The Maduro government is far from perfect, but Venezuela’s election systems are considered world-leading – when the country is not the target of Western regime-change plans and ‘economic war’
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has joined the EU in issuing an ‘ultimatum’ to Venezuela that unless Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro calls ‘new democratic’ elections, the UK will recognise ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido.
This is entirely in line with the US-led international chorus against Venezuela’s socialist government – but moves to recognise Guaido’s self-appointment and overturn the country’s government in the name of ‘democracy’ would be laughable, if they were not transparent and sinister.
Because only a few short years ago – before Trump decided targeting Venezuela was in his interest – even one of the ‘leading lights’ of capitalism was praising the security and tamper-proofing of country’s election systems as ‘a model for the world’.
Forbes is a leading business magazine whose lists of the rich and powerful are famous. Yet in 2014, the publication held up Venezuela’s election processes and technology as a global leader:
Forbes praised the technology, the encryption, the multiple checks and proofs against vote-rigging of the Venezuela system – supported by the fact that in an election the international community expected Hugo Chavez’s preferred successor Nicolas Maduro to win easily, he scraped through by a mere 1.83%.
Eugenio Martinez, writing for Forbes, had set out looking to prove that Maduro’s narrow win was a result of rigging – yet by the end of his investigation he had to conclude that it was proof of a world-class, democratic system:
The system Venezuela uses has some of the most advanced and voter-friendly security features in modern elections. Voters use a touch-sensitive electronic pad to make and confirm their choices. After confirmation, the electronic vote is encrypted and randomly stored in the machine’s memories. Voters audit their own vote by reviewing a printed receipt that they then place into a physical ballot box.Eugenio Martinez for Forbes
At the end of Election Day, each voting machine computes and prints an official tally, called a precinct count. It transmits an electronic copy of the precinct count to the servers in the National Electoral Council’s central facility, where overall totals are computed.
By mutual agreement between the contenders, 52.98% of the ballot boxes are chosen at random, opened, and their tallies compared with the corresponding precinct counts. This audit step ensures that no vote manipulation has occurred at the polling place. The extent of this audit, the widest in automatic elections, leaves little room for questioning.
The series of tests before, during, and after a Venezuelan election is thorough and intense, conducted in the presence of election officials and political parties to ensure proper functionality and full confidence in the system. When it comes to elections, Venezuela has become a highly advanced nation of auditors, with the most advanced audit tools at its disposal and a voting process that is as transparent as any in the world.
The Maduro government is far from perfect – as could be said of any government in the world – and its actions are as likely to have exceeded what is right as those of any government under existential threat and the conveniently-ignored terrorist actions of those trying to bring it down.
But Venezuela’s election systems were lauded as world-leading and of exemplary transparency – by a writer who set out to prove otherwise and was writing for a magazine that had no reason to be kind to a leftist president and his government.
Yet this week, Venezuelan election results are being labelled as rigged as if it is self-evident and incontrovertible, by right-wing politicians and their media allies.
Any thinking person must at least consider the possibility that the public is being presented with a narrative and ask what the right would stand to gain by demonising a left-wing government and ‘forgetting’ the status of its electoral system.
As Venezuela sits on the world’s biggest oil reserves, it doesn’t take too much imagination.
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