Conjugating Fraud in the Conditional Tense

keep-calm-and-think-twice-17It’s an emotional time. People are disoriented, hurt, and angry. Cooler heads generally don’t  prevail at times like these. Still, this post is an exercise in encephalic cryogenics.

Yes, Juan makes a powerful emotional case. But this much I know: the question of who got more votes on April 14th matters.

At the moment, there’s a worrying sense in which Capriles is arguing in the conditional tense. More than “I got more votes on April 14th and therefore I won”, what we’re getting  is something like “X, Y and Z fraudulent things happened on April 14th and if X, Y and Z had not happened, I would have gotten more votes, and therefore I won.” #NiEsLoMismoNiEs…

That X, Y and Z fraudulent things happened is not really in dispute. It’s the second part of that that’s just fundamentally problematic, and when emotion is running this high it’s hard for people to realize just how problematic it is. Because counterfactuals – what would have happened if such and such had been different – are unknowable.

En mi pueblo, they used to say that if my grandmother had had a handlebar she would’ve been a bicycle. But, of course, I don’t really know that: maybe she would have been a tricycle. Or a motorcycle. Maybe if none of the incidencias the Comando Simón Bolívar has documented had taken place Capriles would’ve won by 10,000 votes…or maybe he would have lost by 10,000 votes. We don’t know. We can’t know.

What worries me is that Capriles isn’t really alleging numerical fraud. Just the opposite, Capriles is being quite careful not to say “I am the rightful winner because I can prove, through my actas, that I got more votes.”

He’s calling for a recount of all paper ballots, but if there was reason to believe that a 100% recount would show he had won more votes on the day, he would have the evidence for that. So far that evidence has been forthcoming only in tiny fragments, fragments that seem tangential to his central case. I cannot believe that if the comando had systematic evidence of audit tallies that failed to match the machine tallies they would have “forgotten” to show it by now.

Now, at a time like this, nobody wants to be the buzzkill. But I see people working themselves into a lather as though the little detail about who actually got more votes on the day was inconsequential. It’s not.

Since nobody else is saying it,  I will: in the two places that matter right now – the international community and the armed forces – a fraud claim conjugated in the conditional is just not going to cut it.

If you’re serious about convincing the not-already-convinced that you’re the rightful winner of an election, the price of entry is showing evidence that on the day of the vote more people voted for you than for the other guy. There is no way around this.

186 thoughts on “Conjugating Fraud in the Conditional Tense

    • Unfortunately, a clean vote will not necessarily win the Assembly, because of the Gerrymandering/Hugomandering. Gerrymandering/Hugomandering built into the system. A quote from the link:
      Registered voters/Assembly seat
      Broken down by victors in Circuitos/Circunscripciones/voting districts, not for statewide winners.

      Oppo 255,104
      Chavista 170,144

      Oppo 267,524
      Chavista 179,382

      That is how you get 64% of the Assembly seats with only 48% of the vote. All votes are equal, but some votes are more equal than others.


      • Right, just that a unity slate seems likely to win more seats this time around. …or perhaps I’m being hopeful.


      • As an avid opposition supporter, and after reading this bogus argument so many times over the past years, I finally have to say it: this is simply not true! Simulate the results from the 2010 election using the old system and you will see that the opposition would not have reached proportionality given the results.

        Why? Simple, legally speaking, our system is MIXED and has been since 1999, NOT proportional. 30% of the seats are elected proportionally and 70% of the seats are elected on district level elections and those are not necessarily proportional, specially given that our supporters are highly concentrated. Even using the old districts you can see that the PSUV would win most of the district level elections (even using the results of other elections for those of you thinking that the changes in district and electoral laws changed turnout so that voting would have been different under the old system)

        It is also worth highlighting that changes in the level of proportionality worked in our favor in states like Anzoategui and Zulia, where we won most of the district seats and, under the old system, the PSUV would have had to be compensated with party list seats. It worked against us in states like Delta, Cojedes but…..

        Bottom line:Gerrymandering did take some seats away from us and it is condemnable, changes in proportionality from 60/40 to 70/30 + removing minority party protection has mixed results for us but not to the point in which we would have reached a majority of the seats. The population coefficients to create districts for each state were messed up in the first place…analyze the whole system completely before repeating and repeating the official opposition line.


        • …analyze the whole system completely before repeating and repeating the official opposition line.
          From my above link:

          An examination of the number of registered voters in voting districts shows how Chavez and his minions structured electoral fraud into the system. A more egregious example follows. You can click on Miranda-3 and Miranda-7 to find out the number of registered voters. We find out that in Miranda-3, which went oppo, there are 321,909 registered voters. We find out that in Miranda-7, which went Chavista, there are 137,843 registered voters. [data from 2010 registered voters. Current data will have different numbers, but in roughly the same proportions.]

          Regarding this being “the official opposition line,” my reply is that I did this research myself, and have not seen any evidence of anyone else having also done it w regards to Miranda-7 and Miranda-3, nor with the registered voters/ Oppo-PSUV district seat for Miranda and Carabobo in my above comment.

          If this was the “official opposition line,” then where were all the other people citing the same data? Enquiring minds want to know.

          Simulate the results from the 2010 election using the old system and you will see that the opposition would not have reached proportionality given the results.
          Regarding splitting the vote between statewide seats and district seats, and how this relates to who wins or doesn’t win seats, I don’t know enough to comment on the matter.
          My point was simply that given the gerrymandering, an oppo legislative victory is not likely, and I see no reason to retract that statement. Regarding which trend- gerrymandering or statewide seats- has a bigger influence on that , I do not know.


      • Gee, just like the United states where the Republican Party wins control of the House of Representatives despite the Democrats getting more votes (not to mention the the Constitutionally built in distortions in the Senate).


  1. “I cannot believe that if the comando had systematic evidence of audit tallies that failed to match the machine tallies they would have “forgotten” to show it by now.”

    I cannot believe it either. But I was hoping you knew. Massive letdown.


    • HCR did give examples tonight of where there are more votes registered than voters on the list for certain centres (along with other types of fraud and irregularities).


  2. I agree with your argument, however, what would you call a chorizo (machine tally) that doesnt match the acta de auditoria ciudadana (audit act).

    Capriles has them. How much? He didn’t say, but the fact that one exists is more than enough to make you suspitious. How on earth could “the most advanced electoral system in the world” make such a big and serious mistake as to have a different number of voters and votes for any given table?!

    I was doubtful about what did really capriles had under his sleeve, but seeing that, I’m totally convinced.


    • Again, this isn’t about “totally convincing” those who were already pretty much convinced. This is about convincing the diplomat at Itamaraty. The journalist in London. And, yes, the General in Fuerte Tiuna.


      • Oh great we need the military to solve everything… sadly this is a reminder that as a Country we didn’t changed at all…

        You are right, we need to convince the right people, for the possibility to get at least a full recount. That’s not easy…


      • Are there actual official precinct results available? Where could they be found? Ideally, of course, it would have been CNE job to provide internet access to both the official reports and the results of the audit. If that were done, it would be a fairly simple job for any participant in the process to identify the precincts, where their copies disagree w/ the official records. Has CNE done it?

        The point I am trying to make is that, in principle, one of the duties of the electoral authority is to try to provide as much transparency as possible. Of course, transparency, by itself, guarantees nothing – neither the honesty, nor trust. But it would make the job of verifying the results much easier.

        As it is, the reporting system used in Venezuela seems strange. The fact that none of the results are available on the election night, that even two days after the vote one has hard time finding anything more detailed than the state-level results (or am I wrong here?), the massive automatization combined with the strange 54% “audit” (it wouldn’t be THAT much harder to simply count the receipts everywhere on the night; BTW, do we really know the randomization device), etc., etc. There is no reason to be doing all of this so much in the “oscurito”. By itself, none of this is evidence of fraud – but the design seems to be full of shadowy corners, built-in “just in case”.

