It's war

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fence3When the opposition first claimed fraud, back in the Recall Referendum of 2004, it had very little to go on. Quickly, we were split into two camps: those that thought we had lost (albeit uncleanly), and those that thought we had won, but a massive fraud perpetrated by the chavista CNE had switched the results.

We fell in the first group. This earned us the ire of some of our friends in the second group.

Years passed, and those old divisions reared their ugly heads time and again. Managing the two not-exactly-opposing-yet-starkly-different views of the “cleanness” of our elections was not an easy task, and until last Sunday, the mainstream view in the opposition was  that, while elections were dirty, they were still clean enough to ensure that popular will would not be completely twisted. The “radicals” had no choice but to tag along, grudgingly.

Yeah, that’s all in the past.

One of the consequences of the fraud of April 14th is that, with the exception of a few tragically out-of-touch curmudgeons, everyone in the opposition agrees that what happened was an outrageous interference with the free will of the Venezuelan people. The old divisions between “fraudmeisters” and “appeasers” have gone out the window.

Now, as we face an uncertain audit, we see that ESDATA and Súmate, two NGOs that have been at the forefront of the “massive fraud” group, have joined forces with Capriles’ Comando Simón Bolívar. They are now cooperating closely on the technical aspects of the audit.

This is a de facto declaration of war on Tibisay Lucena and her merry band of buccaneers. No longer will they play the opposition against itself. No longer will we have fraud, yet not enough fraud to split the hard-liners from the softies in the opposition. Those days are over.

The opposition is united, and it is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at these audits. They are rigorously preparing to show that, indeed, the vote on April 14th was so marred by irregularities, it should be voided. And a consensus in the opposition about this is quickly forming.

I don’t know if this is smart or not, but it’s reality. When the audit wars are over, there will only be one group standing. Let’s hope it’s the guys on the right side.

1 COMMENT

      • Yes indeed! What’s going on? I find Quico’s arguments rather convincing, I fully expected Capriles to quickly organize their own data and present irrefutable proof, not jump on the bandwagon that Chavismo prepared… off another cliff.

  1. This reminded me a bit of one the last articles you wrote, “He said-She said”. When this mess finally unravels, the question that begs to be answered is: what now?

    If all institutions of the State are hijacked by these “people”, what move do we have left?

    • Constituent assembly. It would have been impossible had Capriles won this election, but now that Chavismo has decided to go down with the ship is attempting to hold onto power by any means it will be possible to put the final nails in the coffin of Chavez’s legacy.

      • Yes, Norske, please explain how with a minority in the assembly, the TSJ solidly in the Maduro camp and the opposition of Maduro we have a shot.

        A recall referendum cannot be called yet, I believe there’s something about waiting 3 years in the law for that to be invoked, aside from the Tascon jitters that would create.

        So please sketch it out for us!

        • A referendum that is not for recall can be called at any time with sufficient signatures. The call becomes mandatory, and its results are of a binding nature.

          • Exactly, that was my understanding as well. Once the sh*t really hits the fan (things are still limping along) it should be possible to get enough voters to sign off on it.

          • I think it’s just like 2MM sigs that are needed to call for a referendum. This is how I think a call to install cash distribution should be made.

        • Ok EXTORRES, chevere.
          You are probably thinking of this:

          Artículo 71. Las materias de especial trascendencia nacional podrán ser sometidas a referendo consultivo por iniciativa del Presidente o Presidenta de la República en Consejo de Ministros; por acuerdo de la Asamblea Nacional, aprobado por el voto de la mayoría de sus integrantes; o a solicitud de un número no menor del diez por ciento de los electores y electoras inscritos en el registro civil y electoral.

          También podrán ser sometidas a referendo consultivo las materias de especial trascendencia parroquial, municipal y estadal. La iniciativa le corresponde a la Junta Parroquial, al Concejo Municipal, o al Consejo Legislativo, por acuerdo de las dos terceras partes de sus integrantes; al Alcalde o Alcaldesa, o al Gobernador o Gobernadora de Estado, o a un número no menor del diez por ciento del total de inscritos e inscritas en la circunscripción correspondiente, que lo soliciten.

          However, Art 72 is the one that deals with removing people from office.

          Art 72.
          Todos los cargos y magistraturas de elección popular son revocables.

          Transcurrida la mitad del período para el cual fue elegido el funcionario o funcionaria, un número no menor del veinte por ciento de los electores o electoras inscritos en la correspondiente circunscripción podrá solicitar la convocatoria de un referendo para revocar su mandato.
          Cuando igual o mayor número de electores y electoras que eligieron al funcionario o funcionaria hubieren votado a favor de la revocatoria, siempre que haya concurrido al referendo un número de electores y electoras igual o superior al veinticinco por ciento de los electores y electoras inscritos, se considerará revocado su mandato y se procederá de inmediato a cubrir la falta absoluta conforme a lo dispuesto en esta Constitución y la ley.
          La revocación del mandato para los cuerpos colegiados se realizará de acuerdo con lo que establezca la ley.

          Durante el período para el cual fue elegido el funcionario o funcionaria no podrá hacerse más de una solicitud de revocación de su mandato.

          So unless you have some other way that, no sarcasm intended here, you can sketch out for us, it’s wait 3 years AND deal with the memories of Tascon to boot.

      • Constituent Assembly? The problem with Chavismo isn’t the 1999 Constitution, it is that Chavismo flouts the Constitution and all law with impunity. Recall the old Fidelista slogan: “Within the Revolution, Everything. Outside the Revolution, Nothing.” In the Venezuela of today: “Within the Revolution, Everything is Permitted. Outside the Revolution, Nothing is permitted that will result in a disadvantage to Chavismo.” With an approach to the law and to the Constitution like that, the existing laws and Constitution are NOT the problem. The problem is who is enforcing them.

        • A new constitution gives you the chance to flush out a huge number of appointees. Capriles just winning would not have afforded that opportunity, but now that Chavismo has decided not to let that happen it will be possible to let them stew in their own failure, such that people will be so disgusted they would give the opposition a larger mandate.

          • Technicalities aside, let’s talk practicalities for a second.

            How likely do you think it is that a Constituent Assembly can be called, that a new Constituition be drafted and passed in the current political climate.

            My opinion, not very likely at all. If you even go there you are giving Chavismo a breath of fresh air and a way out when that is the last thing you should do.

            You are correct, technically, pero vas preso mi pana.

  2. And in the end, the out-of-touch curmudgeon is right. His very early point was that it was unclear that Capriles had more votes than Maduro (an outright cause of fraud) and one that carries much weight than the alternative position that there are so many irregularities that a new election is needed. The first outcome would have immediately legitimized Maduro’s claim to the presidency. The latter will be litigated for the next six years.

    • Is it better to at least fight that fight of litigation? To try to make Venezuelans less “numb” to the ventajismo and outright illegal behavior of this government in the election?

