Archive for April 15th, 2013

Venezuela Tense, As Electoral Board Rushes Maduro’s Proclamation

April 15, 2013

So, the story is like this:

Yesterday, Maduro’s team was telling diplomats and reporters that at 1:00 PM Maduro was ahead by 2% of the votes. At that time, it looked as if abstention was going to be more like 30% of the total number of voters. In the next couple of hours, participation increased dramatically, but the increase was higher in traditionally more pro-opo centers than in pro-Chávez centers. However, by 4 PM Chavismo was projecting a victory by 1-2% of the vote.

Meanwhile in Capriles’ camp, all that was being counted at that point was participation. They had the same 30% abstention projection at 1 PM, but then it accelerated and they began projecting 22-23% abstention at the end of the day. But they could see the details and the participation by 4 PM in the more pro-opo centers was 75% (top 50% pro-opo centers) versus 69% in the pro-Chávez centers.

When the Actas began arriving, the opposition counting center began seeing a virtual tie from the time it had 20% of the tallies. Essentially, within the error of the tally, it was impossible to predict who was winning. If you added the international votes, then they would get a Capriles victory.

This continued and the Capriles team was hearing that Chavismo was saying that Maduro had an advantage of a quarter of a million votes. As the night went on, Capriles decided to call Maduro and told him that his numbers were saying the race was too tight and any announcement should be held off. Maduro told Capriles that he had to check (??) and never called back. Within twenty minutes CNE made the announcement.

Meanwhile, at the CNE, Vicente Diaz had argued that no announcement should be made and they should wait to reconcile the numbers. Vicente Diaz also suggested that the CNE itself shoudl call for an audit, something it can do. He was voted down and the announcement was made.

Today, Vicente Diaz went to CNE where there was supposed to be a meeting and instead found that Maduro would be proclaimed as the winner, while the meeting in which he was going to formally propose that a complete counting of the ballots and tallies be made, was not going to take place.

Thus, Vicente Diaz decided not to go to the proclamation.

At which point I ask: Why the rush? Why make the announcement if things were not clear or there were doubts? Why rush to proclaim Maduro if he was not planned to be sworn in until Thursday?

That is the big “if”, Maduro who alraedy stars weak with a very small victory, makes himself more illegitimate by trying to be proclaimed early and while he claims he wants to count the boxes, the suggestion is this may not happen.

Meanwhile, Capriles was calling for people not to go out and protest, but instead participate in a pot banging tonight at 8 PM, as well as marches in all regional CNE’s tomorrow and one on Wednesday to the CNE to formally request a complete recount of all the ballots and comparison with tallies and the voting notebooks.

But students had a mind of their own and began protesting in many parts of the country. In Caracas, near Plaza Altamira and the Autopista, students gathered to protest. Chavista motorcycles began showing up and there appeared that there would be confrontations. Then opposition motorcycles showed up and Chavistas fortunately left.

Meanwhile, the Government sent out the National Guard, who used tear gas to disperse the crowd away from the Autopista. I managed to get a little close at that time. Here are some protesters:


And here is the National Guard holding strong to stop students from going down to the Autopista:


And here is a picture of the fires the students built to stop the National Guard from going through:


And in the only gesture of peace and conciliation of the last 24 hours, Maduro ordered tonight that the National Guard withdraw from Altamira and the Autopista.

Things are tense. Very Tense. Falcon said some Generals have been detained because they disagreed with decision to announce the results. Others tell me they are searching for Capriles’ Minister of Defense “in pectore”. The European Union, OAS, US and other UNASUR countries have sent the message they will not recognize Maduro until votes are counted again.

Stay tuned…

But I just don’t believe any votes will be recounted and ballot boxes found in at elast eight places around the country, either being dispose of or being burned suggest I will be right. Fraud is the only word that comes to mind…

Chavismo Without Chávez Starts Badly

April 15, 2013


Even if you believe that Nicolas Maduro won today, today’s slim margin over the opposition places Maduro in the worst possible spot. Despite all of the advantages, all of the Government resources and institutional resources on his side, Maduro barely managed to beat Capriles. This a a 10 point drop in the “revolutions” popularity in six months, showing that Chavismo without Chavez, is just wishful thinking.

And Nicolas Maduro is certainly not the rightful heir to Hugo Chávez and his Cuban cohorts, even if Chávez thought so at one point in his life.

Maduro’s speech tonight was innocuous. He talked as if he had scored a huge win, instead justifying that a one vote win would have been enough.

But it isn’t and it wasn’t, for the simple fact that Chavismo’s party PSUV is divided, even more so now, as those that aspired to succeed Chávez likely think that Maduro was not the rightful successor to Hugo Chávez. And most of them think they are.

And this Pyrrhic victory for Maduro, implies that he will not be able to change course without generating an internal battle.  Thus, he will likely try to continue the policies of Chávez Government, which will in the end be his own demise.

And Capriles said it well tonight, when he said to Maduro: “You are the one that was defeated. We will not recognize the result until each and everyone of the votes is counted”

And Capriles was clear: “The result we see are different than the one you see”. Thus, Capriles said: “You were defeated and what you represent was defeated, as more than one million of Chavista voters, voted for Capriles. You have to revert your policies. The Cubans have to leave. The photo of the country is a different one than it was before. We are half and half. We are here to defend the Venezuelans.”

Capriles said that between intimidation and votes abroad, the number of votes can change, Thus, votes have to be counted one by one. Mr. Maduro, said Capriles: “if you were illegitimate before, you are more illegitimate now. I don’t pact with anyone. What the results say, is not what the people want. This is a Government “for the time being” and I will do anything I can so that the country can change”

Capriles also said: “Our witnesses had to see fascism in the eyes today. But this is  a system that is crumbling. We did not fight against a candidate. We fought against abuses. This fight is not over.”

I am told that in the count of actas, Capriles won. The tally, according to Capriles’ camp, says that with international votes Capriles won.
What is certain is that Maduro did not win by 1%.

And a full audit, adding the international votes, should and could give Capriles a victory. Very tough times ahead.

BTW, there are no longer pollsters that have gotten the numbers right for the last five elections.