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Assembly elections in Venezuela: Carter II?

From | VenEconomy

01.12.05 | President Chávez, the Vice-president, and other representatives of the government coalition cynically claimed that AD, Copei, Proyecto Venezuela, and other minority parties used the scandal over the fingerprint identification machines as an excuse to withdraw from the elections to be held on December 4, so as to avoid the humiliation of being soundly trounced by the parties supporting the government.

Other less cynical analysts point out that the parties were forced –for the time being- to give up their electoral aspirations owing to grassroots pressure, since their activists were not in agreement with taking part in elections that are riddled with irregularities and situations that have been imposed arbitrarily. In the opinion of these analysts, the response of the party leaders to the demands of their members was quite rational. For some strange reason, in this discussion of why almost all opposition parliamentary candidates have withdrawn, the crux of the problem is being ignored: an electoral process and its entire system that are riddled with swindles and illegalities.

And while VenEconomy may seem to be harping on it, people must continue pointing out that: 1) the present CNE board was appointed illegally; 2) the Permanent Electoral Roll has been grossly manipulated to best suit the interests of the government; 3) the possibility of two-way communication from the computers that are to be used as voting machines does exist and that these computers can generate “virtual voters”; 4) precisely owing to the vulnerability of the electoral roll and the danger of obtaining results that do not reflect how people really voted, it is absolutely essential that each and every one of the ballots be counted manually; and 5) with the illegal use of “twin voting,” the constitutional principle of proportional representation is not guaranteed.

It is indisputable that the entire process is rigged. It, therefore, comes as a surprise that, according to an official communiqué, the OAS still has “confidence” in this system of elections and, what is worse, that it seems to be satisfied by the pyrrhic “progress” being made with regard to the guarantees requested by the opposition parties, when all they have asked for is that things be done in strict accordance with Venezuelan electoral law. What is more, in the process of making this “progress,” it had been made clear that the CNE lied to the country.

For the future of democracy in Venezuela, it is crucial that the observers refrain from certifying results that are not viewed as being totally transparent and reliable. What Venezuela has at stake here are her democracy, her peace, and her freedom.

As for the OAS and the EU, they are putting their credibility on the line, not only in Venezuela but also in Latin America and the rest of the world. If the sad experience of the Recall Referendum is repeated and the observers certify results obtained from a rigged process, it would be a mortal blow for democratic countries.

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