      Or is it better to simply say, “Eh, you cheated but we didn’t get enough votes to beat you. Game over.”

      I’m not attacking or necessarily directing this question to you hgdam, more of a hypothetical. It’s something I’m not sure of. What I do know is the fact that we even have to discuss what degree of cheating merits a voided election speaks volumes to the sad reality that this BS government has wrought in the country.

      It’s not enough that they lied about Chavez THE WHOLE TIME. It’s not enough that they used state resources during the campaign. It’s not enough that there was assisted state-assisted voting, proseletismo, intimidation etc on election day. Venezuela seems to have become the frog that sloowly got the heat turned up in the pot until it was boiling, and I think that for me at least, I’d rather have Capriles calling attention to these things over and over and over than simply let it die.

  3. Finally! Something to cheer for.

    I only hope they will be relentless in their pursuits. Shine the spotlight in all the little dark corners. Watch what crawls out. The whole world will be watching.

  4. I feel, think and believe is that the masks will finally fall down… All cards on the table and everybody and the cat will know what they have been trying sooooo hard to fight…

  5. There was a third camp, I thought we lost in 2004, but the margin was narrower due to about 4-5% hanky panky, to me that is what all the scientific papers were saying.

    • The scientific papers were so convoluted in thought, so mired in conspiracy theories, that it was much easier to dismiss their authors as loons, as well as their supporters. The growing separation between über complexities and the need to keep pace with the daily absurdities of the Chávez regime resulted in this blog’s flippant dismissiveness without proof.

      Fast forward to 14A…The documented irregularities within voting centres, their proximity, and at the (Colombian) border, now have many more witnesses. It is harder for the regime to hide behind their hysterical outbursts designed to camouflage their manipulations.

      About borders… Last night, I viewed a film on Aung San Suu Kyi by Luc Bresson. I also watched the special feature add-on to the DVD. “Happy World” is a cartoon-like documentary on the military regime of what was once Burma, now renamed Myanmar. Besides changing the name of the country, this brutal regime also closed off the borders with neighbours. I’m finding some parallels with chavismo …

      • I wish I had those papers fresh in my mind, but I don’t. I went through all of them carefully, few claimed that we won, most claimed there was funny stuff. Based on them, I calculated 5% possible fraud which was not sufficient to reverse the result, just give Hugo a huge win. Many of them were published in respectable scientific journals. I reproduced the Benford results on my own. It was very fishy. In my mind they took too long to come out and the Carter Center dismissed them or tried to too glibly.

      • I cannot blame any of the papers for seeming convoluted given the time frame in which they had to be presented. The science on which they were based, however, was not convoluted at all, except maybe Hausman’s.

        For example, Rigobon’s work was a simple test. His paper simply wanted to answer one question: is the audit sample representative of the universe? Using a basic principle in statistics which states that for a sample to be considered random, regardless of the method used to obtain it, the sample must present the same properties as the universe it represents, Rigobon tested the supposedly random audit sample against the universe and found that the properties were not the same. Conclusion: the audit sample *cannot* be considered random, even if obtained using a random method.

        That’s not convoluted, at all. What made it convoluted is that Jennifer McCoy, from the Carter Center decided to use, instead of a test in which the sample failed as Rigobon had done, a test in which the sample passed. The test she chose to use, a basic correlation test, would pass even in a non random sample, simply because the sample is a subset of the universe, which necessarily produces a positive correlation. The saddest part of this example is how easily Jennifer McCoy got away with trampling such basic concepts.

        The Benford Analysis examples are equally simple, especially where you have only the automated votes in favor of chavismo failing the test, whereas all the manual votes and the automated votes in favor of the opposition passing the test. One does not really have to understand the method, to realize something very fishy must be going on.

        Hausman’s method is pure genius. The basic principles are simple:

        1) The error of any data set is random.
        2) Because they are random, the errors of any two data sets must therefore have no correlation.
        3) Because they are random and not correlated, subtracting the error sets from one another must random numbers
        4) Because subtracting two error sets of data from a third error set produces two sets of random numbers, the two subtractions must therefore have no correlation.

        When rule 4 was applied, Hausman found a significant correlation, proving non random differences, a Black Swan. The same way that one cannot claim that all swans are white after finding a black one, Hausman’s correlation made it impossible to claim that the numbers had not been tweaked. It’s this reverse logic which may seem convoluted to non statistics minded people, but it is basic thinking in statistics. His method is now published and highly respected in the statistics field.

          • One thing has nothing to do with the other! For instance, voters might not cast their vote randomly but their distribution across voting centers and machines IS random.

          • Firstly, a statistical model of voters should not be truly random. If it were, it would not be modelling voters.

            Secondly, nothing of what I described in my earlier comment has to do with statistical modelling.

            For example, I mentioned a statistical theorem: random samples of any data set must share the same properties of its universe. If a sample does not share the properties of its universe, it cannot be said to be a random sample of it, *even* if the sample was taken randomly.

            The other example, Benford Analysis, is not a model, either. What Benford discovered was that digit counts in many datasets did not occur randomly. Ones were more common than twos which were more common than threes, etc. This observation was made of social data, such as electoral data. The key in this particular case was that Benford’s observation applied to most of the data, but not to a particular subset of it, which was precisely the subset which could contain fraudulent votes.

            In the third case, I mentioned the errors of the data, not the data itself. At no point was the data itself part of the measure. It’s like analyizing the noise in the background of a transmission. By definition, the noise is random. Nowhere are we talking about modelling the transmission; we’re talking about correlating noise of one transmission with noise of a different transmission after subtracting them both from a third noise. There should be no correlation. Again, this is based on statistical theorems, not up for debate. The fact that the correlation was significantly positive proves that there was non noise in the noise.

          • Have such test been made in “non fraudulent” system to asses such behaviors exist?

            An event may be a black swan event, nonetheless is not impossible. Specially when systems have a chaotic behavior instead of normal.

          • The requirement of a sample to be considered a random one is a Theorem. It works always. The Benford Analysis is debatable when it is applicable, but not only has it worked for other election in the world (it failed for one that I tried on Chicago data, go figure), but also to other elections in Venezuela. The key is that it worked for 3 out of 4 subsets of the same data set, and the fourth subset was precisely the one in question. The correlation of errors is also based on Theorems, so they apply always, to all data sets.

            I’m not sure I understand your black swan phrasing. If a black swan is found, then black swans are not impossible anymore, by definition. In fact, the concept of a black swan in statistics is simply the one of finding an exception to a rule, thus proving the rule wrong. In the case of this election, finding a correlation proved that the assumption of non interference with the data was wrong.

          • Here is the thing, that even with the use of Benford’s Law and doing all these statistical tests one can determine the likelihood of a data set not being part of another or that they data points come from the same process. But that’s it. Statistics gives you reason for being suspicious, they don’t give proof nor certainty. That my whole point.

            One can’t derive correlation from such test or analysis.

