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Questioning Jimmy Carter re Venezuela…

By Aleksander Boyd

London 28 August 2004 – Between June 10-13 residents of some of the oldest democracies of the planet went out to cast their votes. A staggering number of people participated in the electoral event, 160 376 358 people according to EU data. Manual voting was the system utilised in 25 countries, results were given in time and the Europeans at large were reasonably content with the outcome. The UK’s Electoral Commission recent report titled Delivering Democracy? The future of postal voting makes for rather interesting reading for a Venezuelan whose vote was fraudulently robbed [1]. Allegations of fraud perpetrated in four UK pilot regions, where an experiment on postal voting was implemented, led the Commission to recommend “that all-postal voting should not be pursued for use at UK statutory elections.”

Contrast the EU case with Venezuela that, being an incipient democracy, lacks such commissions. Rather it counts on international observers whose opinions, based on their moral stature, would suffice to bestow fairness over our electoral processes. Thus very many of us were left in awe when Jimmy Carter and Cesar Gaviria endorsed the results of the referendum on Chavez’ rule less than 12 hours past the preliminary announcement made by CNE director Francisco Carrasquero. Moments before the joint press conference of Carter and Gaviria I was waiting to be interviewed by Cindi Polemis of the BBC World Today programme. In the BBC’s news room someone commented that Carter and Gaviria would lend all the necessary support to the results given by Carrasquero to bring to a peaceful end the political turmoil of the country. Do bear in mind that said comment was made before both Carter and Gaviria addressed the media. Another person asked me how we (Venezuelans) would feel if indeed the two international entities observing the recall would side with the CNE. Fortunately I was carrying my copy of the tally produced the day before as we voted in our consulate here in London. With much calm I proceeded to explain to them how the tallying was conducted and showed them the six different signatures contained therein backing, in agreement, the results. I also expressed that Carrasquero’s figures were absolute nonsense for none of the mechanisms established to regulate the tallying process were duly followed. From that basis I said that neither Carter nor Gaviria would compromise whatever reputation they may have by endorsing results agreed upon behind close doors by the three chavista stooges of the CNE. How naïve of me…

The press conference by Carter and Gaviria in Caracas was quite amusing albeit tragic. On the one hand a seemingly choked Carter said that the recall was fair and transparent; his absence –and that of his collaborators- in the tallying process that took place in the wee hours of that morning notwithstanding. Gaviria was a bit more honest. He contradicted Carter saying that they were not invited nor were they present in the counting aforementioned, further prompting the opposition to present before the OAS all evidence related to the alleged fraud.

I felt utterly disgusted at the journalists present in that room when they cracked up laughing at a comment made by Carter with respect to his departure to the US to attend his wife’s birthday so pena of being reprimanded. Mind you, one had just been robbed the last democratic chance to recall the president, ergo who can give a flying toss about such irrelevant humbug? Anyway that afternoon JJ Rendon showed the first proofs of the fraud, so I guess Mrs Carter sang happy birthday without her sugar daddy.

In the meanwhile my fellow bloggers, with the collaboration of some statisticians, have done a marvellous job at finding the probabilities of a repetition of SI or NO votes in different voting machines with diverging number of electors.

Some journalists from international news outlets echoed our doubts, which basically stem from the lack of transparency that surrounded the preliminary results announced by Carrasquero. Adding insult to injury the CNE agreed, under pressure from Carter & Gaviria, to audit in their presence a number of polling centres chosen randomly. The procedure to select randomly the ballot boxes and corresponding tallies produced by the voting machines was, according to Carter, to be put in place by the Carter Centre in conjunction with the OAS utilising their software. CNE Jorge Rodriguez begged to differ and impeded such initiative utilising instead selection techniques devised by the CNE. How convenient. There is a corollary of tricks that have been cited abundantly, alas the man who immortalised the phrase “No tricks!” had none of it and rush to commend the recall’s fairness and transparency.

Only the troop of salaried idiots on the Chavez’ payroll seem to be celebrating his victory for it signifies at least two more years of easy and steady petrocash. However true to custom none of them can provide a coherent set of arguments upon which one can construct and sustain the thesis of a clean and massive chavista victory as claimed. I never trusted this electoral process, furthermore I wrote something about it on June 4th. A Chavez defeat would have caused no inconsiderable amount of damage, physical and financial, to the current establishment in Venezuela and that is something that even the most primitive creatures avoid. The point remains though, a true democrat would have allowed a legion of observers to check, recheck, contrast, add, equate, etc. but none of that happened. Hypothetically speaking and taking the results unquestioningly I know how I would have reacted: I would have taken extraordinary measures to invite to the tallying process not a reduced commission of political opponents but rather the largest possible team; then I would have made them to be accompanied by the media to record the scrutiny; I would have called upon all the national and international observers –paid and otherwise- present in the country and would have conducted the audit before the eyes of them all together with the entire Electoral Board. Then I would have basked, throwing the largest party of the hemisphere to reconcile the people of Venezuela, knowing that I triumphed in incontestable fashion, yet again, over my adversaries.

Carter’s blessing of the results resemble too much to chavista superficiality of judgement and will transmute in a while into the demise of his career as a trustworthy international figure. The thought of such a spineless individual having been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize makes me puke; the very same day he applauded the results a family was destroyed by another State sponsored assassination. Such is the rottenness of the advanced societies where political pariahs and ideological prostitutes are rewarded with the highest distinctions. The deaths that will surely follow due to the deepening of the crisis are your responsibility Mr Nobel Peace Prize winner. Please do comment about that lovely thought when in company of your beloved wife and family.

How can one be so equivocated in life Mr Carter, could it be perhaps the late excess of peanuts? Can you be at peace with yourself knowing that you have sacrificed the future of 24 million people?

[1] Votes from Venezuelan voters cast overseas are still unaccounted for by the CNE. These were cast manually, the result was a humiliating defeat for Chavez.

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