Archive for August 8th, 2005

Venezuela accuses DEA of spying, severes ties.

August 8, 2005

Latest Chavez joke:

Venezuela accuses DEA of spying, severes ties.

Drugs will flow through Venezuela like water through a strain from now on.

Chavista abstention by Teodoro Petkoff

August 8, 2005

Chavista abstention
by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual

The Chavista people called in their debt. This is the most
significant aspect of yesterday’s election: the huge number of “backers” of the
Government who did not vote. Abstention in general, in municipal elections, is
not a rare thing, but, in this case, it is a phenomenon which deserves
attention, the huge level that it reached in the popular bastions of Chavismo. The
most probable thing is that in terms of positions won, MVR with its cheating
with the twins of UVE and the illegal application of the electoral statute,
obtained a majority, but the most prominent political event is that the people
that Chavismo believed were their captives did not attend their call to vote.

Officialdom assumed the campaign full blast. That is why the
abstention of its supporters can not be seen, much like the spokesmen for Chavismo
want to make it look now, as a mere expression of the traditional “indifference”
towards municipal elections. Chavez himself got involved directly making frequent
calls to vote, calls that, obviously, were meant to be an “order” for his MVR,
an order to move all logistic and financial resources in order to mobilize its supporters.
And by the way, they did it. The CNE, on its part, in an umpteen demonstration
of abuse of power, extended by three hours the time to vote to give more time
for officialdom to make an extreme effort to find those reluctant to vote. Nevertheless,
it was all useless. The abstention of the Chavista people was “militant”. There
was a message with a destiny there.

On the one hand, it was a clear protest given the imposition
of candidacies. The myriad electoral formulas proposed by the Chavista bases in
the face of the official twins, was part of a first expression of
dissatisfaction-probably without consequences in the distributions of
positions, given that the “twin” artifice also affects the dissidents of the
Chavista hardcore, but it is full of political significance.

On the other hand, this abstention is the political-electoral
translation of the dripping in front of the Miraflores palace, of popular
groups identified with Chavismo, that demand satisfaction for their vindication
or complain about the inability of the Government to take care of them. “A very
good speech by the President”, people say, but we want to “see the cheese in
the arepa”*. Yesterday we heard the tolling of a resounding bell.

Maybe tomorrow we will be able to comment on the results of the
vote. Nevertheless, there is something we can give you a preview of. That
result will confirm that the illegal application of the Electoral Statute on
the part of the CNE and its tolerant complicity with the treachery of the twins,
will give MVR a presence in the municipal councils and parochial boards which is
disproportionately larger than the number of votes. On the other hand, the abuse of power on the part of the CNE already pointed out,
when it extended voting hours, only underlines the partiality of that

These are all capital themes in the face of the electoral
process in December to elect Deputies for the Nacional Assembly.

Let the spinning begin!

August 8, 2005

Well, the
spinning began in earnest this afternoon, after the CNE finally announced that abstention
was indeed 70%, but even more surprising, even for the opposition was the fact
that the Chavistas, including the trick of the morochas, only obtained 58% of the
number of city councilmen up for grabs. This, despite a confident Hugo Chavez
saying this morning on TV that his party had obtained 80% of the seats and
abstention was irrelevant, that what mattered was the huge triumph by his

Let us
first look at the results. Consolidated results are hard to get, the CNE has on
its website a center by center total, which makes it very difficult to get
numbers, particularly when you take into account that everyone is checking and
thus it is very heavy. But in any case the data is too large and it can not be
found yet in a single table. What we do know is that Chavez MVR gave results in
a press conference that is not yet on any website saying that they got 58% of
the total number of seats being voted on, which includes the totals from both
the lists and the direct election, the so called “morochas” or twin trick. This
means that if we assume that the Chavistas got one individual candidate per
municipality, roughly the Chavismo received 50% of the vote, if not less. Even
more remarkable, in the same press conference MVR leaders said that in Zulia
state, the one with the largest population of the country, the combination
MVR/UVE obtained only 7% of all seats.
This is
really surprising, more so, given that it was the opposition that was on the
side of abstention and the Chavistas worked very hard to get the vote out, had
buses to take people to vote, offered food and closed by extending voting hours
beyond what the law allows to try to improve the numbers.

saying all week that abstention will be at a historical low in the elections,
the Head of the Electoral Board CNE, kept lying all day saying abstention was
normal. It was anything but normal, in fact, abstention in the last election in
which city councilmen were elected was 48.2%, a far cry from the 69.2% that we
had yesterday. With his characteristic arrogance, Rodriguez or “Jorgito” then
asked Venezuelans to look abroad, as if a tradition of voting in Venezuela was
irrelevant and given numbers that are not in agreement with what is in the CNE
website. (Where, curiously, I could not find all of the data from the 2000 election,
but maybe I am slow today).

In the
end, there was no explanation for why it took almost 24 hours to “know” the
final results after sending US$ 200 million in voting machines and some $60
million dollars in the infrastructure to process the data real time. This followed
his cynical explanations for violating the law when the voting hours were
extended, in violation of the law, which was justified by saying “What do you
expect to say to those in line”, but of course, there was nobody in line.

In the
end, abstention will need to be evaluated by everyone By the Chavistas, because
it sends a message that people are not as happy as they like to think. People
are not happy in the barrios, people don’t want Venezuela
to be like Cuba,
and they care little about socialism and other Latin American countries. They
care about their daily life and that one has not improved much under Chavez. For
the opposition there is also a message. If some opposition groups had not promoted
abstention, the results may have been truly earth shaking with an opposition
victory, despite the resources, the treachery and abuse of power of the

Note added: The detailed results have not been posted to the CNE
website yet. I tried to get some “extreme” (for and against each side)
cases of total number of votes, to no avail. All I recall from the
press conference is that Chavez’ MVR got about 50% in Yaracuy, 7% in
Zulia, 100% in Vargas and 58 % overall. Can’t find any reference to it
either and TV is all showing Chavez seeing the parade of the delegates
to the Youth Congress. These guys parade as if they were athletes, but
as far as I know they will just talking BS this week here in Caracas
with all expenses paid by yours truly.

Ugly numbers for everyone involved

August 8, 2005

CNE says 70% abstention

Ojo Electoral, a pro-Chávez ONG says it was 74.8%

AD says it was 77%

It appears the Chavistas did not vote either. AD claims opposition had
between 40% and 60% of positions, given that MVR had the morochas that
would be extremely high.

Still no results. So much for
automation. So much for spending an absurd amount, for a poor country,
on electoral machines. Another day, another farce of the revolution.

Don’t trust machines Uups!

August 8, 2005

You have to love the revolutionaries. Friday before the election, the
Tax Superintendent warned the National Assembly, that it should not
allow in the new lottery bill for machines and electronic systems to be
used. According to Vielma, one of the most efficient officials in the
Chavez administration, “they can be manipulated via the software, which
does not guarantee that all players have the same opportunity to win.”

Did he know that we were going to vote on Sunday? Does he mind voting
with electronic machines? Is he clueless?

So much technology, so few results…

August 8, 2005

It is almost 11 A.M. and we have yet to hear from the Electoral Board
(CNE). Why? Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on buying 24,000
voting machines which were connected in real time to the mainframes at
CNE. Yesterday, we were told that by 8 PM we would have 90% of the
results. All we got was a short press conference and nothing much in
terms of real numbers. Why?

Where is the CNE? Why aren’t the results on the CNE’s webpage? Why
haven’t they been announced? What is going on?

Is this transparency? Were the voting machines worth it? Are they
adjusting the results?

You have to wonder.