The Recount as Red Herring

Lika a lazy cat, the evidence is not going anywhere.

Lika a lazy cat, the evidence is not going anywhere.

Listen, I understand how “count every vote” is an appealing slogan: bumperstickable and easy to understand and hard to resist.

It’s also a red herring: the evidence of fraud, if fraud happened, isn’t some exotic species out there that you have to go out and hunt. The evidence of fraud, if fraud did happen, is already in the thousands of paper-based hand-tally  reports from the “hot audit” now in the hands of opposition witnesses all over the country. That hot audit has done as a matter of routine in a randomly-selected 54% of all voting tables on election night after every vote since 2005, and includes at least one table in every voting center in the country. MUD’s job now – and it’s not a trivial one – is to put all those tally-sheets under one roof, key them into a computer, and check.

This is a message that’s gotten badly muddled by MUD’s communication strategy: they’re talking about the evidence as though it was something they’ll have to struggle to secure. If that’s the case, they’re shit out of luck, because they’ll get nothing but obstructionism and delay from a rojo, rojito CNE.

Maybe that’s just a holding operation while they gather, centralize, data-input and analyze the tens of thousands of paper-based tally sheets produced by every automatic machine around the country, and the tally-sheets from the hand-audits that were already done on 54% of them. Yes systematizing all that paper-based data will be somewhat time-consuming. Yes they’re working hard on this. But no, it’s not a process the government is in a position to prevent any longer.

So we should be clear: the evidence of fraud, if there was fraud, isn’t some exotic species of wildlife you need to go out there and hunt for. It’s more like a lazy cat: extremely domesticated, loafing around on your couch and not going anywhere.

117 thoughts on “The Recount as Red Herring

  1. As you said, they need to gather their data. That does not preclude the possibility that they could be stoking the fires of the population to keep them somewhat active (without blowing up – thus the calls for calma y cordura).

    I worry that the oppo activist is at the end of their rope, and that this might be la gota que rebosó el vaso. If you let this fury and indignation cool down, will it be possible to reignite?

  2. Quico,

    Capriles and the MUD know exactly what they are doing. I saw the process first-hand in Georgia (Rep. of) in November of 2003.

  3. You are correct, and this process could have been digitized in less than 2 hours consider the number of activists.

    • maybe in a first world setting, yes. But we’re talking about a country where some of these tally-sheets have to be taken by dug-out canoe from a mangrove somewhere in the Orinoco Delta to be transported somewhere where they can be data-entered! It’s not a trivial thing.

  4. Well the fraud is not only in the wrong numbers…more in the rude and horrible condition that we have had in every election… Maybe I was a from in the luke warm water, but every time I explained, no Chavez won with the votes 7O, of course using state resources etc, etc, offering missions, calling people up, they were well then the elections were rigged! and I was yes , but no ( because I was thinking that would be a normal thing to do if you were a political startegist for the government… I am worried because people, again is talking ok tweeting about oh this is just like october…this guy has nothing…and it is a bluff, just like Andres velazquez ( that well did he ever show up the proof?) I am lost…

  5. I haven’t been able to access the page of the CNE. Does anyone know if the page is functional? It would be really easy to cross result by mesas with the CNE but I haven’t been able to access it.

    • Some have commented that it can’t be accessed from abroad. I was able to do it, but I am in Venezuela.

        • I can’t tell, since I don’t have any actas :-). The results in my polling center did match what they told the more than 60 of us that wanted to see the auditoria.

          It seems the lack of access from abroad is generating backlash. This is a twit I saw posted in Facebook
          (Nadie fuera de Venezuela puede entrar a http://cne.gob.ve/ y ver los resultados Hagamos campaña en Twitter #DesbloqueoSiteCNEexterior #DesbloqueoSiteCNEexterior #DesbloqueoSiteCNEexterior #DesbloqueoSiteCNEexterior

      • You can’t reach if from NA as far as I can tell. As soon as I hit the CANTV switch, I start running into trouble

        The CNE gateway IP is nominally 200.109.120.12, which has been down for a couple of days – I was able to reach it on Saturday when I was looking for some data from October. Yesterday, pending results, I could understand…but the fact that it is down today and I cannot get past the CANTV link in Miami seems somehow suspicious.

        I don’t think for one second this is a localized outage. Of course, they could blame sabotage via Corpolec, but I wouldn’t buy that either. This also twines nicely with Cuban doctrine on information management at “critical event” times.

        Can anyone else reach it? I’ve been unable to do so from multiple locations/proxies.

        • I have been trying since yesterday because I wanted to see some map someone told me about and nothing

          • last time i could enter was Apr 14, 2013 18:38:48 GMT…i’m doing a test with friends around i’m just asking then to try to enter and report back…and at least spain , or france and USA is a no

        • It aint something that its just failing. When the internet blackout happened on purpose per instructions of Jorge Arreaza, internet access was blocked from abroad for a while and also twitter access inside the country. Access to websites has been already restored from inside the country but access from outside I guess is still restricted for obvious censorship purposes.

  6. The evidence might be there, even more closer than we expect. But trough the day we have seen evidence of paper ballots being disposed, burned or seized. The process to collect the evidence and recount the ballots does not look that simple.

