This post was retracted, as it appears to be wrong. It’s superceded by this post, written the following day.
Going into this weekend, I think many of us took it for granted the government would try to pick off a few governorships on the margin. Like they’d lose 18 out of 23 and claim they’d only lost 15. I don’t think many of us expected this, a straight-up, güevoafuera grab for 17 governorships, including in deep-blue urban states like Miranda where it just strains all credulity to think the government could win. CNE claims that, nationwide, the government scored 54% of the popular vote — despite polling consistently showing them trailing the opposition by 2-to-1 margins, which is what you’d expect, given the economic cataclysm the government has presided over.
The ball now goes to the international community. In this opinion climate, it’s not possible to steal an election subtly. You’re not close enough to do it elegantly. You have to just straight-up steal it, announcing entirely made-up results. They went there. It’ll be relatively straightforward to show that conclusively —a fraud this blatant leaves plenty of evidence, and MUD’s job is now to collect it, document it and present it. It’s a dreary job, but it’s important to do it diligently. The ball now goes to the international community. A new round of U.S. sanctions should come relatively quickly, and can be expected to be substantially harsher than the first. Oh, and the first formal E.U. meeting to consider sanctions on Venezuela is scheduled for…tomorrow. Venezuela long ago proved it’s entirely possible to be shocked by a development that you don’t find in any way surprising. Tonight is one of those nights.