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A decision from Venezuela's CNE? More and more tricks! Where are you Jimmy Carter?

By Daniel Duquenal

Wednesday 21, April 2004 - Around midnight, or at least after I went to bed, the Electoral Board, CNE, came out to announce the signature repair process. As usual the announcement was not complete and did not represent what the negotiators were said to have agreed to. About a 100.000 signatures were missing for example. I will not bother the reader with details but the approved provisions make the process as difficult as possible, much more difficult than any normal election. In other words, the CNE uses any, and I mean any strategy to remove a signature here and there, to make sure that there and here so and so will not be able to repair his/her signature.

Of course the announcement was a terse one, with only Carrasquero and Rodriguez present, while it was announced that Zamora and Mejias, the "opposition" rectors had voted against the rules. At this point it seems that their role is limited to try to figure out what is happening inside the CNE so as to report to the country the truth, as much of it as they can gather. Otherwise their effect has become insignificant for all practical purpose. The chavista trio does pretty much as it pleases, only slowed down on occasion by general outrage.

But other signs are very telling. The Miami Herald published the declarations of a certain Groh, the leader of automated election proposal that was rejected by the CNE. He declares, a little bit late by the way, that already in October Rodriguez was saying that there would not be a Recall Election in Venezuela. These words could be seen as the words of a jilted suitor. Unfortunately there have been other rumors that Rodriguez on occasion, and in private, has said that the signatures have not been collected (before the collection was even completed) and later that there was a fraud (even though the only thing he has ever shown was a few smudged form that he could have prepared himself for all that we know). Not to mention that the local Venezuelan press that is in station at the CNE reports that the official press is treated much better (coffee and pastries in private rooms, which has become a standard joke when talking of Rodriguez) and has much better access to the chavista rectors.

Definitely there is something that people outside of Venezuela should be aware of. In Venezuela Rodriguez is considered now as the real head of the CNE, and the partisan one at that. His "word" has no value for the opposition: he has betrayed himself so often that there is no point in keeping track. The only interviews he grants these days are to "safe" journalist such as Greg Wilpert from the web site Venezuelanalysis that Francisco took the pain to reproduce in his site. The arrogance of Rodriguez comes shining through.

In a way it is a perfect symbol of the chavista system. A psychiatrist that became the power at the electoral agency, managing it according to subjective criteria. The only thing that matters for people like Rodriguez is that their mission is fulfilled. That it crashes agaisnt the rules of reason does not even cross his mind. That his electoral criteria defies the rules of statistics, as Francisco bravely and uselessly describes in his open letter to Greg Wilpert, is not a matter of concern. That along the way he betrays the will of the majority of the Venezuelan people will not perturb his sleep.

Just as his idol is trashing the country with the excuse that he wants to make it better for all.

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