        BTW, I fully agree w/ you, that the voto-por-voto recount is useless. Anything that happens now would be forever tainted, anyway. The time to count the ballots is the election night – not some time in the future. All we can reliably have now is the comparison of the election-night results. Absent documented discrepancies and/ or reliable eyewitness evidence, there is nothing that can be done to properly establish the falsification (though some statistical tecniques might be usefull to raise suspicions). And, however unfair and/or imperfect the process was, by participating in it, Capriles did establish legitimacy of everything that happened before the actual vote. Still the entire process seems designed, unnecessarily, to have extra questions asked.


      • Just to compare your process w/ that in Mexico.

        1. In Mexico the voting is done almost entirely by paper-and-pen. Precincts are small (no casilla – equivalent of your table – can have more than 750 registered voters – most have much less.

        2. On the election night each casilla does the count and produces multiple copies of the acta. One of the copies is sent to the preliminary reporting system (PREP). The entire PREP is available through multiple mirrors, utilizing, among other platforms, the web pages of all the major newspapers. I.e., the moment the acta is reported, the numbers are public – and impossible to edit thereafter, without leaving traces. In many cases these days you can actually click to see the acta on your computer screen – signatures and all.

        3. Crucially, that election night count has NO LEGAL VALIDITY. It is there purely for informational reasons. The legal acta is not sent to the PREP. Instead, a copy of the acta sent to the PREP is sealed together with the ballot box. This copy is separated from the published acta immediately after being filled out – and it is the one that is going to really be tallied. Of course, like CNE, IFE will announce the victor based on the preliminary trend in the PREP – but this is not a legal declaration of the result, just an informational announcement.

        4. A few days later the formal tally takes place at the 300 distict headquarters, where the boxes are stored. The tally happens in the presence of party representatives and using the actas that had been sealed w/ the boxes. In certain well-defined cases (discrepancies in the actas or between PREP and the official acta, illegible actas, actas missing in PREP, missing actas in the box, etc. – variety of human errors is infinite) the boxes are opened and the actual ballot recount happens.

        5. Of course, the results of the official tally are also made public during the process (on IFE webpage this time). It is this tally – and only this tally – that is legally valid.

        6. Notice, that every centralized/computerized part of the process happens only AFTER the manually-done actas go each their own way. And at every stage anybody out there can check details about every available precinct (and may know which precincts are not yet reported).

        None of this has prevented AMLO from crying fraud every time. But it is precisely because so much info is available and because the process is so carefully designed we are able to evaluate the truth in those cries.


      • Francisco,

        At this point it is unclear if the opposition has hard evidence of fraud, but today’s revelations by CSB are definitely a positive steps towards showing if fraud was committed or not. However, thus far Capriles Radonksi has not mentioned the word fraud: our position is that “our tallies are different, so let’s check who is wrong by opening 100% of the ballot boxes AND CHECKING THE CUADERNOS.”

        As you, I hope that the CSB knows what they are doing and hope that they will present much more convincing evidence. Hopefully this will be shown to the public in the next few days, but what I really want to highlight is that this time it is time for the Venezolanos to solve the problems of the Venezolanos peacefully. We cannot depend on the international community or the general golpista for this.

        The way I see it, they cannot just put all the evidence out there before being 100% certain that we are right about what we are claiming. We need evidence so burdaaaa and so in-your-face-correct that those doubting our claims will be on our side (if the international community does it, that is a plus)

        I might be too naive by saying this, but calma pueblo calma. Let’s see how this develops and if the right evidence is shown in the next few days while also trying to keep everyone’s attention on this issue until is solved. Let us not be the next Mexico or Iran.


  3. Capriles said that as an example, and implied he had more, there was one voting center in Trujillo with a chorizo with 500 something votes and an acta with 700 something.


    • Incorrect, he said there were 500 voters on the notebooks and 700 paper ballots on the box, how did they stuff 200 papers there in front of everyone is a mystery. Unless nobody cares about the notebook , only on the two things that matter, paper hot audit done randomly and the final CNE results, machine tally is almost superfluous but admissible.


    • The Chines are not alone in blocking internet sites sadly a lot of countries do it: Russia, Iran, Israel,Spain, France, Italy, etc…

      Now, the is one BIG misconception on your argument, and that is; Chinese do not block people from the outside wanting to reach the inside. It does not matter to them is some in Washington is in the intranet.

      In China, what they care about is for people from the inside reaching to the outside. Thing like Google +, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Youtube are all blocked.


    • By the way, thanks for TBB. I live in one of dose contries with “restricted”internet and it might prove useful! :)


  4. From Ultimas Noticias:
    Laura Weffer | ÚN.- Luego de haber revisado 100% de las actas, el gobernador de Miranda enumeró algunas de las fallas que lo hacen exigir el reconteo de los votos.
    – De las 39.018 máquinas que había en todo el país, 535 estuvieron dañadas.
    – De 283 centros, los testigos fueron retirados por la fuerza.
    – De los 13.683 centros de votación, en 1.176, Nicolás Maduro sacó más votos que Hugo Chávez. Hay uno en Yaracuy, en el que las actas reflejan que obtuvo más de 1000%, que el anterior Presidente.
    – Recopilaron 564 denuncias de voto asistido.
    – Además, contabiliza en esta denuncia las 600 mil personas aún inscritas en el Registro Electoral que fallecieron
    – Contabilizaron violencia en 397 centros.
    – Se sumaron 421 centros con proselitismo político.
    – Puso como ejemplo, Trujillo, municipio Carache, parroquia Cuicas; un centro en el que según los cuadernos habrían 536 electores; pero en el acta constan un total de 717. Más votos que el número de electores.—irregularidades-denunciadas-por-capriles-.aspx


  5. I heard HRC say specifically, “Our position is that we won the election” during this latest press conference a little before the chain(saw) cutoff. No conditionals there at all at all and, it must be said, it was gratifying to hear the clearcut version. Those are the sort of declarations that are impossible to unsay. So, yes, he’s ‘moving ahead’, navigating waters for which charts have not been printed. Sailing by the seat of one’s pants does require a certain inborn nautical sensetivity whereof, on th last couple of weeks’ showing, one cannot state that HRC is entirely bereft.


  6. Very well said Quico and I agree with you completely.

    I highly doubt that Capriles will be able to force the powers that be to recount or much less repeat voting in centers with irregularities. It just ain’t gonna happen.

    So what’s next? Articulate the best case with ALL of the irregulaties (quantifiable and not) in a way that can be disseminated? Continue down the vague course he has been on? (I was happy to see some specifics in his press conferece)


    • This is not a battle of who’s right and who’s wrong in our camp… I said it before and I said it now… tanta inmadurez cansa pana…


      • Pfft. Cual inmadurez? So if these two decide to post differing opinions on an important subject that’s inmadurez? Tas meando fuera del perol.

        It’s great to see differing opinions on the situation. Discussing them is actually the mature thing to do.


      • I’m sorry to disagree with you Francisco, but in the latest posts, both Toro and Nagel, had been showing signs of immaturity, yeah I know those of you, the everlasting fan and cheerleader of the blog might not agree with that, but I stand to what I said. The most distasteful piece was the trashing of the people voting abroad ant their “undeserved” attention.

        Now as it turns out, these votes can make all the difference in the world, because apparently it has not been included in the final tally given by CNE. If we count those numbers it could well narrow the difference.

        A mature and wise person would have said “sorry my mistake I was wrong”.


        • Pfft, I’m hardly a cheerleader, in fact I rarely post. Some things I agree with, others not. I’m going to point how you automatically lumped me as a cheerleader without knowing anything about me. You’re entitled to your opinion. I stand by mine. Meando fuera del perol. Y lo peor, en vez de corregir sigues girando y apuntas 180 grados.


          • Francisco, I didn’t had the intention to single you out, and I didn’t said names. Pero el que se pica es porque aji come…


        • “The most distasteful piece was the trashing of the people voting abroad ant their “undeserved” attention.”

          One moment! Since when “mayameros” represent all people voting abroad? I said it once and I will said it again. I seriously dislike being compared to a “mayamero” just because I happen to be abroad.

