IS IT FRAUD OR DID MR. HUGO CHAVEZ ACTUALLY WIN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN VENEZUELA?
IS IT FRAUD OR DID MR. HUGO CHAVEZ ACTUALLY WIN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN VENEZUELA?
On October 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm Venezuelan people already knew that for another six years Mr. Chavez was going to keep his duties as the Venezuelan president, this is the third time the candidate has won the Venezuelan presidential election making Mr. Chavez the first democratically elected president to rule for over 14 years in this country. As far a “democratic procedure” people could consider this government to be an actual “disguised dictatorship”.
I. Is Venezuela a true democracy or is it a dictatorship in disguise?
Definition of democracy: political system and orientation of those who favor a government elected by the people, the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them. Change of the Country’s name: One of the first changes that were part of the new regime in Venezuela was the change of her name, from “Republica de Venezuela” to “Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela”. The new Name is supposed to imply that Venezuela was founded and liberated by Simon Bolivar. Chavez believes Simon Bolivar’s legacy plays an important part in his projects and visions as president; one of his ideas would be create a bigger nation with Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia participation, those mentioned are the rest of the South America countries which freedom comes from Simon Bolivar’s hand. Centralize public power: On January 31, 2007, the National Assembly granted the President of the Republic, for a period of 18 months, the authority to issue decrees with the scope, effect, and force of law in eleven areas (transformation of state institutions; popular participation; essential values in the performance of public duties; economic and social affairs; finance and taxation; public and legal security; science and technology; territorial organization; security and defense; infrastructure, transportation, and services; and energy1). In analyzing Article 203 of the Constitution in its 2003 Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Venezuela, the IACHR noted with concern that it allows legislative powers to be delegated to the President of the Republic without establishing clear and defined limits on the nature of that delegation. According to the Commission’s analysis, by tacitly allowing for the definition of, for example, criminal offenses by rulings from the executive and not by acts of the National Assembly, it contradicts the requirements of the American Convention on Human Rights in that it erodes the guaranteed “requirement of law” developed by the Inter-American system2. When it comes to the Judicial power the constitutional mechanisms established as guarantees of independence and impartiality had not been used to appoint the ranking authorities of the judicial and citizens’ branches of government3. And due to Article 8 where the Organic Law empowers the National Assembly can appoint Supreme Court justices by a simple majority. In addition, the text of the Law increases the size of the plenary of the Supreme Court from twenty (20) to thirty-two (32) justices, which would have enabled a change in the correlation that previously existed between those justices believed to support the government and those believed to favor the opposition. Press suppression: The press is an instrument that keeps checks on all the government’s actions; freedom of press is an elementary base for a free society, however President Hugo
Chavez has methodically applied a system where the media outlets belong to the government. The Independent private networks are silenced, threatened, and closed. In 2007 RCTV the most popular network in Venezuela wasn’t allowed by the government to renew its’ license, and subsequently another popular and independent network has been threatened which is the case of Globovision. That is their situation because this network is completely against or rather opposed to the established Venezuelan government. Now even the system of law works in favor of the President and this means since 2005, defamation of the Mr. Hugo Chavez has been punishable by six to thirty months in prison. At least 240 radio stations have been revoked of their broadcast license because they are perceived to be critical of the government. Today, Chávez controls at least two national radio networks, six television channels, 72 regional television stations, and over 600 radio stations across the country.
II. How does the election process in Venezuela work?
It’s the Consejo Nacional Electoral that is charged with executing all election processes in Venezuela, based on the 1999 Venezuelan constitution. International observers call it the most secure system in the world; an electronic method used around the whole country on the day of the elections. One of the steps toward the Venezuelan elections is to hold simulation elections before the actual elections, this way the voters know the logistics and how the vote procedure goes (and the CNE can evaluate the time required to vote). After the simulations the CNE organize a large number of “election fairs” in public parts of the country. The idea behind these fairs is to give information and instruct the citizens how to use the machines. You can see next to the device where people are supposed to learn how to vote, a picture of a fake candidate. The whole procedure takes about a minute from start to finish however every voter has a six minutes time to vote. In the machine the voter can choose one of the candidates they will have to push pictures on the pad to choose their favorite whose photo then appears on the voting machine screen. After pushing the “vote” button the decision is definitive and the same machine will print a paper marking the vote of the citizen. This one has to make its deposit in a sealed box provided. Finally more than the 50% of the voting tables are publicly audited to verify that the paper votes match the electronic totals, the people in charge of the tables like the president, secretary and members of each table are chosen by “lottery”, it is a random selection from all voters included in the CNE system. This is how the voting system works in Venezuela, and even after every election where the president gets most of the votes, there’s statement of fraud made by the opposition. Citizens find no evidence or proof that will allow the international observes to actually do something about it; on the opposite side all the international observers indicated Venezuelan elections are clean and fair.
