Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thy electoral CNE shoe droppeth

There will be a lot of brouhaha in the next days about the ignominious decision of the CNE to do its utmost to violate the constitution in order to block the Recall Election against Maduro. Let me try to make it clear for readers still hanging around here.

1) The motivation in any case is to annul the Recall Election, or in the very worst case push it to 2017 which means that the regime remains in office until January 2019 at the very least.

In fact, the regime has announced today through one of its formal provocateurs, Pedro Carroña Carreño, that voting was not a fundamental right, that there was more pressing needs like food or medicine than elections. The provocation is, of course, the public knowledge that the crisis is the regime fault and thus it will never win an election again, and it knows it. Never mind that there might not be money for elections but there was cash for the useless NOAL summit in Margarita last week that could have easily paid for an election. Nevermind on how much medicine could have been bought out of the food given, say, to Mugabe.

In short, before I go into details, as I already wrote in previous entries, the regime does not want elections. Period.

2) The constitution states clearly that any recall election must be asked by 20% of the voters in the district that elected the said person. The electoral board CNE today announced that even though Maduro was elected nation wide the opposition will need to collect 20% in each and every state. So, even if, say, 30% nationwide signed for the recall election it is enough that in a single state there is ONE VOTE missing for the 20% to annul the whole experience. The article 72 is clear and precise, there is a need for a 20% nation wide and it is irrelevant if that number is reached through 100% of voters in state X while state Y has 0% signatures.

Thus we have right there a flagrant violation of the constitution. If they do that so bluntly what can we expect for the "details" next?

3) The CNE said that it would give the opposition only 3 weekdays, 7 hour week day, with one hour for lunch for the CNE workers. That is there will be a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday allocated, from 8 AM to noon and from 1 PM to 4 PM. That is, unless your boss gives you the time to stand in line for hours you will not be able to sign up for the recall election. Never mind public workers who will be tightly controlled those days and fired on the spot if they are out of office during that timetable.

4) And to make sure that this timetable is even more difficult to fulfill the CNE has allocated only 5,392 finger printing machines. Let's do some simple arithmetic.

If all goes well, no electric outage, no sabotage, no violence, etc, etc...  we have 21 hours per machine. Let's assume that each machine can collect one signature per minute in such perfect conditions. The maximum signatures that can be thus collected in those three days are:

5,392 X 21 X 60 = 6,793,920 signatures.

We need, besides the per state quota difficulty, 3,893,129 signatures. That is not bad you may say. Think again. I have assumed that the 21 hours will be indeed perfect 21 hours. Also, there are always imponderables and we know from experience that the CNE has a proclivity to annul signatures at will, even if collected by themselves. The "safe number" is not 20% per state, it is 25% per state, which is above 5 million nationwide.

A couple of rainstorms across the country is enough to already make you lose half a million. A few well designed power outages and there you have another half a million gone. Since it is to be collected state by state all those that cannot return to their home state will not be able to sign. Etc.....

Not collecting on a week end makes it, just becasue of logistics, very difficult to get that 4 million signatures. Since elections are on Sundays, you can appreciate in full the hypocrisy and cynicism of the CNE in deciding on working days and working hours for signature collection.

5) And at this point we do not know yet other details such as where the limited numbers of collection centers will be located.  If you vote here but you need to go over there, preferably in a rough neighborhood, to sign up, will you?

6) But just for good measure the CNE has announced that it will take its sweet time to decide whether the signatures have indeed been collected. Nevermind that they collected them themselves, with their people, their machines, etc. They blithely said that the Recall Election "could take place" during the first quarter of 2017. Thus annulling its desired effect, as I mentioned above.


This being said.

Technically there is still a possibility for the recall election to be held before January 10. After all, January 9 IS in the first quarter of 2017. All will depend of course on what the opposition MUD will do in the coming days and how willing is the army to repress as needed.

Right now, today, it would seem that the regime has accepted to remove Maduro from office. But that is all, he must be replaced by someone inside the regime, WITHOUT presidential election. That is right, if Mauro were to be recalled in the first quarter of 2017, the vice president HE NAMES one day before the vote would be the one that would complete the remaining two years of the term. AN UNELECTED PRESIDENT, AN APPOINTED PRESIDENT FOR TWO YEARS. If you think that this will solve the political crisis........... think again.

As I have written several times, the solution to the crisis is not electoral, it is political through a show of force. The easiest exit is for Maduro to resign today and we elect a new president (in office for only 2 years, so incoherent is the 1999 constitution). The opposition would win that election and for two years would have to deal with the horrendous crisis. Thus in December 2018 chavismo could make again a case to be returned to office.

But that would be if chavismo were in the hands of democrats which is not the case. Chavismo is owned by a military-narko-mafia which will be indicted in many an international court. A mafia controlled from Havana at that.

Tell me, is there a possible pacific electoral outcome? No. No way. The only outcome is through a break up inside the army to force out of office the most corrupt elements. That is, chavistas against chavistas. The best we can hope is for Maduro to be forced to resign.

The Recall Election is not an option but it is about the only pressure the opposition has right now. Unless we go into civil disobedience, a constitutional assembly election (mbwahahah!) or something of the sort.


Two not quite related comments.

1) it seems that chavismo wants the opposition to do the dirty job of removing Maduro and only that. It is almost as if the regime wanted the opposition to give up on the Recall Election and negotiate something like a power sharing arrangement which would allow for some legal protection for the narko-personnel.