          From my personal opinion and experience, the few ‘mayameros’ I have meet in the past where so detached from the reality and so ignorant of day-to-day dynamic of the common Joe & Jane that it felt like characters out of the mockumentary “Caracas Ciudad de Despedidas” and trust me I do not want to generalize but when international media interviews those expats it feels like many of them share those views.

          I feel like for years they have made a bad job representing the opposition on a international level. It is starting to feel like more and more expats are starting to resemble the extreme Cuban dissidents that rehearse on weekly bases a armed overthrow of the Cuban regime.

          And before EVERYONE starts calling me names, Let me say that as far as I see it, that is not the road for Venezuela, or at least the road that I would take. Specially since the conditions are not the same. No matter how bad things are and how much our liberties are being ignored, we are not a sea locked Island with no natural resources and no political opposition to make a difference.

          Finally I know that many “mayameros” left the country for very serious reasons, like political persecution or they simply left in search of a better lives, and there is nothing wrong with that. But a political extremism is bad anywhere , it does not matter if it comes from 23′ Enero or “Mayami”


          • Skamen, you raised the valid point, for which I criticized the Toro’s piece, “the generalization”. Nobodys likes to be treated and labelled with some unfair stereotype, But that was what Toro’s did, by trashing all of them/us for voting and posting our pinky on FB/Twitter/g+.

            BTW, I didn’t mention mayameros. Personally I don’t know if what you said is truth or not, but if those Mayamaeros as you call them, where so detached of Venezuelan reality, they would have completely ignored the election day, minding their own business and moving on their lives. Which makes your final point so dismissive. “you don’t want to generalize”, but you still doing it any way.


            • I tried to make it very clear that I was speaking from a personal perspective, although I do have to admit that there was a generalization of some sort…

              What a meant about detaching from reality is that it is easy for some one living out side to loose sight from the everyday mundane struggles. Certainly there is nothing wrong for expats to vote & be proud of it, but we have to remember that not all the voters are middle or upper middle class people. If in a city like Caracas we remain so segregated and at times so ignorant of what happens at the other side of town, don’t you think it is even easier to forget about the other halve? I know it some times happens to me..

              Now I am not saying people should feel guilty for wanting to have better lives or for being successful, but in a very personal note -and that is my opinion only- I get the creeps when foreign media interviews expats from Miami and I hear them asking for a military intervention or lobbying in the US congress to get the same as Cuban dissidents do…

              Its not all of them, but it is some of them and sadly those are the ones that get more air time. So I do not like when people think just because I am oppo and I am outside of my country, that I have same set of values, and that is my opinion.

              Finally I speak about “mayameros”because the post you are referring to was about mayameros. Not all expat voters…


          • I think that is a really fair thing to say, you’re not being hateful. As I watched the cacerolazo videos flow into YouTube the other night I was amused by one in Tampa where basically the people were not enthused at all and it was as if a parent or someone in the family made everyone go out. It was awkward. I’m not alleging that they were “mayameros” but if you’re not invested, if you’re not following things, then you’re not going to be informed.


  7. Unknown = Results of the venezuelan presidential election of 2013
    Hypothesis 1= Capriles is the winner
    Hypothesis 2 = Maduro is the winner

    So, literally, it’s Schroedinger’s box. Both of them won, both of them lost, and the only way to eliminate the incorrect option, hence, clearing the unknown is to OPEN THE BOX!


  8. Great post Quico. I’ve been saying basically the same all day today. The numbers is all that can be used. All the other issues are something we should’ve dealt with in October so that we wouldn’t be arguing about them now. But we need to deal with them now (after the other presidential issue has been resolved) so that they come to bite us in the ass next time.


  9. Dude, he just said that he won. He also said that initially they thought he won by a small margin, but… If voting in some centers was indeed tainted and should be repeated, he believes the margin could be much more significant.


      • make your mind:

        ” At the moment, there’s a worrying sense in which Capriles is arguing in the conditional tense. More than ‘I got more votes on April 14th and therefore I won’, what we’re getting is something like ‘X, Y and Z fraudulent things happened on April 14th and if X, Y and Z had not happened, I would have gotten more votes, and therefore I won.’ “


  10. “if you manage to audit 95% of the tables and can show you’re ahead and that all of Maduro’s advantage coincidentally comes from the 5% of mesas that can’t be audited, that’s even more damaging for the government, in particular if results from unauditable tables diverge markedly from near-by audited tables.”
    I think this is what the Capriles tally currently shows.
    How much of Maduro’s victory margin comes from centers where he got 2x, 3x the votes PSUV got last election?


  11. I’ve been thinking the same thing…BUT

    1. If the government legitimately won, why on earth would they refuse the recount? It would only give them more legitimacy to submit to it.

    2. Maduro has now threatened using the armed forces against his own citizens. There’s a waaaaay bigger issue here than voter fraud.


    • 1. The government has been actively encouraging guarimbas since forever and a day. It’s their number 1 most effective way of rallying their base against a common enemy. They have tons to gain by messing with our heads right now.

      2. True, but irrelevant.


      • I don’t necessarily think the complete violation of civil liberties and human rights is irrelevant in this discussion. By undertaking these actions, Maduro is completely delegitimizing his government, making the vote irrelevant anyway, at least according to international standards.

        I was shocked when Caracas Chronicles first called the election for Capriles, but Maduro has proven himself to be even more of an inept leader and all around gross human being these last two days than he did during the election.

        Also, PS: Isn’t that quick count you spoke of the “evidence”? When I was there for the primaries, they had a group of monitors who texted results from each voting machine to Sumate in Caracas. I figured it was something similar here, which would be entirely easy to trot out.


          • I’m not sure I understand the relevance of your question. I’m talking about the legitimacy of the Maduro government. I don’t think it’s the ballots that make him illegitimate anymore, it’s his conduct. The international community understands and rallies around this stuff more than captahuellas and triple congruence.

            And to answer your question, there would be sanctions. And they’d break in a week.


            • As Quico says, “In the two places that matter right now – the international community and the armed forces – a fraud claim conjugated in the conditional is just not going to cut it.”

              Threatening peaceful protestors with the army. That cuts it.


            • The government has a long history of Human rights abuses dating since 2004. None of these occurrences has de-legitimized them (How many cases have been brought to the IACHR?). At best minor pressure has been exerted to use restraint. The reaction of the international community has been ho-hum.

              China and Russia have recognized Maduro’s government, they will certainly veto any attempt at sanctions.

              Even if you had sanctions, no government has caved in to them after just one week. I hate to say this but this seems a lot like wishful thinking.


  12. Would it be so hard to publish this online? Will it just be a document dump of irregularities we have already seen?


    • I think the issue with showing the entire hand is that it gives the government full view of what we have & don’t.


      • They already have what they have, the hot audit results copy and the machine tally copy. HRC must play the worst game of poker since everybody knows his cards.


        • No, nobody know his cards, and that is precisely the point of Mr Toro’s post, that he hasn’t said anything substantial.


          • The only cards that matter the hot audit and machine tally, its like claiming a baseball card is your secret card.


              • Perhaps. The stern refusal to conduct one points to that and that alone. I was wondering if it might all be a ploy, that they want to draw Caprilles out and then show him the count is legit. Every day this drags on makes this less likely however. A lot could be done in three days.

                The external observers stated they wanted a full recount, or else Maduro has little or no legitemacy. All of this bodes poorly for Chavizmo.


        • Shame,
          That’s why Capriles wants the deck checked and is questioning the dealer. He might be bluffing, or he might be slow playing the nuts. How far do you want to go with the poker metaphors?


  13. The appearance of fairness is essential in any electoral process. In a close one especially so. That’s why they got the triple check system in the first place, no? So why don’t they use it?

    If the government has any interest in calming things down so it can get on with its “mandate”, it would support a count. Like it did, before it didn’t. The actions of the CNE in declaring the vote final and “perfect” before the allegations were in, are in themselves, justification enough for a count. The system is unfair. No question about that. So the onus is on the government to show, at the very least, that the unfairness it did not materially affect the numbers.Call in some outside observers that aren’t cheerleaders, and do a count.


