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OAS (EU?) giving coup de grace to Venezuela's democracy

By Aleksander Boyd

30.11.05 | Leopoldo Gonzalez is a name that is going to go down in Venezuelan history. After each of the observers from the OAS, the EU, electoral authorities (CNE) and Smartmatic officials had selected their prefered option in a mock election that took place last week, this man ran a programme on a computer and started announcing in loud voice: Mr. X you have voted for Y; Mr. T you have voted for M; Mrs. R you have voted for L... A witness report that Smartmatic officials were so embarrased that they brought the exercise to a halt after the result of the fifth name was announced by Gonzalez.

OAS and EU observers were watching from the first row, yet none of the entities have released any information in that respect. Sources in Caracas report that OAS officials, more than observing, are in fact meddling in the country's political affairs by trying to get the parties to continue in the electoral race. A little over a year ago the OAS published a report, written by the Carter Center, that contained a series of recommendations made to the CNE seeking to reinforce the transparency of electoral processes in Venezuela. To date none of the recommendations have been implemented by the CNE, and yet the OAS published a press release couple of days ago celebrating the "compromise between CNE and opposition parties" (sic).

What is more disturbing, whoever wrote the press release misled the public by stating "the automatization of electoral processes is mandated by the Organic Law of Suffrage and Political Participation" (sic), without refering to section 3 of the cited article (153), which states with respect to the CNE's responsibilities:

The vote is secret and the elector must be protected from any coaction or bribery, preventing the possibility that proof of its selection (how s/he voted*) could be demanded.

Thus OAS, and European, observers are shown and told, in public, how each one of them voted -in a mock election, hence doing away with the right to secrecy of vote, but they consider fitting to celebrate the "compromise" between political actors, chosing to ignore demonstrably illegal acts perpetrated by the CNE.

As I commented this morning, Venezuelan politicos should demand from OAS representatives immediate condemnation towards CNE authorities, in view of the new role that these, so called 'observers', have decided to play.

*Note added

Addendum: In "Cazahuellas Cazadas" (País | Tal Cual/4) daily Tal Cual reports today -concerning the mock election of last Wednesday "the revelation was made in the presence of OAS and EU observers, as established in a report signed by political parties and Venezuelan NGO Ojo Electoral (Electoral Eye). CNE authorities, Smartmatic representatives and foreign observers did not sign the report."

No doubt then about the 'commitment' vis-a-vis Venezuela's democracy of OAS and EU observers...

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