A MIN-imal crackdown

The electoral boobytrap known as MIN-Unidad was sanctioned by the electoral authority last week, but seems like this is a case of "too little, too late."

The now infamous MIN-Unidad campaign, which has been deliberately confusing voters by using opposition symbols even though they support government candidates like William Ojeda, was finally tackled by the electoral authority, Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE).

The electoral board ordered MIN to take down its posters because it was using the Mesa de Unidad’s (MUD) logos without permission (citing Article 75 of the Electoral Processes Law). CNE board member Luis Emilio Rondon explained the ruling on his personal Twitter account.

So is the ruling a sign of CNE cleaning up its act in terms of partiality? Hardly. The body waited to hand down this totally obvious ruling until after its ballots had already been printed, so CNE’s ruling doesn’t affect MIN-Unidad’s presence on the ballot. The harm has been done.

How much harm? Some argue it could be substantial. According to Varianzas, a local pollster, it 7 or 8 percent of voters thinks it makes no difference whether you vote for the MUD or the MIN-Unidad ticket. It will, of course, be fascinating to crunch those numbers after the fact, checking how many seats MUD lost due to MIN-Unidad ticket.

MIN-Unidad spokesperson Victor Moreno asked the CNE to reconsider its decision and even had the gall to claim that the MUD should be dropped off the ballot because MIN was founded first. ICYMI, MIN (a small political party created in the late 1970s by late TV personality Renny Otolina), was taken over by a group of chavistas with the help of a TSJ ruling.

Since then, MIN-Unidad took advantage of its party’s location on the electoral ballot position (right next to the MUD’s) to confuse voters, forcing the MUD to redesign its entire campaign around this very issueand sending opposition supporters scrambling to get the message out. Venezuelan comedian José Rafael Briceño addressed just how monumentally shameless MIN-UNIDAD’s tactics are in this video:

But it looks like usurping symbols isn’t the only dirty trick in MIN-Unidad’s playbook: Days ago, Wannies Leung Chang, who was registered as a MIN candidate for Miranda State’s 1st Circuit asked the CNE to withdraw her name from the ballot because she never authorized it in the first place.

Same thing happened weeks ago to Eduardo Gomez Sigala, who’s the incumbent MP for Lara State’s 3rd Circuit and running independently. He even accused MIN-Unidad of having “forged his signature”.

None of this should surprise us, though. It’s all part of Maduro’s Como Sea.