  14. Hard not to seriously doubt the CNE numbers just by the massively erratic, nervous, contradictory and even outright dictatorial attitude of Maduro, no fucking way he’d come out clean after an audit.


  15. A lot of stuff is happening in Merida: From a friend:
    Los tupamaros han destruido Mérida sin piedad. Imagino cuando los españoles escuchan “etarra” sienten lo mismo que yo siento al escuchar tuparamo. ¡El gobierno es y está con los terroristas! Venezuela, te están pintando de rojo sangre.


  16. If Maduro truly won, then why is he taking the following actions: the next day accepting the presidency when the vote was so close, calling protest marches illegal, setting up an anti coup committee, having his associates call for Capriles arrest, having Humala call him in front of his supporters, and all the other things that you all living in Venezuela are experiencing?

    If he really won, I would think that he would be so glad to present the truth and expose the opposition as idiots. Possibly he won, although probably by a much closer count. So if that is true, then why doesn’t he know it and act confidently, and let everyone see the votes?


    • What Quico is saying is that by not opening the boxes Maduro riles up the opposition, thereby giving his own forces a motive to coalesce and regain strength, something they really need given the deep rifts among the chavista nomenklatura, and their sad state after their almost loss. This kind of pressure could keep chavista forces from imploding.
      The fact that the opposition can simultaneously knock itself out is also a nice benefit, not to be ignored.


    • The results have been declared official and his inauguration is scheduled. He doesn’t have to do anything else to become president and obviously doesn’t need a recount. As president elect he is (in his mind) asserting his position of dominion and refusing to kowtow to anyone beneath him, a la Chávez. Finally, he is forcing the drama to provide himself an opportunity to spout hyperbole and venom in an effort to rally the support of the Chavista mob that clearly didn’t support him the way he expected them to. That’s what I suspect is his thinking.


  17. it seems to me that this line of thought is mistaken. the conditional aura of HC’s statement is only that, an aura. here is what i mean: if it turns out that the instances of fraud —which translates into real votes that must have gone to either side— is greater than the current difference between HC and maduro, then this allows for a reasonable doubt to arise, and make the WHOLE electoral process murky. these are not non-existent conditionals (like your grandma being a bicycle or a tricycle, etc. —that is something we will NEVER know, no matter what). however, most of these instances of fraud seem to lead to votes that have been wrongfully cast: either because people where assisted to vote a certain way, or forced, or even because individuals might have voted in place of dead or perhaps even fictional people. and these are, HC claims, real instances of real votes that have been corrupted in one way or another, and thus rendered highly questionable. it is true that the stronger argument would be to have THE VOTES, have evidence that people voted for HC (and were then somehow changed to appear as maduro votes). it would be nice to have such an easy situation in our hands. but just because that would be the stronger argument, it doesn’t mean that anything that is different from it is untrue or even unhelpful. HC’s argument of fraud can have almost as much force as your ideal argument, because, as i say, if the particular instances of fraud (the particular fraudulent votes) amount to more than the difference between HC and maduro, then that makes whole election suspicious or doubtful. of course, no one will want to end up doing a whole new election again just because of that (not even HC). but my guess is that he does want to insistently shed doubt on the whole process, shed, that is a REASONABLE doubt, in order show the real face of maduro… and thus get international (and a grater national) condemnation on his side.


  18. To get a recount or to me more accurate audit the Coamdo Sumón Bolívar has to make a formal written request to the CNE. Caprilkes had lots of “evidence” in today’s press conference and no one had time to make a formal request to the CNE? It is all media noise since he has the actas signed by his witnesses.

    Despite him lying today saying that some 230 of his witnesses were ejected at gunpoint (??) aal the actas have been signed by them. Tomorrow the PSUV web site will have all 39,000+ actas digitalized and so you can see who signed them off in agreement.

    Sorry – there will be no further audit or recount on this basis. It’s a drowing man struggling for air.

    Maduro was elected and, as Chavez said after the opposition victory in the constitutional referéndum in December 2007, “sepan administrarla bien” – the opposition shgould be looking to build on this improvement and stop fucking around like this. But no. Why? They are not fully committed democrats. This is why Juan and Quico supported the 2002 coup and oil industry sabotaje.

    Acting in this way will alienate voters ans it smells like the destabilization plan denounced some time ago by the governnment. So far 7 murdered by the opposition, 61 seriously injured, 170 arrested, CDIs, Mercals, PSUV offices and one hospital burned down………..what a way to celebrate your defeat.


  19. Francisco, I really need a clarification in your position since its kind of problematic to understand what is going on according to you: in “the lazy cat” post, you mentioned we were just waiting to compare the tallies to the machine results and that the vote count was just a red hearing; they just needed time to gather all the tallies and compare it to the boxes already opened.

    You said that 54% was enough, now you seem to imply that if they are still seeking to open all the ballots its mean they didn’t actually have any hard evidence on them?
    If so, we are screwed: irregularities in the process are not enough and everything we do right now is a waste of time- it changes the gameplay from waiting for the right time to crush them to waiting for a miracle.


    • They have the 54% of actas, save for places where irregularities prevented the audit from taking place. What they have not done is show, on the basis of those actas, evidence that Capriles got more votes than Maduro on April 14th.

      Surely, they don’t need to do so to convince the people who are already convinced. But to convince those who aren’t, it’s an absolute must.


      • If so then we are screwed since this wasn’t “cara e tabla” fraud, and thus impossible to prove definitively to anyone who could actually change things. If we don’t have the evidence right now, we will never have it. If they did commit fraud they will rather die before allowing an audit, so there is no hope anymore in the legal framework.


      • BTW, since I don’t understand your system at this point, could you clarify?

        1. Why is it 54% and not 100% or 10% (the latter, if done truly randomly, should be enough for verification purposes, anyway)? Is the logistics of manual count that difficult? If yes (though most countries manage to do it even without the aid of the computers), why such a massive audit? Given that 54% is doable , would the other 46% be so difficult to count on the night? What is the history of this norm? Why was it introduced in such a way? What’s so magical about the 54%?

        2. How is the randomization done? In particular, there is one point I want to be clarified. How is it guaranteed that at the time of the reporting of the electronic returns nobody can figure out, which precincts will be audited? Has it been independently checked in advance and monitored during the election night?

        3. If you do not know the answer to these questions, who does know?


        • This has been answered before, but the 54% was chosen almost arbitrarily because they wanted the people to believe in the voting machines, so “something more than half” was chosen. There’s no hard reason for it. As another poster here pointed out, sometimes they actually audit 100%, because once a box is open, it’s gotta be completely audited, and if a polling station only has one box or even two boxes they must count them all.

          As far as randomization, it’s not really random in a true sense, since they open up one or two boxes. In the stations where that’s all the boxes there are, of course it’s random, but in a station where several boxes sit closed, it’s a bit different, they could pick a box from the morning while a box from the evening sits unused. They don’t flip a coin as to which boxes to choose as far as I know.


          • I now understand this even less :)

            1. What is the box? How is it determined whose votes go into which box?

            2. If this is not random, who decides, which box to count? Because if this can be influenced by and/or communicated to the CNE personnel before publication of the official results, the entire verification thing becomes very vulnerable. Proper randomization here is crucial (unless, that is, everything gets recounted by hand). If they were properly randomizing at the end of the day, after recording the official results, one should have been fine even w/ a 10% “audit”. What you are describing sounds very fishy. Because if I, sitting at the CNE can learn that such and such box is chosen for the count, I will publish the true result for that box, and reserve all the hanky-panky for the ones not audited. It is of key importance, that nobody at the center should know which boxes are being manually counted until the official electronic result gets observably recorded.

            3. What is the purpose of the entire computerization exercise, if it is considered so unreliable as to require the “audit” (really, the count) of most of the ballot boxes? If you have to count most of it anyway, why not count 100%? Again, I can understand 10% and can understand 100%. What seems very strange is this half-count.

            Forgive me, but this entire procedure seems a bit hare-brained, at least the way you describe it. I understand the point of the parallel count (electronic and manual, in this case). What I can’t understand is how clearly independent the two are and why, if the system is considered so vulnerable that a 10% random sample is not enough to be believable, aren’t they trying to manually count it all.


