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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 4/16 (342 comments)

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  •  I think the problem here... (15+ / 0-)

    Is that the state's resources were thrown behind Acting President Maduro, who refused to allow election observers to actually observe the election, and that the election commission has been in a rush to certify the results before any investigation into these irregularities or any sign of the audit Maduro has promised to comply with.

    To me, it's rather reminiscent of that Russian presidential election that President Putin narrowly "won" (although that "win" was avoiding a runoff by clearing 50%, IIRC), or the Iranian presidential election that President Ahmadinejad narrowly "won". Clear abuse of authority on the part of the incumbent's political organization, widespread reports of irregularities, refusal to allow international observers to do their jobs, refusal to allow independent investigations into the irregularities before the election was certified, and now a violent crackdown on opposition protests in the wake of the election. It's an uncanny pattern.

    •  Problem is more with coubting then results (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SaoMagnifico, ArkDem14

      The %s are plausible on their own but the results were delayed by two hours after they were at 92% counted, and the final turnout looks to be close to 83% when the electoral commission had previously predicted below 70%. In turn, this election represents a continuing inflation of the electoral register since 2004 in which its pretty mich doubled.

      Again regardless of who won, the election was conducted in a manner that undermines any confidence in the results

    •  Or the 1988 Mexican presidential election (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SaoMagnifico

      when the computer system crashed during the vote counting, and when it was restored the establishment-favored PRI candidate Ernesto Zedillo had miraculously pulled ahead.  Subsequently electoral evidence that might have proved the result wrong was destroyed after the PRI-led Congress voted to do so.

      37, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

      by Mike in MD on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 12:20:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, I'm not opposed to a recount (7+ / 0-)

      I think a recount strengthens legitimacy for Maduro if he has truly won and provides comfort for the opposition. I fully support a recount. What I dislike is the hypocrisy and cockamamie of Washington trying to act as if it's interested in Venezuelan democracy when the true reason is less about democracy and more about political "strategeries". Did Washington care about the coup in Paraguay against left-wing Fernando Lugo? Not really. The US has a long established policy of standing up for democracy only when it benefits the center-right/right wing caudillos in Latin America and making up wild excuses when it comes to center-left/left wing governments as excuses to topple them or weaken them politically (see Allende, Goulart, Juan Jose Torres, Bordaberry, Alvarado, Operation Condor, Operation Charly, etc). So when the US government tells me Venezuela's government is illegitimate and the rightful winners were the right-wing (or probably the right wing), I look back at those same statements being uttered by countless US presidents since the end of WWII to justify the end of left-wing rule in Latin America and I cringe. The US should just drop the shtick about supporting democracy because no one's buying it.

      I still think Maduro's days as President are numbered but I don't think Capriles legitimately won. 235,000 votes is too many votes to make up and too many votes to simply forge. As for a recount, why not? As to your other point, Ahmadinejad "won" 62.63%-33.86% and Putin "won" 63.6% to 17.18% so those were not faked small margins at all.  At the same time, the illegitimacy of Iran and Russia is grounded in the fact that the most competitive reformist candidates are blocked from even running for a plethora of BS reasons. The idea of Capriles not being able to run is unthinkable and that sets Venezuela apart from the other countries you named. As I continue to say, Venezuela is no more corrupt than any other Latin American country and our infatuation with labeling every election there as fraudulent is more grounded in ideological differences with the regime than with the facts on the ground.

      21, Male, Latino-Spanish, OK-1 (Tulsa: The Art Deco, Terracotta, and Cultural Gem of Green Country!); Currently studying in Madrid, Spain

      by gigantomachyusa on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 12:24:05 PM PDT

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      •  I think you are telling many right things (3+ / 0-)

        These are the kind of things that make the US unpopular in some countries.

        We see recently the case of Paraguay and the case of Honduras, that are a lot worse cases than this in terms of the Democracy failing.

        It would be better if the United States break not always in support of the latin american right. If someone is in the left in the United States is the Democratic Party.

        If the United States left prefer always the latin american right, there is not other chance for the latin american left than to find allies in other parts of the world.

