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Venezuela's Smartmatic caught in its lies

By Aleksander Boyd

Caracas 30.10.06 | Finally US officials and the MSM have caught up with the news about Smartmatic and its fully owned subsidiary Sequoia. About time. Since I do not want to bore readers with things I reported over a year ago I would instead address the pack of lies that Antonio Mugica, front boy of the Chavez regime in Smartmatic, is sending out. First off the BBC, ever so lenient and accomodating vis-a-vis thugs associated with regimes considered friendly. The Beeb carries some words of Mugica today whereby he states "No foreign government or entity - including Venezuela - has ever held an ownership stake in Smartmatic" (sic). That's a lie:

"A large and powerful investor in the software company that will design electronic ballots and record votes for Venezuela's new and much criticized election system is the Venezuelan government itself... Venezuela's investment in Bizta Corp., the ballot software firm, gives the government 28 percent ownership of the company it will use to help deliver voting results in future elections, including the possible recall referendum against President Hugo Chavez, according to records obtained by The Herald... Until a year ago, the Bizta Corp. was a struggling Venezuelan software company with barely a sales deal to its name, records show. Then, the Venezuelan government -- through a venture capital fund -- invested about $200,000 and bought 28 percent of it" (sic).

Then he goes on to say "We are confident it will clear the air so we can focus on what we do best." Indeed what they do best is rig elections as seen in Venezuela and more recently in Cook County in Chicago.

Mugica maintains that no links exist between the Chavez regime and 'his' company. But guess who went to Italy to purchase from Olivetti 20.000 AES300 lottery-machines-cum-e-voting-devices for a reported sum of $57,968,040? None other than Jorge Rodriguez, at the time one of the directors of Venezuela's Electoral Council.

Summarising, Smartmatic came to be only after the Chavez regime lent enough funds to the venture. Venezuelan Ambassador to the USA Bernardo Alvarez Herrera is a relative of Smartmatic's wonder boys. Smartmatic was incorporated in a registry directed by Venezuela's Vice President's daughter. The company's incorporation documents went missing after The Miami Herald exposed the shaddy connections between the Chavez regime and the company. Since 2004 the company has been awarded contracts for more than $200 million without bidding. The company hides its real ownership behind a web of offshore companies located in Curaçao, Barbados and Amsterdam. Smartmatic is yet to provide convincing evidence that the 28% held by the Chavez regime was repurchased. Smartmatic representatives in the US have lied to the press and to questions raised by Chicago officials. Smartmatic's attempt to come clean out of the process that led to the acquisition of Sequoia from De La Rue comes a little too late. Smartmatic flew Venezuelan 'technicians' on tourist visas to 'supervise' the elections held in Cook County, without requesting formally the necessary official permission to do so. None of the electoral processes in which Smartmatic has taken part, either in Venezuela or the USA, have been normal or transparent. On the contrary fraud and inadequate performance have characterised all events.

Hopefully US authorities will not allow a bunch of Chavez's lackeys to take over some of its electoral processes.



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