            • If there was some fraud in a polling station, then the vote in that station would either be nulled or there would have to be a revote. They nulled the vote in the 2006 Mexico elections, where fraud was deemed to have happened.

              All electronic voting machine systems are deemed vulnerable by the paranoid or the wise, because, simply put, there exist no way to know what it’s spitting out with 100% confidence without a paper trail. Thus the need for the hot audit, so people can trust what the machine is spitting out. This whole thing boils down to there not being opposition observers at some polling stations. Triple congruence is lost when they aren’t there.

              Sorry for the mangled explanation about why 54%, I was retyping what I read here on CC so it came off poorly, it was basically from memory.


          • JC’s explanation is mangled.

            It’s not about boxes, it’s about voting tables. Different sized Voting Centers have different number of tables.

            In a small center with only one voting table, you have to hand-count the paper ballots from the one table. If there are two, they pick one of the two to open at random (literally drawing papers from a hat). If there are 3 voting tables, they choose 2 to open at random at random. If there are 5 voting tables, they choose 3 at random. So it’s either half the tables (in centers with an even number of tables) or one more than half (in centers with odd numbers of tables.)

            Do that nationwide and you end up auditing 54% of the tables. That’s where the 54% number comes from.

            CNE has always been adamant that “THE COUNT” means the machine count and the audit is not the count, just an additional comfort to bolster the credibility of the count. But then, I’ve never seen systematic evidence of the paper audit giving results different from the machine count. And Capriles has not presented such evidence systematically.


            • Could you clarify another point? At what point is the CNE recording the machine count and who observes the record at that point? And is there any observable record of the times at which the results were reported?

              This is important, because one danger could be that they could try to accumulate a store of unaudited tables to use late in the game, as needed. Naturally, nobody in their right mind would play with the results in audited tables.

              I would not have had this question, if the table results were being made public during the count, as soon as they arrived. But the lack of the public info during the count is such a striking feature of the process (as is this partial audit), that it does look like a circuite-breaker (whether used or not) might be hidden there.


  20. I didn’t see any “emotional” arguments in latest Juan’s Post. His arguments are perfectly reasonable.


    • What about the machine tally disagreeing with the audit act?

      Truth is: that was just one example.But, if that happened once, there is reasonable doubt about if it happened elsewhere. And for what the government has acted: it had.

      Mr Toro still has a point: capriles still hasn’t shown SUFFICIENT amounts of evidence to Mr Diplomat, or Mr Foreign Journalist, but I guess that’s part of his strategy, because it’s clear that he has it.


      • He has not shown once where the machine tally disagreeing with the paper ballots, that is the point, paper ballot audit would trump the CNE results, but they only have a 54% statistical sample.


        • No, not the paper ballots. Let me say it in spanish:

          Primero mostro el chorizo de la maquina, leyo el centro al cual pertenecia y donde estaba ubicado, luego leyo el numero de votantes registrados para votar alli.

          Segundo, sacó el acta de auditoría ciudadana de ese mismo centro y leyo el numero de votos registrados.

          No coincidieron. Eso lo dice todo.

          En “el mejor sistema electoral del mundo”, donde todo esta automatizado, donde, en las palabras de tibisay: el conteo manual es un salto atras porque es vulnerable, como es posible que algo tan obvio sea violado, que el numero de votos sea mayor que el numero de electores?

          Como dijiste, conteo de papeletas > CNE results, por eso es importante la auditoria 100%.


          • Esto acaba de ser desmontado por Villegas.

            Capriles was adding the total of BOTH mesas, and using the votes tally of only one mesa. Pure manipulation. Capriles bullshit didn’t last 5 minutes.


  21. Viento en contra, pa llegar a los cuadernos electorales con las huellas teneis que hacer las tres cosas, contar el contenido de las cajas, cotejar el chorizo y ver las firmas…con sus huellas, if they don’t add up, es fraude


  22. What about calling for new elections, instead of a recount? A recount makes no sense if the heart of your claim is that a substantial number of voters were prevented from expressing their true preference. But new elections with international observers who are actually permitted to observe….

    Not that the Castros would agree. Not in a million years. Maduro’s approval rating, already on a downward trajectory, has surely plummeted since Sunday.


  23. I agree with Quico that numerical proof would be better, but can you put that together in two days? And it would be mostly a probabilistic analysis. Is it possible that 10 times more people votes for Maduro than Chávez (at the same place, the same voters)? Is it possible that 2 times more people votes for Maduro than for Chávez? I think it would take a lot of time and you could not say Capriles would have won. But it is very probably that they can probe fraud in at least some places now. And that is enough to repeat the process in those places as I understood.
    Maybe it doesn’t changes the result, but it will be marking the way to clean elections in the future. And that is worth it.
    La pelea es peleando.


  24. Quico has a point. I was very disappointed when Capriles did not once mention the word fraud on his Sunday night press conference. If he was sure of the win, why be so opaque in his declarations? On the other hand, Capriles has been cagey saying at times he is sure he won and others focusing on the irregularities in the process, and then at times simply saying the count was too close to call the election. It may well be that he does not have enough counts and is hoping that a recall plus the votes from abroad will put him ahead. I am afraid, however, that his time is running out. I would have expected by now a detailed, articulate statement from his camp making a stronger case for the need of a recall. This afternoon’s press conference was amateurish in building the case. He has to strongly say, and provide quick evidence, that he is ahead in the counts or people will stop taking him seriously.


    • He has not said the word fraud once, not once.

      He might be hopeful to have won by some miracle in the un-audited boxes, but the statistical probability of winning through this is 1 in a billion.


    • I am watching a program called grado 33 in Globovision. There, the Capriles camp (Carlos Vecchio and Alejandro Vivas) unequivocally is stating that their data shows Capriles ahead in every respect. It drives me nuts that Capriles does not openly state thisw in his press conferences.


  25. I heard Capriles answer a newswoman who asked if with the data they had they could affirm they had won the vote , say by saying that indeed from the data available to them they could say they had won but that after examining the many violations reported last sunday they believed that they would have won with a bigger mayority and couldnt as matter of principle remain silent on all those violations. Of course the regime will stall their claim and any request for a recount but in the process they will plant many doubts in peoples mind about the results of sundays voting and about the transparency of the CNE’s and the government behaviour. Most government in latin america will not want now to mess with the results as a matter of practical politics , but the regimes fachade of being a totally democratic will be unmasked in peoples mind . this may not lead to direct measures being taken now , but they will leave an impression which can prove useful later in time as the government starts hemorraging economically and politically as the disasters planted the last 6 years come home to roost .


  26. Please, please, please, What would happen if Capriles shows all he has now before the counting is granted? CNE will try to fix what Capriles shows. As it is now I bet that CNE does not know exactly where each abuse was done but they would know all of them once Capriles speaks and they will try to fix them. This is about momentum, one step at a time to build a case.
    The first step is to make them appear guilty because of the refusal to do the counting.
    I bet he has shown the meat yet.


    • What stops the government from fixing it already to match the CNE?

      Seriously the 54% hot audit is the single most important thing in this entire operation and something never done abroad, yet now a 100% cold audit is going to prove HRC right?


      • Whatever fixing the government does, the opposition’s acts will evidence the tampering, hence, proving fraud


  27. Quico, I understand your point and sort of agree with your logic. But shouldn’t that many irregularities and blatant violations of the law invalidate the whole process? Especially when we consider the tiny margin?

    Should we just lay low and let it pass? What about the future elections?


  28. Capriles only said that he had more votes when a reporter asked him. If you think someone committed fraud that would be the FIRST thing you would say. He went on and on about the motorcycles and the assisted vote and avoiding the question of the actual votes. If you have the machine tallies, the random audits and the CNE results just compare them, if they don’t match up call a press conference and announce the results. Wasting an hour of our time spewing nonsense about the elections being unfair doesn’t prove anything, it just says he MAY have won, or COULD HAVE won. In my opinion he doesn’t have any real evidence that he won, he’s just laying the ground work so the government doesn’t have as many unfair advantages next time.


