CNE’s fraud blew up in its face on Wednesday: Smartmatic, the company in charge of our voting machines, blew the whistle on election results that bore no relation to what their machines registered. Almost in unison, Reuters broke a story on internal CNE data showing just 3.7 million people had voted by 5:30pm, implying that the vote would have had to miraculously double in just 90 minutes for CNE’s final tally to be true.

The opposition should’ve partied hard “I told you those number were made up! How do 4.4 million people vote in 90 minutes, in groups of 100? You were so afraid in the first place, you hid the election from the press!”

According to Saul Alisnky, “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” This was a good time to aim it at the government, to beat down the common enemy and give oppo supporters a much-needed morale boost, pushing the government into an irrational move.

But Wednesday caught the opposition with its pants down. Acción Democrática’s (AD) president, Henry Ramos Allup, announced that his party would participate in the upcoming governor’s elections. Hell, of course, broke loose. Leaders vented their frustration with each other, giving their supporters validation for their learned helplessness.

Let’s consider the arguments on both sides.

Why shouldn’t we go to elections? Well, they’ll be organized by the same CNE that just oversaw the ANC fraud. Accepting their authority for these elections would retroactively validate the ANC. It would undermine any efforts by the opposition to change the CNE’s rectores.

Besides, if only AD participates in the elections, they would surely win against chavismo. Other parties would consider this an unforgivable act of opportunism, or worse, betrayal.

And while this happens, the ANC looms large. The opposition could win the governor’s elections, to see the ANC remove them from office for some fairy-tale reason, or eliminating regional government altogether through a change in the Constitution.

Considering this, why on Earth should the opposition go to elections?

First, because their participation forces transparency into the electoral system. By having their own witnesses and auditors, the opposition could make sure that the result is correct.

Second, because if the government goes ahead with the elections and gets new governors without competition, the opposition will lose the few safe spaces they have left. Policing of opposition regions would go to the government, and the regional bureaucracies could be used to expand the system of political discrimination. 2005 all over again.

This is an impossible choice. Whatever they do, the dictatorship has a way to screw them. The thing is, both are reasonable courses of action. This could have played out as a civil debate at la mesa. Instead, we were treated to a cringe-worthy play.

It started with Ramos Allup on a Vladimir a la 1 interview, where he announced that AD had decided to participate in elections for governors.

This might seem like the sensato thing to do, but what about the coalition? I’ve got to agree with Ibéyise Pacheco here.

People from other parties were outraged, but no one more than the opposition’s firebrand, María Corina Machado.

The whole debate fell into the government’s lap. Just look at Maria Corina’s sentiment echoed by Diosdado.

Throughout this scene, there’s a worrying trend: the opposition uses “man’s most potent weapon” against itself. We see the flame of division, ignited by Ramos Allup and fanned by Maria Corina, used by Diosdado to roast marshmallows.

It’s unreasonable to expect permanent agreement inside MUD; they are not a hive mind. What we should expect is for them to keep their disagreements civil and contained, to take advantage of opportunities to punish the government, and to treat their followers with a surge of optimism whenever possible.

You’re on the same team guys, act like it.

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  1. “You’re on the same team guys, act like it.” That is exactly the problem, we don’t know if we are on the same team anymore not with Allup making his power plays fucking everything a everyone in his way.

    • I don’t like the way he acted and neither do other opposition people I talk to. Understood. But if people are pissed at him, then he’s risking his own party’s votes no? Let him lose then. My point is, There need to be open, monitored elections that can be audited if needed. Just the same way they were done in 2015, just really staff each table with the right number of volunteers and observers. Just let AD fall by its own weight, no? I don’t see any other way

  2. There really is no debate here.

    Ramos Allup is a Trojan horse introduced by the government to cause divisions in the opposition. Why make this claim the day of the fraud scandal if not to deviate attention?