    Capriles is confident that he won, since CNE didn’t included the numbers that they got from abroad, With those number, Capriles is sure that the opposition won. I’d say that Capriles has a legitimate reason to call for a pacific resistance, Art 350.

    As a side note, It sucks to be Maduro now. Being responsible for the demise of the political movement that he easily inherited. The Castros must be regretting the decision of having Chavez to name Maduro as his successor.

    Stay tuned in the coming days.

    • Votes from abroad can’t be more than 100k (the number of people registered to vote outside Venezuela). In October it was 60-70k. If the margin was as close as Capriles says then these votes can make a difference. If the difference was 250-300k it won’t make a difference.

    • Have to agree with you there.. It definitely sucks to be Maduro. One question I have, does he actually believe all the garbage he spews up there? Is he getting actual reports from intelligence (false generated of course!) describing sabotaje electrica, guerra economica, etc?

      I think he’s too obtuse to realize that he’s just a pawn in the Castros machinations..

  7. It took them from Oct 7 to Oct 22 to do it last time. That length of time is plenty of time for the CNE to say that the actas are fake. I don’t buy it. Even if they could do it in a week, in that time period the population would forget, they have to keep the purported fraud in the minds of Venezuelans, they must protest, and they must ask for a recount (while of course still doing what is proposed here).

  8. Francisco,

    I understand what you are saying. But it is also true we have every right to be pissed off because we know almost for sure that had it not been for the use of PDVSA money/logistics to mobilize voters the winner would have been Capriles. We need to dig up as much corruption in the election as we possibly can. And demanding to open the cajas is a fair demand. Capriles will not and should not recognize Maduro as new President without first protesting all the irregularities first.

    Now, if CNE are smart and there’s nothing to hide they should let us open the cajas and force us to accept that’s the legitimate result. But the fact that Maduro first said yes and that CNE proclaimed him so soon and now deny us that right only makes them look bad and it only makes me think they have something to hide. OJO I’m not saying there was a fraud, but there might be more irregularities than we can imagine so far..

  9. I suggest to be more careful in the distinction between words like audit, tally sheets, votes, boxes, mesas, 54%, etc.

    For example, talking about 54% of the boxes sounds like a very well defined number, but really it’s a derived number. The real definition is in the half plus one description. If I understood correctly, in a center with 1 machine, there would be 1 table, which implies 1 box. That box would be opened so it’s 100% of the boxes. In a center with two machines, 2 tables, 2 boxes, they would both be opened, so 100%, again. In a center with three, 2 would be opened, so 67%. Summing all the opened boxes for all the different sized centers may end up giving 54% of the boxes, but that’s just what it comes to, it’s not necessarily exactly 54%.

    An example of source of confusion from the post, is the use of the word audit. The audit is the verification that the contents of a box match the information printed on the machine tally corresponding to that box. This audit of more than half the boxes is to detect whether there was something fishy about the numbers being reported by the machines. Not a single extra box need be opened for this detection.

    But this is independent to the summation of the actas. The opposition should have almost 100% of the actas, not 54%. These can be added to see if the sum of the votes reported by the machines matches the sums reported by CNE. Not a single box need be opened to detect whether there was something fishy about the numbers being reported by CNE.

    But Capriles and camp are asking for vote by vote. This has more to do with the 3000 irregularites than with the matching of actas or matching of audit. They seem to be claiming that the votes need to be scrutinized as a result of the reported incidents. This is the only reason for requiring opening the NON audited boxes.

    So, my take is that there are parallel goals on which Capriles and camp are acting: verify veracity of actas via audit of 54%, verify veracity of CNE totals via summing actas, verify that all oppo votes were tallied and only valid votes were tallied via recount of NON audited boxes.

    • But they have the manual count too, it was a public count they should have it. So with just 54% they have enough to prove fraud. They don’t need to prove votes, all they need is to show that they do not match the electronic result.

      Pretend there are only 2 tables and they flip a coin to determine the table counted, unless the government can control that coin before the election even starts then just one flip and one table hand count is enough to prove if the electronic vote matches the paper trail.

      The machine tally is almost superflous.

      • You have to get access to a damn ballot box to do that, now, don’t you? And it has to be in front of the entire population. That’s precisely what Capriles is proposing. Any old random ballot box won’t work, either, Capriles could steal one, and pull that trick, but it proves nothing (the box could’ve been stuffed beforehand to match the actas). It has to be public and on boxes that the CNE certifies are genuine.

      • Shame, I think you’re mixing things. A manual count is simply opening a box to count the votes inside. That is exactly what the audits do and is done with half plus one of the boxes per center to verify that what the machines printed out was in fact what was in the box. If the choice of the boxes is random after transmission, then it’s very difficult for the CNE to know with which boxes they can fiddle (not so if the choice is made before transmission).

        The machine tally, once verified to be true by the audit process, is useful for efficiency and accuracy since it saves from having to count the non audited boxes and saves transporting the documents physically to verify the correctness of their data. By giving copies of the machine tallies to the different parties, there is redundant protection of the data preventing anyone from tweaking,

        …unless they do what I would not put past them: CNE and PSUV each present a machine tally sheet different to the one MUD presents for a given machine, then they claim that MUD tweaked theirs.

