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The true nature of Venezuela’s electoral authorities

By Aleksander Boyd

London 10 August 2004 – Things are heating up folks, my personal ‘conflict thermometer,’ which is none other than my inbox, is being bombarded by hate mail from those who dread a Chavez’ loss at the polls this Sunday. The comical thing about it is that the majority of the people who take the hassle to send messages condemning my stance towards Hugo Chavez do so from the USA and Europe according to the IP addresses on their emails. “Take your head out Bush’s ass…” wrote to me recently one armchair revolutionary from Washington, DC. Anyway, whenever something is about to happen in the country one can see the surge in propaganda on the web & the media, the chavista inanity propagating machine, with the concourse of ‘intellectuals and international figures' flown all the way from Pakistan, Europe and the USA is working 24/7.

Nevertheless I remain confident that common sense will triumph over hate and social resentfulness. Yesterday I was watching some information clips in Globovision. I tend to do this whenever I feel like laughing with the idiotic comments or stances of Venezuelan political figures, from both sides I must add. Thus I cracked up watching Enrique Mendoza giving a pathetic speech in front of a rather limited audience where some youngsters behind him were making funny gestures whilst he was talking about the devil.

But the icing on the cake were the declarations of CNE director Jorge Rodriguez regarding the audit that was made to the Smartmatic (e-voting machines) on Sunday. He said that; the functioning of said equipment; the transmission of the data; the totalizing of the votes electronically submitted; the accounting of the receipts issued by the machines after the votes were cast; the accounting of the ballots; and all other related issues to the experiment were 100% accurate and there was no margin of error. Begging your pardon here but I do not believe one word uttered by this man. How come not even one mistake was made or duly reported? Mind you these people shouldn’t be working in a Banana’s republic electoral council but rather in NASA or ESA!

Things got funnier and better as he progressed along his statement. A car exploded on Sunday night in the parking lot of a building where Jorge Rodriguez’ sister lives. Another notorious resident of the building, owner of a Land Rover worth many times the annual income of a great number of slums dwellers, works for Smartmatic and is part of a team of people in charge of testing the e-voting machines. The exploded car was parked only few meters away from the one owned by the Smartmatic operator in whose boot a voting machine and related equipment could be seen. Promptly the police arrived in the place and a string of impromptu excuses came from the owner of Smartmatic which were reinforced at a latter time by none other than Jorge Rodriguez, director of CNE. The transformation of the facial expressions of Rodriguez, as he referred to the bomb incident, betrayed this psychologist by training; losing all sense of decorum and propriety he started an angry rant charged with eminent accusations aimed at the opposition. When he mentioned that destabilizing factors will not impede the celebration of the recall referendum and will not spare the minority from losing I pondered about how on earth can this clown claim impartiality.

He then invited all Venezuelans to continue with the democratic process of reconstructing the country and reaffirmed that the minority, repetitively using pejorative inflexions to refer to whomever he perceives as such, will have to accept the results. I just can not comprehend how he had the nerve of demonstrating, in front of the nation, his sympathies in such a gross and unveiled manner. It looked as if he was reprimanding Venezuela due to the explosion of a car in her sister’s building.

He also commented upon some investigation conducted by them which determined beyond reasonable doubt that 10.500 people committed fraud during the signature collection drive, stressing that the CNE will under no circumstances permit the violation to our constitution and existing legislation. Perhaps someone could take the time to educate this imbecile about our existing legislation. The constitution states that the suffrage is a right that can not be forfeited unless political interdiction applies to a given person. However ‘constitution abiding Rodriguez’ approved only a week ago a set of norms that regulate the voting of Venezuelans abroad where a new requirement, non existent in any of the country’s legislation, is to be presented in order to exercise the right to vote. That is, we shall present legal proof of residence issued by the competent authority of the country in which one resides to cast one’s vote. I spoke to someone in the Latin American and Andean department of the Foreign and Commonwealth office and he said that said measure was, although exclusive competence of Venezuelan authorities, from a merely legal perspective, illegal and utterly ludicrous. Nowhere in Venezuela’s constitution; Organic Law of the Electoral Power and Organic Law of Suffrage and Political Participation, which are the set of laws that regulate voting, can one find mention to this new requirement. Ergo not content with failing to invite the EU to observe the recall and curtailing the activities of OAS and Carter Centre observers, the three chavista stooges of the National Electoral Council keep disregarding our constitution and legislation and this is not a simple accusation, it can be easily and factually demonstrated.

Since the statements of Rodriguez constitute such an extraordinary proof of what chavismo represents please do take the time to watch them following this link [Spanish].

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