Reasonable doubt and certain fraud

October 24, 2004

It was only eight months ago that he CNE Directors invented the concept of “reasonable doubt” in reference to the same calligraphy signatures in the petition to request a recall referendum against Hugo Chavez’ Mandate. Reasonable doubt for some 1.4 million signatures gathered in plain daylight in a process organized and coordinated by the CNE itself. Reasonable doubt for signatures that were gathered under the careful watch of international observers, all of which saw how attendants wrote down the data for each person, as instructed in the regulations, and then the person signed and stamped his/her fingerprint.

Despite this, the CNE stuck to its reasonable doubt argument and thus began a long path for the opposition to prove the veracity of those signatures in the so called “Reparo” process. In the middle, we saw every manipulation possible, when the Electoral Hall of the Supreme Court ruled the signatures valid; the Constitutional Hall actually said that it could not rule on it making everyone wonder what it was good for if it could not rule on Electoral matters. The President of the Electoral Hall was not only retired because of his decision, but the immoral members of the so called “Moral Powers” asked that he be tried for objecting to the reasonable doubt charges and ruling all of the signatures valid. The opposition was forced to go through the long process and more than 700,000 people did show up to say they had signed, in some sense proving the absurdity of the charges of reasonable doubt.


The opposition and even CNE Director Sobella Mejias are now attempting to make the same charges with respect to the Electoral Registry, except that they have a much stronger case. To begin with, there is the matter of the Electoral Law that simply sates that the Electoral registry can only be changed up to ninety days before an election. This alone would imply that an election could take place until early December.


But then there is the very reasonable doubt about the registry itself. Opposition Mayors have identified thousands of registered voters with no address or unknown within their municipality, taking the case from reasonable doubt to absolute certainty. The best known and “controlled” case is the municipality of Chacao in the East of Caracas, where over 22 thousand votes have no known address and are simply not in any records of a municipality that provides free medical care to its inhabitants as long as you are registered with it. Thus, this 22 thousand “phantoms” who the CNE must be poor do not even register to obtain medical care.


I had heard on TV interviews with the Mayor of Mara in Zulia State, but had not seen his case printed anywhere, but the numbers are simply staggering. In 2000, Mara had 57,031 registered voters. It now has 78,698 an increase of 21,556 (37.99%). Of these 16,114 do not have an address and 3,825 were recently given the Venezuelan nationality. The Mayor has found that many of those registered in his district actually live in the other side of the border in Colombia. Since the CNE has done nothing about these irregularities, what he is doing is to simply go and campaign in Colombia!


What is remarkable is that this is not longer the case of possible violations of the law, but these are definitely and certain violations of the law, which states that you have to provide your address in order to vote. Actually, the reason for requiring an address is simple: It is done in part to protect the candidates also, so that voters do not try to vote in other municipalities where they don’t live for political reasons!


For CNE Director Mejias, there is certainly reasonable doubt and lack of transparency in the Electoral Registry, more so, when she is a member of the Committee (She presides it!) that is supposed to oversee the Registry and she says there has been no meeting in the last month and the Registry is just as it was before challenges to it were brought forward. Not even the involuntary migrations have been processed.


Thus, any hope of any action on this certainty of irregularities is now in the hands of the Constitutional Hall of the Venezuelan Supreme Court. Sumate and Primero Justicia are basing their hopes on such a possibility. But it is hard to believe that a Court that acted in such partisan fashion in the Reparos could actually stop this election in order to defend the law. This is simply part of the process and who cares about what the law says. Even worse, despite verbal agreements between the opposition and CNE Director Jorge Rodriguez on audits and the transmission of data after counting the votes on October 31st., the electoral material distributed nationwide this week says exactly the opposite of what was agreed.


Clearly, the certainty of fraud is in the air, everything is all set for next Sunday; I have no hope that the Court will say much. I have no hope that all of the fraudulent tactics of the recall vote will not be repeated next Sunday. Agreements will be broken, laws will be violated, and results will be fixed. Long live the revolution!


For all of these reasons, the blogger has decided to go away on October 31st. I will report a little bit, but it certainly will not be the hands on reporting of August 15th. I just can’t go through this farce again.

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