Archive for June 13th, 2006

Who is afraid of the big bad REP audit?

June 13, 2006

You really
have to wonder how the revolution is capable of finding such cynical and
unethical people to do Chavez’ dirty work. The recent charade with the
Electoral Registry (REP) shows an incredible ability to lie, cheat, act, and connive
by the members of the Electoral Board who have tried to give the impression of
business as usual with regards to the audit of the Registry, but have at every
step revealed their sheer fear that anyone will be able to study and analyze
the registry with any form of technical testing. Why are they so afraid?

Clearly if
they are so scared, it must mean that the key to the earlier fraud is in the
registry, otherwise why protect with such intensity any possible examination of
the electoral registry data?

Central University (UCV), Simon Bolivar University (USB) and the Catholic
University (UCAB) proposed the audit earlier in the year, they did what any
technical group facing a problem would do: look for the experts within their departments. Within UCV and
USB they found statistical and database experts that could structure the mathematical
aspects of the audit, from the Catholic
University they got the
experts on demographics.

In fact,
today Tal Cual published
a table
showing the structure of the academic team proposed by those three
universities and it is indeed quite impressive. From UCV you have two Ph.D.’s
in Math, one in Statistics, the other one the winner of the Polar Award, one of
the most prestigious ones in Venezuelan Science. Then, there is a Ph.D. in
computer Science who is an expert in databases and a Ph.D. in parallel and
distributed systems. There is also a support group with technical people.

From USB
the leaders are a Ph.D. in numerical analysis from CalTech accompanied by Ph.D. ‘s in
Statistics, a Ph.D. in environmental and climatological statistics and a person
with a Masters degree in complex data and databases.  From the Computer Science Department they
have a Ph.D. in databases.

From UCAB,
they got the Department of Demographic Studies, led by a Sociologist, together
with someone with a Masters degree in Demographics, a specialist in Data
Analysis and a sociologist who works on information systems.

In the
face of this team and their proposal, the CNE had to find a way to short
circuit the audit. To do this, they first selected the six experimental
universities to join the audit. Now, despite what MVR and Government big mouth
William Lara may say, these universities do only not measure up to USB and UCV
in terms of academic excellence, but simply they do not have the expertise in any of
their departments to field a team in the areas covered by USB and UCV. Moreover, not one of
them has a department specialized in demographics.

Now, the
CNE and MVR are so perverse, that in order to cover up the lack of excellence
in their team, they included IVIC, the premier research institution in Venezuela. IVIC
does have a Math Department, but nobody from it was included, but it has no
engineering or computer science department. In fact, my sources indicate that
the IVIC team was handpicked by the CNE itself, its representative showing up
at the Director’s office with a list of names which included four
anthropologists, two sociologists from teh History of Science Department, two Physicists and a computer science person.
Of these, only two anthropologists and one Sociologists have Ph.D.’s but their
area of expertise is far form that required to analyze the REP in any form. In
fact, the “official” position is that the CNE already had experts in databases
and the like, so it was looking for people in the social sciences. The problem
is that IVIC is 90% plus natural sciences, so it made no sense to go there
looking for these experts. Except that IVIC is controlled by the Government…Get the picture?

Once the
team of nine universities and IVIC was assembled the discussion began on how to
do the audit. Of course, it was democratic so that each time a topic came up
for discussion, it was voted by the full group, typically seven to three as
perversely designed by the CNE. In fact, Dr. Ricardo Rios from UCV, says in
today’s Tal Cual
, that the computer coordinator for the CNE, Leonardo
Hernandez, was truly biased against their proposals and despite not being part
of the teams designated for the audit, was present at all meetings and was key
in blocking any possible agreement among the participants, going as far as
calling the technical people to tell them to take a particular position. Of course, CNE Directors claim it is the three universities that are biased.

that, it is very easy for the cynical members of the CNE Board to question the
three universities that made the original proposal for the audit. Question
their motives. Their intentions. Their bias. Suggest they are somehow damaging the
non-existent academic reputation of their peers at the experimental
universities. Or as CNE Director German Yepez cynically said, the audit is already
ongoing, so it is impossible for these universities to join it now. We know, it was all perversely planned this way.

Of course,
they were never meant to join anything; they were duped into believing that
they would in order to give the appearance of transparency and fairness. But clearly,
all this effort proves, once again, is that there is something fraudulent and
dirty and perverse in the electoral registry that needs to be protected at all
costs. Protecting it is essential to the fraudulent reelection of Hugo Chavez
to the Presidency of Venezuela in Decemebr.

why bother? One can ask: Who is afraid of the big bad REP audit?