… (and some of our questions)
“In the room, organized in a U-shaped pattern, were twenty-four monitors, one for each state, plus a central one adding up the votes in the entire country… On the screens, Salazar realized that they were counting Capriles’ and Maduro’s votes in real time … By 11:30 that day, Capriles … had an advantage of four hundred thousand votes, according to Salazar … By four in the afternoon Capriles was still on top, according to our eyewitness, by 220,000 votes.”
This is when, according to the book, a decision was made to mobilize certain chavista troops in centers where there were no opposition witnesses, or where they could be easily cowed.
Here is what electoral expert Eugenio Martínez (aka Puzkas) says:
“According to the MUD technicians, [counting the votes in real time] is impossible. Nevertheless, they clarify that the theories circulating over social media arguing that Diosdado Cabello and Jorge Rodríguez could observe in real time the evolution of the results in real time, what they actually mean is that they monitored participation levels. In other words, they could count the number of people who had voted… The MUD technicians explain that this information can be known thanks to the Voter Information System machines placed at the entrance of the voting centers (the fingerprint scanners).”
So right there we have a contradiction between the two sources.
By the way, Puzkas fails to say that this is more than just a “theory circulating on social media” – this is the eyewitness account of Diosdado Cabello’s bodyguard, and it flatly contradicts what he – as well as these unnamed “MUD technicians” – are claiming.
Furthermore, Blasco quotes our old pal, former Supreme Tribunal Justice Eladio Aponte Aponte, who said that in earlier elections, “every hour by the hour they [chavistas] would add up the votes each candidate had and they would use this information to make decisions to mobilize.”
So it’s not just Leamsy, but Aponte Aponte as well.
So, how could the system transmit the information in real time?
Blasco quotes Christopher Bello, who audited the voting system in 2011 and 2012. Bello claims that the voting machines had four BIOS (Basic Input Output System) which meant they could communicate with wireless devices even while they were supposedly “offline.” (By the way, Bello Ruiz’s credibility is not rock solid, imho)
Puzkas flat-out denies this:
“The claim [that the machines had four BIOS] was checked by MUD technicians in the audits, and they also checked the machine’s chips. They concluded the machines had a single BIOS. But, faced with the assumption that they had several, at the end of the day what matters is the application and the ports through which the machine communicates with the outside. There are no wireless interface ports that can communicate with the outside. The existing ports are only to communicate with the printer, the fingerprint scanner, the screen, the button to activate the machine, etc., as well as the modem for transmitting the results, which can only be activated once the voting is done and the final tally has been printed.”
So here we have another contradiction – do they have one bIOS or four, or something in between? (I find it a bit disturbing that Puzkas says “faced with the assumption that they had several [ports].” Either or, mister – one doesn’t say “the sun rises in the East, but even if it didn’t, then so-and-so.”)
Now, I don-t know much about this topic, but I find it disturbing that the machines CAN communicate with the fingerprint scanners during the day, and Puzkas himself is saying that the fingerprint scanners CAN communicate turnout information in real time to PSUV apparatchiks. If that is the case, then how do we know that the machine is not sending the votes to the PSUV in real time via their communication with the fingerprint scanner?
What nobody disputes, however, is the anomalous spike in Maduro’s votes in voting centers that stayed open until late. Both Blasco and Puzkas, as well as the MUD technicians, acknowledge that this was the crux of the issue. This is the heart of Capriles’ claim of fraud.
Here there seems to be no contradiction between the camps. Blasco even mentions unnamed people linked to Cabello and Rodríguez Torres who, in negotiations with the United States in several Caribbean islands as well as Europe, admitted they had added votes for Maduro in order to win. No controversy in the “what,” but in the “how.”
The problem with Puzkas’ theory (which mirrors the MUD’s official position) is that one is left wondering how chavismo knew how many votes to add to the tally, and which centers to add them. The answers they provide to these questions is not completely satisfying. The problem with Leamsy’s theory is that, if he’s right, then the MUD is participating in a cover-up … and I’m not sure I’m ready to vouch for that.
The claim that chavismo monitors the voting totals in real time is disturbing, not for what it represents per se, but for what it would mean for the MUD’s credibility if it was proven true.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.