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Venezuela: 99% possibility of fraud in the referendum

By Veneconomy

A sensational piece of work by University of Harvard and MIT professors Ricardo Hausmann and Roberto Rigobón, done for Súmate, reveals that there is a possibility of more than 99% that the will of the voters was manipulated in the presidential recall referendum.

In a manner that is totally transparent, Hausmann and Rigobón –two brilliant Venezuelan professionals- focused the study on trying to prove that there was no fraud. So, using this approach, they compared the results announced by the CNE at 340 polling stations against two indicators of voters’ intentions: the number of signatures obtained in November petitioning for the referendum to decide whether or not Hugo Chávez should continue in office and the exit polls conducted on August 15 by Súmate and the political party Primero Justicia at those polling stations. From this study, there were unable to conclude that there had been no manipulation of the votes.

Moreover, Hausmann and Rigobón found that some 3,000 automated polling stations presented enormous differences compared to the remaining 1,500, which were apparently not manipulated. They also found that the sample used for the audit conducted by the CNE on August 18 was neither random nor representative, but that it was selected beforehand from centers that were not altered. In point of fact, and as admitted in the Carter Center’s report published on its web page, it was not this observer organization that selected the sample but the CNE.

Another of the conclusions drawn is that the alteration of the results must have been done by programming all the machines at a given center and that the modification that was introduced was different at different polling centers. Now, thanks to the fact that both César Gaviria and the Carter Center have left open the possibility for the opposition to submit evidence of its thesis of fraud, María Corina Machado, of Súmate, will deliver the findings of this study, according to which the possibility that a fraud was committed is more than 99%, to the OAS.

This report has opened a new window of opportunity for Venezuelans to learn what they instinctively feel to be the truth about what happened on August 15, a truth on which the legitimacy of the present government, future elections and the governance of Venezuela depend.

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