          • I’m not sure I follow how you arrive at your conclusion. Statistics is merely a way of summarizing data in a manageable way. It has built in tools for determining if its own summaries are valid summaries of the total that it is trying to analyze. In Rigobon’s example, the tool determined that the audit sample was an invalid summary of the universe from whence it was taken. The result of the test showing that the sample was not representative is *proof* that the sample cannot be claimed to be random. This is stated with all certainty. It is not a correlation. It is not a derivation. Any statistician worth a salary would reach the conclusion: draw a new sample.

            Jennifer McCoy got the same results when she accepted to clean the data, but refused acknowledging that the data should be cleaned, then decided to use a tool that did not detect invalidity –even worse, the tool she decided to use was a tool that would never detect invalidity. Why? Because she did not want to reach the conclusion that there was fault with the audit sample.

            But it gets worse. In her report ( http://www.cartercenter.org/documents/2020.pdf ) if you go to the pdf’s page 101 (which is the document’s internal page 99), you’ll see the correlation graph that she presented for visual confirmation of her conclusion. Yet, if you notice the X-axis of the graph, you’ll notice screwy jumps between the numbers. They seem to be chosen to thin out the difference between the lines. If you take the time to regraph without messing with the X-axis, you’ll see that the lines are not so similar. In fact, if you calculate the difference between the lines, it’s just about the 10% difference that Rigobon had spotted with his own tool.

            So, not only is there certainty to call for another random sample, there is reason to suspect JM’s honesty.

            Regarding Benford and Hausman, sure, you cannot conclude there is fraud, but you can conclude with all certainty that there is reason to doubt the results, which should translate to further investigation until results that pass the tests are obtained, or a revote.

          • I agree with you on the Carter case.

            I just think Benford tests or Hausman analysis (although interesting), they are nothing more than an academic exercise.

            Yes, statistics are a tool. But a tool that can make certain things. I am no expert statistician and I can do as much a few basic tests (t, chi, anova and some of these simple stuff for SPC). The tool can tell you patterns or anomalies, but it can’t be use as a mean to proof a hypothesis. Which is what Hausman attempted. And he knows this too. He is really damn smart and statistics are also a “tool” to get a “belief” across with numbers.

            Many of these tools will give you a “solution” but you must understand it and its limitations so it gives you the right solution.

          • Rodrigo Linares, It seems you are missing the crux of what I’m responding to you. To what you seem to be referring, is the misuse of statistics to sway opinion of non statisticians. That is *not* what Hausman did, at all. In fact, he did his thing and then pulled out, letting the Jennifer McCoys keep the spotlight and certify the results, against all statistical principles. And THAT is the limitation of statistics: people’s lack of understanding of it. Statistics is just math. There is no magic. Just because numbers can be used to confuse those who aren’t so proficient with numbers does not mean numbers are not very precise. And I do clarify, I am talking about strict numerical statistics, and not the non rigorous uses of related methods.

            Hausman did *not* attempt to prove a hypothesis. He knew, as should any statistician, that that is impossible; Hypotheses can only be *disproven*, not proven. It is for this reason that, instead of trying to prove fraud, he designed a way of disproving no-fraud. He looked for the Black Swan that would *disprove* the idea of there being only White Swans. And the idea of there being only White Swans was that all the numbers were clean. He found unclean numbers. That was the Black Swan. It was not an academic excercise, at all. He proved, with certified probability, confidence level and margin of error, that the hypothesis of no-fraud was untenable. You could no longer reasonably argue that there was nothing fishy.

            Let’s be clear, DNA analysis has a probability, confidence level and margin of error, too. Same as fingerprints and bullet markings. Believe it or not, a careful scientist would never say, “this DNA or this fingerprint belongs to this person, nor this bullet came out of this gun”. He would say, “the probability that this DNA or fingerprint or bullet marking belongs to someone else or to a different gun is this tiny”. Similarly, because DNA, fingerprints and bullent markings are also a result of statistics, one cannot prove, only disprove the negative, within well-defined limits.

  6. Well-said, Juan. Chavismo is declining/will decline daily (Alek, whom I respect, is wrong). The Oppo will not/should not roll over on this one The Chavista leaders, including the CNE, however, have a lot to lose, including much of their ill-gotten gains (one doesn’t need Panama to find this out-there are many different ways/organizations to get the info), and, hopefully, their freedom (=jail time). The fight will be hard, and Diosdado, rather than brokering a peaceful intermediation, is becoming an obstacle to overcome. International possible lenders to Venezuela would be fools to lend against this backdrop, and Venezuela desperately needs US $ ex-oil just to keep the ship from sinking too fast (the Bs./$ implicit rate is now at least 30, with the recent 20% drop in the price of gold, which is some 80% of foreign reserves, not to mention from recent weakening in the price of oil). As I mentioned before, preserving the physical integrity of Capriles is imperative, although fortunately there is backup strength in Falcon/Lopez….

      • It is always “war”. Politics and diplomacy are war through non-violent means. By all means, let us hope that we can avoid violence. But, “war” it is, and this time, the Opposition is not just rolling over.

    • I think that preserving Capriles’ physical integrity is also imperative, even though he does have from what I can tell at least, a great team behind him.

      Have you seen Iris Varela’s lunatic ass going off about him, saying how “le estan preparando una celda”? That woman looks like a bat from hell.

    • War it is, but by a different approach.

      In the beginning protests, and propaganda pressing home the Cuban takeover of Venezuela. Maduro must be called out for every blunder he and his team will make. Unfortunately, there will be arrests. But then to have a chance of success there must be total cooperation amongst the ranks of the opposition by accepting Capriles as the leader(without one voice, everything else is meaningless).

      Most importantly, ramping up international fervor. For me, all of South America is in this together. So then, call out Brazil’s bluff, and make that country declare whether they are for the people of Venezuela or are in favor of the Chavista fascism that could infect their own country.

  7. It is amazing how impatient we all are. In previous days/posts we have people going insane about talking points…

    Bottom line is Capriles has made a TON of progress, he is more well liked than any government hack, and the fight ahead is much more important than the fight going on this week. Capriles is confident, so we need to be as well…if the government was not nervous they would not look as crazy as they do right now….

    • Agree. I think Capriles is doing just fine, and the government doesn’t seem to realize exactly how much ground they have lost so far. They only know that they are on the defensive and that what is happening to them isn’t in the playbook that Chavez left them with. No wonder they look a little crazy…

      • The Datanalisis poll that came out right after the election was very telling. HCR’s approval rating is 10% higher than Maduro (51.0% vs. 41.6%). Further, the Ni-Ni love Henrique (56.6% positive to 16.6% negative).

        I personally believe we have a good chance of winning the argument on the curruption of 14-A. But even if we don’t, we are winning the public relations war as we speak…The more exposure HCR gets, the better!

  8. What’s hilarious about this Juan, is that before 14-A you were so certain that Capriles would LOSE this election, that you thought it was a mistake to even go to elections!

