Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The 2012 Prez results: the substance of the raw numbers

This is, I hope, the one before last of this series. After having looked at some of the details that allow us to understand the enormity of what happened last October 7, we are, I hope, more prepared to consider the bigger picture. I know, it is kind of taking things in reverse order, but sometimes it pays to look at details from the periphery before tacking the big problem. I did it all the time when I used to be a researcher.


The main result

True, if Venezuela were a democracy the result would have been a devastating blow for the opposition after 14 years of rule by the same party.  But this is not a democracy, it has not been since 2007, and became a dictatorship officially in 2010.

The official tally this morning is STILL the same one as last Thursday with 98,1% of the votes counted. Embassies were we know Capriles got 61K votes are not included. Of course they are not because if we included them Chavez could drop just below 55% and that is not acceptable........ See, in an autocracy all that matters are perceptions.

Thus we must say that with less than 55% the autocrat is not quite pleased  Oh sure! He beams, when he appears in public. But Chavez knows that he rules a plebiscite system and that such a system needs, say, 60% of the vote anytime the head honcho is on the ballot.  A plebiscite is not a referendum: a referendum asks a question, a plebiscite merely seeks a ratification. Thus elections are conceived as a plebiscite over the ruler and to justify such an authoritarian rule it is essential to crush the opposition, each and every time. That is why any score less than 60% shows a weakening of the regime. By all means  falling from 62,84% to what should say 54, XX% can only be read negatively.

The first successful plebiscite system in history, successful in that it lasted for 18 years with real accomplishments, is the Second Empire of France  from 1852 to 1870. Naively in 2005 I wrote a comparison between Napoleon III and Chavez, thinking that maybe it was as far as Chavez would go. We know better today and we also thus know that 54,XX% is not going to stop Chavez. Actually it will strengthen his resolve not to be challenged ever again by destroying inside Venezuela what needs to be destroyed. But that is for another post.

The rough number

As it has become clear form other posts of this series, that 8 million plus is not as mighty as one may think. True, it is 10% more votes than in 2006 but that is around voters growth over 6 years. The opposition grew 50%, in spite of all the hurdles. That detail has not escaped the autocrat.

Another thing that has not escaped the autocrat is that in 2006 he did not need to buy his victory. This time around, direct vote purchase can be counted in the 100 of thousand. This in addition to propaganda as never before, hysterical social programs that cannot be sustained and a media stranglehold that he did not benefit from in 2006. Let's not forget that in 2006 there was still one nationwide critical open TV broadcast station that covered ALL of the country (redundancy intended).  Today there is only ONE station which is critical of Chavez and whose open broadcast covers only Caracas and Valencia. For at least a third of the country's population there is no critical commenting on Chavez in the air waves, only state propaganda. The other two thirds of the country  can have limited access to criticism, preferably if they are willing to pay for cable TV.

Chavez's victory is not one of strength, but one of fear. The kind of imposed electoral victory that is found only in dictatorships.

13 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Good post. I believe that's the correct interpretation of the numbers.

    Regarding the Embassy votes, the opposition should make a serious effort to pressure the CNE to include them in the final tally. The CNE is trying to basically make them irrelevant so next time people don't even bother to vote.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. The CNE made overseas votes irrelevant when they stated that those votes could only be counted after they issued the first "irreversible bulletin"..........

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    3. And that's another thing they should oppose.

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  3. I wouldn't go as far as to say that Venezuela isn't a democracy, for it has the institutions of any democracy: elections, a legislative chamber, an elected executive, and finally the trappings of a judiciary. Still, Venezuela is far from a liberal and free democracy. Rather, it is an illiberal democracy that has limited the freedom of its citizens and used coercion to silence its opponents. One can only hope that the Venezuelan people wake up from their slumber and elect a new set of leaders who will restore the country to its rightful place in the world.

    Also, on a side note, you've inspired me to write a piece about Latin America on my next blog post.

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  4. "Chavez's victory is not one of strength, but one of fear. The kind of imposed electoral victory that is found only in dictatorships."

    This very true statement seems to bother many in the opposition at this point when upon hearing such statements cry:

    exagerado, alarmista , fuera de foco ..... casi apatrida !

    I have even heard that we should be careful about looking like sore losers! Disgusting self hatred if you ask me.

    firepigette

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  5. thank you for this "Chavez's victory is not one of strength, but one of fear. The kind of imposed electoral victory that is found only in dictatorships."
    when you have a dictator, you have to call it what it is. what you find a lot is people willing to do it only when they are from opposite political tendencies. But when they are from the same side, then they start throwing all kinds of technicalities, pseudo names, and even excuses.
    I am glad you are over the blues of post elections, and that you decided to stay, your post, while always good, have been exceptionally so since then. Orlando

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    1. Orlando

      I am not back, I did write that I will keep up until December. My blogger future will be decided over the holidays.

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  6. There is a fundamental flaw in this interpretation, and it is to assume the numbers are real...One needs to look beyond the numbers here and understand the political dynamics. Things are not what they seem...

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    1. I am sorry, but your comment does not mean much.

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    2. I think his comment is very interesting, did you read his blog?


      firepigette

      ps I would be interested in hearing your rebuttal if you think he makes no sense.

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  7. Looks like they finally updated the numbers with embassy info (took them long enough) but the percentages are still the same, they don't seem to be counting the null votes when doing the % total...is that how they usually do it? am I the one doing the math wrong or like you said they will do the math as they please as long as it looks better for the show?

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