11 July 2011

Map of Electoral Fraud in Venezuela


Over at Caracas Chronicles, fellow blogger Francisco Toro asked readers to collaborate in an ambitious project, that of producing an electoral map of Venezuela, parish by parish. The result is an outstanding piece of kit, developed by Dorothy Kronick, Christian Font and Javier Rodriguez Rivas, that allows users to check/track electoral results in Chavez's Venezuela, since 1998 to date.

The issue of electoral fraud has been a hot topic of debate among Venezuelans since the recall referendum of 15 August 2004, when after years of negotiations between chavista officials, opposition leaders and international power brokers from the Organization of American States (OAS) and Jimmy Carter's Center, Venezuelan electoral authorities controlled by Chavez announced that he had won the referendum. It remains a fact, to this date, that many of the points agreed by all parties were simply violated by chavista electoral authorities. Chief of which former OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria denying, in a press conference on 16 August, Jimmy Carter's statement to the effect that international observers had witnessed the tallying of the votes, at the electoral council's headquarter in Caracas. Matter of fact is, only Jorge Rodriguez and his chavista staff witnessed the count, which ended in a 'resounding victory' for Chavez, of nearly 20% more votes. Subsequent audits were a sham, as Carter Center's no. 2 Jennifer McCoy admitted to me in email exchanges.

Since, Chavez put out a very aggressive propaganda campaign, to cement the notion that he had a legitimate popular mandate to, pretty much, do with Venezuela whatever he pleased, which is what he has been doing. The issue didn't die there, of course. Teams of highly reputed Venezuelan academics started conducting all sort of thorough statistical research, to demonstrate the improbability of Chavez's referendum victory. Some of their work has been published in peer-reviewed statistical journals of international renown. Then, another group of Venezuelans founded something called ESDATA, and have been documenting meticulously the different aspects of the chavista fraud.

In Venezuela, we've all developed opinions about this, and there are two well defined camps: on the one hand chavistas, deniers, and, what I would call, opposition collaborationists -which are all of those pretending that elections are kosher. On the other hand, those of us who aren't convinced of electoral results, simply because the amount of evidence against it, and the fact that no election has been subjected to meaningful scrutiny since 2004, makes it impossible to take Chavez's electoral minions at face value. Any person seeing the balance of pro and anti Chavez officials in Venezuela's National Electoral Council, their 'career progressions' within chavismo upon departing the electoral council, the way in which important decisions have been handled, how the State's resources are fully behind Chavez and against the opposition, how the electoral roll has been inflated out of all sensible proportion, observing the total absence of independent and meaningful scrutiny during tallying, and exercising a modicum of critical thinking, would conclude that elections in Venezuela are a farce.

Francisco Toro belongs in the deniers camp. In his opinion, there's no evidence of electoral fraud in Venezuela, despite being totally aware of, and having written about, massive gerrymandering, disproportional representation, and State's resources misuse in favour of Chavez. He contends that artificial and inexplicable inflation of electoral roll has to do with "well oiled registration drives" and population's "ageing" factors. But when one uses the tool he asked his collaborators to produce, one can see examples, such as that of Unare parish, in Bolivar state, where the number of registered voters went from 26,087 in 1998 to 73,634 in 2009. That's a 282% increase. Another example, in Francisco Aniseto Lugo parish, in Delta Amacuro state, whose electoral roll has increased 525%, Chavez maintains an almost perfect score, sometimes getting 100% of the votes.

To any critical observer, this is enough evidence of electoral rigging on a massive scale. Where no opposition collaborationist is present during voting, generally the case in rural Venezuela, Chavez gets inexplicable percentages. Inadvertently, Francisco Toro may just have rendered forever void the "there's-no-evidence-of-fraud-in-Venezuela" hypothesis of chavistas, deniers and collaborationists alike. For that, and for the fantastic tool, we should all be extremely grateful.

7 comments:

marc in calgary said...

Excellent work.

I'm curious if "anyone" has the patience to compare the registered voter variance to census numbers.

Liz said...

Alek, would do this post in spanish? para rodarlo!

AB said...

Marc, the authors of the tool are welcoming suggestions at Caracas Chronicles.