    Now you’ve miraculously changed your position 180 degrees and are so sure that Capriles WON this election, that you assure massive fraud took place (despite zero evidence).

    Good thing no one worries about maintaining credibility around here… otherwise there would be so little of this kind of entertainment for us readers to enjoy.

    • “Juan claimed Capriles would would lose, now he’s reversed himself, therefore, he has no credibility…”

      That would be a good point, except that Juan is not a pollster. He’s not even a meta-pollster like Nate Silver, so instead your point is painfully idiotic. You’ve only pointed out how desperate you are to make a point.

      By the way, we all noticed that you skipped over the last post (bare faced fascism, backed up by video and audio proof). Until you denounce it, we take it as evidence that you support these fascistic actions:

      http://caracaschronicles.com/2013/04/23/workplace-bullying-as-public-policy/

      • Who said I support that? You all are so one-dimensional that you think that if I criticize Capriles and point out his lies that it automatically means I support whatever the government does.

        I know this might be hard for you to understand, but politics can be a bit more complex than “Hero Capriles” vs. “Bad Monster Chavista”. Chavismo does plenty of stuff wrong. Its just that they aren’t as bad as having lying anti-poor fascists in power.

        • You are entitled to whatever belief you want. But you are really far down the rabbit hole if you think that the majority of chavismo ruling class aren’t fascist, lying scum bags. If fact I have difficulties trying to come up with one that isn’t.

          The issue GAC, you don’t come here to discuss or debate. Many of us disagree from the views expressed by the authors and commenters in a constructive way. You on the other hand don’t recognize you own mistakes, use an antagonistic and confrontational stance and whenever run out of things to say, you go on to insult.

          When you start with such a stance, how do you expect others to react?

          You come across as resentful. And with such attitude many of your arguments will be ignored.

          I do think you can actually contribute significantly to the forum. You are obviously well informed. Biased of course, but aren’t we all. But you should really change the way you communicate.

          But again, maybe your goal is after all to troll the conversation in a totally different direction.

          • I insult you because you are blatantly and systematically dishonest, as I have repeatedly demonstrated here time and again (and for which you simply have no response). I’m not interested in contributing to a forum whose mission is to cover up coups, subvert democratic elections, and hide the evidence of fascist attacks on health centers. I simply enjoy watching you all squirm around in your own contradictions while you try to justify your completely backwards view of the world.

          • Oh dear, here I go and break my own rule. But I digress. GAC, you have to be one of the most obtuse, delusional, and pathetic beings I’ve come across. You don’t make anyone squirm, and no one is paying any attention to anything that you “…have repeatedly demonstrated here time and again”. The kinder people here do try to engage you because, every once in a while, there seems to be a slight glimmer of some intelligence, but, then you go and prove them wrong.

          • You just squirmed my friend, because you didn’t address anything I said. Instead you tried (unsuccessfully) to attack me as a person. Dumbest trick in the book.

          • GAC, you said “You just squirmed my friend, because you didn’t address anything I said.” Um, that would be because you have said nothing worth being addressed. Simple enough, just like you.

          • Or because you simply can’t refute anything I said. For example, you can’t refute that this blog and many of its followers have long tried to deny that the 2002 coup was ever really a coup. Likewise, you can’t deny that many here in recent days have tried to justify the complete lies that were Capriles “fraud” examples. And, finally, you simply can’t deny that this blog and many of its readers have tried to deny the attacks on CDI’s (just scroll down to see Norske doing it as we speak).

            So yeah, if you think the blatant telling of lies is “nothing worth addressing”, well then that says quite a bit about you doesn’t it?

          • The unfortunate thing is then no dialogue can be established as you commit the same fallacies that you criticize. You are also systematically dishonest. You lack coherence (bad coup vs good coup, bad riot vs good riot, me good vs you bad).

            2002 we had a coup. Very different from 1992. The first in broad daylight and the second in the middle of the night. The first happened by masses of people and civil society while the second by a handful of army men using the weapons that the republic had trusted them to defend it. Both had civilian casualties. Has there been any efforts to find out what happened in 2002. Sadly, no.

            Attacks on any CDI are just wrong. I haven’t read anyone here saying that such attacks were justified. Were they true? I believed they were until some picture showed that they were fine. Now, I must say I don’t know. Was JM the lo Rios attacked as well by chavistas? Maybe, Provea provided evidence that it was attacked (also the CDIs) why is the government only talking about the CDIs (lack of coherence right there). The truth may be in the middle, some attacks happened but not the extent the government claims and because it is inconvenient to mention JM de los Rios then it is not mentioned by the government. See? The lack of coherence? How do you cope with such contradictions?

            I haven’t still heard a reasonable argument to avoid an audit. Just because the MUD demands it? Or is there something else?

            Last open audit showed that the secrecy of the vote was compromised. That is actually a major fuck up. Do I think the system is perfect? Hell no, no system is.

            I am not always right. But I think you are projecting on us the “completely backwards view of the world”.

            Your previous answer by the way just says it. You are just a troll.

          • You don’t seem to understand Rodrigo. I’m not interested in dialoguing with manipulative liars. I did have dialogue with you agriculture issues, dutch disease, etc. But now you’ve shown that you are just incapable of basic honesty. Capriles lied. Anyone with eyes can see it. Yet you are disgustingly dishonest about it.

            Your coup nonsense is a great example. One of the coups was carried out against a government that had used the military to massacre its own citizens, while they justifiably protested against anti-poor measures that CAP had explicitly denied he would enact!

            The other coup was not carried out by masses of civil society. You are lying again. It was planned ahead of time by a small elite group of people, and civil society was USED as cannon fodder on the day of the coup, and then the media systematically lied to the very same civil society about the deaths on that day in order to justify the coup. Had the civil society really been behind the coup, why would the media need to manipulate the truth in order to get their approval.

            As for the CDI’s, you simply continue to deny the truth, when even the fucking opposition-aligned media has admitted they occurred. Here’s the photos for the millionth time:

            http://albaciudad.org/wp/index.php/2013/04/62-fotos-de-danos-a-centros-de-salud-cdi-telecomunicaciones-viviendas-y-partidos-politicos/

            JM de los Rios is not mentioned by the government?

            http://www.vtv.gob.ve/articulos/2013/04/18/sabotaje-en-sistema-de-aire-acondicionado-afecto-funcionamiento-de-quirofanos-en-hospital-jm-de-los-rios-8182.html
            http://www.ciudadccs.org.ve/?p=412470

            As for the audit, it has already been approved. It was approved the very next day after Capriles formally requested it. The only people who think the CNE was against it are those who can’t see past the nonsense lies of Capriles.

            As for being completely backwards, well, you just demonstrated it.

          • “Dishonest” is one of your favourite words, GAC. Let me tell you: in psychology, it’s called “projection”: you call “dishonest” anyone that doesn’t agree with you. Then you cry “ad hominem”. But you do not live in Venezuela, and know nothing about it… you “read” about it, but don’t “live” it. Talking about “blatant dishonesty”. Can we audit your bank account, dear GAC?

