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Reality check for Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez

By Aleksander Boyd

London 31 May 2004 – The repair process has been successful for both parties, or so they believe. Only minutes after the ratification ended a jubilant Enrique Mendoza claimed victory announcing that more than enough signatures were repaired and the recall was a reality. Conversely, his rival for the governorship of Miranda state Diosdado Cabello from the “Commando Ayacucho” headquarters in the vice presidency’s office, declared that the opposition failed in its signature repairing attempt.

Meanwhile the political police DISIP and Freddy Bernal’s Policia de Caracas paid courtesy ‘visits’ to some offices of opposition parties where allegedly they ‘found’ large numbers of cloned IDs that were to be utilised by people in the repair process. This merits some thought. The names of those who were permitted to repair their signatures were written down in “cuadernos” or books prepared by the electoral body (CNE). Citizens whose signatures were to be repaired were meant to do so for the second time, that is to say their IDs were checked already by electoral authorities in November's signature collection drive. In other words the validity of those “cedulas” was verified by the screening mechanisms established by the CNE. It is therefore hard to believe that a massive cloning process took place for only those citizens whose signatures were deemed to be repaired could in fact take part in the repair process. Is not that anyone could just show up and repair or withdraw his/her signature. Yet chavismo wants the world to believe that the opposition, not having had access to the aforementioned books until ten days before the event, had the chance to forge a considerable amount of “cedulas” (IDs) to reach the target. If one were to believe such a ludicrous line of reasoning two conclusions could be drawn: 1) the opposition controls the Identification department of Venezuela (DIEX) where IDs are issued, or 2) the opposition has a massive fake ID producing facility somewhere in the country that has gone unnoticed to military and police intelligence bodies. The first argument can be dismissed outright, though the second is more ‘plausible.’ The CNE convened that 1.192.914 signatures needed repairing, furthermore the details contained in the data produced by the CNE was changed in five different occasions. Hence just ten days before the process commenced the opposition got its counterfeit-churning-machine into speed having to produce roughly 120.000 phony “cedulas” a day to meet the target. How would these be distributed to the citizenry? Mind you in the regime’s view there is no such thing as a million people willing to recall Chavez but only a handful of pustchist oligarchs. What an extraordinary strategic and operative capacity have these oligarchs got for only a tiny group of them were capable to convince more than a million souls about the necessity of participating in the repair process and provide them with fake IDs in order to trigger the referendum in just ten days under the nose of the infallible official investigative corps. No dodgy movements of trucks –carrying and distributing the IDs- were denounced prior to this weekend… I rest my case.

The decision to activate the recall rests with the CNE. Again it seems that Carrasquero, Rodriguez and Battaglini have the country’s stability in their hands. We shall wait and see what the results are and it would be advisable to refrain from giving statistics that do not count with the official assent.

Guadalajara, Guadalajara!!

Lately Chavez has had to eat his words in rather notorious fashion. He first flirted with Kerry to be rejected twice; he then courted Zapatero who urged him to respect the democratic will of the Venezuelan people; tragically his romance with Lula has come to an abrupt end, the Brazilian premier did not even want to meet with him; the regime had to apologize to Mexico due to the remarks given by Venezuela’s Ambassador to that country; leaders of other countries see him as a nuisance; in sum he’s ran out of friends. The only true ‘friendship’ he’s got left is with his revered Cuban idol which needs be stressed counts for nothing nowadays. The closing speech of Cuba’s Perez Roque did not make any dents and was dismissed by European and Latin American delegates and Chavez’ visit to a church was nothing short of stupid; the whole world has heard him spewing his venom against heads of the church in Venezuela, moreover his Vice President and other officials witnessed once in bemusement the beheading of religious figures in Altamira Square by chavistas.

Imagine the effects that the realisation of having been defeated nationally and internationally has for a galloping megalomaniac as Hugo Chavez. His advocates continue writing about his charisma and outstanding popular support yet the man is widely perceived as the single and biggest obstacle to participatory democracy in Venezuela. Nobody buys into the official crap anymore.

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