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March 17, 2006

Vote Fraud in Venezuela - Who Would Have Thought?

Hugo Chavez has been caught with his hand in the ballot box.

It was the 32nd birthday of 1,921 Gonzálezes registered to vote in the western state of Zulia on Wednesday. But instead of celebrating with balloons and cake, many Venezuelans have been shouting fraud.

Every one of these Gonzálezes obtained their first government ID -- and simultaneously registered to vote -- in 2004, just before President Hugo Chávez defeated a recall referendum. And many of them registered on the same day, at the same registration center.

The case is ``one for the Guinness Book of Records,'' said Roberto Ansuini, a former opposition representative on the National Electoral Council who stumbled on it while looking into the registry's reliability. He said the most Gonzálezes ever born on one day in one year in Venezuela is 89.

The González case in Zulia typifies the opposition's claims that the registry is full of fraudulent voters -- one of the reasons some parties boycotted the December legislative elections and may sit out the presidential elections late this year. Many say the case also shows fraud in the recall vote.

Maybe Hugo needs a return visit from Harry Belafonte or Cindy Sheehan to turn the PR situation around.

Posted by Doug at March 17, 2006 01:25 PM

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Electoral Council President Jorge Rodríguez is Venezuela's version of Bagdad Bob. I still can't get over that Jimmy Carter personally certified one of the most corrupt elections in world history - helping a totalatarian dictator rise to power.

During the more recent boycotted election, Chavez asked his people to vote anyway in large numbers to show the mandate. Only 5% of the people voted. Chavez has laid the groudwork to be legally to be elected 'President for life,' similar to his buddy and mentor Fidel. Without his mandate, he has decided to wait before declaring himself such. (Shows the boycott actually was the best option.) However, it is only a matter of time, as the opposition is powerless. Who is going to tell him he can't rig the election? Carter? UN? I don't think so.

Posted by: bruce at March 17, 2006 02:01 PM

I'm curious why fraud seems likely to you in this case (which, based solely on what you've reported, does sound fishy) but not in the well-documented irregularities and apparent abuses in our own last two presidential elections?

Posted by: Dan Trabue at March 17, 2006 04:36 PM

There is small scale fraud at every election in the US - mostly by Democrats that run big cities like Chicago. One Democratic district in Philedelphia has 106% voter turnout. This, however, is chump-change compared to Venezuela, where the thing is completely rigged on a grand and organized scale. If the opporsition party completely boycotted the election, you know it has to be bad. Carter had to be completely blind.

Posted by: bruce at March 17, 2006 05:59 PM