        • Exactly. you don’t denounce it, you just quietly support it. In German you are called a mitlaufer, nonetheless that still makes you a fascist.

          • I just said I don’t support up above. You, on the other hand, are not only supporting fascist attacks of health centers, but you’re also lying to try to cover it up right here where everyone can see it! Good one Norske!

          • You said “Chavismo does many things wrong.” Yet until now you did not clearly denounce these fascistic actions by Chavista officials. Even now you amusingly squirm, failing to even make it clear what it is you denounce! The fact it’s taken you so long to even come close to denouncing it says volumes about your strong fascist tendencies.

            Everyone here on the other hand denounces any attacks on property, no matter who by, whether CDI or otherwise. What we argue with are false accusations, lies about which centers were attacked and threats at imprisonment prior to any trial whatsoever.

          • Pathetic, you’ve moved onto other topics and still never made it clear what exactly it is you denounce. Keep on squirming.

    • to all: DON’T Respond! Ignore this last post. The ONLY way to discourage CAG et al and their BS is to NOT ENGAGE – EVER, no matter how incendary their comments.

    • When things take an unexpected turn, one recovers and adapts to the new scenario to go on. I recall your idol doing the very same thing and don’t think you questioned his credibility even a bit. Or rather, you couldn’t. Your own ability to reason’s like a tire gone flat.

    • Hey get a clue, looks like you were caught lying through your teeth about those health center attacks.

      Those pictures you posted of a burned down health center, remember those? They were from one that burned down accidentally last December! A mistake like this would be forgivable if you had not just established you think such false accusations are inexcusable.

      There goes the last of your credibility! Time to make a new user name and crawl away in Shame.

      http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/130424/defensoria-admite-error-en-informe-de-ataques-a-cdi

      • This doesn’t say that the photos are false. It simply says that the government got the name of the CDI wrong. Try again genius.

        Even the very news articles that were linked to on this blog about the attacks admitted that the attacks occurred. They simply claimed the damages weren’t as bad as the government claimed. But that’s kinda beside the point don’t you think? The point is that opposition groups tried to attack health centers!! It doesn’t get any more fascist than that.

        • The news article quotes government officials who claim another CDI was attacked, hardly an “admission” they occurred (there you go lying again!).

          As to whether the images are form the December 1st fire or not, we don’t know. But at the least we know your representative lied about which center was burned down, and in holding you to your own standards that makes all his other claims can be dismissed.

          And finally, one last time, even if some centers were attacked, the identity of those attackers has not been established. Chavistas apply this for 9/11, so the entire world will apply that standard to Chavistas. Only fair!

          • HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

            Norske apparently needs Mision Robinson. The CDI wasn’t burned down last December genius. The NAME of the center is 1 de Diciembre. Thanks for giving me a good laugh though.

            And I didn’t claim THIS article admits they occurred. Can you read? I said the articles that were linked to on this blog admit they occurred. Go back and read them.

            But thank you for demonstrating so beautifully not only who the liar is, but also that you apparently can’t even read.

            Now, about those photos. You still trying to claim they are false?? Keep on squirmin’ my friend. It is sooooo fun to watch.

          • Spanish is not my first language. Your childish insult aside. we still know your representative lied about which center was attacked.

            As to the photos, why are Chavistas utterly incapable of the same standard of proof that opposition supporters produce: Video with dated newspaper? Not so hard is it, unless of course they are using old photos from a center your own official admitted burned down some time ago.

            And again, aside from the veracity of your historically unreliable claims, it still has not in even one single case been established who attacked these centers… unlike say the man who attempted to shoot Capriles who is a certified Chavista.

            By “news article” I thought you meant article, not long rambling accusatory photo essay.

          • So this your argument has basically come down to this:

            An official got the name of the center wrong, and that means the attack never occurred.

            More than 60 photos of vandalized CDI’s are all fake, despite tons of witness testimony that confirms them.

            And we don’t know who attacked the centers (even though witnessed have said who it was) because no one was arrested.

            Absolutely brilliant Norske. I have to admit, this is perhaps the most pathetic example of squirming I’ve seen in quite some time!

            (Meanwhile, Capriles accuses Chavistas of over 19,000 electoral “irregularities”, but no one was arrested so it is impossible to know who really did it, right?)

  9. Juan, I think it’s unfortunate that you’ve decided to paint me as a fraudmeister, whatever that means, when my position has been, as far as I am concerned, “apegada a derecho”.

    1) It is a matter of public record that Cesar Gaviria refuted Jimmy Carter’s claim that international observers had witnessed the count at CNE’s tallying room on 14 Aug. 2004. The categorisation into different camps that you said followed has no relevance, in my opinion, as neither could be sure whether results announced were a true representation of the vote, as no one, apart from Jorge Rodriguez and his chavista mates, know for certain what happened that night. The monumental fuck up that followed, in which the Carter Centre and others were led exactly down the same path the CNE is leading everyone now (Emiliana’s “he said/she said”) was the precursor of today’s scenario.

    2) In Legislativas 2005, Leopoldo Gonzalez, an oppo technician, participated in a mock election in Fila de Mariches, organized by Jorge Rodriguez to dizque “demonstrate” how good the Smartmatics were. In the presence of EU and OAS observers Gonzalez could tell how each had voted, that is before Jorgito suffered a hissy fit and dismissed the whole thing. That you seem to have forgotten, as well as your mate Javier Corrales at Amherst. Therefore, in the one and only occasion the oppo has had to properly audit the system it was demonstrated that the secrecy of the vote was compromised.

    3) Also in 2005, CAPEL was invited to audit the REP. If I remember correctly, it asked the CNE to provide records of some 12,000 voters selected at random to check whether they existed, and the CNE flatly refused. That continues to be the one and only time the REP has been independently audited.

    Given the above Juan, how can anyone ever say that elections in Venezuela and free, fair and transparent? Further, how can an electoral system in which one of the two participating parties is permanently vetoed to exercise meaningful and *legal* scrutiny be described as anything other than fraudulent? You can call me fraudmeister all you like, but the points above had nothing to do with conspiracy theories.

    • Alek, I didn’t mean the term in a pejorative way, sorry if it’s interpreted that way. The fact is that you’ve been more vehement about the unfairness of Venezuelan elections than I have, but that’s in the past.

      • OK.

        Vehement I have been all right, and proudly so. To this day I still don’t understand why, given facts cited above *known by all* how could Ramon Guillermo Aveledo tell the whole country, with a straight face, that “the system had been sufficiently audited”. What a lying sack of shit, and how irresponsible of him, and of Capriles by extension, to have allowed that to be said. I remember having sent questions to basically all my contacts, you included, asking when, where and how were those “audits” conducted and where were the corresponding reports.

        We now know that it was part of a “strategy” to motivate people to vote. What a fuck up that was. You don’t get people motivated by lying, but by being frontal about the problem, as all of them are doing now. Alas as I said, I think this is a proverbial case of too little too late.