  29. First card: hot audit
    Second card :machine tally
    River: CNE results

    Its not that difficult, CNE knows their two cards already since they GAVE them a signed copy at the tables, so Capriles has to show his cards, to the people that don’t know them, his supporters, international media, etc.

    Dump the database online already.


  30. If the voided centers favored Maduro, then yes, Capriles can show he got more valid votes than Maduro.


  31. 100% de acuerdo! Capriles should stop whining and move on! I fear Maduro will turn out to be the victim not the villian. Remember april 2002?


  32. Show the numbers for christ sake!! Do you know for certain, with factual figures that you won? Then show the freaking numbers to the nation! Say “these are the figures we counted and we are sure they are so because we got them from adding all the actas of every single electoral center, leaving none out.
    Talking about irregularities and how many vouters “could” have been affected will not do it, I’m sorry. You don’t prove shit with this.


  33. Excuse me, but the CNE is not supposed to be “THE GOVERNMENT”, it’s supposed to be non-partisan and transparent. Right?


  34. While I fully understand Quico’s point, that Capriles must show that he won the election ANYWAY, despite all the dirty tricks, some of those dirty tricks go pretty far to undercut any claim to democracy by the regime. For example, in his press conference, Capiles mentioned that, at several hundred polling places, opposition observers were forced out, sometimes by gunpoint. You can’t claim a free election when obsevers get shut out.


  35. I think they’ve been doing more than speaking in the conditional tense.

    One example:

    Opposition sources say their count showed Capriles won by more than 300,000 votes.

    Miguel Octavio also has said people told him when all the Actas were counted the opposition won, though by a smaller margin.

    So where are all these Actas? Why haven’t they all been scanned and placed on the Internet with a spreadsheet adding them up and giving the numbers that show that Capriles did indeed get more visits?

    I know its only been 48 hours but I really can’t see why the opposition hasn’t come out with their vote totals. The fact that they are now speaking in more “conditional” tones and just bringing up machines breaking (?!?!?!) makes me think they were untruthful about what the numbers showed and are now looking for a new strategy.


  36. “He’s calling for a recount of all paper ballots,”

    This is actually incomplete and not accurate.

    “El ilegítimo quiere violencia para que no haya conteo voto por voto con revisión de los cuadernos de votación y actas de escrutinio.”

    He wants the vote, but he also wants to compare it to both the vote tallies and the notebooks.


  37. Que yo sepa capriles ha dicho varias veces muy claramente que la oposición considera que él ganó las elecciones. En ningún momento he escuchado que capriles hable con ese tono ‘condicional’ que menciona el post. La oposición ha utilizado las irregularidades que ocurrieron durante el proceso como un argumento para solicitar el conteo del 100% de los votos.


  38. Once again Quico, your patronizing tone doesn’t help. You want to be more papist than the pope. Anyways, there are a numbers of points where you’re argument is problematic. First, I think that Juan didn’t imply that the question of who got more votes no longer matters. Obviously it still matters and is the big question. However, that fraudulent things happened also matters big time. In some countries, those X,Y and Z fraudulent things are motive enough to declare the election void. Elections are void exactly because the “counterfactuals are fundamentally unknowable.” Moreover, it’s important for future elections to denounce these problems. People have to know that X, Y and Z are unacceptable.

    Second, it might be the case that the fraud was precisely on those machines that were not audited. In that case, all the audit tallies would match the machine tallies and of course you would not have a clear smoking gun. However, if you had almost all machine tallies, you could have a pretty good idea of the final results. If your count doesn’t match that of the CNE then you’d have basis to think that something weird happened. And the only way to check that is by doing a recount of 100% of the votes. So, maybe, the hard evidence you’re waiting for would only come out during a total recount.


    • The machines selected for auditing were random, it is impossible that they could hide the audited from the non audited.


      • Random where? Do you think that the machines where oppositions witnesses were forcibly removed or where the voting centers are controlled by Bolivarian collectives where properly audited, that’s exactly why Opposition wants to audit the process, because they think the fraud was so big that a 100% recount would clearly show that.

        For example maybe the Chavista didn’t even bothered filling the voting notebooks that must have the sing and fingerprint of every voter, if that would happen then the voting must be redone in those centers.


      • The process of selecting machines for auditing could very well be seemingly random but it’s outright deterministic. Just as an example, have you heard of pseudo-random number generators?


    • I’ve been reading this blog for a long time and let me tell you, in the spectrum of FT posts this one is not patronizing or righteous. On the contrary, I thought Quico superbly laid out the difference in weight between “what if” vs. “what is” evidence and why it’s important . Anyhow…
      I wish this wasn’t so, but I think you guys talk about fraud whose effects are impossible to quantify as if any arbiter in Venezuela cared or would do something about it. Heck, I’m not sure that even if you showed direct proof with quantifiable effects any arbiter in Venezuela would care or take action. You might be able to convince some external observers or maybe some unconvinced Venezuelans but this won’t change the situation. It’s starting to look pretty clear that 1) we’re not going to get a recount, re-tally or any type of audit and 2) there sure as hell won’t be any repeat elections.
      I admire Capriles for fighting the good fight, but to make any headway he NEEDS those audits. It just ain’t gonna happen.


  39. Did anyone actually LOOK at Capriles claims about Maduro getting more votes than Chavez in certain parroquias? I did. And I had a really really good laugh. You all should do the same.

    The Capriles campaign rebuscó a few parroquias where there was a really low voter turnout for BOTH candidates last October, and this time around there was a much higher total turnout for BOTH candidates.

    Have a look for yourself and you’ll get a good laugh. Here’s one of Capriles “examples”:

    Maduro actually got a LOWER percentage of votes than Chavez, and Capriles got a HIGHER percentage than last time.


    • This is apart from the point that you’re trying to make, but I find it curious.

      This is from the 2012 results page, I went back to the results of the whole merida state:

      Candidato Votos %
      227.276 48,45%
      239.653 51,09%
      1.636 0,34%
      187 0,03%
      172 0,03%
      131 0,02%
      Ficha Técnica
      Número de Electores escrutados. 576.316
      Número Total de Votantes que votaron realmente. 478.441
      Participación. 83,01 %
      Número de Votos Escrutados. 477.968
      Número total de Votos Válidos. 98,13 % 469.055
      Número total de Votos Nulos. 1,86 % 8.913
      Número de Actas Procesadas. 1.245

      576316×83.01%=478399.9116->Número Total de Votantes que votaron realmente.

      Now, applying the same logic to the center you pointed here:

      Pais: VENEZUELA – Estado: EDO. MERIDA – Municipio: MP. ANDRES BELLO – Parroquia: CM. LA AZULITA – Centro de Votación: UNIDAD EDUCATIVA OLINDA II
      Mesa: 1
      Candidato Votos %
      20 74,07%
      7 25,92%
      0 0,00%
      0 0,00%
      0 0,00%
      0 0,00%
      Ficha Técnica
      Número de Electores escrutados. 257
      Número Total de Votantes que votaron realmente. 210
      Participación. 81,71 %
      Número de Votos Escrutados. 27
      Número total de Votos Válidos. 100 % 27
      Número total de Votos Nulos. 0 % 0
      Número de Actas Procesadas. 1

      257×81.71% = 205->Número Total de Votantes que votaron realmente.

      votos validos: 27 (7capriles+20chavez)

      205-27= 178

      Pregunto yo, donde estan esos 178 votos para que se de ese porcentaje de participacion? Sera que estan en la misma caja #dondeestanlosreales?

      Y no puede ser que “mi interpretacion esta errada”, porque, entonces como carrizo usando la misma logica si dan los numeros para el total del estado, o incluso de la misma parroquia?

      Esto me parece interesante, las sumas del mejor sistema electoral del mundo… una razón más para contar voto a voto y no confiarse en lo que dice una computadora.

      GAC, gracias por el dato, al igual que el gobierno que defiendes (asi como su presidente ilegitimo), cada vez que hablas, le haces daño.


