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December 2, 2005

After the boycott, what?

As we were getting ready for the parliamentary elections, all the major Venezuelan opposition parties have finally seen the light. They cannot win the game on Chavez's playground playing by Chavez's rules. Chavez cheats. But it took a live and vivid demonstration of the facts for our politicians to wake up to reality. Aleksander Boyd explains:

On Wednesday 23 an audit [of the voting machines] was conducted in Fila de Mariches. OAS and European observers were invited and so were Smartmatic representatives, National Electoral Council (CNE) officials, political parties and local electoral watchdog (NGO Ojo Electoral). A cocky omnipotent Jorge Rodriguez saw fit to allow the audit in the conviction that it would be just another embarrasing event for the opposition. Up until that moment fraud accusations held no water. But as Olga K reported in "The man Smartmatic wasn't expecting," Leopoldo Gonzalez pulled fraud evidence out of the hat for all to see.

Leopoldo Gonzalez is a name that is going to go down in Venezuelan history. After each of the aforementioned observers and guests had selected their prefered option in the mock election of Wednesday 23, this man ran a programme on a computer and started announcing in loud voice: Mr. X you have voted for Y; Mr. T you have voted for M; Mrs. R you have voted for L... Olga K reports that Smartmatic officials were so embarrased that they brought the exercise to a halt after the result of the fifth name was announced by Gonzalez.

Despite the ample proof of government cheating, it still took the opposition parties a whole week to decide to withdraw their candidates. At the same time, the opposition asked the electoral counsel (CNE) to postpone the elections so that the machines and the electoral procedures could be clean up. The government has refused and the elections are still scheduled for Sunday, December 4. Recent polls show that 71% if all Venezuelan electors plan to abstain from the vote.

On Monday, Chavez will have 100% control over the National Assembly or at least so they will declare.

Then what?

Denny Schlesinger
Caracas - Venezuela

Aleksander Boyd

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