  3. Hellooooo !!! We are under a ** MILITARY DICTATORSHIP **
    Why is yet not clear? Need Maduro to come out to you and explain you?
    MUD did an incredible job that took us closer to victory but their road as AN ended officially today with the ANC installed.
    Currently we are left with no choice other than an armed struggle, and we need to prepare accordingly.
    I believe many are in denial/self delusion because the reality looking forward is grim so they pretend is business as usual. it is not, it is not 2005 or 2015 anymore !
    We have to have the courage to embrace this newfound reality and get ready, united to fight and defeat this tyranny.

    • “Hellooooo !!! We are under a ** MILITARY DICTATORSHIP **
      Why is yet not clear? Need Maduro to come out to you and explain you?”
      He already did!!! We are going to get by force what we did not get through voting. Is that not clear enough???

        • “The US is willing to help us in everything they can all we have to do is ask.”

          We just had this conversation a few days ago, yes? And, no, the US is not. Sorry to say, but that is magical thinking.

          • Gringo, I have watched the latest stament from people working closely with Trump in the WH and they are considering ALL the alternatives including intervention.
            The State Department has made similar statements.
            At this point they are giving the Venezuelan Crisis the same concern and attention than Syria and North Korea.

            The fact that you are opposing a foreign intervention by the US it won’t make it go away.

            Do you work for the State Department, Defense, WH or CIA ?

          • TV, if they’re not willing to recognize a parallel government, they’re not willing to put boots on the ground. Trump has his own fires to deal with here at home presently, including a Congress starting to turn on him.

          • There are lots of things the US can still do w/o involving troops on the ground and turning this into a bigger shooting gallery than it already is.

            Trump and team have already looked at a naval blockade as a last measure before even thinking about troops. That would effectively be a declaration of war, but, they are going to wait till the ICC panels the topic.

            Shutting off the US market to VZ oil is the easiest thing to do and has the biggest up front impact.

            Next is telling international banks that they will be subject to additional penalties if they choose to work with VZ dictators. Intl banks can pretend to be neutral, but, they know where their customers are.

            NOTE: Chinese banks can buffer this, but, they end up with holding contracts/loans that are worthless if the ICC renders a verdict that leaves them holding an empty bag.

            The next step is going after the shipping companies. A few strategic visits from the merchant marines, the US Coast Guard, and such could make it very painful.

            Then go after more of the shipping corporations and their holdings.

            Start silent investigations of major suppliers that deal under the table with Maduro and company… Targeted raids at some of those companies by the SEC would be interesting to see.

            Is all of this legal? Sure… enforce the laws on the books. Do this first.

            But avoid a silly Iran-Contra type situation. Arming people who will just have to hand over the guns to Maduro would be counter productive.

  4. My advice to MUD before is too late:
    Retreat to a safe place and lets start planning, leading a new well organized and united armed struggle.
    If not let the Resistance to take the lead and move out of the way.
    We need now International assistance and that is where the negotiations and talks need to happen.
    Ignore Maduro, CNE, TSJ, ANC, Padrino, etc eternal waste of time.

    Lets move to the next phase !!!

  5. you are also forgetting that before the anc the elections were already scheduled for june. So after 4 months of protests, over 100 dead, thousands of wounded and detained and an ANC we get… to validate the same CNE everyone in the world considers a sham in a regional election scheduled for the end of the year(if it even happens) and take maduro down from dictator to “democrat” again.

    Of course people would be angry with these results, we are a lot worse off than when we started, we gave them a “get out of jail” card that lasts a year, the same regionals, except much later, validate the cne and spit on the victims of repression as we are getting(or not, due to the ANC) regionals which we would have gotten anyway.

    This is the worst move to pull, I concur with kike, I mean, heck, if he wanted to announce he was going to the regionals he should have at least gotten a consensus, and declared as a group the reason why, instead of diverting from the smartmatic affair right away, breaking the coalition and angering your base.