      • hahaha!!! So now you’re claiming there was fraud in October too? You have to be kidding me.

        Obviously there was some sort of error with this particular voting station in 2012, as the numbers don’t add up. But it is an exception, as the rest of the centros add up, and they also add up for 14-A. Keep digging yourself into a hole man! I just love watching it.


        • I’m an engineer, and as much as I use computer software to do my job but it’s not an oracle and I must do some independent calculations to make sure that whatever the software gives as results is coherent.

          I’m not claiming fraud on october because I don’t have the data to make a claim like that, but as you state “Obviously there was some sort of error with this particular voting station in 2012, as the numbers don’t add up.” How is it possible that a fully (and important/critical) automated system made such an obvious mistake?. Maybe it didn’t sum correctly, maybe it just miscalculated the participation percentage but got the sum right.

          My point is, along with what I said to you on a previous comment made in spanish, the only way to make sure who has it right is by gathering all the evidence and perform a validation procedure:

          a) If the government is right, they will demonstrate that maduro is legit, that the oppo is a fraud, that they have no credibility, and that, with the coming mayoral elections, would be a crushing blow as to the government secure all states but two, most of the local councils AND most of the mayor’s offices. Remember 2004 with the oppo alegations of fraud and the effect it had on it’s vote? do you remember what happened on 2005 as a consequence of that? That was the best thing ever for chavismo since the election of chavez and his return on 13/4!

          b) If capriles is right, and he won, he wins the presidency of venezuela, but most importantly, demonstrates that the current government is a fraud.

          Both parties have a lot to win, but also, a lot to lose. The opposition is up for that challenge and willing to pay the consequences, is the government ready too?



          • “Maybe it didn’t sum correctly, maybe it just miscalculated the participation percentage but got the sum right.”

            Yes, so you admit that there is obviously some sort of miscalculation here…. BUT that miscalculation was in 2012!!! Not in this election!!!

            So, that means Capriles is deliberately manipulating by choosing this example for comparison, as anyone can see. If you have any honestly at all, you will admit that.

            This example proves absolutely NOTHING about this election, as the numbers add up perfectly, and the votes for Capriles grew MORE than the votes for Chavez/Maduro.

            Capriles is manipulating. Plain and simple, and plain for all to see.


            • There were about 500 votes in Merida that were not counted in this boletín. That explains the discrepancy. And that means Capriles’s manipulation is that much more manipulative. I don’t know how you guys can possibly support this guy when he is capable of this kind of blatant manipulation.

              And now there are 7 people dead as a result.


            • Stop with the platitudes. You are picking & choosing your own data to come to a conclusion you are pre-disposed to agree with (vs. looking at the sum of information objectively).

              Only those who earnestly seek the truth will ever find it, whether that be in politics, in religion, or in anything else for that matter. I have changed my outlook on numerous occasions in all areas of life. Most people on this site have done that as well (not believing in everything from the state or oppossition). If you are not willing to do the same and openly consider a differing POV, then you might as well just stop trolling all together…


  40. It seems to me that the constitution provides for a recount, and that it doesn’t require an accusation of fraud to do so. An accusation of fraud before the recount is unnecessarily adversarial and presupposes that the recount is or should be a cooperative effort to determine the proper election result.


  41. Since we are taking fraud components here, major vector has been making it almost impossible for new emigres to register abroad. The number of Venezuelans abroad is unknown. Some say as high as 1 MM. Say 40% are potential voters, That is a 400k additional voters. Currently I believe there is less than 100k registered voters abroad.

    But as Quico clearly states, si mi abuela tuviera ruedas (o manubrio) fuera bicicleta.

    These abuses against mostly opposition new emigres to register them abroad should have been dealt with in time and more strategically. Now its too late to say.

    I am also very worried about the outcome of the current crisis. Hoping CSB has a better hand that what has so far transpired.

    Apasionante juego de ajedrez para verlo desde afuera, pero tragico dadas las potenciales consecuencias.


    • I thought there were about 100 000 voters abroad, of which 67000 voted in October. Now we must have been slightly less than that, 60000?
      And I suppose those in Cuba and a few in Iran and other places voted for Chávez. 50000 for Capriles? 45000?


  42. Quico, what you say sounds good, but is wrong on premise. You seem very focused on the triple congruence structure. Let me remind you that triple congruence only applies to audited boxes. For the non audited boxes the stool only has two legs, the actas and the CNE tally. But there is a fourth leg which you’re attempting to ignore, the legal complaint. This includes any irregularity that affects the number of valid votes represented by the triple congruence. For example, by law, if a table’s machine fails or if there are other procedural irregularities, a process kicks in to revote, recount, or nullify a certain number of votes. Can there be a grand total without seeing those processes to their end? The answer is no, unless the number of votes that the irregularities could possibly represent are not sufficient to change the outcome, making it irrevocable.

    CNE’s position is that the outcome with what is available is irrevocable. Capriles’s postion is that the number of irregularities is sufficient to change the outcome, therefore revocable. Your position seems to be to look at what is available and ignore the irregularities, like the CNE’s position. Why, if part of any electoral process is to see complaints that affect outcome to their end, would you wish to ignore them?

    So, Capriles does not need to show evidence of tallies at the moment; he needs to show evidence of irregularities that add up to a number high enough to change the outcome to force seeing the complaints to the end. This is the legal process.

    Moreover, if he the evidence he does have points to a win, which he claims it does, then now is NOT the time to present it. Why? Quite simply for the same reason that a lawyer does not show his whole case during the preamble of a grand jury case. First things first: validity issues ironed out first, then do the math.


    • BRAVO, XT!!! By far the most cogent/accurate comment on this matter, including Quico’s “show me the facts” (to get your $100) headline. The irregularities presented today, and corresponding probable need to invalidate a great number of voting table results, would, in any serious/civilized country, obligate the Government/electoral authorities to fully investigate. But, in Venezuela, they will not, whatever/from wherever the pressure, because it will very highly-probably prove fraud in more ways than one, and a Maduro loss. What’s coming now is more ungovernability, probable attempts to follow-through on arresting key Oppo figures on trumped-up charges (the groundwork is being prepared as we speak), which is currently being held up due to a divided military, and the resulting future general Country chaos of unimaginable proportions….


  43. Quico, Beyond the fact they can prove or not Capriles had more votes on Sunday, isn’t the right thing to do to demand a recount and protest given the more than 3000 incidents that were reported during the day. The incidents alone represent a Fraud right? and are thus a reason to “impugnar” the elections,


  44. After this, regardless of the tally, it’s going to look like a fraud:
    A close election, where the government denies recount and jails the opponent. If Chavismo did not commit a fraud, then they are really crazy.


  45. It seems there are lots of different opinions regarding the wording, the expressed context, the supporting evidence, the political impact, the stratigic expediency, the moral groundedness, the constitutional basis, the side owning the burden of proof, and so on. It’s confusing, but very interesting and very enlightening. What it is NOT? It is not ideogical or emotional. It is thoughtful and intelligent, and I’m tired of the attracts against this blog site!


  46. I think Maduro’s banning of the marcha and Cabello’s authoritarian, disgusting and violent tone in the AN really sets in how lost they are ideologicaly and how only 2 days in, they’re already resorting to the oppresive power. Dark clouds are gathering over Venezuela.


    • Maduro and Diosdado may think that makes them look strong, but it actually weakens them immensely. Maduro’s prohibition shows fear. He expected Capriles to act macho and convoke the rally anyway and then cause violence that could be blamed on him. Capriles move to back down and save that move for later leaves Maduro as a president scared of the people and scared of the recount.

      OTOH, Diosdado is announcing urbi et orbi a coup in the parliament. No subtleties. These are the craziness he was telling us before that Chavez prevented them from doing when he was alive. They are digging their own graves.


      • Agreed. Maduro and his inner circle probably do believe in their delusions that Capriles is a psychopathic right winger intent on destroying Venezuela. Capriles is merely wanting to assure that justice is done for the 49% who voted for him and for all who voted. When Capriles canceled the protest tomorrow I saw sociopath chavistas online having a hard time believing it.