        The only way Capriles will become truly relevant is if Maduro et al throw him in jail. Otherwise Cabello holds all the cards mate. Absolutely nothing will come of the promised audit. We’ve been here before….

        • I don’t know for a fact that the audits did or did not take place. It was a case of your word vs. Aveledo’s I guess. Furthermore, at which point is an audit sufficient enough? Dead people in the CNE is not reason to invalidate the Registry on its own. If you have other safeguards, you can live with that. Then again, it seems like the other safeguards failed miserably this time around.

          The important thing is that we’ve reached common ground. And that can only be good.

          Finally … Capriles irrelevant? I think you’re not seeing things right.

          • No Juan, is not a case of my word v Aveledo’s. rather it is a case memoria. The stuff I quoted above did not take place in “Alekzuela” but in Venezuela. EVERY SINGLE PERSON PAYING ATTENTION saw / heard/ witnessed the same thing as I did. Aveledo’s ‘audits’ on the other hand no one has seen, no one has witnessed, no press reported about it, so where, pray tell, did those take place?

            The road to right the wrongs start by recognising where did we failed, and who failed us.

            But hey, feel free to show me evidence of those audits mate, I’ll read eith great interest!

          • I don’t have evidence on the audits. I took him for his word, and I still do. I’m not obsessed with the topic. And try burying the hatchet. If Esdata and the CSB can work together, that says something.

          • Juan, it’s perfectly fine if you want to bury the hatchet. I won’t. I can’t. The Aveledos of Venezuela are playing with our futures. We can’t possible make our government accountable if we can’t hold our own ‘leaders’ responsible for what they do. You are a party man, I’m not. I respect your position, but I don’t share it.

    • Alek, there is no question in my mind that the 2004 Recall Referendum was fixed, with possible reversal of the 60/40 yes/no result, as per the Penn Schoen exit polls. I still remember the newspaper-published sample results with voting machines jamming at a certain level of random yes/no results, and then spewing out HUNDREDS of consecutive. no’s. Carter/Co. arrived at the CNE with a computer audit program incompatible with the CNE’s system, and accepted the CNE-computer audit program of 1% or so of total results, conveniently-directed to no-problem voting tables. The Oppo has probably never had witnesses at more than a maximum of 50%, if that, of voting centers, simply because of logistical/intimidation considerations. The REP, at virtually 100% of 18/older voters, in a non-obligatory voter registration system, is a joke, and is probably filled with 2-3 million non-existent registrants, all under the aegis of the Cubans. The Smartmatic machines, begun under Jorge Rodriguez’s reign, are probably fixable in ways still not discovered, even to the extent of a parallel system claimed by Penaloza, et. al. An audit of 4/07 strictly numerical results, as desired by the CNE, while probably revealing some inconsistencies, is useless, as well-claimed by the Capriles camp, since the fraud has been perfected over time, and is now more of a qualitative origin, which will become evident only with a full audit of all aspects of the voting process.

      • But NET, your stance starts from the wrong premise: unless you had a pair of eyes in the CNE’s tallying room on Aug 15 2004 you can not know for certain whether chavismo simply flipped results. Neither can those who think Chavez won can know for certain that announced results were a true representation of the electorate’s will

        And therein lies the rub: a nadie le consta que lo que anuncio el CNE ese dia es cierto. Taking CNE’s word at face value is an act of faith. Alla aquellos que quieran creee, a mi no me consta, y como no me consta, no creo.

        The Carter Centre did a monumental fuck up. If you look in the archives of vcrisis you’ll even see how J McCoy admitted in an exchange we had that they fucked up.

        Smartmatic, to this day, is to provide evidence that it repurchased the 28% stake that the chaverment had in it through Omar Montilla. As per its performance, well, in every single electoral process where it has participated and independent audits have been made it has been revealed that its system is very far from trustworthy. Jorgito went to Italy, as director of CNE, to close the purchase deal with Olivetti before the RR. Nuff said…

        Then we have the unaudited-since-2005 REP. Again, alla aquellos que crean lo que el CNE ha hecho. A mi no me consta.

        • In the same line of thought, every individual voter is unable to have proof (constar!) that his/her vote has been registered right in the machine, regardless of what the printed out ballot “comprobante” states.
          With out observadores calificados in the centro de totalizacion, there is also no way candidates other than the regime’s, can ascertain (hacer constar) clean totalizacion of results.
          no audits on voter franchise db (REP) and what you have in “the vest electoral system in the world” (for the status quo that is.)

          Anyways, my beef and main issue is , venezuela’s electoral system has been stripped of the ESCRUTINIO, henceforth any result is fraudulent and expected to be taken as an act of faith.

          I did not read the Fraudmeister vs. appaiser descriptions in pejorative terms BTW.

          having been in the former camp since 2004, I have continuasly debated my position here and elsewhere. I see the current strategy by HC, CSB, MUT et alias correct. The enemy is not other venezuelians, the enemy is the cuban invasion (and chulos int’l) who by dividing us are making themselves stronger.

        • Alek, the premise is, “I believe”, not that , “I know.” The rare miss exit poll, actually reversing the 60/40 result, plus the mentioned voting table sample of at a certain point hundreds of statistically-impossible consecutive no votes (3/5 tables in one center alone) is enough basis for me for my belief. I spoke to Tulio about the need for an expanded well-witnessed audit to at least catch this type of fraud–and, nothing happened, and he somehow disappeared from public view, until recently.

          • I get your point, but we still can not “know” what happened. Forget for a minute all the statistics studies done, peer reviewed, exit polls, etc., that could inform your “beliefs”. Before all of that took place, we still did not know what happened, as none of our “representatives”, nor independent observers were allowed into the tallying room. Therefore, taking at face value Carrasquero’s word is, to me at least, entirely unacceptable.

            I remember having been asked in a BBC programme the following day: “but the Carter Centre will give the imprimatur to the election. What do you have to say about that?” I had with me the pink copy of the three parts that are signed by oppo, gov., and mesa members after the count, I remember having explained what it was and said: “if Jimmy Carter wants to risk whatever credibility he has by vouching for results that neither he, nor his representatives, witnessed, that is his prerogative. The fact is, he can’t possibly know whether announced results are a true representation of the people’s will.”

            Nearly 10 years on, I stand by that. Carter has become this idiotic figure completely devoid of credibility, ditto the CNE.

          • Alex, it’s been awhile since I read any of the studies or the reports, but can you tell me if these main points are correct, which regardless of the statistical evidence, strongly suggest the very real possibility of foul play.

            1. Contrary to what was initially communicated by the CNE, not only was the communication between between the central server and voting machines communicate bidirectionally (as in they could could send and receive communications….CNE originally said the central server could only receive communication), but they also communicated before printing the ACTA the day of the election.

            2. The CNE refused Carter Center’s offer of a random number generator and instead used its own program run on its own computer and operated by a Chavista member of the CNE to pick the boxes that got audited.