      •  Venezuela's election was run in a manner where (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SaoMagnifico, aggou

        Maduro was given about 100x more airtime than Capriles, who had four minutes per day of coverage.
        Not to mention the fact that Maduro is a disciple of the autocratic Chavez, which automatically casts doubt on his commitment to democracy.  With the election this close and Venezuela under Maduro already likely to be a US enemy just as it was under Chavez, I don't see the harm in trying to make sure the election was fair.  In 2000, the election was truly too close to tell who won, and we got screwed over.  But Al Gore got the same airtime as Bush did, and Al Gore and George W. Bush both support democracy.

        20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
        politicohen.com
        Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
        UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

        by jncca on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 03:36:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Source? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gabjoh

          "Venezuela's election was run in a manner where
          Maduro was given about 100x more airtime than Capriles, who had four minutes per day of coverage"

          21, Male, Latino-Spanish, OK-1 (Tulsa: The Art Deco, Terracotta, and Cultural Gem of Green Country!); Currently studying in Madrid, Spain

          by gigantomachyusa on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 04:08:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  here (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gygaxian, propjoe, SaoMagnifico
            How tilted was the playing field? Take the National Electoral Council. After Chávez's death, the council decided the official presidential campaign would last only 10 days and each candidate would be allowed just four minutes of airtime daily. That decision meant that the opposition had less than an hour of television time for the entire campaign, while the government was allowed those same four minutes plus an additional 70 minutes per channel per week for “institutional” broadcasts. During the Chávez era, those broadcasts had already become indistinguishable from electoral ads. For Maduro, it was no different: Many centered on his approval of massive spending for public works at nearly every campaign stop.
            http://www.slate.com/...

            20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
            politicohen.com
            Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
            UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

            by jncca on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 04:09:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So more like 15x, not 100x (0+ / 0-)

              I hadn't remembered the statistics, but it's still a huge difference.

              20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
              politicohen.com
              Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
              UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

              by jncca on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 04:10:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Or you were saying 100x for the dramatic effect (4+ / 0-)

                lol. Like I said, this might seem incredibly out-of-the-ordinary and as absolute evidence that the system is rigged yet I again posit that these institutional deficiencies are not endemic to solely Venezuela. Latin America for decades has suffered from an electoral system that needs fixing. Campaign finance laws are messed up all over the place and media exposure laws also need revising (not just in Venezuela but in Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, etc). The problem is that these laws that the Slate article notes benefit the government in power. So when Chavez was running in 1998, he was opposed to these laws and the systemic advantages afforded to the government in power. When he came to control government, he changed his mind about the law. Capriles is at the disadvantage of these laws but when he becomes president (2019 seems likely) he will probably keep them. These laws should be seen as the byproduct of a woefully inept judicial system that lacks the power to stand up to the legislative and executive branch. But judicial weakness is characteristic of most Latin American governments and not simply Venezuela (I'm a citizen of Panama as well as the US and the Panamanian Supreme Court patterned after SCOTUS is full of right-wing cronies for the Martinelli Administration).

                You have to remember that Latin America has never been a democratic society. It has always suffered some horrible handicap in the development of a civic society (Spanish colonialism leads to the Roosevelt Corollary leads to the Cold War conflict). Only since the 1980s have Latin governments begun to reform but the process takes decades to materialize. Latin America right now is in it's Andrew Jackson "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it" phase. Some governments have made more progress than others on judicial independence (notably Brazil) but Latin America is the embodiment of a strong executive political model. It's why Latin America for decades has had military leaders. The system is rigged and outsiders once elected become part of the corrupt system. Look at leaders today: Colombia has a military figure, Venezuela has a military figure, Nicaragua has a military figure, and most other leaders have strong ties to the military (Dilma Rousseff was once a guerilla fighter tortured by the dictatorship if you recall). So the problem in Venezuela is not endemic to Venezuela and wouldn't even be considered discernible were it not for the more bombastic style of the Socialists and America's interest due to offshore oil (and the newly drilled Orinoco basin). Many of the parties supporting Capriles are now run by men who 20 or 30 years ago benefited from the same system now used by the Socialists. When in charge, do you really think they will reform these laws? I don't. They will do the same thing the Socialists did. For all the praise about Capriles I have yet to be told one positive thing he's done to change the political climate or system of his country or state. He talks the talk but is backed up by the same politicians who messed up the country so badly in the 1990s that the citizenry was desperate enough to take a gamble on Chavez in the first place.