        • They are asking to match actas with the cuadernos de votación … sounds lime a case of stuffing the virtual ballot box with illegitimate voters …

    • Thanks much, extorres. This is much clearer.
      So, it seems to me there are two separate issues:

      1. Capriles wants a recount. That means going through ALL ballots from all centers, one by one. That is done by the CNE, with observers from both sides present, no? That seems the only way to do it, no?

      2. Capriles is also protesting / objecting against ‘fraud’. Fraud could mean some inappropriate way of counting votes. The recount takes care of that. BUT, “fraud” can also mean things like having refused to allow people with proper ID to vote, or closing a site early, or disposing of ballots in a pro-Capriles area, or stuffing ballot boxes, etc., etx. And, none of this will show up in a recount. It is normal (like in Mexico for three or more election cycles before they finally got their really independent “CNE”). This was answered by persistent demonstrations, local alcaldia occupations and so on. If he has evidence of such “FRAUD” … besides in counting the ballots, Capriles need to specify examples on TV to the people.

      Is this the situation or no?. .

      • Fraud is also more people voting than are qualified to vote, more people voting than even exist,100% voting for Maduro, which is endemic in rural areas, where there are only one, or maybe two voting tables (some 20 % of total population, I believe), and where the Oppo probably has few, if any witnesses/observers (I don’t buy the Oppo 90+% of witnessed voting centers)

      • Capriles is asking for a recount of the audited boxes as well as a manual count of the non audited boxes, in effect nullifying the machines. I believe this will not happen. But he has implied three separate reasons for requesting this:

        1) the recount of the audited boxes is the least important, unless there were any reported irregularities of the audit counts not matching the machine tallies, or the number of votes not matching the number of voters in the voter books.

        2) the resumming of the machine tallies is the quickest, which would confirm that CNE did not report the correct totals, either by mistake or by ill-intent. This goal requires no boxes, just a big worksheet and lots of data entry.

        3) the manual count of the non audited boxes, which would close the case on each of the remaining vote count and voter count related irregularites.

        Then there is the investigation on irregularities that are not vote count related, such as instances of people not being allowed to vote for one reason or another.

        As to the word “fraud”, one needs to make distinctions. There had already been fraud before the election. What we’re talking about now is merely a numbers fraud. It is unlikely that the election would be overturned based on non numbers fraud since it could be argued that the parties going in implied their acceptence of the terms, but not so with the numbers fraud.

        Just looking ahead, if my prediction that the non audited boxes will not be opened comes true, some statistician will surely analyze whether the audited boxes produced data similar to the non audited boxes. What if they don’t behave similarly? Is that considered evidence of fraud? Does it cast sufficient doubt to warrant an accusation of fraud? Or is statistics only relevant in deciding the percentage of boxes to audit, but irrelevant for any other analysis after the fact? We’ll be back on this after a few messages about the RR…

  10. What does the law say you need to show to get a manual count? Anything? Prima facie evidence of fraud? Or is it completely at the discretion of the CNE, as they say?

    I take it, the strategy is, ‘we have the evidence but want to cover off any possible escape route’. I hope that is the strategy. I hope they are not going on a fishing expedition.

  11. Pressing for a full recount has a powerful symbolism, because no one can argue that it’s anti-democratic. It’s exactly the kind of request that will get traction from observers outside of Venezuela, who won’t begin to comprehend the arcana of the Venezuelan system, and hence your points here. All the more so if the regime refuses to allow the recount, because the automatic assumption will be they have something to hide.

    Now exactly where that international pressure will lead is another question entirely, but I don’t see that it could make things worse. There is some recent precedent (Honduras, Paraguay) in the region where international pressure was brought to bear, with at least some impact. (The situations are NOT equal; I’m just talking about process after the fact.)

  12. The process of totalling and retyping actas is probably working since Monday morning. The Opposition knows how its done and should probably be on version 4.x of the process and systems involved.

    I volunteered help on the software an the digitalization of actas after the referendum and at that time it was a long and winding road. Conditions, the Country and the results are different now: its a close call.

    I believe that if the Capriles Camp is calling for a recount they must have their reasons / evidence for it. The political cost of making an “Andrés Velásquez” is just to high.

  13. I think the communication strategy problem is even one step further, and comes all the way to this blog by calling fraud only a wrong tallying. The MUD and the different observers have insisted in auditing “the whole electoral process”: behavior of plan República, verification of identity, ability of the observers to observe, mobilization with state resources, voto asistido, aggressive actions toward observers and voters, statistical irregularities, etc. Nevertheless, all the marketing is focusing on the 100% audit. I understand that there may be strategic reasons for that message, and they could indeed have proof (already in their hands as you say) of a miss-count, but there are also a couple of risks. For one thing, they are attacking the wrong part of the same electoral system they will be asking to trust in some months, while diluting the attention on actually important topics. As extorres points out, there are situations where it may be necessary to open the boxes, and there are (many more) situations were it isn’t, but the message is that 100% is the only warranty in any case, and that will get transferred to the following elections (though I don’t know if that will have an important effect). Second, it could backfire if there was actually no tallying-fraud. If they were intelligent, they would do any wrong-counting in places where we had no observers, and in there they could make sure that all the ghost, Cuban/Chinese, multi-cedulados would press the button, print the paper and put it in the box, so no warranty of finding evidence in there. Perhaps CSB is counting on the inability of cheaters to cheat wisely?