    • Absolutely right. As Pastrana said, declaring to go to Regionals, especially with this timing, is to validate the crooked CNE, and even the illegitimate ANC, as well as to probably commit political suicide with stolen elections–apparently, Venezuela DESERVES its current calamity, judging from the Oppo’s AD, plus reportedly added MAS/Avanzada Progresista, and who knows who else of the lemming OPPO parties will join the mad dash to oblivion over the rigged electoral cliff.

  6. Thank you for this post. I find it worrisome when the MUF demonstrates behavior not befitting the leadership required to run a country. At least the bastard psuv is cohesive. Dammit

    • This is why many, including myself have been asking the MUD to organize better around a chosen leader to act faster and consistently, this approach of resolving everything by committee can break them apart and is inadequate for the rapidly changing situation. Every boat has ONE captain. Every Army has ONE general, every Kingdom has ONE King. And this is WAR.

  7. I’m really pissed. The government says “ok motherfuckers you want an election, come and get it and we’ll show you who’s in charge.” Pardon my language.

    • Maybe President Trump should live up to all the slander about him … and tweet “Annexation of Venezuela a possibility.” The proverbial would keep the fan busy for a loooong time!

      • The fan base of Trump is not in favor of adding 25+ million desperately poor people. The non-English speaking brown skins part wont help, either.

        But, you know this.

        • More like 400,000 more corrupt politicians, cops, and uncontrolled military thugs. Nobody gives a hoot about the color of their skin. At least Trump doesn’t, but, many of his opponents want to make it a racial issue no matter what.

          We have our share already. Its called Detroit/Chicago/Baltimore/New York/…etc.

          The local law enforcement and military are not on the scale of corruption as in other countries, but, its not all that far behind.

  8. Maria Corina shouldn’t be chastised in the same breath as HRA. Ramos Allup had to be called out, “disunity” be damned. Holding her tongue till they could formulate a group position is useless when HRA has already laid out his plans.

    There can be no more elections presided by this CNE, with the complicity of this TSJ, and with the overlordship of the ANC.

    You speak of “losing the few safe spaces we have left”. What good have those been?

  9. There is only one choice. Death, destruction, and an economic waiting game.

    Death of another 1,000 heros, and death of the dictatorship. It will be written.

    With or without a coup, the bastard july 30 “vote”, or a 24/7 salsa marathon by Mad-urine himself, it all comes down to dollars. There are simply not enough to keep this Military and the dictatorship from collapsing. What is soon, of course can be debated.

    I understand, there is drug money, and corruption that nets a pretty penny, but this is chump change for a nation the size of VZ.

    We are at a point where world opinion is at rock bottom. Where the ability to borrow is nil. Where selling assets are risky and only the most corrupt will consider. Benefactor China and Russia who want dearly to influence the outcome, are deferring. But even if they go all in, they know that any future deals will be defaulted due to the proven sham elections.

    Future bond debts are looming, and if paid, only buys more months, not years.

    If there is a coup, and the military takes over, it will be tragic, but only a transition to something else, as it will solve nothing, unless the generals are true patriots of the nation.

    The population, who were given “something for nothing” these last 15 years are revolting. No surprise. Governments can give, but rarely can they take. Hyper-inflation is occurring. 9,000 BsF last week, 20,000 today, 50,000 Bsf next year, 400,000 Bsf in 2.

    Is that to be even believed? What this means is that the Bolivar becomes a hot potato.

    No-one of a sane mind would keep one for even a day – even the chavistas. Everyone will convert them to something, anything.. The most basic available item today on the shelves in a market, will vanish, as everyone will convert the depreciating paycheck at once. The economy will naturally convert to a barter system. Chaos, and discontent, and revolt, and bloodshed, and finally change will happen

    There is no country in the history of the world, that has fallen so fast economically. The population will not accept having the world largest oil reserves, and live clap bag to clap bag.

