What’s the best way to turn an argument into a boring, annoying, petty mess? Make it into a he-said/she-said match, and mire it in obscure technical detail. Soon enough, you’ll get half the audience tuning out because they don’t like back-and-forth-bickering, and the other half will be just confused and forget why they cared in the first place.
CNE, you gals are good.
Ever since last Wednesday, when Capriles’ Comando Simón Bolívar officially petitioned for a full audit of the voting process, the CNE has played the disgruntled ex-girlfriend card.
Here’s how this metaphorical break-up went down:
HCR: Its not you, its me. I just can’t go on like this, trusting you to give me electoral results when I know there’s shady business going on.
CNE: I don’t know what you’re talking about! I’m totally transparent and have proven my integrity to you 18 elections over!
HCR: Yeah … I’m not buying it this time. Too many people have told me you’ve been cheating on me. Dude, my buds even have pictures of your shenanigans.
CNE: That’s ridiculous, I’m insulted. And if you have any reason to believe that I’m an electoral skank, then I invite you to sift through all my dirty laundry. I dare you to find one shred of evidence pointing to such a mean-spirited claim! I’m an open book!
HCR: Ok, let’s get to it then!
Following a 9-hour closed-doors meeting on Thursday night, Tibisay Lucena announced the CNE’s decision to allow for an expanded audit of the remaining 46% of voting boxes that were not audited on Sunday.
Except, ever the conniving, passive-aggressive ex-girlfriend (man, I really should take some pointers from this chick), she was careful not to elaborate too much on how this audit would take place, nor what exactly it involved. That’s how you pave the way towards “I never said that!” territory.
Ever the gentleman, Capriles accepted Tibi’s proposal, and, giving her the benefit of the doubt, celebrated her new-found sensibility, since it’s all being done with the noble objective of bringing peace of mind to seven million voters (afterall, this ex-girlfriend’s gonna have to woo some other guy soon enough, so her reputation is on the line).
Technical details will be sorted out later, figures HCR, just don’t forget that an audit entails looking over the ballots, the cuaderno (voting notebook where voters sign their names), the machine results, and, as long as you’re all about full disclosure, surely you don’t mind if we peek at the fingerprint registry as well? Once this is over, we can all rest easy knowing that the CNE meant no harm, and in a couple of years, we’ll all look back on this and laugh about how it was just one giant, goofy misunderstanding.
So this is how you totally screw-up the victim charade: by going on TV, repeatedly and unsolicited, before this auditing process has even started, to insist that no irregularities will be found. By all of a sudden claiming, once you’ve already agreed that closer inspection is merited, that such an audit is merely technical and perfunctory, and is thus symbolic at best. By trying to reduce this whole argument to a trivial debate over the technical details.
Said the ex-girlfriend: “Fine, you can look into my life, but I’m just telling you from the start that youre only allowed to check my datebook and confirm that I met with the people I said I would, but you can’t look at my Facebook pictures, nor my phone calls, and you can only read 1 out of every 3 pages of my diary. Oh, and by the way, even if you do find something, it won’t really make a difference because that’s not what this is about anyways.”
Backed against a wall by both national and international public opinion, this strategy seeks to accomplish two things for the CNE. Firstly, they are banking on the fact that Capriles will engage in this petty exchange of negotiation terms, only to be shut down, and therefore once again demoralize the opposition electorate who previously knew better than to even dream of contesting authority, into backing down as well (bueno, ya qué vamos a hacer? El CNE no va a permitirnos nada y no nos queda otra…). Secondly, they want to make this into an obscurely technical discussion that will eventually turn off supporters because actas de verificación ciudadana and porcentaje de cajas de resguardo sorteadas are just not sexy, and frankly, much less dangerous than the 6000+ documented irregularities that the CNE is trying to ignore.
Thankfully, Capriles has not taken the bait. He’s still voicing his confidence in the CNE’s intentions to make sure this political crisis is overcome in an expedient fashion. He’s placing the responsibility of validating our democratic process squarely on the CNE’s shoulders, and making sure we’re all aware.
Tibisay and Sandra Oblita’s defensive assertions are like the angry text-message disgruntled ex-girlfriends send at 3:00 a.m. to bait you into responding. They rarely get an answer, and just leave them sounding like crazy, desperate, insecure gals.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.