    By the way, does anyone knows what was the percentage of witnessed tables (both the intended and the attained)?

    • I just hope we are not hypothesizing about the possible existence of a lazy Schrodinger’s cat. Not sure whether a black swan theory will work to take the result back. But hey el no ya lo tenemos.

    • I believe that MUD’s demands will not limit to wrong tallying. I believe they will try to force a conversation on the +3000 complaints presented during election day:

      http://el-nacional.com/politica/tu_decides/Lopez-aseguro-convencido-triunfo-oposicion_0_172782937.html

      That probably won’t fly with the rojo rojito CNE, because they will not repeat elections in the affected electoral centers, especially since there’s no precedent for that. Furhermore, what would be the impact of repeating the election in a handful of centers? Would that be enough to reverse the +200k votes difference?

  14. Worse case scenario: Caprilies doesn’t actually have an actas lead at all, in all polling stations where he had observers the vote matches exactly the count. However, the other votes are in polling stations where there were no observers. In the polling stations where he had observers he had a decent lead (if you count the foreign voters). In the others, his lead diminished quickly.

    How does he use the “triple congruence” of the system to prove fraud?

  15. What bothers me the most about MUD’s communication strategy is the lack of information. Luckily, Sumate has some information on how the MUD should challenge the election results. http://www.sumate.org/noticias/2013/20130415_pasos_para_impugnar_el_resultado_electoral.htm
    MUD has 20 days to file the complaint. After that, the CNE has 5 days to reject it or accept it. After that, the revision might last up to 15 days. It’s not clear what the outcome should be, though…

    • I understand that Capriles is tightroping, trying to sound like a peaceful, democratic leader while at the same time trying to keep people motivated. Opposition radicals and the rojo rojito CNE don’t make it easy. I don’t envy him. But the MUD and Capriles should tell us what they are preparing the complaint that is going to be submitted to the CNE.

      Of course, it’s not only Capriles fault. The CNE is doing a pretty lousy job. They should be doing everything they can to convince both chavistas and opposition that Maduro won fair and square. In a heavy polarized situation as ours, If one of the parties accuses the referee of being unfair, the referee should become even more transparent, not just say “How dare you!”. Sadly, common sense is something missing in the four rojo rojitas CNE members. I just hope their shortsightedness doesn’t cost us dearly…

  16. I have a different take at this issue:

    a) I really doubt that the amount of dirty tricks possibly applied by chavismo was enough to create a 230K difference in votes. That number of fake votes requires a lot of organization and discipline, and chavismo is not specially gifted at that. There were plenty of irregularities denounced in the election process, but my (probably wrong) opinion is that Maduro won by a very, very slim margin.

    b) Plenty of my opposition fellows were convinced beforehand that we were going to lose the elections only because of chavismo dirty tricks.

    c) I seriously doubt that chavismo will relinquish power to Capriles if he don’t win by a wide, wide margin, so we are screwed anyway.

    Therefore, if I were a MUD member believing former a), b) and c) items, I would do exactly what they are currently doing:

    1) Demand a full vote recount and audit, cementing your position among your political base,
    2) call your partisans to calm down, and
    3) generate the maximum possible political damage to Maduro and chavismo, both in Venezuela and abroad, when they refuse to carry out the audit.

  17. Oh boy, how deep have we gone in this national madness. On Sunday I decided to attend the “auditoria” in my local voting center. As expected, a group of neighbors and concerned citizens gathered outside since 5:00 pm to be witnesses. I saw how maduristas were able to walk in to vote in full maduro regalia while others with as little as Venezuelan flag colors in a tshirt were stopped at the door by plan republica. To counter this, there were people outside lending jackets and sweaters to help. At closing time, the plan republica guys seemed unhappy and decided that to attend this civic act, we should divide ourselves in two lines, one for Capriles and one for Maduro. There were loud protests from the crowd, refusing to segregate themselves. Then the Policia Nacional Bolivariana was called and arrived, telling us over the Megaphone that for our safety we should leave the premises. After some tense minutes of discussion between citizens and the police, with the loud sound of the motorcycles from the Madurista hordes patrolling the streets, the army guys decided only 50 people would be allowed to go in, and this number already included the people working in the mesas. I was part of the lucky ones to be selected…

    The most surreal moment came when the opposition copies of the actas had to be secretly smuggled out of the center by several people under disguise. It turns out that there were “agents” inside in contact with the motorcycle gangs outside, to identify the people carrying the opposition copies and steal their copies. Simply insane.

  18. Two questions: 1) does the opposition get a copy (USB or otherwise) from CNE of whatever is going to appear in the website?, 2) has the cne posted mesa by mesa results in their website?. I have tried to get in many times but the website is down. Pretty sad that whatever was invested in the stupid electronic system turns out to be manual at the end. Results mesa by mesa should be easily uploaded in seconds as they come in. Not months after the election. Oh well.

  19. “This is a message that’s gotten badly muddled by MUD’s communication strategy: they’re talking about the evidence as though it was something they’ll have to struggle to secure.”

