not been in the public eye in the last six years and he presided over the country for the last three months, a period in which inflation and shortages have increased significantly. (The Venezuelan Central Bank did not report the shortage index in March for the first time in years, inflation was 2.8% that month)

And people were never too satisfied with the announcements of Chavez’ illness and the constant assurances that he was recovering, only to die on March 5tth. And while the long funeral gave people a chance to grieve and pay their respects to the leader, Easter week, a vacation week in Venezuela, broke the mood and by the time it was over Maduro’s campaign seemed to change, talking more about Maduro, son of Chavez, than about how much Chavez was missed. In the end, he never explained who he was or why he deserved to be chosen by Chávez.

And Chávez can also be blamed for the failure. Clearly, Maduro was not the best choice and he never explained beyond his loyalty, why Maduro should be the successor. Because loyalty was the only reason Maduro rose in the Chavista hierarchy. He did what Chávez asked him to do. He never questioned anything. Clearly, Chávez somehow thought he would not die, but not considering the possibility and announcing or even just promoting his successor earlier, now has a big political cost. In fact, even refusing to accept he would never go back to the Presidency had a cost. Had he stepped aside and an election held in February with Chávez alive, would have guaranteed a more ample victory for Maduro.

Time always was Maduro’s worst enemy.

Capriles on the other hand, reignited the opposition by frontally attacking Maduro, something he never did with Chavez. He managed the timing of the campaign very well, even beginning with an intrigue campaign the first weekend, creating the impression he had not decided whether to run or not. Two days later the MUD told him he was the candidate if he wanted, which he readily accepted the same day. This allowed him to be on the forefront of the news while Chavez’ funeral was still taking place.He treated Maduro as an equal, while carefully respecting Chavez and his memory. And Capriles also talked more about the problems that concerned the people, mostly shortages, inflation and crime, which Maduro seemed to be avoiding or trying to blame the opposition for, while making a few gaffes which made him look bad.

But perhaps the biggest surprise is not that the election was so close, but that it was close because a significant number of voters shifted their votes from Chavismo and actually went and voted for Capriles. Before the election, and in the absence of detailed polls, it appeared as if Capriles’ only chance was for the Chavista light votes, the more independent minded voter, not to show up for the election.

But show up they did and to vote for Capriles, who actually increased his vote total, something that was not expected. In the end Capriles was up close to 600,000 votes, while Maduro’s total was lower than Chavez’ in October by a very similar amount. This was totally unexpected.

And polls were really off the mark in this election. You can blame the short period of the campaign or Easter week, but clearly they were not even close, with only two pollsters projecting a Maduro win by single digits, the closest being Datanalisis with a difference of 7.2%, outside the error of the poll

But as we suggested last week, none of these polls gave us an inkling of the electorate was thinking, particularly the voters in the middle, those that do not consider themselves Chavista, but traditionally voted for Hugo Chavez and did not trust the opposition. Abstention was 21% and continues to be the most difficult number to be precise about in Venezuelan elections. Polls said it would be 15%, history suggested close to 30%, but clearly people were engaged and interested in the electoral process, even in Chavez’ absence.

If the result stands, Maduro does not start his Presidency on the right foot. He did not get the mandate he wanted and it will be thus be much harder to press the revolution further, without a backlash from the population. Moreover, his handling of the recount issues and the protests has only undermined further his weak mandate.

Maduro also faces very difficult decisions on the economy, with shortages on the increase, oil dropping and inflation increasing and being felt by everyone. His best path would be to change course on economic policies, change the economic team and impose a new line of thinking to fix some of the distortions created by Chavez’ policies. But his weak mandate will make it difficult for him to change course, given the differences within Chavismo. And these are huge. But beyond that, people need jobs, infrastructure needs investment, a model of distributing a now decreasing amount of money is now doomed unless there is true change.

For the opposition this has been a huge victory. Not only did they manage to show the country is divided exactly in half, coming very close to a victory, but the audits may show an even weaker victory for Maduro, which will only damage the credibility of the Government. Furthermore, Capriles, who appeared to be the person with the most to lose in this election, has now become the rightful leader of the opposition. He may not have won the election on Sunday, but he won the recount fight, a political victory in a country where a single man has dominated all political battles for the last fourteen years.

Politics is back in Venezuela, as we said a few weeks ago and some people have to learn how to play politics again.

