|Sending the message that votes are unnecessary|
The shame has continued unabated. Even my personal one. I have almost forced my S.O., a sickly public worker, to go an sign the Maduro farce in a way to be seen by his co-workers, to make sure he does not raise any suspicion at work, to make sure he does not compromise his job, to make sure he does not risk his health insurance. We are not proud but we live in a dictatorship. I can afford not to sign, he cannot because my means do not allow me to support him financially 100%, the more so that the bolivarian revolution is homophobic and contrary to many other LatAm countries has no provision for same sex couples so I cannot put him on my insurance, my retirement, my inheritance, etc. In many other countries there are such possibilities now, but bolivarian Venezuela is probably the most backward country now in South America. Then again homophobia is but one of the many tools of subjection available to fascism.
But my personal shame made me digress.
The fact of the matter is that the 10 million + signatures the regime plans to present today in Panama are a sham at many levels. Outside of Venezuela it is quite something to see that so many people do not realize it. I was watching this morning CNN, the Hong Kong edition. They were surprised that Maduro's regime had taken the pain to raise so many signatures for 7 human rights violators (that much wisdom from the US they did not question) but apparently nobody seems to have inquired much about how those signatures were raised.
Inside Venezuela we know better. We do not need to be private eyes to know that. The regime itself has published images of school children signing... That is enough to invalidate the process, amen of all of us knowing someone who had been forced to sign, starting with yours truly confession above, wrenching by this historical blog standards. The charade is so widespread that people by themselves wonder how come if 10 million people indeed signed the streets were so empty yesterday to celebrate the end of the drive and the cursing of Obama.
But the explanation is on the picture above, where the head of the electoral board CNE, Tibisay Lucena, out of all shame, publicly participated in a political act in support of the government, throwing away publicly any pretense of being an impartial umpire. The act was deliberate. The excuse was the presentation of the "certification" of the signatures against Obama, and it included even the signatures collected in Cuba. We have known of course for years that Lucena had tried her best to favor the electoral ambitions of the regime. But under Chavez at least there was enough of a vote capital to make beleive that he won the elections. But under Maduro we know that this is not the case anymore, that outright cheating is now required to barely make it past the post. Need I remind you the indecently speedy way that the CNE proclaimed Maduro's "victory" in 2013 when paper ballots were still warm from the touch of voters? Things have not improved for Maduro since May 2013.
That signature collection had multiple objectives. One was to distract the country from the woes of food and medicine shortage. My guess is that any "positive" effect will be very limited in time, and may already be fading. After all Maduro himself seems to stop milking the thing by claiming that he won and turning the page with the US at a breakneck speed considering that a few days ago he was willing to pick up a rifle and land on an US beach.
Another objective was to rally the bases and the electoral machinery, to put them back in working order, to see if they were in any shape or form to bring in the vote. Too early to tell but I have a feel that if they spent so much time in school yards blackmailing parents, or in public offices blackmailing public servants, or in grocery store food lines exchanging signatures for frozen chickens it is because the door to door signature collection did not work out that well.
But the main objective may have become, in the end, the message in the picture above. Elections do not matter after, all. There is no need to vote. There is no need to respect the vote. When a signature drive is so "successful" there is no need to debate the point, to vote on it, to amend it to seek the largest possible consensus. It is the voice of the people, and the CNE just needs to "certify" the signatures.
To nail the point, not only the presence of Tibisay at the political event was necessary, but also the speed at which she certified the signatures. Let's not even discuss how could she certify school children signatures which are by definition not valid since they are under voting age. What is remarkable is that in 2004 for the signature drive for the Recall Election on Chavez the CNE put all sorts of blocks for signature collection, supervising itself the collection- Then it took weeks to validate a couple of million signatures (the Florida debacle of Gore versus Bush was a child's game). But this time around the CNE validated in a few days more than 10 million signatures collected in a much messier situation, without any due supervision from the CNE, .
What Tibisay Lucena did yesterday was to kill the purpose of the organization she presides, the CNE. What she did yesterday is to put mob rule above elected democracy. Fascism, if you will. Even communism pretends to have elections. At least it has the formality.