The Constituent Fraud

Your daily briefing for Thursday, August 3, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro casts his vote at a polling station during the Constituent Assembly election in Caracas, Venezuela July 30, 2017. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTS19Q7U

Unconstitutional and imposed, the July 30th election call was a failure despite the open coercion exercised by the State against citizens who depend on social programs, and against the huge amount of public employees all over the country.

On Wednesday, Smarmatic, the providers of the hardware and software used in Venezuelan elections, questioned CNE’s results, by announcing that Sunday’s turnout information was tampered with and saying that an audit would allow people to know the exact turnout figure, estimating that the gap between the announcement and the actual figure produced by the system is “at least a million voters.”

Almost simultaneously, Reuters reported that they reviewed CNE’s internal data and discovered that only 3.7 million people had voted by 5:30 p.m. last Sunday.


National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges announced that a group of lawmakers will request the Prosecutor’s Office to open an investigation on Sunday’s election, because the statements issued by Smarmatic’s board confirm the government’s electoral fraud:

“At least a million people were fraudulently added, people who voted more than once, outside of their municipalities, while the ballot boxes weren’t even opened.”

He added that CNE’s rectoras committed the crime of lying and tampering with electoral results and that the Armed Forces are accomplices of CNE chief Tibisay Lucena’s irregularities.

From the CNE

Tibisay Lucena repudiated Smarmatic’s statements:

“It’s an unprecedented opinion from a company that merely provides a service. It’s not a private company’s job to verify electoral transparency (…) Mugica’s statements are baseless.”

She said that, despite the fact that Smarmatic is responsible for the entire design of the system used in Venezuela. And added that the company took part in every audit, but didn’t mention that Smarmatic denounced the lack of audits compared to previous electoral processes. Lucena didn’t answer the most important point of the complaint: the system produced a result and they announced another.

So far, the CNE hasn’t shown detailed results for this election.

Meanwhile, rector Luis Emilio Rondón said that given the complaints, the right thing to do would be to suspend the effects of the adjudication of candidates, perform audits to clarify the situation and publish the data for each electoral table.

Other voices

Mayor Jorge Rodríguez (ex-CNE board member) claimed that Smarmatic’s complaint is absurd, because the company has taken part in elections that chavismo lost, ignoring the most important detail: the absence of audits that had made the electoral system reliable in previous occasions.

Meanwhile, Cilia Flores promised a meager audience at an event a “nice dawn with the ANC” and Iris Varela claimed that they’re willing to “take up arms” for their cause, recommending that Parliament lawmakers to start looking for lawyers for a fair trial because the time for leniency is over. In her usual tone, she yelled:

“If they keep messing with us, we’re going after them!”

Aside from this, Venezuelan Electoral Observatory head Luis Lander said that Smarmatic’s complaint raises questions about the process and that tampering with the results is an irregularity that delegitimizes the election as a whole:

“If they wanted to do it right, they should’ve started by consulting the people on whether we wanted a Constituyente or not.”

The dictator

At a rather empty Poliedro, Nicolás changed the induction ceremony for Constituyente representatives and postponed the ANC’s installation while suggesting that “it will last a few years.”

Although the ANC is an extra-constitutional body, he imposed guidelines on how to proceed, demanding 30 years of prison for Twitter users, who should be instructed to “avoid advancing unconfirmed information like crazy” and denouncing that a coalition of nations has been created to attack Venezuela.

He asked Jorge Rodríguez to make sure the CNE performs a full final audit of the July 30th election, sending Samuel Moncada to Washington as deputy foreign minister for North America and representative before the OAS (Venezuela has been “exiting” the institution since April 26th,) and naming Jorge Arreaza as the Foreign minister, an important change in the international policy strategy: bore their enemies to sleep.

Harassment and injustice

Five of the justices newly appointed by the National Assembly have already sought asylum in the Chilean embassy. Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz complained in a conversation with OAS chief, Luis Almagro, about the constant threats against the Prosecutor’s Office and the regime’s personal threats against her. The TSJ’s Constitutional Chamber applied against Carlos García, mayor of Libertador municipality in Mérida, the same measures they used against Lechería mayor Gustavo Marcano: they declared he was in contempt, sentencing him to 15 months in prison, banning him from leaving the country and removing him from office.


Irán is the sixth nation to support Nicolás and his fraudulent ANC, while Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, announced that EU’s 28 member countries won’t back the process “as they have concerns over its effective representativeness and legitimacy,” demanding the government to take urgent measures to rectify the course of events.

U.S. vice-president Mike Pence urged all freedom lovers to “condemn Maduro’s regime” for its abuse of power, calling it a dictatorship.

Mercosur’s Foreign ministers will meet next Saturday in Brazil to make a definitive decision about Venezuela based on the Ushuaia Protocol.

Lawmaker Henry Ramos Allup said that Acción Democrática will participate in regional elections, unleashing a storm that nearly drowned Smarmatic’s complaints. This decision is inadmissible because, once again, it shows a lack of unity right when we need it the most.

All sides have reasonable arguments, from registering candidates and leaving the decision to participate for later (to avoid repeating the mistake of 2005,) to pointing out the inconsistency of accepting to participate in elections precisely when the CNE’s structure and procedures are being called into question.

There was a fraud and that should be our focus. An electoral fraud, a CNE-backed fraud that violated the controls protecting the electoral process, a fraud carried out by rectoras allied with the regime, a fraud for which we now have technical evidence and which must be demonstrated in full. Nicolás didn’t back down for anything.

Huge thanks to the Mexicans who came up with the hashtag #ArepaElTacoEstaContigo! It was beautiful!

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.