Photo: Luis Carlos Díaz
Once again, without prior notice, the CNE changed our voting station and we had to vote within walls decorated with drawings of el finado’s face, several versions of his crooked eyes and Fidel’s portrait, in a so-called camp of pioneers. Upon watching me enter, the idiot who acted as secretary of my table said “Una escuálida más,” a violation of my human rights, but if I could practice restraint with the space imposed by the CNE, I could do it with him as well. There were no pictures of the candidates in the ballot, only the logos of the political parties and the candidates’ names in small letters. At 4:00 p.m., I was the fourth person to sign the records.
These elections were marked by defeat at too many levels: the imposition of the ANC’s election, gubernatorial elections, the induction of the winners before the ANC, the results in Bolívar state being tampered with and the ouster of Zulia’s legitimately elected governor. They were also marked by imprisoned mayors and those who were forced to flee the country, by the administrative disqualification of so many politicians with unresolved proceedings, as well as by notable mistakes committed by the opposition’s leadership and the expectations they created without preparing any answers for potential failures. A disenchanted electorate, consumed by the anguish of shortages, hyperinflation, the collapse of public services, sealed the ruinous path of institutional decay, of an illegal CNE that decided, with the greatest brazenness possible, to act as the Administration’s instrument once again.
Attacking your peer
Voting or not voting wasn’t a dilemma. It was, instead, a reason for digital confrontations that included discreditations and insults among the same victims of the failed State, the consequence of infamous decisions. Abstention was sold as the best way to demonstrate our dissatisfaction with institutions, more than justified with what I described above. For others, it was an act of surrender that only eased the way for the regime to violate our electoral rights. In my mind, abstention did nothing to undermine power, it only gave them stability, wrapped with the ribbon of the certainty that I couldn’t do anything to change it.
The day’s barbarities
Plan República didn’t prevent the attacks from chavista armed groups, the pressure of red spots or the campaign they carried out near voting stations, but they did prohibit voters from exercising their rights if their arms, legs or feet were uncovered. Additionally, Plan República prevented journalists from accessing electoral centers, some were stripped of their phones and forced to erase pictures, while others were even detained. When you have the chance, check Venezuelan Electoral Observatory’s work (@OEVenezolano on Twitter). At the end of the process, there were abundant complaints for voting stations that hadn’t closed despite long hours without voters.
Most notably, PDVSA and Oil Ministry employees were forced to report their vote on a website.
Motta committed a crime
Electrical Energy Minister Luis Motta Domínguez decided to keep his voting ticket even though he was being recorded.
It’s an electoral crime because the ticket is a public document, necessary for auditing, and the fact that it’s not in the box only guarantees numeric inconsistency between registered votes and their physical records.
Journalist Eugenio Martínez (@puzkas on Twitter) said that holding on to the ticket “is the way to guarantee that everyone who registers for the carnet de la patria voted for the PSUV,” so each voter leaves the carnet, goes to vote, takes the ticket and the following voters keep that ticket and do the same with their own. Regardless of whether this is the “method”, the CNE has to investigate minister Motta’s case and set a stance regarding the coaction imposed by red spots.
Regime candidate Erika Farías let slip a tweet stating that Nicolás “spoke of rewarding those who vote through the carnet de la patria.” She erased it, but didn’t consider the magic of screenshots.
Banned from running?
Nicolás voted at the same hour as me yesterday and offered statements to consolidate his tyranny, after attacking Henry Ramos Allup (“Alú” in his version) and claiming that the U.S. already picked another presidential candidate, he said that “Even though all polls show AD as the main party of the Venezuelan opposition, very far from PSUV; and the remaining parties, Voluntad Popular, Primero Justicia, have disappeared from the Venezuelan political scene, and now they’re gone for good, because any party that didn’t participate today and instead called for a boicó (sic) on elections, can no longer be allowed to participate, that’s the position that the ANC has adopted constitutionally and legally, and since I am the head of State of a legitimate power. I support them, they’re banned from running again.” The ANC’s decision is neither constitutional nor legal. Diosdado Cabello made his contribution by claiming that all elected mayors must be inducted before the ANC in order to take office.
Journalist Gregoria Díaz (@churuguara) denounced:
#10Dic Un enorme despliegue militar y policial en #MBI de #Aragua para detener al exalcalde y candidato @DelsonGuarate luego que reclamara cierre de centros abiertos sin electores en cola. Se desconoce paradero del candidato expreso político
— Gregoria Díaz (@churuguara) December 11, 2017
“A huge military and police deployment in MBI Aragua to arrest former mayor and candidate Delson Guárate after he demanded that voting stations without voters in line must close. The whereabouts of the candidate and former political prisoner are unknown.” And this happened yesterday, right on Human Rights Day.
The day also marked the 8th anniversary of judge María Afiuni’s arbitrary detention, ordered by Chávez during a cadena and carried out by prosecutor general Luisa Ortega Díaz, even though judge Afiuni merely complied with a resolution of the UN and the Inter American Justice Court and has withstood abuses throughout a trial with liberty restrictions that exceed the top limit of her sentence: seven years.
With 97% of transferred data, CNE authority Sandra Oblitas announced a 47.32% turnout: 9,139,564 voters. With the abstention reported all over the country, many question the consistency of this figure. Omar Prieto took Zulia’s governorship with 57.3% and except for San Cristóbal, all the results reported so far show PSUV taking every mayorship, with the opposition losing historic bastions.
Chavismo celebrates its “victory”. The carnet de la patria was instrumental, because the government has made the instrument necessary for access to any social benefits. Coercion doesn’t guarantee support or loyalty, it’s merely a testament to despair and misery, key variables for this “victory,” hunger’s victory.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.