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Open letter to Manuel Rosales, future president of Venezuela

Dear Manuel, I am sure you will not mind me addressing you in the first person, being, as you are, a man of the people who has fought his way up through hardship. You represent the best example that no matter how hard Chavez and his international claque of apologists try to convince everyone of the inexistence of social mobility in Venezuela, fact is anyone willing to do so can still make it to the top, as Chavez himself has done. Yours is also a very telling example of how utterly misleading is that contention that only white and rich people oppose the militaristic regime of Hugo Chavez. But more importantly your political career, ever anchored left of centre, proves that Venezuelan leftists, those who have to suffer the fascist nature of Fidel's protegé, disprove the so called 'socialist revolution' that appears to exist only in the disturbed mind of the failed putschist.

Now it seems that you have been able to agglutinate the support of the opposition behind your candidacy. To tell you the truth that is a major accomplishment in itself considering how diverse the opposition's political tendencies are. You know, before you announced your candidacy, I was ready to throw in the towel, convinced as I was of the futility of opposing a filthy rich, deranged felow, that has had no second thoughts about ceding our sovereignty for some cheesy praise or political favours that do not benefit our country. But I must admit that you, and the most impressive show of force displayed when you registered your bid, threw me into a spin. Mind you here I was thinking "well Chavez has got nearly absolute control of all institutions and income. In a pauperized country like ours that means that whomever he doesn't get by bribe he gets by force. Who will refuse to participate in the electoral charade, and of course resist the evil temptation of large sums that could come with it, for the benefit of the country?" You see that is, I believe, a rather abstract concept that no many men are capable of digesting. But your political career sprang from a party that was founded by one such men, so they have existed, even in our principle-deprived political environment. Ergo I thought "mmm, perhaps this is it..."

I commended you in silence when you embraced all presidential wannabes, not because I felt in any particular way about them but rather due to the essence of the action, which is the ability to reach consensus, negotiate, compromise and create political will. That is a distinct departure from what we have seen thus far, and from both camps if I may add. Still fresh in people's memories is the lack of due diligence and utter silence on behalf of the opposition that surrounded the fraud perpetrated by electoral authorities back in August 2004. With great remorse we saw how Cesar Gaviria, in front of the cameras, denied Jimmy Carter's allegations that his observers had witnessed the tallying of the votes; we regretted that the Coordinadora Democratica had no plan B and some more, when news about the lack of courage of some of its leaders broke, contributing with the disintegration of the powerful momentum that was so hardly built.

Things have changed quite a lot since that fatidic day. Chavez's democratic persona no longer exist. However you should not underestimate him, much less the power that the immense wealth he commands unrestrictedly has all around the world. In this respect I can relay to you a thing or two about his dealings, away from Venezuelan scrutiny. You must understand that in this race you will hardly be approached with good intentions by international media. Beware of them all, especially if they come from Europe. I tell you this for I have seen first hand how information about you is constantly being manipulated, so as to reaffirm the spin advanced by your political foe. Your position suggests that you know how to navigate political waters in Venezuela, but once you enter international ones be very careful for nothing is what is seems and everyone is eager to betray you for a handful of promises. Now going back to what it matters I certainly hope that you have devised a plan B. From where I stand it's evident that the fix is already in. You may rightly ask "why you say that?" Some is based in circumstancial evidence, some in facts and some in gut feeling.

Last October I met Jorge Rodriguez in the flesh here in London. The man is one of this soulless creatures that one encounters throughout life, one of these individuals whose hand you shake and it's like grabbing an uncooked steak; cold, lifeless. I heard him saying "starting 2006, all electoral processes in Venezuela will be absolutely independent from the technical point of view" and you and I know how that lot love gadgets that no one but themselves can learn how to use. He spoke about the 10 million-votes mark, in fact it was the first time that I heard it. He gave assurances that the CNE's high tech electronic voting system was flawless. As you know there is nothing flawless in this day and age, much less when resented halfwits are in charge of operating lottery equipment turned into e-voting platforms. There's a reputed scientist in North America called Aviel Rubin. This chap said not too long ago that he has never seen electronic voting equipment that is 100% reliable. In fact he said that no one should rely on computers alone to count the votes in public elections. Then we have the issue of the unreliability of the electoral roll. A good friend of Venezuela from Uruguay conducted an audit of the REP and he found some remarkable stuff in there. For instance, we must rejoice by the fact that the world's oldest person, 175 years of age, is still registered to vote in our roll. Furthermore within your own state there is a family of 2000 people that were all born in the same day, are registred in the same address and share the same last name. And what could we make of the 2.1 million people that live in a house in El Llanito? As sad as it is for me to admit, my own mother, deceased in 1983, is still registered to vote. These are things that you should keep an eye on.

Then you have the clear deterioration undergoing in the country. You are there, I'm not. However at times I think you need to be reminded that your greatest chance, in fact the only chance that you have to become victorious lies in your ability to point out to our people that, after nearly 8 years of Chavez rule, things are not better. It may be the case that there's a lot of money in the streets; it may be the case that now there are subsidised MERCALs dotting the country; it could even be argued that Barrio Adentro is an excellent initiative that must be kept and improved so that it reaches more people. But what no one, regardless of political affinities, can say is that there's peace; what no person can argue is that there's stability, security or more opportunities. And not even the most detached of them all can suggest that Venezuela is a safer country today than 8 years ago. We have suffered too much for too long the attacks of a deranged man that wishes to impose war upon a peaceful nation, a nation needs be said, that has not seen armed conflict in more than 100 years. By teaming up with the FARC, the Cubans, Hezbollah, ETA and other equally dangerous elements Chavez is setting the stage for war, not against other nations but on Venezuelans and that, I hope you will agree, is the most powerful message you can convey. You have to package your position in such a way as to make it digestable to our people. Talk about constant travels, or pilfering our monies, or even siding with Castro may or may not trigger a response. However everyone is afraid of violence, of war imposed by a regime that armed to the teeth terrorises our countrymen. In your state also there was that case of the soldiers burnt alive in a cell, whatever happen to those responsible?

You will get more votes than Chavez, that much I know, for the dignity of our people is not for sale. You could become our next president and call upon all of us to reconstruct our country rapidly. What you can not do is go into this battle without a plan B and repeat past mistakes. You must warn every person you meet that they must be prepared to defend their votes. Lest the electoral crooks decide to change legislation at the eleventh hour it is still legal for voters to demand to witness the vote count; tell them to do so. Everywhere you go, tell them that cum election day they must organize and revise that their votes are properly counted and that electronic tallies correspond with paper trail numbers deposited in the ballot boxes. The success of your bid depends on that, and you don't have to accept monkey business from civil servants manning the electoral joint. As a matter of fact, you could very well request that a dozen fully loaded Smartmatic machine and all accompanying electronic devices to make them work be given to the OAS, so that they can subject it to a thorough reliability check by independent experts, such as Avi Rubin. You may or may not know that those very same e-voting machines were found unreliable by Chicago officials, who cancelled contract payments to Smartmatic after witnessing a complete electoral results fiasco generated by them. Ergo you have enough grounds to file such petition.

Be aware my dear and esteemed compatriot. Plan for the worse, do not leave anything to improvisation and you will succeed with our help. We shall follow you if you lead us the way to peace, stability, progress, sovereignty, respect and freedom.

Aleksander Boyd, London 05.09.06

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