    If VZ was some banana republic that had been poor for generations, with little government support, then a cuban solution is a legitimate outcome. After all, the poor are uneducated, and can be manipulated.

    But VZ is far from poor, and has democratic traditions. I do not buy for a second, that Cuba or the Military will rule the roost much longer

    • We can’t wait for the regime to collapse. it could be years even decades.
      What we have to do is take control of our destiny and fight for what we want.
      Burring our heads in the sand and pretend there are Democratic spaces to take under this Dictatorship is delusional.
      MUD did what they could but is time now to move on.
      Good news is that we are getting closer now, lets not give up

  10. Unity without a moral or ethical compass, is like not having unity at all. I can’t care less about that unity. Did you guys see the disfigured faces of the people shot by snipers in the Andes this passed Sunday? Snipers that didn’t bother to hide, or shot civilians who weren’t aware they were being targeted? Did anybody here saw that? Are we considering to get into a electoral campaign with these monsters? Are we going to abandon almost three months of popular momentum, that has activated international opinion for an electoral sham, again?

  11. Those running the regime are incompetent but the MUD are not far behind. What a shameful display of ineptitude and self sabotage. Ledezma in his latest video message refers to the divisions in the MUD and he harshly calls them out , now I get what he was getting at. Here’s the video for those interested:

    • Gringo I have news for you. Venezuela long ago is a DICTATORSHIP.
      MUD-AN have no power if they are not backed by those that can enforce the rules (Armed Forces).
      All Ledezma said was a bunch of BS too !!
      AN can schedule all the election they want and name the new CNE, new TSJ but what is fuck*ng point?
      Will Maduro approve ? LOL
      Seriously guys, !!!! Is this happening?

      • The regime is to be given credit. Their realpolitik is money + army = dictating. They have “a brain” or brains that seemingly keep them one step ahead of the opposition, largely by smokescreen. The dictatorship probably began, officially, with Chavez’s attempted coup. I do not believe that Caldera willingly released him. I think it was pressure from within, and that had started a couple of decades before that, with the nationalization of oil. I still remember Aristides Calvani, Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, describing foreign oil interests as a Trojan Horse. How would someone begin to try to say, “The Trojan Horse is communism, and you are opening the doors of the city to it?” At that time, OPEC believed that oil is a depletable natural resource being stolen by foreigners, and the foreigners believed OPEC was cartel set up to rig prices. One could argue that South America is traditionally a dictatorship-oriented society. But yes, I’m well aware that it is a dictatorship in Venezuela now.

        • Caldera was a closeted Leftist, born with a silver spoon in his mouth. UCV Commie student leaders actually met at times at his home I believe in upper Altamira, named “Punto Fijo”. Chavez was reputedly a God-child of Caldera, since HCF’s parents were Copeyano activists.

  12. A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy. Let a man be one thing or the other, and we then know how to meet him.
    We know Allup is corrupt and we also know the regime mocks democracy. So a discussion about whether or not we enter election is arbitrary.
    We do need to do is fight smarter. Our opponents are out smarting us and it is about time we stop playing by the book.

    • Believing the “fight for right rules” is the noble way forward.,,,, and the naive way. Psuv has no morals so the rules of engagement are meaningless.

  13. To be honest i was holding on seeing how things was developing, all looked to be going right on track, the international community with an eye in Venezuela, people in the streets putting pressure, politicians looking like they were all on the same page, it was looking like we was entering the last part of the movie and in the middle of the whole world calling the ANC a fraud, smartatic snitching and the CNE being condemned as just an arm of the dictatorship, boom Ramos Allup and the same suspects announce that they going to the regionals and fuck who dont like it, and the same speeches of you being viseral, your mind is clouded with emotions. we know what is good to you, you will see. this elections will be the one, believe it, had faith, etc, this is not a coincidence everytime MUD just need a few punches to get the knockout. everytime, they take a dive, down for the count with a smirk on their faces, while the colective sound of jaws hitting the floor echoes thru Venezuela. i am not risking my neck or going with the flow like a fucking sheep to keep continuing a farce, i am gonna do everything even the inhumane this months to not only leave the country but take my mother with me by november, and i will see with a smile on my face how MUD gets played by the regimen and the ANC destroys the precious jarron chino while they desperatly call the people to go back to the streets, i wont even read the news anymore my mind is on getting the fuck out of this curse country.