    Yeah, “badly muddled” Toro. Its just a “mistake”. There’s no way that they are purposely trying to send false messages about “fraud” to create a crisis… nah, no way!!

    Toro, you know the reality is that they have all the actas in their hands, and the actas match the official results exactly. They had witnesses present in every voting station, and if there were discrepancies in the audit they would have been present to witness that. Claiming fraud while they have the actas in their hands is just dishonest nonsense.

    This is pure manipulation, plain and simple. We have the same Venezuelan opposition that we had in 2002, 2003, 2004.

    • We have to wait and see. Capriles is claiming there were 3000 instances of irregularities reported by their witnesses. Depending on the seriousness of the complains, they could be very important in such a close election.

      Of course, you believe those 3000 instances are an invention or aren’t serious, so I don’t know why I’m talking to you.

      And just to be clear, I personally don’t believe anything. It is likely as well that Capriles decided to request a recount because if he didn’t do so, in the face such a close result, he would loose the support of his most radical (crazy) supporters, who would then see him as a pussy docile to the government. If this is what his doing, it’s a big gamble, and it would be better to quit now or risk loosing even more support from the moderates.

      But again, this is just a possibility. We will know the truth soon. Either Capriles shows the evidence or he doesn’t. That’s it. The problem is that if the evidence is only the witnessing of irregularities (as opposed to finding an disagreement in the total sum of the voting tables), then that will just be dismissed by people like you. Heck! Even if Capriles said the totals don’t agree and he has the “actas” to prove it, you will never believe it, will you?

      • “We have to wait and see.”

        Wait and see?? Is that what you think Capriles is doing?? He has the actas in his hands, he can do his own count. But he isn’t waiting to have evidence. He’s creating chaos.

        There are already 4 people dead as a result.

        http://www.noticias24.com/venezuela/noticia/162927/opositores-desatan-ola-de-violencia-4-muertos-ataques-a-cdi-y-casa-del-psuv-y-acoso-a-chavistas-en-sus-casas/

        “Capriles is claiming there were 3000 instances of irregularities reported by their witnesses. Depending on the seriousness of the complains, they could be very important in such a close election.”

        Then show how those irregularities affected the results. So far we’ve only seen random photos and videos of things that would have had very little influence over the end results, and Capriles has NEVER explained how any of that constitutes “fraud”. Instead, he’s simply calling for people to take to the streets without any solid evidence.

        “Even if Capriles said the totals don’t agree and he has the “actas” to prove it, you will never believe it, will you?”

        I don’t know what would happen if this were the case. But I imagine there are formal mechanisms for denouncing this sort of situation.

        “he would loose the support of his most radical (crazy) supporters”

        That’s his problem. Not the rest of the country’s problem. Four people are dead now as a result of this manipulation.

        • You know the murder rate in your country is bad when you can’t even be sure that murders were politically related or not.

        • “We have to wait and see.”

          Wait and see?? Is that what you think Capriles is doing??

          ———————————

          I said WE have to wait and see. Or at least that’s what I will do. Capriles doesn’t have to wait for anything. He has to act, and soon. Show the evidence or shut up.

          Even if they are working on collecting the evidence (I don’t know if it’s reasonable or not to expect this should take a while). Capriles should now appear on the media and calm down his “wackos”, before things get out of control.

        • thousands had died because of the mismanagement of socialist in charge of the country, and you don’t seem to care, so why should you care about 4 peoples dying. I have yet to see why this is Capriles’s fault? It could be your own people staging this killing to justify a retaliation against Capriles.

        • Pure and utter speculation as to who committed those murders. For all we know so far the folks in those photographs could be anybody. Hell, one of them might even be you, Clue.

          As for the deaths, the ones always riding motorcycles and shooting people are aligned with the government, so likely it was a “self inflicted” operation.

          But we’ve come to expect no less from a Palangrista like you.

        • I think Maduro is. Most of the people who went out last night to bang pans did so peacefully. There were attacks on both sides, if there were even sides and not provocateurs (could’ve been from both sides, hilariously enough). There were two armed Tupamaros killed by the National guard at a student protest. Andrés Izarra and Carvajalino called for motorizados (motorcycle gangs) to patrol.

          What is Maduro thinking in this picture: http://cdn.eluniversal.com/2013/04/15/madurorp150413afpajustada.jpg.520.360.thumb.jpg

            • The same way Chavez benefited from polarization? Delegitimize Capriles completely, put him in shackles, then where is the opposition? Back to square one.

            • In my opinion, that’s a good and very valid question: Maybe the PSUV support for Maduro is not as solid as he says it is, and he thinks that a swift and strong response to opposition protesters will strengthen his position inside chavismo (just a guess on my part).

              But an even more important question is why is Maduro NOT defusing the crisis. That’s a simple thing to do for him:

              – Delay the swearing in a couple days. He is currently the acting president, so that should do no harm to his power.

              – Go for the full audit. If he is confident about really winning, a full audit will strongly endorse his mandate both inside and outside Venezuela, gaining an stateman coating along the way.

              So, Maduro can easily defuse the crisis and get political gain from doing so. Why is he not doing it then, and risking political damage?.

