Monday, July 11, 2005

The SUMATE summary

The trial of Sumate has started. It is important to summarize why this trial is a travesty of justice, a political vendetta under any angle that one might look at it. And, even if Sumate had committed an electoral crime, that supposed crime would pale in comparison to all the electoral crimes committed by the Chavez administration since the year 2000.

Now that I have given an early conclusion to this post, I can go into the details. First a brief history of Sumate and then a comparative table of the charges brought against Sumate and the government own electoral misdeeds. The reader will be able to decide on its own which one of the two should sit on the accused bench.

Brief Historical

SUMATE is a civil society organization, an NGO, which started as a group of young professionals seeking to help citizens demand their right to clean and fair elections. Already the Carter Center itself declared the 2000 elections flawed (though it seems to have forgotten its own words of 2000 in August 2004). The nature of the political process in Venezuela where the chavista legal steam roller started crushing any opposition attempt at obtaining redress through the ballot box made Sumate associated with the opposition parties, though some of its services could have been used by both sides.

Sumate was established sometime mid 2002 as the organization to manage the first signature gathering petition to take place. This one was the Consultative Referendum who gathered with a speed that surprised both opposition and government more than the 10% necessary for a consultative referendum as to whether Chavez should resign from office. That initiative which was received by the Electoral Board of Venezuela, CNE, under a rain of tear gas in November 2002, never prospered since by a legal trick it was declared non acceptable. However we shall see that the people who signed that supposedly illegal drive would suffer its consequences anyway.

The success of Sumate then made it the one coordinating the effort for the firmazo, that February 2003 signature drive that collected without any problem the 20% needed to ask for a Recall Election on Chavez. Again, thanks to legal tricks and the complacency of the Carter Center and OAS (and myopia of the opposition leadership) that collection was annulled. And again those who signed would still be punished for that exercise of their civil right to petition.

Once the agreement of June 2003 where signed, Sumate was again called to service to coordinate the December final petition drive to call for a Recall Election. But then things had become more complicated as the government had shown its true undemocratic color as it threatened to make good use of the fact that the names of the people that would sign would be known, made public. For example the Significant Other of this blogger, a public employee in a ministry, and fervent anti Chavez, decided not to sign that petition, with the agreement of this blogger who did sign as less subject to prosecution. Thus the beginning of the rendering of families and friends who many times could not understand why some did or did not sign.

But the Chavez administration came up with even more tricks (in spite of the now infamous "no tricks" of ex-president Carter). A large amount of signatures were declared void on shaky grounds and Sumate again had to show its efficiency by organizing a "repair" process that was successful in spite of now an outright frontal attack from the government. By then the people knew that the Chavez administration had established a list of people who had signed in all the previous signature collection. That list, embodied in one of its incarnations as the Tascon list from assemblyman Luis Tascon web page where one could check out anyone's ID number to see if that person had signed "against Chavez" was used to fire public employees and deny services from the state such as passports and ID card emission, or filter who would get a contract or a job for governmental work. Truly, a new apartheid that is still in application today as I write, and which is well documented for the fascist list it is and that is been decried overseas more and more.

But now Sumate was itself under attack as the government claimed that it had illegally received funds from the National Endowment for Democracy, NED. First the accusation is shaky even on Venezuelan legal grounds. Second the NED finances all sorts of NGO, even in Venezuela (curiously Sumate is the only one prosecuted...). And third it does not make any mystery of it, being a congressional organization which is controlled in a bipartisan manner by the US Congress. Sumate has on one of its web page the copy of the NED agreement if anyone cares to read it. As early as November 4th, The Economist was writing that under the manipulated Venezuelan judicial system, a Sumate trial could only be seen as a political prosecution. The Economist is only one of the many folks making the easy connection.

The trial that is opening against 4 of Sumate's directors has been maturing for over a year as it has been difficult for the government to make a case. First, on a public relations front, the hoped for departure to exile of Sumate's leaders has not happened as they have courageously not only stayed in Venezuela, but even left for short trips and came back each time. Second Maria Corina Machado has been received at the White House by President Bush, the only Venezuelan figure that has been received at the White House since Chavez came to office in 1998.