  14. The fact that the main opposition party in Venezuela trusts the CNE to run a vote demonstrates that the constitutional assembly vote was fair. Progressives see the same thing happening in venezuela as happened in Chile, any country attempting an alternative is stopped and has “regime change”. There is a growing groundswell of opposition against Trump’s sanctions and “Regime Change” agenda among progressives in the US.

    • No JudiLynn, it doesn’t. The CNE merely demonstrated for all the world to see that without opposition and international monitors, they’re nothing but a tool to be used by the dictator. They wear the knee pads, much like the ones you favor.

    • They don’t trust the CNE, they just believe that the oppo shouldn’t give the dictatorship any space. You have to understand that the Constituyente election was VERY different to any election done in the past in Venezuela, whereas if the past elections seemed somewaht crooked, this one was totally fraudulent.

      And please, don’t compare Maduro to Allende. Inform yourself.

    • Wow, JudyLynn is back! Hey, try actually reading the article and then all of the comments to know what is going on.

      Nevertheless, what is going on is a huge debate within the Venezuelan opposition. There is no debate that the Constituyente was a complete fraud. There is no debate that CNE is a complete fraud. There is a debate whether or not Henry Ramos Allup is a government infiltrator and is using this to divert attention away from election fraud. There is a debate that hey, maybe we should participate in these elections so we do not repeat 2005. Yes CNE cannot be trusted, but we could at least have our own observers at every polling place. There is a debate that we could get royally fucked by going to elections because we know how tramposo this regime is. There is a debate that there is no negotiation and we have reached the point of no return. There are many debates going on and that is the soap opera of Venezulan politics.

      To treat the Venezulan opposition like some monolithic entity and just because Henry Ramos Allup is ranting about this he speaks for the entire political opposition.

      It also says nothing of the Venezuelan Resistance movement who are completely disillusioned by the soap opera of Venezuelan politics and just want to end this nightmare.

      If progressive news outlets are trying to spin this as that “The Venezuelan opposition now supports CNE by participating in the Governers elections” they are clearly showing their bias. This quite obviously is a talking point copied and pasted from Telesur. This is something you read on the ticker as you are watching that bullshit.

      A good journalist would try to show the complexity of the issue and how so many interests are being pulled in so many directions and that this is really dynamic. A propagandist will write bullshit like: “The fact that the main opposition party in Venezuela trusts the CNE to run a vote demonstrates that the constitutional assembly vote was fair.” This is a completely misleading statement that either exposes ignorance of the real situation or is outright repeating the talking points of partisan political spin.

      For progressives, check out the Young Turks. Cenk and Ana at least will be on the right side of history–not democracy now nor real news network

      Cenk: “This is not socialism. Ironically, this is fascism.”

      • Judilynn sure can pull some chains in the blog commentariat. You know the expression about not trying to teach a pig to read – it just wastes your time and annoys the pig

  15. I know logic is not the strong suit of the dictatorship, but I see only 2 outcomes of the new CA. Either they dissolve the AN, in which Allup and others like him are then powerless, and at home talking to the mirror. Or, they will pick off the MUD dissenters by jailing them, leaving the likes of Allup and his dreamers to “rule” a hollowed, neutered, legislative parliament (or whatever it is called-sorry). But for the life of me, I can not grasp what that brings the dictatorship. Maybe a few more months of tyranny, before the remaining MUD clowns realize that that dream was a wet-dream, and then the CA will simply close the door for good.