Liz, the tool is also available in Spanish.

firepig said...

It is incredible the amount of damage Jimmy Carter did by endorsing Chavez precisely at the moment when it would have been easiest to prove voter fraud.

This false endorsement also had a lot to do with the deniers giving Chavez the benefit of the doubt in later elections.

Liz said...

Alek, I meant translating your post into Spanish.
En unos 5 párrafos dices y explicas más. Con tus opiniones por delante la gente se puede poner a curiosear la herramienta, pero con una mente más crítica.

Que conste, hay cosas en las que opinamos diametralmente diferente, pero aquí no. Yo creo firmemente en el fraude electoral. Sobre todo en esos pueblitos olvidados del interior.

AB said...

Liz, un muy buen amigo, venezolano, siempre me dice "uno no puede ayudar, a quien no quiere ser ayudado."

El caso del fraude electoral es evidente. Para mi al menos. Desde el momento en que Cesar Gaviria refutó las afirmaciones de Jimmy Carter sobre la presencia de observadores internacionales en la sala de totalización del CNE, aquella noche fatídica del 15 de agosto del 2004, me dije, este es un pueblo de descerebrados. Recuerdo que me llamaron de BBC World Service, para una entrevista el 16 de agosto, y me dijeron "but the international observers are going to say that the results are a true representation of the vote." Esto, me lo dijeron ANTES de que Gaviria desmintiese a Carter en la rueda de prensa. Recuerdo tambien mi respuesta "they can say whatever they want. Fact of the matter is, they weren't allowed into the tallying room, as was previously agreed among the parties. So if they want to lend credibility to something they actually did not witnessed, that's their choice and their reputation will suffer as consequence."

Con todo esto lo que quiero decir es que a nadie le consta, salvo a los chavistas que presenciaron aquella totalización, que los resultados anunciados por Carrasquero fuese los reales. A mi no me consta, y no me parece ni lógico, ni racional, ni digno de personas medianamente inteligentes y con capacidad critica que se acepte un resultado electoral que ningún observador independiente, o ningún miembro de la oposición pudo haber avalado, por la simple razón de no se les permitió observar el proceso de totalización.

Para mi, un candidato, de la tolda que sea, que gana una elección con caso 20 puntos porcentuales sobre el oponente, en este caso el SI sobre el NO, no tiene absolutamente nada que esconder. Si Chavez hubiese ganado esa elección, como pretenden hacernos creer, por qué la intriga? Por qué no dejar que el mundo entero presenciase aquel acto de totalización? Cómo se puede razonablemente explicar que todos los acuerdos a tal efecto fuesen violados por el antro electoral, y que luego la ciudadanía aceptase como validos los resultados?

Para mi, está de anteojito. Allá aquellos que por deshonestidad intelectual o cualquier otra razón quieran creer ciegamente lo anunciado por el CNE. A mi no me consta, y como no me consta, ni estoy dispuesto a otorgarle el beneficio de la duda a ningún chavista, pues no creo en el argumento que Chavez ganó el referendo.

Esto es algo meridianamente claro para mi. Pero habiendo visto la forma en la que el tema ha devenido en los círculos políticos, de opinadores de oficio y sociedad en general, me pregunto: para qué traducir nada? Si es que la evidencia no está allí solo para mí, lo está, y lo ha estado, para todos. Como dice Chavez, el que tenga ojos que vea!

Liz said...

Ok, te entiendo.

Y claro que de cajón! el que gana corrido no tiene nada que esconder. El misterio sólo prueba el chanchullo.

No es un pueblo de descerebrados... (no, quién dijo!) mi marido dice que tienen la cabeza llena de acerrín. Yo aprendí a repetir esta frase para no usar el término escatológico que siempre me llegaba a la lengua primero.

En fin, es este tipo de posts los que me gusta citar en las diferentes redes sociales en las que participo. Los sitios virtuales en donde tengo como 'amigos' a unos cuantos chavistas rajaos, pero que son familiares cercanísimos -y del idioma de Shakespeare no saben ni el yes. Call me silly, pero me encanta martirizarlos con la verdad en blanco y negro. Por cierto, nunca comentan ni responden un carrizo. No tienen argumentos.