Hunt issues Maduro election ‘ultimatum’ – but Forbes called Venezuela elections ‘model for the world’

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.

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.

Eugenio Martinez for Forbes

SKWAWKBOX comment:

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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    1. Sir Alan Duncan made a speech on yesterday’s PM programme on R4.
      ‘Interviewer’ made no challenge whatsoever.

  1. Yes the Right Wing Neo-Liberal Barbarian legal capitalist thieves are ganging up on our brothers and sisters in Venezeuela.
    We need to stand by them as the US tries to steal its oil and the middle class anc upper class there are funded by the US to create chaos and the rich families who own most stores deliberately deny essentials to try to bring democracy down!
    It me reminds me of the film Sparticus and perhaps – I am Madura!
    In fact I have deciced declare my presidency of the World Ha! Ha!
    My first act is to declare my love for the diverse US working people and my second is to bring the right wing rich Barbarians in the US to trial for their crimes against democratic countries over the last 40 years.
    This would bring mass celebrations around the World.
    But if would need a symbolic result – put Trump in jail – lock him up! Lock him up!
    P.S. US Republicans gerrymander boundaries and make it as hard as possible for the poor and black citizens to vote and Clinton BEAT Trump by 3m votes in the popular vote.
    You have to admire the Gaul of the Right Wing Neo-Liberal Barbarians.
    Diverse working people of the World unite!

  2. American ‘democracy’ is a shambolic scandal:

    Voting machines which give out the wrong choice… Voters taken off the register… Collected ballots being ignored… ID schemes designed to dissuade blacks, minorities and the poor from voting. False antisemitism accusations directed at opponents prior to elections (Cynthia Nixon, New York).

    The list goes on, yet the United States lectures the world on democracy.

  3. It’s an extraordinary event in International affairs; it means States can not only decide who they’d prefer in power and wage war until the Legitimate Ruler is chased away or shot but it’s also a sea change in diplomacy, forget the IN Charter; it’s already an historical relic. Now States, like the UK, can simply declare they don’t like the person elected into office and if there isn’t a change then, thank you very much, they’ll hang onto that £900 billion in your gold they guaranteed would be safe in London.

    1. Yes interesting stuff but NOW is the time to stand by our Venezeualan brothers and sisters.
      Had to laugh though, Right Wing US Republican Barbarians talking about Chavez stealing the peoples wealth when they legally steal the surplus labour of working people as the Neo-Liberal capitalists do in every country of the World!
      Solidarity with our brothers and sisters!

  4. Yes the Tory Neo-Liberal Barbarians when the US Right Wing Neo-Liberals Barbarians say “Jump!” Say “How High?”

  5. Namaste Skwawkbox,

    Democracy doesn’t exist in America anymore…that is if it ever did in the first place. As with any other right-wing administration, Democracy is a typo for tyranny and dictatorship, whilst neo-liberalism is a misnomer for fascism: ’tis why the UK under this illiberal Tory regime is fast becoming the 51st state of America.

    One wonders what Russia’s ultimate response will be to the crisis in Venezuela?



  6. If the Trunt gets away with this it’ll shift MSM-think toward justification of military intervention in any state driven toward economic failure by US sanctions and media war.
    Pompeo’s “Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem” today and the re-hiring of Abrams (Abrams FFS!) are clearly intended to intimidate.

    The oil may even be secondary to warning democracies like ours where there’s a healthy left wing capable of winning elections: “Look how far we’re willing to go when our rule is challenged – don’t risk our wrath by voting Left.”
    Neoliberals never admit to the vast job losses that AI will soon bring but they understand it better than anyone – we’ll see military expansion and recruits indoctrinated with neoliberalsm-for-dummies – the more we complain, the bigger the army.

    The UN can’t stop the US but if it stays silent on this we need a new UN.

  7. Skwarkbox’s article largely misses the point, unlike some of the comrades making comments.

    Under international law it does not matter whether a country is a democracy or a dictatorship. Other countries are to accept as a matter of state sovereignty the system of government within the state.

    Consider for instance the Kingdom is Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy. Where is the clamour for regime change there?

    So one must resist the temptation to “argue the toss” over how democratic or undemocratic a state is.

    There are only two circumstances in which states are lawfully permitted to launch attacks on other states: in self-defence or at the authorisation of the UN Security Council. This is why there had to be the WMD yarn in relation to Iraq and the dodgy idea of “preventative self-defence” in that instance.