III. Who are these government opponents?
Henrique Capriles Radonski is a Venezuelan politician and lawyer. During his political journey Capriles has been elected to be the mayor of Baruta Municipality of Caracas (2000-2004 period), then he was re-elected in October 2004 (2004-2008 period). During his term he managed a deep decrease in the local crime rate, from 4705 crimes at the beginning of his term, to 976 at the end.4 In the Venezuelan Regional elections of 2008 Capriles was elected Governor of Miranda State, defeating Diosdado Cabello the previous Governor and lefty candidate. During his term Capriles invested in education, opening 39 schools by 2011.4 In 2012 according to the figures reported by the Electoral Committee of the opposition Unified Democratic Panel (MUD),
1,900,528 people (64,2%) voted for the governor of the state of Miranda and leader of Primero Justicia (Justice First party) Henrique Capriles Radonski to be the opposition contender against Hugo Chávez in the presidential elections to be held in October 2012.5 According to articles in mainstream Western media, Capriles is a ‘centre-left progressive’, and this is the way he is presenting himself to the Venezuelan voters. Leopoldo Lopez is an economist from Caracas. He Co-founded the Primero Justicia Party. Was mayor of Chacao from 2000 to 2008. After being elected to the office for two consecutive periods: (2000-2004 period) with 51% of the votes and (2004-2008 period) with 79.5%.6 He won Transparency International's Award for the most transparent municipality in Venezuela. In 2009 he founded Voluntad Popular, a social organization with the goal of promoting democracy and human rights.7 Mr. Lopez was among 400 Venezuelans barred from running in the in November 2008 elections, all the possible candidates with chance of winning were all being investigated for corruption.8 In June 2008, Mr. López took his case before the Inter-American Commission on Human (IACHR) in Washington, D.C. The IACHR indicated after studied the event, that the Venezuelan government was violating Mr. Lopez political rights, and the right of the citizens who wanted him as a political choice and candidate. In September 2011 The IACHR ordered the imminent restitution of Mr. Lopez Political rights; consequently, He was allowed in November 2011 to enroll in the primary elections to run for the Venezuelan presidency in 2012. Nonetheless he decided to unify his force with Henrique Capriles Radonski who was also running for the presidency in 2012, making the opposition’s candidacy stronger for that election.9
IV. Who are actually voting for this type of Venezuelan Government?
When it comes to elections in Venezuela the political process has increased and become complicated by the constant presidential political campaign. There are definite advantages that the government provides to the isolated and “Chavistas” areas of the country in getting registered to vote; the extended and excessive publicity Mr. Chavez gets over his competitors, are clear edges to his candidacy. At the end of the day one of the principal things everybody will need to run for Office is resources, something that this particular government is not afraid to put on the table even when is at the expense of the country’s wealth. The Chavista Government applied massive movements to draw voters who weren’t so convinced about Mr. Chavez’ candidacy and reinforce the ones that were already assured. On top of all that, they made sure to half-finish as much visible public projects as possible. The truth is that in the principal cities like Caracas the opposition vote was stronger. Most people in the middle class, with good educations live in the principal cities, these are the kind of people that see and care about the insecurity, public’s services, inflation, and corruption. The more education somebody has the higher their quality of living expectations are going to be. The people that belong to the opposition vote look for something more in life than just a roof to cover their heads and food to eat every day; they are more detractors of authoritarianism, profanity and mediocrity. That is the big issue that the opposition vote sees and suffers daily and the lefty side have yet to recognize. For them, until now the public projects that help then to survive are more visible than the insecurity, corruption and the fact that their poverty situation is in part because the bad management of Mr. Chavez. Therefore to answer the question, “who is choosing the
Venezuelan government?” it is the people that don’t know a world beyond the public projects and the crumbs of food they receive; they are the people that are used to the insecurity, the corruption and misery, they are the people that don’t want to recognize that the big problem is neither the opposition voter nor the opposition’s leaders: It is the division between the Venezuelans and the belief that their current situation can’t get better than it is.
Law Authorizing the President of the Republic to Enact Decrees with the Scope, Effect, and Force of Law in the Areas Indicated. Published in Official Gazette No. 38.617 of February 1, 2007.
IACHR. Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Venezuela. December 23, 2003, Page. 57. IACHR. Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Venezuela. December 23, 2003, pages. 178 to 190. (Spanish) Tal cual, 12 February 2012, H. Capriles Radonski.
A total of 3,040,449 votes were cast in opposition primary election". El Universal. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
Leopoldo Lopez – Short bio and social media profile. TTWICK Blog. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
Leopoldo Lopez. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 7 December 2012. Testing times ahead for Chavez. 27 June 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2012. (Spanish) leopoldo lopez - quien soy. Retrieved 7 December 2012.