                My only criticism is that America's indignation about Venezuela is not motivated by American love for democracy. We castigate Venezuela because it is in our strategic interest (Oil, Oil, Oil) to have a more right-wing government in charge. Fox News and the politicians keep crowing about democracy. Anathema towards Venezuela runs deeper than lofty democratic visions for the country.  It's about more than democracy. Dictators in countries with no strategic interest get by with a slap on the wrist and a toothless UN Resolution (Uganda, Chad, Congo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Cameroon, Uzbekistan (whose dictator has boiled his political opponents), Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus). It's only when American strategic interests are involved that we feign outrage towards those damned dictators who won't leave their people alone (Iraq-oil, Libya-oil, Venezuela-oil, Iran-oil). Saudi Arabia gives us oil so we turn the other way. Lord knows the second the Saudi government turns off the tap we will suddenly be outraged and morally disgusted at their 40 years of maiming, torturing, usurping civil rights, destroying lives, lynchings, whippings, etc. Let's not kid ourselves into thinking 'democracy' is the crux of this conflict. It's not.

                21, Male, Latino-Spanish, OK-1 (Tulsa: The Art Deco, Terracotta, and Cultural Gem of Green Country!); Currently studying in Madrid, Spain

                by gigantomachyusa on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 05:03:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't think anyone is pretending... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Gygaxian, aggou, jncca

                  That this problem is unique to Venezuela or that Venezuela is a despotic regime on par with Turkmenistan or Saudi Arabia. And I agree a lot of U.S. animus toward Venezuela is because their now-dead strongman and his Mini-Me have an irritating propensity for supporting our enemies, inventing outlandish conspiracy theories about our government, and just generally trying really hard to piss us off.

                  But the counter of that, which is pretending that Venezuela is a liberal paradise and that President Chavez and Acting President Maduro are the larger-than-life heroes the Venezuelan government-media complex claims they are, is just ludicrous.

                  Do you think Gov. Capriles would have been allowed to take office if the election commission had reported that he won the election? Because personally, I don't.

                  •  We tried to topple his government (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bumiputera, Stephen Wolf

                    I would be a little miffed too if Washington tried to oust me undemocratically. You have to compare Chavez pre-coup to post-coup because they were different men. Chavez has always been a rabble rouser but he never posed a threat to the US and only truly became a paranoid, spiteful individual against Washington after the coup attempt. Here's video of him in 1998: http://www.youtube.com/.... He doesn't attack the US, he supports private capital and he openly labels Cuba a dictatorship. You can say he was lying the entire time but I think the coup we orchestrated against him left bitter scars and forced him to ally with countries he normally would not even be open to for ideological reasons (Iran principally).

                    I encourage you to watch 'The Revolution will not be televised' about the coup attempt against Chavez: http://www.youtube.com/...

                    21, Male, Latino-Spanish, OK-1 (Tulsa: The Art Deco, Terracotta, and Cultural Gem of Green Country!); Currently studying in Madrid, Spain

                    by gigantomachyusa on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 02:05:03 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Iran (0+ / 0-)

                  isn't really helping their case with the nuclear weapons though.

                  Living in Kyoto-06 (Japan), voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

                  by sapelcovits on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:35:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Chavez was autocratic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gigantomachyusa

          but popular among the overall population.

          "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

          by ArkDem14 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 04:47:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ahmadinejad didn't narrowly "win" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      betelgeux, ArkDem14

      he "won" 63-34. Of course, the ballot counting process is completely centralized in the Revolutionary Guard, so it could easily be fraudulent.

      25, Practical Progressive Democrat (-9.38, -8.51), Gay, IN-02 - Defeat Wacky Jackie for 2014!

      by HoosierD42 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 03:11:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We don't know anything about Iran (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gabjoh, bumiputera

        The U.S. media and Americans across-the-board just imposed a lot of American wishful thinking on that election.  The dude we hate easily might've won legit anyway, with or without fraud.

        45, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

        by DCCyclone on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 06:41:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not asserting that the election was falsified. (0+ / 0-)

          But it's astronomically more likely when the elections process is centrally housed in a ideological institution with a vested interest in keeping its authority.

          25, Practical Progressive Democrat (-9.38, -8.51), Gay, IN-02 - Defeat Wacky Jackie for 2014!

          by HoosierD42 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:31:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It seems like Nate Silver... (0+ / 0-)

        Crunched the numbers and concluded that the election was probably way closer than was officially reported.

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