              • He wants violence to escalate?
                People burning stuff and the like is not good. It is extremely easy to infiltrate the opposition and manipulate the hotheads.
                Chavismo’s best friends are the Poleos of this world.

    • I had the same issues, the same doubts about this whole thing. I talked with a life-long friend of mine who’s working with the CSB and the answer was that the their actas actually don’t match the results, which is why they’ve taken all this steps. This steps, this whole irregularities-and-Maduro-is-not-legitimate position, if you think about it logically (something that you usually do in your posts and require of everyone else to do, too; and I agree with that), makes no sense -politically speaking- unless they’re sure of their claims.

      I know, in the end is their word against the word of the CNE and the government authorities, and whom you trust the most. I guess a 100% audit would shed some light on this, as well as the evidence they will eventually present.

    • There’s no way that they are purposely trying to send false messages about “coup” to create a crisis… nah, no way!!

  20. A few scattered comments : 1st ,nothing unites a group as much as shared anger and indignation , as acting together in pursuit of some common highly focused goal. so the Capriles team may be seeking to create a lasting sprit d’ corp, a rooted emotional feeling of common identity among its followers by engaging in a struggle for the recount of all votes . 2nd .the whole exercise by making plain that a lot of big and small frauds happened during the election process, if well documented and publicized can help unmask the ugly undemocratic face of the regime as it acts to advance its quest for total power using both violence , coercion and deceit. helping destroy the image of the regime as legitimate because it wins all elections. 3rd I agree that the Capriles team already may have what it needs to seriously query the results because of the copies of all the actas its gotten from its witnesses but that it want to go further and embarrass the regime by showing all the violations to electoral law and fair practice that its committed and meantime take time to marshall and organize all the electoral input it received which made it assumme it had won the election. 4th It struck me as noteworthy the emphasis which the CNE spokesperson during her speech made gave to the idea that the only valid numbers where those given by the polling machines as if saying the manual paper vote is irrelevant, so maybe if poll booth counting follows the paper trail it will find indications or proof of fraud and vote tampering . fifth and last the frantic wavering of Maduro and the Psuv’s clique on whether they would allow or not a total recount and their mad rush to proclaim him president might be an indication that they fear the results of an open counting process for what it may reveal . Of course its also possible that they want to provoke a rush of uncontrolled street violence by rank and file members of the opposition so that they can deal with the recount request as a kind of violent revolt which they are justified in repressing ‘with all the power of the law’ in order to ‘save’ the country’s institutions !! This is a standard tactic of theirs, to misrepresent all oppositions actions as subversive to justify to the world their heavy handed treatment of its leaders .

  21. At this point I am uncertain what the MUD message is. The PSUV and company is clear, they will not go for a recount.and will use all the tools of the state to suppress the protest by the opposition. Last night the Capriles message was “maintain course” regardless of the iceberg ahead. Is he really ready to ram that iceberg? I know a few who are spoiling for a fight, is the MUD ready for that? How far is the MUD willing to go this time? It is clear that CNE, the PSUV and friends are not going to budge, April 19 Maduro will take the Oath and that will be the end of the process. What then, a Presidential Recall Referendum? A general strike? Active opposition against the state?

    • Many Many People are ready for the FIGHT. Ready to give their lives in the fight. People are tired of being screwed by the manipulation of the law, institutions, and the process. Many may die but the chavistas are about to find out we will not .go away. The anger and resentment go beyond this election. This may simply be the catalyst. Not everyone has been able or will be able to leave the country. What are they suppose to do? Fight within the system and the law for another 14 years? Roll over and continue to be raped by chavismo? Shut up and be bound as a slave? Many are deciding they would rather fight and die on their feet than live on their knees before their chavista lords.

      • That is exactly what worries me. Venezuela is not Tunisia and presently there is no “Venezuelan Spring” possible that could bring down the regime. Additionally, the opposition is a mosaic , with many having too much to loose if chaos ensues. At best the opposition can try create a situation that would elicit international condemnation and non-recognition of Maduro, next pray for the quick collapse of the economy some believe will occur. Other than that, I don’t see what else the opposition can do.

        My fear is that, while the MUD and PSUV play chess, the anger and resentment on both sides develops a life of its own and the momentum drives them beyond the critical mass necessary for shit to hit the fan.

        Amanecera y veremos.

        • All very true. IF the Regime were sensible, they would allow the Capriles march tomorrow to reach the Caracas CNE without violence/opposition, and then it’s up to the behind-the-scenes actors (Military/MUD/PSUV) to TRY and work things out. But, of course, they are not sensible, so the s— will probably start to hit the fan tomorrow.

  22. Well, I believe you are not understanding Capriles strategy.

    1. By demanding a vote count he is achieving that CNE looks guilty already by refusing to the count.
    2. He is being true to his promise to fight for every vote.
    3. I doubt that MUD had vitnesses in every table and that every witness they “had” was reliable. So it is likely that some of the acts they have are of selected machines by the chavistas. Remember that it would have been sufficient for chavismo to win to change or add a vote per 100 votes.
    4. However if this happened it will be exposed by the matching of the votes, the actas, and the “cuadernos de votacion”.
    5. Even if the count is done and shows nothing wrong it will prove: a) that Capriles is capable of fighting for the votes and b) that there is no fraud in the system such that ‘abstencionistas’ will be withouth an argument.
    6. This fight for the re-count is bringing to the table the other abuses.
    7. If the count is not done this will be another reason to call Maduro illegitimate.