Summary of the charges

What Sumate is, does, represents...What chavismo is, does, represent...
Is an NGO who organizes efficiently some of the electoral needs of the opposition partiesAll rely on chavismo hold on the government levers, such as the CNE and the effect of the executive power to manage any electoral campaign
Has accepted a 51 000 USD grant from the NEDHas accepted millions from foreign companies such as the yet unsolved Bilbao Viscaya Bank 1998 campaign contribution
Has accepted a small grant which was used on voter education as to the agreement with the NEDSince 2000, uses all the power of the state and its monies to finance its electoral campaigns, without any check from any Venezuelan institution
Is efficientIs a mess, success based slowly on Chavez charisma and the grants he spreads around to buy votes when needed
Stands trial as of last weekWalks freely as all the accusations of electoral fraud are blocked from even the most elemental investigation
Has accepted foreign moneyHas accepted so much help from Cuba as to electoral tactics and organization that it is a joke
Maria Corina Machado has been received by George BushChavez is not only received constantly by Castro, who he supports financially, but has been received by Saddam, Qaddafy and the Iranian Mullas (1)
Sumate wants a clear electoral registerThe Chavez subservient CNE has Colombian guerillas voting in Venezuelan elections
Sumate wants a clear electoral registerThe electoral registry is not only a mess but the CNE does not want to give it to the political parties for them to be able to organize their electoral targets (which chavismo does, by the way)

And much more I could keep writing along these lines, but I am sure the reader is getting the point already

(1) It is fair to note that as an OPEC member Venezuela requires to have relations with Iran, Iraq and Libya. What is also fair to say is that the effusiveness of Chavez when he visited those countries and leaders was excessive, totally uncalled for and unnecessary, in particular the Baghdad junket where the car ride with Saddam driving was just too much.

But even if the charges were valid, let's not forget that the NED money was a drop in the bucket of all what the opposition received for its electoral campaigns, and even less of a drop when it is compared to the floods of public monies used by chavismo to secure the the vote for its leader. Hypocrisy!


There should be no doubt in the reader's mind that the only reason why Sumate is prosecuted is that it is at the heart of any opposition electoral organization. Its efficiency, its unquestionable message of free and fair election in front of the pathetic and shifty figure of the CNE through its most discredited president, Rodriguez, is something that chavismo and Chavez cannot forgive, nor forget. Sumate, in fact, is by contrast the constant reminder of all that is wrong with the Chavez administration, its inefficiency, the lackadaisical attitude of nearly all of its members, its moral corruption.

The reactions to the trial have already been numerous. The Sate Department condemned the prosecution in unambiguous terms. Human Rights Watch writes: “The court has given the government a green light to persecute its opponents,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Prosecuting people for treason when they engage in legitimate electoral activities is utterly absurd.”

There is no need to add anything by this blogger as he is sure that international condemnation will keep coming from all quarters as chavismo takes a gamble on Sumate, a gamble that it will probably pay dearly.


  1. make money from home
    is easy. make money from home

  2. Nice Blog!!!   I thought I'd tell you about a site that will let give you places where
    you can make extra cash! I made over $800 last month. Not bad for not doing much. Just put in your
    zip code and up will pop up a list of places that are available. I live in a small area and found quite
    a few. MAKE MONEY NOW

  3. Hi i am totally blown away with the blogs people have created its so much fun to read alot of good info and you have also one of the best blogs !! Have some time check my link to !!Based business earn home home home income money opportunity

  4. I was just blogging along and came across your site. Looks like you put some thought into it. Oh, ihave a
    ##KEYWORD## related site. Visit when you have time.

  5. Finally a real work at home opportunity that you can depend on sending you a paycheck every month.
    customer surveys

    I myself have been earning over $2200 a month working no more then 4 hours a day, When ever I want.
    customer surveys

    This really works.
    customer surveys

    I just thought I'd tell you about it.
    customer surveys

    If you don't take me up for the opportunity hey it's your loss not mine,
    customer surveys

  6. Thanks for the great information, I book marked your site

    I have a business grant own start site. It pretty much covers business grant own start related stuff.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

  7. Hi i am totally blown away with the blogs people have created its so much fun to read alot of good info and you have also one of the best blogs !! Have some time check my link to !!Internet make money

  8. Hi, My name is Donald you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you! I have a how to make lots of money site. It pretty much covers how to make lots of money related stuff.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

  9. I found you while surfing for interesting blogs. I like it, good content. I've left an invitation to you to visit me if you are into ebooks - Thanks, Neil

  10. Quite interesting engine link search
    engine link search

  11. If you are looking for very easy to do tasks that pay literaly thousands of dollars a month then this is a must for you.
    surveys in

  12. Hi i am totally blown away with the blogs people have created its so much fun to read alot of good info and you have also one of the best blogs !! Have some time check my link of easy ways to make money.

