Venezuela: How Chavez won
The Washington Examiner has an op-ed on how Hugo Chávez tipped the scales for a big win:
- Control the electoral board
- Inflate the voting lists
- Close the Consulate in Miami
- Delay and slow down voting at the polls
- Intimidate the voters
- Refuse to count the ballots in public.
As early as last February, noted socio-political critic Eric Ekvall wrote persuasively about the illegal registration issue, stating that Caracas voting lists had been grossly inflated, with no substantive action taken by CNE or the opposition United Democratic Movement to correct the situation.
Prior to the election, the consulate in Miami — home to the largest Venezuelan expatriate community of more than 20,000 — was simply closed. Expatriate voters were told they would have to travel to New Orleans to vote.
Within Venezuela, Despite repeated assurances by CNE officials and the interior minister that their system was the world’s most modern, efficient and thoroughly tested, allegedly faulty voting machines caused lengthy delays in most voting centers. In some cases, the delays were reportedly man-made.
For example, the Colegio Cervantes voting site in Caracas opened two and a half hours late, causing hundreds of voters to wait more than six hours to cast their ballots.
The Colegio de la Epifania center in Maracaibo was closed after 40 chavistas, their motorcycles flying flags of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, surrounded the building and physically threatened people trying to enter. Similar incidents were reported in numerous voting centers around the country.
At the Colegio Cristo Rey center in Caracas, where Norman Pino and his wife, Irma, voted after a 90-minute wait, all six voting machines were working, but CNE workers unnecessarily processed each voter painfully slowly — an obvious ploy to discourage 500 or more people waiting to vote.
CNE officials in at least three Caracas voting centers refused to permit manual voting, as prescribed by CNE regulations, when backup voting machines functioned improperly, stopping voting entirely for several hours.
At a Montalban polling center in Caracas, chavista thugs fired shots at the building, successfully intimidating voters.
Following expat voting in London, Chavez’s ambassador refused to have the ballots counted in public, as required. The same happened in New Orleans.
Getting a 10-percentage point lead ain’t easy, folks.