Tuesday, April 20, 2010

At a CNE/TSJ near you soon

The WaPo reports today that the last two parties in Iran that advocated political change have been banned (though there is apparently a possible judicial appeal, we ain't holding our breath).  In the second paragraph of the article you may read:  .... prevents foes of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from gaining power through elections. 

Needless to say that I am tempted to start a poll as to when will the first Venezuelan political party be banned.  You might remember that Iran has a long tradition of banning already all sorts of candidates on the flimsiest excuse, something quickly imitated by chavismo.  And to that add that Chavez is, well, monkey sees monkey does.


  1. Boludo Tejano1:44 PM

    Agreed it could well become a Chavista ploy. He has already done variations of it by banning various oppo candidates for alleged crimes- crimes which wouldn't merit even a 5 Bolivar fine were the banned people Chavistas. Two ways of looking at it. 1) Do it ASAP, so that people have time to become resigned to it, to become accustomed to it. 2) Do it as late as possible in the campaign so that people will not have time to react. The shock of a surprise move. Here he may need to have the new "banned ballots" printed well in advance. I am not sure which move would be more advantageous for Thugo. Rest assured that he will end up choosing the path that will be best for him. While Thugo is a disaster as an executive, he is a master at amassing and maintaining power. Look at his track record. Obviously, I am not talking about electrical power, when I described him as a "master at amassing and maintaining power."

  2. Speaking of amassing... Chavez is also very good at acquiring... mass. Just look at his 1996-98 photos vs today.

  3. Well, they certainly do bring charges quickly against any opposition leader that gains prominence.

    If Iran offers an example worth following, it isn't banning opposition parties but rather simply announcing the ruling party has won. Given the chavistas control all the election machinery, they could do the same. Does the opposition have a plan B in the (likely) event results show a PSUV "victory" in September?

  4. 1979 Boat People1:23 AM

    OPPO's plan B?

    Hummm...Kyrgyzstan anyone?

  5. ConsDemo, maybe Iran followed Venezuela's example there. Do you remember 2004, and the suspicious way that the RR results got announced?

  6. AIO, I actually think Chavez legitimately won in 2004. Never underestimate the stupidity of voters. If a populist demagogue has plenty of largesse to spread among the public, he can win and that was the case in 2004, but not today.

  7. The circumstances of that still disturb me. If we assume that the results were perfectly valid (and never mind all the studies since then, including recent ones, which cast all kinds of aspersions on the computerized results), the method of the announcement was entirely bogus. 5:30 AM, with the celebration beginning long before then (I got woken up an hour before by honking cars), and the announcement coming not from the CNE, but from Hugo himself.

    It felt like an ambush in many ways, and democracy should never be like that. Whatever legitimacy the result had was diminished by the display.

  8. My observation is that Chavez was very much the originator of this 'democracy of convenience' method for a dictator to acquire and retain power, and he may go down in history for this technique which he arrived at largely by trial and error, and which has since been copied by others, notably Iran and Russia. Previously throughout the twentieth century, dictators or would-be dictators, once they had gained power perhaps by democratic means (Hitler, for example) would then move quickly and unashamedly to dismantle the democratic institutions that had elected them. Chavez, due to the particular circumstances he found himself in, could not do this so easily, but he soon realised that this was not necessarily the most wise or beneficial course for him to take anyway. All he needed was a little patience (and that is one quality Chavez does have in abundance). The basic strategy is this; retain the democratic institions as much as possible. They lend you legitimacy and plausibility, both inside and outside of the country. Then, since you have control of all branches of government, including the electoral process itself, it bcomes easy to 'tweak' the situation in WHATEVER way and to whatever level you require; whether to falsify results, ban opposition parties, imprison rivals, shut down opposing media, change the constitution, etc, etc, etc. The point is that the dictator has absolute leeway to do anything that he likes to ensure that the 'democracy' works to keep him in power, whist at the same time maintaining, as far as possible, the critically important facade.
    We have just seen in the last week another of Chavez's 'students' use this method flawlessly (almost) in Sudan. Mugabe, of course, is another who owes so much to Hugo's pioneering work.
    This is "Twentieth Century Dictatorship," and it will turn out to be Hugo Chavez's enduring legacy to the world.

  9. Boludo Tejano4:55 PM

    ConsDemo, Miguel at Devil’s Excrement has a good collection of academic papers on the Recall Referendum of 2004. It is interesting that the papers do not all take the same approach to arrive at a similar conclusion. Then there is Mark Twain on the subject: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
    Read and decide.

  10. Chavez may be the most experienced practitioner of this tactic, but he's not the first and he's not even the first in Venezuela. I have only read sketchy reports but didn't Perez Jimenez steal victory in 1952?


  11. Marzolian: I'm not just talking about stealing elections here; and I'm not talking about tactics, I'm talking about a strategy; as stated it includes all these means of subverting democracy on an ongoing basis, whilst at the same time maintaining a democratic facade. By the way, my last sentence should, of course, have read twenty first century, not twentieth. Sorry.

  12. Thanks, Tejano! I was definitely thinking of Miguel's writings when I wrote that, though I'm not nearly so adept at offering those links as you.

    Martin, I like your comment. My first thought was, if you changed it to "21st" century, I would agree completely! :) On one level, that strategy by Chavez is brilliant. On the other hand, his goal is simply the same as all the other tinpots before him in so many places with different methods: control and power. I point out his cleverness only as a fact, because it certainly is not praiseworthy when applied to that end.

  13. 1979 Boat People1:07 PM

    Hummm...Could Thugo Chavez succeed "as such politician" in a more developed countries for example US/EU/Canada etc? I doubt it.

  14. US YT7:34 PM

    Dear Government,

    Please leave me alone. Don’t tell me how much electricity I can use, make me pay for it and I will figure out my own lifestyle. Or please don’t tell me what or how many cars I can own. And for heaven’s sake, please don’t regulate the amount of water my toilet can flush. Btw, now I have to flush 3 times, so where’s the savings? Or are you eventually going to tell me to eat less so I sh… less and the mini flush will do?

    Just came back from Europe where now the eco-plaque is being introduced to supposedly control “Feinstaub” (fine dust) in the cities. Good luck with that now that volcano whatever it’s name dumped a few billion tons of Feinstaub all over Europe. Whatever they have supposedly saved (measured in micrograms / car / year) is of course now done away with for the next few thousand years.

    Keep on falling for your governments’ BS, my dear tree-huggers.



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