But the opposition also needs a model for the country. We all know the things that have to be changed, from the exchange rate, to the gasoline subsidy, to restoring the rule of law, to the oil subsidy for foreign countries, to the subsidy to money losing enterprises, to really improving the electric infrastructure, to fixing infrastructure and promote local production.

But to the poor of Venezuela, there has to be real change, not the small change of money in the pocket seen in the last fourteen years, while crime soared, blackouts increased, less housing was built, human rights violations boomed, corruption increased dramatically, fewer jobs were available and the dependency on oil increased even further.

Until such change occurs, political instability will be the rule of the day, no matter who is in power in Venezuela.

Maduro Blinks, Recount Will Take Place

April 19, 2013

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Despite all the bravado, all the refusal to recount and even Luisa Estela’s opinion, the CNE spent a full nine hours yesterday discussing the possible recount and magically. an hour before UNASUR was to recognize Maduro but strongly request a recount, the CNE announced that the 46% of ballot boxes would be audited.

You have to realize that the other 54% was not 100% audited and that an audit is truly a recount, as votes, machines and voting notebooks have to match in detail.

So, what happened? Simply, Maduro was forced to blink. It was not only UNASUR, but also the Venezuelan military that exerted its pressure and force the acceptance of the recount that Maduro had backtracked on. And opposition radicals can claim what they want, but 46% is statistically VERY significant. Any discrepancy, any irregularity, any inconsistency will certainly come out in this audit.

Maduro may look really bad after this recount…

What Maduro and his cronies did not realize is how sensible a recount sounds no matter how partisan you may be. Thus, internationally, Maduro accepting the recount only to “recular” (go back) the next day, looked certainly suspicious to say the least.

For Capriles, this is a win-win situation. He knows the hundreds of irregularities in the voting and his team will focus on it. Any ballot box not present, any inconsistency and those votes will be subtracted from Maduro’s lead. Add Capriles 57,000 international votes and Maduro’s lead of 270,000 could easily melt into the 100,000 lead.

And make him look even weaker.

And what do you say at that point? If all irregularities add up to something significant, the road ahead could be quite difficult.What happens if Maduro’s lead is reduced to 100 thousand or even less? Do they audit the remainder votes?

Nobody knows…

But it could get tricky as soon as next week, when the audit begins and Capriles’ team asks for international observers and the CNE refuses them. Or Tibisay says in this audit no actual ballots will be counted. The road will not be easy or simple.

But I am told the military knows what happened in detail on April 14th.Thus, Maduro blinked, but not only because of UNASUR, but because the military knew what was happening on Sunday. The Government claimed all afternoon that Maduro was ahead by as much as 10%, only to announce a small (<2%) victory at the last minute and rushing the proclamation of Maduro, and event that has always taken two or three days to take place.

And the military is divided. Yes, they have opinions, but leadership, true leadership, is nowhere to be seen on either of the two sides. Or maybe they are afraid to show their true colors.

But in the meantime, Maduro blinks and backtracks, Tibisay goes back on her words and Luisa Estela is made to look like the obeying fool everyone knows she is.

The whole thing is more volatile than most people imagine. Maduro was weak, even if he won. But his performance since has weakened him even further, while many of his comrades wonder why Hugo picked Nicolas, if they are so much better than him.

Things could change so fast, that I can’t predict a month, let alone a year. And as I had suggested before the election, politics is a new game in Venezuela. Chavez dominated politics and the agenda for fourteen years, but Capriles has lead the first political fight of the post-Chavez ear and he seems to have won resoundly.

In fact, Maduro may want to sound tough, but in reality nobody fears him, after all, Capriles and others already made him blink…

Chavismo Decides No Recount, Even Before Evidence Is Presented

April 17, 2013

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So, after a brief hesitation by Impostor-President Maduro the first day, in which in his moment of euphoria (followed yesterday by near hysteria, according to the New York Times) told he had won the election, he said naively: Let’s count the votes.

But no more.

It was a lapsus brutis

Ever since that moment, every statement has been exactly the opposite,  starting with former President of the Electoral Board (VP of the country later (impartial, ja,ja), Mayor now) Jorge Rodriguez who immediately following Maduro’s victory speech denied the possibility of a a recount, as accepted by Maduro, and requested by challenger Henrique Capriles.