            3. No opposition witness or international observer was allowed access to the room with the central computer server until after the results were ready.

            Those 3 things alone point to the serious possibility of fraud. In my mind they just don’t happen in a fair election unless those counting the votes have something to hide. Combine that with what the statistics show and the integrity of the vote is utterly shattered, in my mind. Would Chavez have won regardless? Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean serious fraud occurred.

            That the Carter Center won’t admit it could have been duped is a disgrace and really destroys its credibility and intellectual integrity.

          • 1) What you mention there was in the reports by Tulio Alvarez. The machines are bidirectional of course, and are believed, at least some of them, to be in constant communication so that the regime can know in real time how the election is going. Example 1: Raul Baduel saying to Victor Poleo, Alfredo Weil and me in 2008 that there were monitors in CUFAN that allowed for real time monitoring of the election. Example 2: Jorge Rodriguez saying on 14 April that by x time some 13 million people had voted. Unless chavismo had a mechanism to count every person coming out of polling stations and reporting that live to a central database, how could he know?

            2) http://www.vcrisis.com/?content=letters/200409211741 and http://www.vcrisis.com/index.php?content=letters/200410041724

            3) There was a press conference by OAS Sec. Cesar Gaviria and Jimmy Carter on 16 August 2004 in Caracas. Reporters asked them whether they had witnessed the final count at CNE HQ. Jimmy Carter said yes. Cesar Gaviria said that no international observer had been allowed into the count.

          • Alek

            Many thanks. I had never seen that exchange before…The whole experience, and actually the whole Chavez era in general, really showed me who in the left intelligentsia (of those I read and follow) are willing to essentially turn a blind eye to all kinds of abuse/injustice just because they think the perpetrators share their broader ideological viewpoint. Hypocrites unworthy of the ideals they profess…it’s not hard to imagine what it was like in the 30s and 40s for those who experienced Stalinism first hand to see academics defend it from afar (obviously, that was a period of terrible extremes but its on the same spectrum).

    • Thanks for including the details about the discovery that Smartmatic machines could be used to determine who voted for whom. Several months ago in a discussion about the elections, I remembered reading that about Smartmatic some years ago but could not remember where I had read it.

    • The biggest fuck up in 2005 was how irresponsible the CNE was when the audits found that the secrecy of the vote was compromised and still decided to call the elections.

      That election should have been nullified. And yes. You have a great point on the most recent audits. Where are those reports? Do we think we loose more votes due abstention than ballot stuffing?

      All the elections shave shown that abstention is the least of concerns for the opposition. Why is some much emphasis placed on it by the oppo leaders?

  10. Juan, you shall come to our camp. I was of the opinion, like Miguel, that there was hanky panky in 2004 but that we lost.

    I have expressed my disagreement with him on the extent of the corruption of the CNE records, though. I have been on that in line with the Esdata people…because of the errors and weird patterns I have found in the data.

    Francisco Toro probably shaped his view based on his interview with Juan Carlos Caldera, who said “we had witnesses everywhere” and also based on Robin William’s film Man of the Year, where one honest software developer from the many apparently working on churning code reveals the Truth.

    We know where Caldera stands today.

    Francisco will say: “bueno, pero es nuestro rollo si no tenemos testigos, acta es acta”. To some extent yes. But e-voting as it is done now makes it much easier to do cheating at real time.

    And unlike in Man of the Year, you don’t need a pool of IT people to hamper such a system. A couple of them would do – for a whole nation-. It doesn’t matter how many lawyers and sociologists you employ in how many “audits” through the years, software’s a bitch in a black-box.

    And the truth is that no thorough auditing of CNE records has been done. The opposition has got on a regular basis the datasets, but a physical validation of people, as it should be done, hasn’t been carried out.

    The over 60000 double records we found by simple check-ups are clear proof of concious, not just accidental, intervention in the database. That set doesn’t make 0.3% of the electorate but it is proof enough there has been premeditated fraud and should be reason enough for a complete clean-up. And now it would have counted. I have talked about this problem of the records with people like Miguel Bolívar Cholett, who has worked in demography for decades. He has confirmed my fears: once a record is in the registry, it’s virtually impossible (save for very clumsy addition like the 60000) to detect more false additions.

    There are quite other issues like the October protrusion I discovered on CNE data:

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NyalO342dpM/TlUe86gQHfI/AAAAAAAAB6M/QXdBq1V-vdU/s1600/weirdoctober.JPG
    (voters according to the month they were born, in Carabobo, but it’s exactly the same everywhere in Venezuela, notice the protrusion for October around 1973)

    Toro says we are hopeless…but he might say the same thing about virtually every software developer who is not trying to sell e-voting software: we have serious concerns about this.

    Automatic vote “optimization” in real time without control by anyone can be introduced when before you always needed people to be stuffing votes manually.

    Sure, if we had actas that would not be possible but we still don’t have them, because they were pointing a gun at our people or else. And now that difference matters.

  11. The slim margin of Maduros alleged ‘win’ is a sign that apart from the massive methodical use of ‘unfair advantage’ tactics the Regime can only game or manipulate a certain percentage of the votes in its favour , otherwise the results would have been much more favourable to Maduro . The use of coercion tactics is also a sign that their capacity to stuff polls is limited .otherwise they could have avoided them as unnecessary. If the Capriles vote turnout had been more massive they would have had to concede defeat or ‘kick the playing table’ Elections are huge complex confusing affairs when an effort has been made from the inside and the outside to meddle with its results , getting the tally exactly right is difficult specially where the CNE will use every trick and technicality at its disposal to obstruct a fair tally or recount . The result will be not a certainty but a strong or not so strong suspicion that both the probably limited vote stuffing element and the outside coercion element gave Maduro a victory which was undeserved or contrived, It will ,most likely not lead to an universal new election or to the unseating of Maduro from the presidents Chair . The next step for the oppostion will them be to nurture the idea in peoples mind that the regimes popularity is not only waning but already in the minority zone , that its unscrupulous and shady in its methods and unworthy of trust , to advertise these things both to selected audiences in land and abroad . If as expected the refimes popularity continues to fall as a result of worsening life conditions blameable on the regimes mismanagement and corruption then a tipping point will ocurr sometime in the future when it will be clear to most that they ve lost the bulk of their popularity and dont deserve to rule . Then will be the time to use whatever institutional resources exist at the time to try and bring about a change in government without causing it to go for a full fledged internal coup de etat and install itself as an outright dictatorship. Perhaps capriles in all likelihood won the election or would have won the election but for the many frauds or unlawful manipulations which the regime perpetrated, but thats not enough to cause a regime change , To cause a sustainable regime change the victory has to be much more sizeable and conclusive, and thats probably not the case now but will likey be the case in the future .

    • “It will ,most likely not lead to an universal new election or to the unseating of Maduro from the presidents Chair.”

