Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Surprise, surprise! It appears that Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's hand-picked successor was truly (and just) that. His narrow electoral "victory" appears to have been engineered by an election machine heavily assisted by Cuba:
On April 14, everything was in place to ensure a Chavista electoral victory just as it did last October. However, that machinery could not compensate for Maduro's failure to motivate his party's base. Instead, the system detected an impending defeat in time for the Chavista authorities to tamper with the vote primarily in polling places where they knew opposition monitors were absent..[sic]The article details how the Chavistas, with lots of help from Cuba, rigged the elections, such as by "reminding" people with government jobs to vote and sending opposition supporters to vote at inconvenient locations.
It is telling that since the night of the election the [Venezuelan National Electoral Council] has stripped all precinct-level reporting from its website. However, the opposition's monitors collected tally sheets from at least 60 percent of the voting centers, including some that show a 15-30 percent drop in turnout in Chavista bastions since last October's election. Reports that opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski won in some of the poorest neighborhoods of the country suggest that Maduro was defeated soundly.
I agree with the author that such findings will erode the moral legitimacy of the current regime, but do wonder what practical consequence this can have, given the details about how the voting was rigged.
Oh, and then there are other problems with removing such a regime (i.e., Why it came into power in the first place, and why a principled opponent of Chavez didn't arise). Even the freest elections can kill freedom, if the voters don't want or understand it enough.
4-9-13: Corrected a typo.