2) observe that the CNe conditions do not make it absolutely impossible for the opposition to get the 20% it needs but it makes it impossible for the opposition to get more signatures than the votes Maduro got in 2013. At least that humiliation would be spared the regime, if worse came to worse for it.


  1. Chavistas are not divided. The only thing going on is a dim light smartly left on by the regime to keep the ignorant thinking there is a non violent chance at getting rid of the regime such that the ignorant dont outright rebel and kill them. There never was an electorial chance and has been clear that Caprilias made a deal with the regime to ensure the recall was the focus of any rebellion and not violence.

  2. You guys keep forgetting you are dealing with Raul Castro stooges, communists, and thieves. They will never leave power on their own. Your option is to start a civil war (which they are likely to win), or hit hard in the nerve center taking action to acknowledge you have been colonized by the Cuban Dictatorship. I know I have a bias, but as a Cuban in Venezuela I have had the opportunity to experience the worshipful treatment Cubans get from mid and high level Chavistas, and can tell from the way they speak and their behavior that Raúl Castro has them fairly well controlled (it's as if chavismo were a mule and Castro is trying to ride it, having difficulties now and then, but taking that mule in the general direction he wants).

    And if Venezuela doesn't free itself we are likely to see Colombia fall next. The "project" they have is a long term takeover using violence as needed. The brain center is in Havana, it HAS to be destroyed.

  3. As usual, it's all about corruption. The CNE is bribed, corrupt to the bone. The entire 'government' - which should be called desgobierno, instead - is corrupt. Maduro might get out, but hey, Cilia is rich enough by now. Cabello might get out, he also stole millions. So that's cool with him, if he can hide somewhere. Same as many other crooks like Luisa Ortega or Delcy and her crooked brother. And many more.

    They just want to extend the elections because they want to steal some more, raspar la olla. And make preparations to hide themselves, and their stolen money. Standard practice in Vzla, historically.

    But what is more important, that few people see, is that when Maduro is gone, comes Aristobulo or some other clown. Then comes the MUD. Say Capriles, or Henry Ramos. Sure, that's better than chavistas. But what will they actually be able to do, to improve Venezuela's precarious situation?

    Not much. The oil is already sold out for decades to the Chinese. Venezuela can hardly produce anything else, and they can't export anything. Over a million of the most talented, educated professionals got the hell out of there. You, the reader, for example. Very few, as Daniel here elected to stay. Everyone who can, gets out asap. It's a massive exodus, brain drain. So what you have left is mostly an aging population, the least educated, much like what happened in Cuba.

    Even if MCM or Leopoldo eventually become presidents, Venezuela will be screwed for a long, long time. The damage is done. Crime will not be easy to stop. Oil prices won't go up, they'll keep going down. Almost everyone is corrupt, and the MUD will suffer from corruption. As always in Vzla. Few people can grow a tomato, some corn, fish some fish, raise some cattle, build cars, produce cement or cabillas, much less export any of that. So when you have no agriculture, no industry, and not much oil (sold to the chinese) and poor education, and massive brain-drain, the country is doomed. Expect no miracles in the next few decades, sorry to report.

    1. Sledge I believe with a truly democratic and capitalistic gov't that Venezuelan's lives would improve very quickly. Just look at other oil countries that were beat to nothing and how quick they recovered. I would bet if their was a USA friendly gov't change then oil will rise almost immediately. Debts would be negotiated and investment into oil and other industries would flourish, creating all kinds of jobs and opportunities. Ideally the new gov't would get rid of the military and work with the USA to collect all the stolen funds it can collect.
      Now that's all in a perfect world but judging by how the opposition has behaved to date it is likely not getting into power via anything lead by the opposition. It will take an uprising of the people.

  4. Anonymous6:43 PM

    "for readers still hanging around here.."

    Your website stats are proof of how important your blog is.. The NY Times, El Pais or El Monde may report on Venezuela in bylines, but your reports are critical to understand what is happening, and may come.. Thank you, Laz

    1. Thank you for your support.

      The thing is that to keep high ratings in the web you need to have a constant flow of "material". For the past two years my writing has been haphazard for many personal reasons. As such, I have gone down half according to google stats.

      But that is OK, I am less needed than before. Once upon a time there were only 4 bloggers writing in English as the lone source of what was going on in Venezuela. Slowly but surely journos first read us, then talked to us and now write about Venezuela and the regime in sometimes near scathing words. Not much credit form them to us, as expected, bloggers have always been looked from above, and discomfort, by the printed press (and sometimes deservedly so for their sloppy and hysterical job, being a blogger is not an excuse for lack of coherence and real fact checking, but that is another story).

      But that is OK, what truly matters for me is that editorials from The New York Times to El Pais trash the regime regularly (to mention main Liberal papers).

      My job is done, and now I write as much for pleasure as for necessity. Ratings are nice but not essential now that people know the truth about Venezuela.

    2. Anonymous8:06 PM

      I first starting reading your blog around 2005/6 to try to get some insight into the insanity that I was seeing every day while trying to live and operate a business in Venezuela. I bailed out last year, but I still read your blog avidly and it helped me enormously.

      Please stay safe and know our thoughts are with you and your SO.

      Caracas Canadian

  5. Milonga9:28 PM

    I make Caracas Canadian's words mine. Please stay safe and please continue informing us! YOUR JOB IS NOT DONE!!!! There are some winds of change, but your country still bleeds and we bleed together with it. You read a lot of false stuff in social media, and need you to bring news to the ground! Don´t give up ´cause we won't! Love you!


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