    The Left will be making a mistake if it kowtows to the notion that the legitimacy of a state in international law should depend on adherence to ever-shifting criteria of democracy.

    1. “Under international law it does not matter whether a country is a democracy or a dictatorship. Other countries are to accept as a matter of state sovereignty the system of government within the state.”

      For once, I unreservedly agree with you. Before any other considerations, this is the crucial issue. It does, as you point out, let despicable regimes ‘get away with it’, but the alternative is a pick ‘n’ mix approach to the definition of sovereignty (in the basic sense of the word) in the context of basic international law.

      For some time, Venezuela has been an economic and social shit-show – driven by US interests, but also by increasing corruption and graft internally.

      But.as said, acceding to blatant US interference in a well-established historic mode is inexcusable.

  8. The irony for us is that Hunt’s knowledge of Venezuela is likely to be an opinion formed through reading “journalism” written by people who’ve never been to Venezuela and the conservative trope “Corbyn = Venezuela”. Completely agree with Danny above, this has nothing to do do with Hunt….or Europe.

  9. The election “ultimatum” is part of the greater plan which started with Trump recognising Juan Guaido as interim president. This will culminate in Mr Guaido inviting foreign intervention.
    Juan Guaido was for a short period, head of the national assembly. The National assembly has been replaced by the Constituent Assembly and on January 22, 2019 it was reported that “Venezuela’s Supreme Court head Maikel Moreno announced on Monday that the judges had disavowed Juan Guaido as the chief of the opposition-controlled National Assembly.” He has no legitimacy in Venezuelan law.
    So….you are likely to have a man who very few people in Venezuela know, inviting foreign forces to come in and overthrow the legitimate government. This is a carbon copy of Libya and will kick off with “sharpshooters” killing innocent demonstrators. The scene is set.

    1. ‘…and will kick off with “sharpshooters” killing innocent demonstrators…’ Very well said.

      One might add: and subsequent motion tabled in parliament seeking authorization to join the “international community” in offering humanitarian assistance, blah, blah, blah…’, which our ‘centrist’ MPs will duly vote for.

      1. …and will kick off with [US-backed] “sharpshooters” killing innocent demonstrators…’

        …if Maduro’s sharpshooters don’t get Guaido first. I imagine no effort is being spared in this regard and Guaido probably has the finest close-protection US money can buy…

  10. D’ya know what I’d just love to see?

    Maduro, trump, hunt and all the leaders of all the other countries in a room, with hunt making all sorts of demands like he’s some sort of badass.

    …Then ‘SHAZAM’ And there’s just hunt and Maduro left in the room

    ‘You were saying, signor pencil-neck??’

  11. ‘Neo-Liberals ye Barbarians.
    Attack poor Venezuala it in own place.
    And Gaul screams the cause of freedom.
    From the lips of a Janus face’
    Stand by Venezuela!

  12. The most disturbing thing is the sheer audacity of the claims and the nakedness of justification. The BBC suggests hyperinflation justifies regime change but that’s about it, no pretending as they usually do, about humanitarian intervention or a military threats. Nothing but ‘we don’t like the Socialist, he must go’. It’s surely an historical breakdown in International Law when America invites the UN to break its own fundamental principles?

    1. ”The BBC suggests hyperinflation justifies regime change but that’s about it, no pretending as they usually do, about humanitarian intervention or a military threats.”

      Glad to know I’m not alone in noticing that, then.

      I remember a few years back (Might’ve been in Chavez’s last days or the v.early days of Maduro’s tenure) The bbc did a story about the regime in Venezuela, interviewing those who were instigating regime change and making an issue of the fact they were exclusively the middle classes and had the countenance of Obama’s administration.

      Overall, the clip seemed rather cynical of those people and their motives, without being supportive of the regime.

      Different story, these days. Donald has piped up, see?

  13. Right Wing US Neo-Liberal Barbarians threaten Venezeula who then defend their democracy by saying your diplomats may as well bugger off but we will have interim offices.
    Then US Secretary accuses the victims of threatening their diplomats, you couldn’t make their Goebells Propaganda up.
    Interesting Russia at UN Security Council on Saturday said the US is trying to stage a coup.
    Solidarity with Socialists in V!

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