        Maduro doesn’t know what to do about this civic action that Capriles is taking, and the whole “we’ll arrest Capriles and Lopez” thing is going to be interesting to see tomorrow. I suspect the Cubans are saying go ahead with the arrests and the Cubans want to see hard crackdowns so loyalties can be tested.


  47. Off topic: what about some real reporting from the NYT:

    “The government said that the seven people who were killed were supporters of Mr. Maduro. But the father of one of those killed, Ender José Bastardo, 21, disputed that account.

    The Justice Ministry said that Mr. Bastardo, a mechanic, was among a group of people celebrating Mr. Maduro’s victory in Cumanacoa, in eastern Venezuela, when they were attacked by a group that opened fire. Mr. Bastardo was killed and two other people were wounded.

    But Mr. Bastardo’s father, William Bastardo, 45, said he and his son were marching in a protest against Mr. Maduro’s election, banging pots, when shots were fired from a nearby building. “I demand justice for my son,” the father said at the morgue in the nearby city of Cumaná, “and that peaceful protest be respected.”


  48. Something tells me HCR is more interested in forcing a re-vote than a re-count. The “counterfactual” creates doubt, which calls into question the very legitimacy of the numbers, no matter what the actual numbers may say.

    As for the persistent question of why don’t the authorities open the boxes, here’s a simple thought. Perhaps they have nothing to hide this time, as they know the official numbers are in their favor, but what about next time, when the numbers aren’t? If they open the boxes now, they create a precedent which they may not be able to avoid next time. There’s no reason to give an inch when they have a foot of space to work with, because next time they may not have an inch. The game doesn’t end here.


  49. The Castros are now the official political elite in Venezuela. Whether Capriles has tangible documented proof of his win is irrelevant. Who may or may not have burned a box, threatened a witness or added 2 and 2 and got 5 is insignificant.

    Lessons for future elections ? You really think there will be another election ?
    In fact the revolution is nearing it’s end. Economic development was never the goal – repression, hunger and the narrowing of self determination the objectives. Total state dependence.

    So get over it. No one externally is interested in the outcome of this present fracas. It’s your democratic problem rooted in 98.

    Maduro will prevail, even though his own people prefer to vote for Capriles, and Venezuela will sink further in to the abyss.

    And this blog has become tangential to the main issue. It’s not about the arithmetic. Neither is it about the constitution or any legal plan of action.

    It’s about asking yourselves a question which Venezuelans avoid. It’s simple –
    “Why are we so f*cking stupid ?


  50. In reading all the comments regarding the niceties of what evidence has been submitted and when, I don’t think it matters much any longer. The Rubicon has been crossed already. The rift in the country between the Opposition and Chavismo is blown wide open. Declarations have been made by both sides which cannot be taken back. This is not going to be resolved by constitutional means.

    Now, just because battle lines have been drawn, does not necessarily mean that there will be a physical war. Truthfully, it can be said that there is already a state of war, but that it has not gone into a combat stage. Not yet, and let us hope not ever. There is still opportunity for a peaceful transition through non-violent protest.

    In comparing assets of the two camps, Chavismo has:

    – Occupation of Miraflores.
    – The AN to stifle debate and rubberstamp decisions.
    – The TSJ to dutifully declare constitutional anything Maduro wants.
    – The CNE to… well you saw it.
    – The FAN to bully, intimidate, and kill (if needed) Maduro’s opponents.
    – The GN for the same.
    – SEBIN for all manner of dirty tricks.

    The Opposition has nothing more than the moral certainty that they are the Majority and a leader (Capriles) that is accepted and believed in by them and that people are willing to follow and take orders from.

    Considering that that moral certainty is ALL the Opposition has to work with, I am BEGGING all of you not to undermine it.


  51. 1.- I think HCR doesn’t want to reveal his hand. He doesn’t want to say I have these differences in these centers here and there because then the debate would be about those specific elements. It would be about what he has been able to uncover so far. Which may not add up to a big enough number to make a difference in the result. He wants a 100% audit because that may/will bring more elements that would add up to a larger number of impugnable actas.

    2.- He is also playing a much deeper game than just trying to revert this election, which may not be possible. He is bringing to light, in an important manner, all the abuses and illegalities of the chavistas elections. If the governments buckles and agrees to a recount even if Maduro is proven the winner, many irregularities will come to light and Maduro would be stained with illegitimacy. If they don’t buckle the very reasonable recount then they look guilty and Maduro is also stained with illegitimacy in the eyes of everybody. Either way Maduro will enjoy a government from hell.

    Chavismo’s only counter seems to be to provoke violence and blame it on Capriles. Violence breaking out may become another brand of government from hell for Maduro

    3.- Negotiations between chavismo and HCR may be another option out of the political crisis for Maduro. For instance:
    – An independent CNE
    – Cubans out of the FAN
    – New president of the TSJ
    – New independent Fiscal
    – Independent comptroller


  52. Now we have Cardenas reruns? Watching globovision this am @ 7:00 am and bam cadena repeat from last night.


  53. We are doing it again. Just like april 2002, when Chavez was at his lowest point in the polls, we are now giving Maduro a huge boost in popularity. Capriles and everybody in the MUD know we lost the vote count, they will convince nobody otherwise, besides radicals in the opposition. The Government has it too easy: deny the recount so violence erupts, blame the opposition for the “massacre”, while at the same time prove to outside observers, foreign governments, and non radical opponents, that they did win the election.

    Maduro and his cronies will be forever thankful….


  54. I hope this country will have more people like you with rational judgement, not emotional judgement. Until when the people develop themselves, it will stay the same in any way.


  55. I’ve only heard the statements of Red de Observación Electoral and Instituto de Altos Estudios Europeos, both denouncing irregularities and, at least the latter, recommending recount. Unasur came and left but what about the Carter Center? I know their delegation is here and I’m really curious to hear what they have to say.


    • sorry, that was supposed to go to jc on international observers. proxy servers are making my life hard.


  56. Quico, with all due respect, the one who needs to keep calm and think twice is you. Your obsession with the issue of numerical congruence between all the bits and pieces of evidence is causing you to lose sight of the wood on account of all the trees. As several people have pointed out in this – now unmanageably lengthy – thread, Venezuelan electoral law gives the candidate, his party and the electorate at large the right to call for a partial or total rerun of an election where it can be demonstrated that there was violence, coercion or other irregularities. Whether or not Capriles can show at this point that there is numerical incongruence is merely ONE factor.

    If that’s too difficult for foreign diplomats, correspondents or the world at large to understand, then we’re not making enough of an effort. I thought Capriles did a pretty good job. But this post has unfortunately generated a good deal more heat than light. It seems to me blindingly obvious that Capriles would have won had it not been for irregularities that clearly invalidate more votes than the difference between him and Maduro. The CNE has not even met to discuss the demand for a recount, much less produced a reasoned written response as it is required to do. Let’s give the world the facts, not obsess about congruence.


  57. Im starting to believe that, at this stage, it no longer matters who literally got more votes on Sunday. It doesnt matter whether the csb has all the actas to prove it. What matters is that, by asking for a recount (regardless of whether the recount would settle it), showing some evidence of fraud (conditional or not), and forcing the government to refuse the recount and act histerically, capriles has convinced the majority of venezuelans (including many chavistas, i think) that the election was stolen. He has made Maduro look even weaker and has forced the issue of maduro’s viability as president from the very beginning of his term. From that point if view, this whole effort may be worth all the drama, even if it doesnt resolve anything in the short run. Its a way of continuing the momentum of the presidential campaign (and Maduro’s destruction) right after the election.

    Accepting the result would have had the opposite effect.


  58. Capriles and the opposition don’t really care about the ballots, if the government didn’t scammed and stuffed the boxes then they would be incredibly stupid given how easy it is to do this, if you’ve been an electoral member at a “mesa de votación” you would know this.

    The meat of the problem is at the “cuadernos de votación” (voting notebooks), those are much harder to game because of the signing and fingerprint of each voter, that’s why the government would never allow a total recount.


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