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Venezuela: electoral fraud revealed

By Aleksander Boyd

London 16 Oct. 04 – The much expected report of Tulio Alvarez was finally released yesterday. It is a meticulous and comprehensive piece of work that lays bare the fraud perpetrated by the regime of Hugo Chavez in connivance with the three partisan directors of the Electoral Council (CNE), namely Francisco Carrasquero, Jorge Rodriguez and Oscar Battaglini. It shows peculiar and outright illegal characteristics of the voting machines such as bidirectional communication capacity; it reveals three additional hubs of electronic communications manned by foreigners and the army that were interconnected with the CNE-CANTV web, which altered electronic data in its transit from the voting machines to totalisation centres; it demonstrates that certain voting centres started communications as early as 7AM on August 15 (they were meant to communicate solely upon conclusion of voting); in sum the fraud has been revealed.

OAS and Carter Centre

The integrity and credibility of the hemispheric body and the Carter Centre (CC) have been irremediably tarnished owing to sheer incompetence and breach of duty of care (please note that I am not even expanding into the fact that its late Secretary General resigned over corruption charges…). Had their actions taken place in advanced democracies I am convinced that legal suits against them would have been presented due to negligence. That is why the EU decided to send not an electoral observation missions. Further their coordinated observation withdrawal from the forthcoming regional elections just reinforces the apprehension held by democratic sectors of the Venezuelan society, i.e. no one with an iota of integrity and esteem for its reputation can endorse results coming from the CNE nor can it further participate in the farcical attempt of democracy staged by neo fascist Chavez. In a rather pathetic manoeuvre the CC attempted to place the blame on the opposition for its absence in the regional elections stating:

“The lack of acceptance of the Center's reports on the previous electoral process by the opposition Coordinadora Democratic and the opposition members of the Follow-up Mechanism (Mecanismo de Enlace) to the May 2003 Accords make difficult the goal of increasing confidence in the electoral process.”

The opposition can not and will not accept the CC’s report simply because the CC did not do its job properly, moreover it utterly failed in contributing to the increase of confidence vis-à-vis the electoral process when it disregarded the rules and regulations agreed upon by the parties. For instance the members of the Follow-up Mechanism, Asdrubal Aguiar and Timoteo Zambrano, personally asked Jimmy Carter in the presence of former OAS Sec. Gal. Cesar Gaviria, to conduct an integral audit which needed to include the electronic aspects related to it (software to be used in the generation of a random sample of boxes). Said request was denied by Carter, good auspices of Gaviria notwithstanding. What’s more, Jennifer McCoy communicated at a later stage to Timoteo Zambrano that the audit would be conducted under the conditions set by Carter, i.e. those of the CNE, and not under those proposed by the opposition’s representatives. Hence the absence of the opposition from the ‘audit’ performed -according to Jennifer McCoy- under the absolute control of the CNE.

Political consequences

The OAS’ and CC’s lack of participation in the regional elections constitute a major blow for the credibility of Hugo Chavez and that of his electoral lackeys for a number of reasons. The first being that not even pariahs such as Jimmy Carter want to have anything to do with Venezuela. Second, whatever results come out from Carrasquero on November 1 will not have the ‘credibility veneer’ provided by international entities. Third, evidence of fraud has finally been released by Alvarez and since the regime is bent on keeping at utilising the same fraudulent authorities and voting mechanisms new results will be as credible as those of Cuba’s elections.

The demise of democracy

On Wednesday I went to a conference in London Business School. Former Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN Milos Alcalay gave an account of the issues that moved him to resign from the post after a 34 year diplomatic career. At the forefront were the barbaric strategies implemented by Chavez during and after the G-15 summit in Caracas, which degenerated in a series of gross human rights violations due to the use of Venezuela’s army for the control of public and peaceful demonstrations. A few days after those events a group of Venezuelan soldiers were set on fire allegedly by Cuban G2s in Fort Mara. To date no one knows what truly happened as official investigations are non existent. However the case is not yet in oblivion; this week Francisco Uson –former Minister of Finance of Chavez- was sentenced to 5½ years in prison for voicing his opinion on TV with respect to the issue. His crime was to say that the soldiers at Fort Mara were burnt by a flame thrower and not by an accidental fire as the official line goes. He was quickly joined in the list of political prisoners by others from Tachira State who were charged of rebellion during the events of April 11 2002. However Lucas Rincon Romero –until very recently Chavez’ Minister of Interior- has not been charged or accused of anything even though there is ample documented evidence that he announced publicly that Chavez had resigned on April 12 2002.

The Q&A session came and I asked Ambassador Alcalay how sane it was to continue participating in the democratic game when one’s opponent does not observe democratic rules. He answered by saying that we must not abandon the game alas I beg to differ for Hugo Chavez long ago abandoned this game, inventing a new one where the only valid rule –unknown to the rest of the players- is his. The time of improvisation and non violent resistance has arrived.

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