The US State Department is at it again, supporting attempts to overturn the results of the Venezuelan election and plotting against the United Socialist Party government.
The election held following the death of Hugo Chavez was won by vice-president Nicolas Maduro. But
US secretary of state John Kerry is
supporting opposition calls for a recount.
As soon as the result was announced, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles presented a series of claims of fraud to the electoral commission. Maduro agreed to a recount, but the electoral commission turned Capriles down. Analysis shows that all the claims he made were entirely false.
In fact, it is virtually impossible to rig a Venezuelan election (unlike in the United States where George Bush was gerrymandered into power by election fraud courtesy of “hanging chads” and the Supreme Court).
There are no "hanging chads" in
Venezuela which has a bang
up-to-date touch screen voting system. The voter touches the screen to record
their vote electronically and then gets a paper receipt which they verify and
put in a ballot box.
The electronic tally is then compared with the paper ballot. To rig the result you would have to first somehow hack into the central computer of the electoral commission and then interfere with the paper ballots to make sure they matched.
The fact that his claims were shown to be false didn't stop Capriles appealing to the Supreme Court, which also turned him down. The court's president said the request was nothing more than "a deceit of the people" aimed at destabilising the country.
Seven government supporters have been killed and 60 injured in demonstrations and semi-riots organised by the opposition. Maduro has now publicly voiced his view that the
United States and the opposition are
planning a rerun of the 2000 coup attempt to topple Chavez.
So just how close is this election result? Well not as close as the one that gave Kerry his chance at the State Department.
Maduro won 50.66% of the vote on a turnout of 78% of the electorate. In the 2012
election Obama won 51.1% of the vote on a turnout of 57.5%. Some 93 million eligible Americans did not
vote. So which leader has a stronger mandate?
97% of eligible voters are on the register whereas in the US a dozen states have been pushing
through laws on identity, birth certificates and education, specifically
designed to deprive poor voters of their rights.
in Caracas is
full of CIA spooks and agents provocateurs,
as was proved by State Department cables published on Wikileaks. One
cable sent in November 2006 details how dozens of non-government
organisations (NGOs) were financially maintained by the US
government-funded Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Office
of Transition Initiatives (OTI).
This included “over 300 Venezuelan civil society organizations”, ranging from disability advocates to education programs. All very well-intentioned you might think.
However the real purpose was revealed by then-US ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield as “penetrating Chavez’s political base... dividing Chavismo... protecting vital
US business ...[and] isolating
Chavez internationally”. The strategic objective was to develop "opposition-aligned
civil society organisations".
So far Capriles is the closest the
US has got to
achieving this. He is a relatively astute, Columbia University-educated tax
lawyer who comes from a wealthy family. He has recognised that there is no way
to win elections on a platform of dismantling the social and political achievements
of the Chavez era, so he claims he will continue them.
His main target is
Venezuela's oil and other
resources, which he would make “more efficient” by transferring them to the
private sector and opening them up to exploitation by the big oil corporations.
Although the Wikileaks cable refers to a period when George W. Bush was in the White House, there can be little doubt that the Obama administration’s reactionary foreign policy continues his predecessor’s policy of destabilisation. For
democracy is alright – unless you don’t get the result you want.