    It is a win-win proposition all the way provided violencie is avoided during the protests and most likely than not fraud was comitted in some of those tables that the MUD did not have reliable witnesses or no witnesses at all.

    And I believe

    • And I do believe that fraud was committed somewhere. Remember that the PSUV did dismantle the platform they were building for the ‘celebration’. Remember that Arreaza brought down the Internet during transmission time. Something is fishy and Capriles is after that. Please support him!

  23. Wellington I there is a say first learn the rules and then lear how to break them.
    This CNE is so RED that it must be a miracle for them to do something.

    First we must have must of the Actas to check against the CNE.
    Two MUD is asking for a complete ballot recount and, this is important, and audit of the books of entry.
    There is evidente of tampering with the books in other ellection, mostly in rural and far areas and that is the KEY in this claim.

  24. Quico,

    Have you seen the interview by Jaime Bayly to Ana Mercedes Diaz (ex-rectora of CNE) that describes a potential loophole on the triple congruence?

    Do you think this is a potential loophole?

    • Thank you for this. Everyone on this Blog should see this video, from a former CNE rectora. There are many ways for electoral fraud to be accomplished in Venezuela, which have not been mentioned, nor could even be imagined, on this Blog.

    • Migul M: Please, for the viewers here, publish Parts 1/1 and 1/2 of this same interview, which shows why HCR cannot yet give full proof of the fraud, since it depends in part on the 9M+ Interior voting station results for which he doesn’ yet have the data. By the way, most of these stations, poorly-witnessed by the Oppo, if at all, have been added in the past few years, including hundreds of “itinerant” stations with no fixed location (making them impossible to witness) Also, of interest, is Bayly’s showing of VTV’s reporting of the election, with a lower screen sub-title band, repeated 3 times in the day, of a Capriles’ 7.7MM votes vs. Maduro 7.5MM votes, but with the percentages reversed favoring Maduro (incredible–they can’t even lie well).

    • No son supervisores. El gobierno o el CNE les cambió el nombre de “observadores” a “acompañantes”, antes de que llegaran a Vzla. Bien me imagino que con el cambio de nombre, hubo un cambio de responsabilidades, o una falta de tal.

      #PotemkinVillages

  25. Guys,

    Does anyone know for sure whether the votes from abroad have NOT been counted? Or are they in the 0.x percent (0.x=100-99.y) that Lucena refers to when she says ” con el 99.y porciento de los votos y votas, bla bla bla…”

    Also, could it be that the opposition has a share of the actas that is small enough that they just do not know who won? As in: maybe they have 70 percent of the actas, they are winning in those by 1 percent, but the actas they have are not representative, e.g., because rural areas are underepresented.

    I worry that given how close this is, the CSB will not be able to tell who won, even if it followed the prescriptions in this post, because it would not be able to get 100 percent of the actas (but 90 percent instead)…

    • The discussion is not about whether votes abroad are counted or not. The discussion is about whether the CNE is transparent and unbiased government organ or a chavista stronghold.
      What Capriles is asking is for an audit of the CNE to show everyone how rotten the Venezuelan government organs have become. Why would you proclaim Maduro if there is discussion about the vote count? I think this is evidence enough and where there is smoke, there is fire

      • Olivier, we are on the same side. I’m not criticizing the strategy, I would just like to have more information.

        • I don{t believe they are included. On the CNE website votes from exterior and inhospitos are not yet listed

        • Luckily we all are on the same side and we are growing stronger every hour. It is not about Capriles vs maduro anymore. It is about the people vs the Chavista cesspool the government has become. We are tired of the abuse. And we do not want to wait on what is to come. If we do not act now than probably in a year the chavistas will be organizing free flights above the carebean for us subversivos. Just like Argentina a did while back. I did not mean to attack you ;)

    • Rafael:

      The overseas votes were counted, once again only after Tibisay came on the air to announce the first “irreversible” bulletin.

      Copies of all of the ‘actas’ are on their way to the Capriles camp by overnight service and should have arrived by now.

      Since each consulate/embassy is in charge of the voting process, I cannot say for certain how quickly they will have moved to send in the actual paper actas to the CNE, but I presume those will likely be sent via diplomatic pouch in many cases, and in others via FedEx and such.

      All of the voting centers in the US have totalled the vote and reported it to Comando SImon Bolivar and many have posted on Facebook.

      For what it’s worth, from DC:

      Padrón Electoral Washington DC: 2,189 electores

      Votos recolectados y escrutados: 1,508

      Henrique Capriles Radonski: 1,432

      Nicolás Maduro: 75

      María Bolívar: 1

      Votos nulos: 0

      Maduro got 6 more votes than Chavez did in 2012, Reina Sequera lost 6 votes from 2012 and Maria Bolivar got very little help here

      • Thanks Roberto N. I voted in DC as well.

        I was thinking mainly about the actas in Vzla, though it helps of course that the CSB is getting the ones from abroad.