  13. Anonymous6:44 AM

    I wish I would've thought of this blog. It is by far one of the most interesting blogs on here. I have a site that pretty much coversaffiliate internet make money online program related stuff. Check it out if you get a chance

  14. So many blogs and only 10 numbers to rate them. I'll have to give you a 10 because you have done a good job. Great Job,

    Free Access To More Information Aboutbusiness online

  15. Anonymous12:15 AM

    Hey, you have a great blog here!

    I have a internet search engine site. It pretty much covers ##SEARCH## related stuff.

    Come and check it out if you get time.

    Thanks again.

  16. Hi,

    I'm sorry for being intrusive in to your blog. But I am Melissa and I am a mother of two that is just trying to get out of an incredible financial debt. See my hubby is away in Iraq trying to protect this great country that we live in, and I am at home with our two kids telling bill collectors please be patiant. When my husband returns from war we will beable to catch up on our payments. We have already had are 2001 Ford repossessed from the bank, and are now down to a 83 buick that is rusted from front to back and the heater don't work, and tire tax is due in November.

    I'm not asking for your pitty because we got our ownselfs into this mess but we would love you and thank you in our prayers if you would just keep this link on your blog for others to view.

    God Bless You.

    Melissa K. W.
    To see my family view this page. My Family

    TV Central - Download full TV shows and series, newest movies, plus other downloads. Watch TV and movies online. Burn Them right to Blank CD's and watch them over and over again.

    Messenger City - 10,000+ emoticons - Use Yahoo, MSN, ICQ and AIM all in one, skins, nicknames, bots, add-ons, emoticons, avatars and smilies.

    Baja música gratis ahora. Busca y encuentra MP3, Películas, Software y más. Downloads ilimitados, Quema CDs & DVDs.

  17. Anonymous11:25 PM

    Yo, This blog is pretty neat. You should check out mine sometime. It pretty much covers make money fast related stuff.

  18. Hello, just visited your blog, it's informative. I also have a **paid survey** related website. So please visit and hope that it's useful to you

  19. Anonymous5:56 AM

    Yo, This blog is pretty neat. You should check out mine sometime. It pretty much covers extra income opportunity home related stuff.

  20. Anonymous9:56 AM

    Wow, I really like this one. I have a website that talks mostly about adult money making opportunity You should check it out sometime.

  21. Anonymous7:27 PM

    Nice site i came here searching for make money online and was looking for other people who are interested in make money online
    You might be interested in make money online

  22. Hey..I found a company that pays you to shop at Wal-Mart or McDonalds. The site incudes topics like a from home job online work
    . Check it out. from home job online work

  23. Anonymous9:32 PM

    Yo, This blog is pretty neat. You should check out mine sometime. It pretty much covers internet make money through related stuff.

  24. Your post is great and let me say

    A favorite pastime of mine is Sports Betting to make a few extra bucks.
    My only problems is that I was never good at picking teams or games.
    Recently I found a site that is like Sports Betting but I dont lose my money if my pick is bad.

    Its a sports stock market, kinda like NASDAQ. which makes a big difference because if I buy shares in a team. I keep the stock whether they win or lose, but as a bonus I get paid divdends if they win.
    So I can make money with dividends and also from selling high and buying low.

    I buy shares in NFL, NASCAR, NCAAB, MLB, Golf, Tennis ect....
    They just released Some Great IPOS's this week!

    Heres a link
    you can log in and check it out for free..

    Keep up the good work on your blog!

  25. Anonymous1:12 AM

    Hey i got here searching for join affiliate program
    Your sites not too bad!

    You got good rankings for them keywords join affiliate program

    Check out my site
    join affiliate program


Comments policy:

1) Comments are moderated after the sixth day of publication. It may take up to a day or two for your note to appear then.

2) Your post will appear if you follow the basic polite rules of discourse. I will be ruthless in erasing, as well as those who replied to any off rule comment.