Friday, August 20, 2004

Time to take stock
Before we go crazy speculating on electoral fraud in Venezuela

These are tumultuous day. All sorts of charges and counter charges are been thrown back and forth, not to mention all the people that are trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.

Let's try to summarize some.

-There is now clear evidence that something went wrong, and abundant indirect evidence.

-No matter what people say, all these evidences put together cannot certify that one side won. THE ONLY WAY TO DO SO would be a manual ballot counting of boxes that can be certified as not having been tampered with.

-Considering that the ballot boxes have been kept by the Army alone, many of whose commanding officers have seen their impartiality contested now for years, out of sight from international observers and the opposition observers alike, for ALREADY 4 FULL 24 hours period, it is difficult to believe that most are still in a virginal form as to the safety seals preservation. They might, but an urgent certification is needed and they must be put in places where all political parties can watch over them night and day.

-The Electoral Board is stalling all the way through and through. Any audit concession is more difficult than pulling a tooth from an international observer. One side says all is fine and the other one says no and they cannot even meet in a single room to write down their disagreement. Which questions the existence of the CNE. It would seem that it did suffer an internal coup d'etat since now Rodriguez does as he pleases while even Carrasquero and Battaglini have not been seen since Monday.

In other words we need to know several thing quick:

-The opposition must present by this week end a full statistical analysis clearly demonstrating that the coincidences found for the SI and the NO are way off any expected normal statistical distribution of results. If this does not happen then there is nothing else that the Coordinadora Democratica can do as the other evidences only consolidate this one and decisive evidence. In fact it is my opinion that if the statistical evidence is clear enough then there is no need to count paper ballots: the election must be repeated with manual voting. There is of course a big IF.

-If the opposition fails to present statistical evidence good enough, then it shoudl shut up and wait for a real proof to come some day. Meanwhile all efforts should be directed at contesting the electoral system (for which they can get a lot of international help). This is extremely crucial as the battle now is: WILL WE EVER BE ABLE TO HAVE CLEAN ELECTIONS UNDER CHAVEZ?

This is no idle talk as the evidence presented is already good enough to establish that the system helped chavismo fatten its margin of victory, from the voting system that created such a chaos on Sunday 15, to the sick secrecy that surrounds all the doings of the CNE. Regional elections are coming soon and if the opposition cannot ensure that my vote will be counted adequately they can forget about me standing in line 5 hours under the sun to have my ballot stolen, as I am every day getting closer from becoming convinced it was done.

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