    I admit I know little of VZ politics, but it seems hard to believe that Allup and the other dreamers would continue to have the full support of their constituents.

    Would you guys/gals comment on any knowledge of dissent WITHIN each major party?

    • What’s coming are arrests and imprisonment of the strongest opposition leaders on charges of treason, the barring of the next tier of opposition leaders from running for office, and threats of imprisonment to the remainder if they get out of line. What’s coming is a truth commission. What’s coming are price controls. What’s coming is another exodus of the productive sector of the society and poverty, dependence, and “paz” for those who remain.

      • And,that’s just part of it. What’s also coming is the end of: individual freedoms; what’s left of free speech, including in the internet; and individual property rights; plus::neighbor sapeando neighbor; a quantum leap in political prisoners; another quantum leap in hunger/consumer goods scarcity/impossible-to-pay consumer prices; and increases in crime and mortality of all kinds.

  16. Democracy, which the MUD represents, is messy. Democracy is hard, dictatorship is easy. I hope they eventually speak with one voice but they should be forgiven for having differing opinions.

  17. J Scott, I really do wish it was simply an issue of ‘messy democracy’ but the MUDdled ones really seem lost in the wilderness.

  18. The problem with the MUD is that they’re, for the most part, socialists and are more worried about “what’s in it for me” than what’s best for the country. The chavistas have always believed that as it appeared the opposition was about to gain power, their ranks would suddenly fracture as they jockeyed for position and power.

    I believe that has been demonstrated numerous times in the past and is evident today. It’s also a demonstration of how a unified 20% can manage to run rings around a non-unified 80%.

  19. This week was marked by great JOY, and great TRAGEDY–Joy, that FT lost 2 of his most cherished bets: the ANC 2-burger bet to Raul, and the CNE fraud crisp new $100 bill bet, assumedly to Smartmatic’s Mugica; Tragedy, that Venezuelan democracy died at the hands of a small minority, which will soon attempt to bury the vestiges of freedom of the large majority….

  20. The lack of unity within the MUD IS Chavismo’s biggest achievement BY FAR!!!! It Will prevent any significant steps forward towards a reestablished democracy in the near future and people will by the thousands because of it!!!! Fuck those MUD politicians that (as chavistas) are only in it for their own gain! MMG’S q son!!!

  21. I am not voting. Screw them. The plesbicito was worthless, protests were worthless just a sham to get some sea ts which are meaningless in real terms for anyone except the politicians and their motherduckig sifrino ass crook families .

    I am 100% sure now, they are not just inept, they are collaborators

    Allup se queria doblar pata no partirse, fino, que vaya a votar por elumaldito contorsionista la que lo parió.

  22. The MUD achieved a major victory in winning the super majority in the “real” assembly, despite having that super majority stolen from them.

    Everything since then has been illegal and unconstitutional acts against them.

    I think some of you guys are a little too hard on them. I found the initial FORMATION of MUD to be pretty damn inspiring, and still see it as the only way out.

    • The problem with that is VZ is now ruled by 20% of the population that insists on communism. This is the next step on the path once you have 2 competing socialist ideologies.

      All we can do is step back and watch and wait. There is precious little we can do from the outside.

      If there were really enough VZ patriots, then the military would not be able to uphold the dictatorship. But what we see now is simply pure communism at its finest. Now only the connected leaders have a future and those in on the take are enjoying “trickle down communism”. This is not even economics… its suicide.

      People can hate capitalism all they want, but, this is what communism brings. The further you move away from a free market…

  23. What is infuriating the people is not only that they want to go to the elections, but the reasons they claim and the rest of the strategy:

    – They claim they’ll go to the elections to “keep the spaces”, which makes them sound only interested in a contract to build a meager sidewalk as a consolation prize.

    – They’re trying to snuff out the streets ONCE AGAIN, dismissing and blaming everything bad on those who protest.


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