And since then, Chavismo has denied the possibility of a recount, even without having seen the evidence that Capriles and his command said they had and actually presented in full today. (Because the March Nazi Maduro prohibited us from going with Capriles)

Thus, the President of the Electoral Board, Tibisay Lucena, a woman as partisan as can be, not only denied what is a legal right, but went as far as suggesting this was no longer part of the legal framework.

And as the military has been pressuring Maduro to allow a recount, the Impostor-President had none other than the President of the Venezuelan Supreme Court, Luisa Estela Morales, issue her already formed opinion, once again without the legal arguments being presented at the time in her Court.

But you know Luisa Estela, twice removed for corruption, she wants to hang on for her sweet retirement.

When a Judge expresses an opinion without having heard the case, she has to recuse herself from it, but such niceties and civilized actions, do not exist in the Chavista Judiciary, who judged Afuini guilty, because Chavez asked them to. Evidence is a four letter x 2  word for Chavismo.

But the Head of the Supreme Court is so ignorant and incompetent, that she not only forgets the law about challenges to election results, but forgets her own Court’s decision, in which she was involved, fining an opposition electoral coordinator for destroying the same, supposedly useless ballots, from the opposition primary in February 2012.

Why is it a crime to destroy ballots for six months after the vote counting, if they can’t be used for anything Luisa Estela?

Is that agricultural law logic?

But you can’t ask a movement with the ideological consistency of tapioca (natilla) to have any legal consistency, when all they do is twist, spindle and mutilate the law at will, any time they want to or feel like it.

And without going into the details of the law, what it says is that if you present a challenge, then the if there are differences between the number of voters, the voting notebooks and the ballots, then the process can be voided and, if material, the voting where the irregularity occurred has to be redone.

Luisa Estela, can you explain why the ballots are mentioned?

And the moment I heard Jorge Rodriguez say there would be no counting of the ballots on Sunday, I knew where things were going. If there is someone sneaky, devilish, Machiavellic  and without scruples in Chavismo, Jorge Rodriguez has to be it.  That is why Chávez liked him so much. And Tibisay’s visits to his old digs in “La Corniche” in Altamira in secret are legendary, were duly noted by bodyguards and chauffers and the word was passed along.

And we have yet to mention the rush to proclaim Maduro. In October, Chávez was proclaimed three days after he was elected on October 10th.. In this case, they had this huge rush to do it the next day, before most international “seers” left on Tuesday.

Because there are no international observers used in Venezuela only “seers“. What is normal and an international standard elsewhere, is considered a threat to our sovereignty by Chavismo.

Of course, Chavismo sent international observers to all buddy-buddy countries where an election has taken place, including Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Belaruss and none other than Mexico, where curiously, Chavez called for a recount, not once, but twice, whether it was a close election against Calderón, or a literal whipping of Lopez Obrador by Peña Nieto.

But again, don’t ask for consistency from Chavismo, they are not very good at it. Least of all under Impostor-President Maduro, who seems so uninformed and clueless that he said his heart could be studied with telescopes.

And despite his performance on Sunday’s election, Nicolas still wants to be Chávez’ son, imitating him, acting like him, trying to be him, a task for which he has significant limitations.

Thus, when Nicolas said today he would abide by what the Electoral Board decided on the recount, nobody believed him. Nico, you ain’t Hugo.

The result on Sunday, even if he wins by 10,000 votes, shows that his credibility has been undermined from the day Chávez named him his successor. And trying to overrun the opposition with fascism and lies, is only likely to undermine his credibility even more.

And Maduro’s stance may radicalize his supporters, but he lost the election with those that were not radically pro-Chávez who refused to vote for the opposition, but guess what? They did not stay home, but many chose instead to go vote for Capriles.

I wonder what those who stayed home are thinking now?

Assembly President Denies Deputy Right To Speak Because He Does Not Recogize Maduro As President Without A Recount

April 16, 2013

The President of the Venezuelan National Assembly asked a Deputy from the opposition if he recognized the election of Nicolas Maduro on Sunday. The Deputy said no, he wants a recount first, so he was denied the right to speak.

Here is where he said he would do it to all opposition Deputies

Similarly, the impostor-President Maduro said today that he would not recognize opposition Governors that do not recognize him and will send no money to them, threatened opposition candidate Capriles with jail and banned his march to the Electoral Board tomorrow.

Democracy? Where?.

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