The Replacement Killers

The romance between the Revolution and Smartmatic is over, but the substitute bride is here. Meet Ex-Clé, the shady corporation that will run our next elections.

Hey! The communist dictatorship is hosting regional elections on October 15th, and everyone’s invited. Party on, Wayne!

Except, communist dictatorships don’t hold elections. After exhausting every dirty trick in the book, Maduro finally crossed the Rubicon on July 30th, when his sock-puppet of an elections chief, Tibisay Lucena, straight-up fabricated the turnout numbers for the Constituent Assembly election.

Let me say that again: they made up the numbers. They did it so blatantly, in fact, that Smartmatic — their always-eager-to-please technology contractor — burned the government, going public to make it clear that they had nothing to do with the fudged numbers.

Predictably, Maduro accused them of lying and that was the end of Smartmatic in Venezuela.

The CNE wasted no time finding a replacement, which is Ex-Clé. At first glance, the firm doesn’t look like a totally outlandish replacement. It seems to have an established presence producing and selling biometric and surveillance solutions for governments, after all.

However, dig deeper into their boring and vague website and you realize their flagship product is the infamous fingerprint scanner we criollos know as captahuellas. I have no idea on how making Orwellian, #TropicalMierda versions of TouchID qualifies these undesirables to run Venezuela’s voting machines, but the government is trusting them with elections, which are their most important source of international legitimacy, and one of their primary survival mechanisms.

Just so you know, Ex-Clé is legally barred from transacting with the Venezuelan state because they forgot to keep their records updated.

My tinfoil hat theory? Regime connected officials set up this company and have been feeding in contracts over the years, prepping for the inevitable. Now its time has come.

Just so you know, Ex-Clé is legally barred from transacting with the Venezuelan state because they forgot to keep their records updated in the National Suppliers Registry. Don’t be surprised if Jorge makes a call, a bit is flipped in a government database somewhere, and all of a sudden they’re good to go.

We’re mere weeks away from the next pretend-election. The public has no idea how the system will work, and let me remind you that triple-congruence — the system where you could check paper audits against automated results — was a guarantee introduced by Smartmatic when the government had total support. Without such a guarantee, the CNE could make up the results again only this time, nobody will be able to prove it.

So MUD, forgive me if I don’t give in to all the regionales hype you’re forcing down our throats. I’ve seen this movie before and know how it ends. Heck, Tibi probably knows exactly how.