  26. BTW, I’m basically repeating some of the stuff the devil has posted on this. The poopy devil, that is.

  27. Quico, so far I though the same thing except:

    If there was no fraud, or if there was fraud and it cannot be detected by doing 100% vote by vote count + entry book check, then:

    1-Why is Maduro in such a hurry to get sworn in?
    2-Why are all top-level chavistas, including Tibi, saying that they will not allow a recount?

    I think maybe the vote by vote count is not enough to prove fraud, but It looks like something fishy is going on and they know that by checking the entry books the MUD will realize that some “dead” people voted and possibly discover the multi-cedulados, etc.

    I don’t think Maduro is in a situation where being swore in while at least half of the country is protesting elections results will help. In fact, this can only help to bring him down faster. As economic crisis explodes, the “ilegitimo” label can do him a lot of damage.

  28. When I listen to past results speeches from Tbisay Lucena, she never says the results are irreversible.
    For example, for last October http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joYF2CnpUJ0

    On Sunday, she said “irreversible” at least 5 times.
    To me this is a certain indicator of fraud. Tbisay did not want an investigation.

    • By the half-way mark of her 14A speech, I had counted 3 “irreversibles”. Furthermore, she said about the proceso irreversible, something to the effect: al que el pueblo se ha acostumbrado. :-0 . She never mentioned any laws supporting her conclusion over the “irreversibility” of the results.

      • Syd,since I know you’re watching, please read my last comment on Miguel M’s post, and act on it, if you see fit. Thanks. NET

  29. So far, are any of the accusations of ballot boxes burning true? All I’ve seen have been the old photographs that have already been disposed of but still several sources insist on mentioning that some electoral material has already been disposed of.

  30. Casto Cocando @COCANDO tweeted: ‘Sectores militares presionan a Maduro y al CNE para reconteo 100%. Reuniones en desarrollo.’ Cocando is a univision reporter in the States

  31. Oh well, seems like deja vu… I am starting to get the uneasy feeling that HCR has no evidence of fraud and that he is only alienating this new opposition base that he has now (which is so much bigger than the guarimba/altamira crowd)…

    IF there is fraud: put all the actas in a binder prove how they don’t add up to a Maduro victory… and do it quickly!…..
    …But IF we lost by 1% we should accept the results, that is what HCR agreed to when he ran for office (and sorry, but asking for a recount without evidence of fraud is not responsible)

    … this is sad, hope we’re not back to 2004 all over again

    • This time is different. Capriles is not making an irresponsible claim. 50+% is a majority anti-Chavista, and growing daily. People are fed up with the “tramparencia” of this Regimen, and are not going to roll over this time (like after the April 11 slaughter). Who said no evidence? There is military backing for a re-count, with a privately-reported 14 Lieutenant Coronel batallion commanders detained.

    • Disagree with that reasoning. Fraud and vote count are 2 different issues. A recount is necessary to insure the correctness of the reported result even if there was no fraud. Additionally a case can be made for fraud in the election and/or manipulation of the result after the voting.

  32. Whilst we immerse ourselves in the 1% debate and suggesting Capriles gets a move on I cannot but think there is a much much higher “discussion” ongoing at this moment in time.

    Those involved in that game of bluff and so on have already accepted or otherwise the 1% concept. As minions we are collecting the scraps from the ground and as a consequence bumping in to a lot of trees.

    This is a high level game to the end. There will be a loser and a painful one at that.

    I suspect we are lucky if we know 1% of that which is ongoing at this moment in time, at any time come to that.

  33. The fraud is that there are more votes than voters. There were not new voters in this election as they used the same registry from the Octuber 7th election, yet the CNE Website indicates there are around 49K new voters? Counting the number of paper receipts and comparing them to the number of signatures in the acts is what is going to demonstrate the fraud.

  34. Very good FT….much better than your RR and Rosales days! How do you feel about the whole election being a red herring? The notion that “el pueblo” will rise (or come down from the hills) in what is termed ‘social implosion’ will not unseat the Cubans.

  35. Ok, I get the whole red herring and slow and steady wins the race.

    Now, what if the government is actually executing the alleged strategy of self-attack as to justify jailing of opposition leaders (and of course, represion). Or what if capriles’ march tomorrow turns out into another 11-A?

    I guess that if any of the above happens, then,the 100% audit won’t be as much a problem as it is now…

    That’s where things seems headed. I hope the oppo is prepared for that kind of scenarios.

    • Not sure what exactly this means, but El Universal has an “Urgente” message at the top of their screen, “12:38 PM Gobierno niega permiso para marcha hasta el CNE mañana”

  36. Rocío San Miguel ‏@rociosanmiguel 1min
    Maduro prohibe la marcha al centro de Caracas mañana y ordena “mano dura”. Tendrá que suspender las garantías constitucionales entonces…

  37. Meanwhile they have a cadena on TV so nobody knows… this is about to get really horrible. They are provoking the opposition..

  38. El que gana en bingo enseña el cartón, tan senciilliiiito como eso. When one wins in Bingo you show your game card. Easy as that

    • In theory, half the boxes plus one are randomly chosen after voting has stopped and after machines have transmitted their tallies to CNE.

  39. I’ve heard and read time after time, that Maduro “won” by LESS, the media says, by less than 2%. Why they difference, because in a vote for the President, that could mean a lot!

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