      Maybe not a whole new election, but there may be enough to call for election do overs in certain areas. These may turn out to be enought to win for Capriles.

      “If as expected the regimes popularity continues to fall as a result of worsening life conditions blameable on the regimes mismanagement and corruption then a tipping point will ocurr sometime in the future when it will be clear to most that they ve lost the bulk of their popularity and dont deserve to rule . Then will be the time to use whatever institutional resources exist at the time to try and bring about a change in government without causing it to go for a full fledged internal coup de etat and install itself as an outright dictatorship.”

      The only ways that I can think of are either a recall referendum, which entails waiting for 3 years.

      Art 72.
      Todos los cargos y magistraturas de elección popular son revocables.

      Transcurrida la mitad del período para el cual fue elegido el funcionario o funcionaria, un número no menor del veinte por ciento de los electores o electoras inscritos en la correspondiente circunscripción podrá solicitar la convocatoria de un referendo para revocar su mandato.
      Cuando igual o mayor número de electores y electoras que eligieron al funcionario o funcionaria hubieren votado a favor de la revocatoria, siempre que haya concurrido al referendo un número de electores y electoras igual o superior al veinticinco por ciento de los electores y electoras inscritos, se considerará revocado su mandato y se procederá de inmediato a cubrir la falta absoluta conforme a lo dispuesto en esta Constitución y la ley.
      La revocación del mandato para los cuerpos colegiados se realizará de acuerdo con lo que establezca la ley.

      Durante el período para el cual fue elegido el funcionario o funcionaria no podrá hacerse más de una solicitud de revocación de su mandato.

      So even if Maduro loses a theoretical referendum to revoke him, we get Diosdado for 30 days, then an election 3 years into his period.

      Some call for Article 350

      Artículo 350. El pueblo de Venezuela, fiel a su tradición republicana, a su lucha por la independencia, la paz y la libertad, desconocerá cualquier régimen, legislación o autoridad que contraríe los valores, principios y garantías democráticos o menoscabe los derechos humanos.

      How this would play is beyond me. It may result in the scenario above of an absolute absence, followed by 30 days of Disodado (or his subsitute) and another election.

      How you could get the 350 to work is beyond me.

      So we’re back to the audit and re-votes if we wish to see Capriles in Miraflores anytime soon.

      • Roberto: Im a bit skeptical that when you try to carry forward a complex vast effort at finding good hard evidence of vote tampering or poll stuffing with a tight schedule and people on the other side stalling or obstructing every move you make , the results will be exactly as we wish. We have to do it any way and hope for the best but its an uphill fight , The simple logistic of collecting all the items of evidence and presenting it in convincing fashion is a big challenge in itself . The other factor is that with one half of the voting population still notionally supporting it and total control of all institutions the Regime is still strong enough to sabotage any effort by Capriles (if ultimately succesful) to really take over the reins of government . A more realistic scenario is to wait for the regime to deteriorate further , to lose its self confidence , to see the crumbling of all its claims to credibility or popularity before staging the blow that will unseat it using an institutionally credible measure ( there may be more than two) . When a regime has lost its credibility ad self confidence and survives only propped up by a purely legalistic apparatus there is nothing that can ultimately hold it together . Look at what happened in Eastern Europe. So lets use the opportunity of the recount , all the gathered evidence and use it to discredit the Regime in every possible forum , before every possible audience by way of unmasking its dictatoriaal character , of delegitimizing its rule.

      • Bill:

        I agree with you that should Capriles somehow end up elected that he will face “uphill, both ways in the snow” scenarios in governance.

        And I understand you when you say it may be better to wait until things deteriorate so much that a feather touch would be enough to topple Maduro.

        What I have trouble envisaging is what happens next that will put Venezuela on a path towards becoming a decent country should Maduro’s regime fall before its time.

        Because if things get so bad that Maduro goes down, who knows who will end up in power and how.

        We face a plethora of bad choices, no real good ones, so what’s left is to choose “lo menos malo”.

        For me that is Capriles managing to effect a re-count in many voting centers and getting enough to be proclaimed now, not wait 3 years from now and hope that oil doesn’t go to $200/barrel or some other deux-ex-machina coming along to postpone the day of reckoning.

        I don’t think it will be easy to get a re-vote, but if the audit proceeds along the lines that Tibisay laid out in her annoncement, that is counting 12,0000 ballot boxes and verifying those against tallies and notebooks then at the very least the Maduro regime with have lots of lead in its wings.

        To its credit, the MUD is forcefully reminding everyone of that each time a Sandra Obiltas or Tania d’Amelio comes out saying that the audit is some kind of excercise in checking the machines out or other hogwash.

        The government seems to hold many of the good cards and no bad ones, but it ain’t over till the fat lady sings, and we’re still in Act II out of V.

        • Roberto: Your point is excellent , either way Capriles faces a tough situation , either the country is ruined beyond repair or he has to struggle with a still entrenched enemy , you choose hope, I respect your choice.

  12. It seems that after almost 10 years in the running, we are more or less in agreement that electronic voting systems are invariable error-prone, far too easy to compromise and/or manipulate in favour of those who administrate and deploy such systems.

    Hopefully, this “election” can serve as an example and provide the world with sufficient hard evidence that manual voting is not only effortless to understand, simpler to operate, easier to audit, results are obtained faster, the whole process is embarrassingly cheaper and the unfathomably stupid ecological argument can be dismissed because the ballots can be sold as paper to be recycled and thus even obtain money back to boot.

    ¿Pa’ que más?

  13. I just think it is very ironic that all the government and particularly the CNE used the “acta mata voto” bandwagon to discredit the manual voting process and the traditional electorate practices that, by the way, could be completely audited.

    But what Tiby and Co. are now doing is exactly that. Claiming that the only thing that we can audit is that the actas issued at the centers tally up to the overall sum, regardless of what the actual votes contained in those actas may tell.

    As the world turns….

    • Full funcionario mode: Ay no mijito, como que la auditoría no empieza esta semana. And what is Capriles to do caught between a rock and a hard place?. By May 9th, he won’t have any hard evidence to call for a new election as the CNE sits idle. En fin.

      • There is nothing the CNE would love more that for HCR and the MUD to fall for their ruse of accepting the audit of just comparing the tallies. They will match perfectly and basically validate the claim of a perfect voting system and a trustworthy CNE. That is obviously not where the pevidence wiil be found. By the same argument it is impossible for them to accept the possibility of comparing the books to the acta and of perusing further into the detailed information contained in the books. NO way. That would spring the rabbit.

        • “You must be dreaming if you think Chavismo is going to be bullied by the MUD. The final step is to go to the Chavismo but”…
          etc

          No se baja vivo de una cruz, Arturo. Chávez lo sabe. Lo supo. Estamos preparando el dardito para inocularos.

  14. No-one here has a problem in engaging in constructive discussion – but with you it’s like engaging with Rush Limbaugh – the aggressive bigotry just renders it repetitive and pointless.

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