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Venezuela’s rigged regional elections

By Aleksander Boyd

London 30 Oct. 04 – The day started with the unpleasant surprise of yesterday’s declarations of Jessy Chacon, Venezuela’s Misinformation Minister (flanked by top military thug, a.k.a Luis Garcia Carneiro Minister of Defence) stating that the electorate can not witness the scrutiny of the ballot boxes tomorrow upon conclusion of voting. Garcia Carneiro went even further, threatening to remove members of the electorate by force should anyone decide to remain within the voting precincts where said scrutiny shall be conducted.

Now I know is a stretch to pretend that these two imbeciles had any knowledge of our legislation. After all they are nothing but messenger boys obeying the master. However there is legislation that regulates electoral processes in Venezuela. CNE director Sobella Mejias actually read publicly the article of the Organic Law of Suffrage and Political Participation (LOSPP) that guarantees access to those interested in observing scrutiny processes, whenever the size of the room in which said scrutiny is to be carried out so permits. It is article 169 of LOSPP and cites:

Artículo 169º

Los actos de escrutinio serán de carácter público. Se debe permitir el acceso de las personas interesadas al local donde se realizan los escrutinios sin más limitaciones que las derivadas de la capacidad física establecida para el uso ordinario de dichos locales y de la seguridad del acto electoral. Las autoridades electorales y militares se encargarán de dar cumplimiento a esta disposición.

En la selección de los locales donde se realizarán los escrutinios privarán, no sólo las consideraciones de carácter técnico para el mejor desarrollo del proceso, sino aquellas tendientes a garantizar el carácter público consagrado en esta Ley.

The scrutiny acts shall be public. Access to the precincts where scrutiny is to be performed must be allowed to the persons so interested with no further limitations as to those derived from the physical constraints of space of the said precincts and the safeguard of the security of the electoral act.

In the selection of the precincts where the scrutiny shall take place, not only the technical aspects for the better functioning of the process need be taken into consideration but also those tending to guarantee the public character of the scrutiny as established in this law.

One of the certainties of chavismo is that one can ever expect outright violations to the laws of the land whenever these come into conflict with the official agenda. Sergeant Jessy Chacon said that people could only witness the printing of the tally of the e-voting machine upon conclusion of the event. The opening up of the ballot boxes, to contrast and compare the figures of the tally and the physical receipts deposited in said boxes, does not pertain to the scrutiny process as established by law but rather to subsequent and private audits that clearly fall, in his view, in the realm of electoral official processes. Is there a clearer indication that the election of tomorrow is already rigged?

I wish I was in Venezuela, armed with nothing but laws, to participate in a legal literacy 'mision' to teach these little ‘soldiers’ what the law says.

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