Friday, June 11, 2004

Venezuelan Recall Is in Dispute Even Before the Vote

NYTimes Article (in GuvWurld archive, links to original)

Venezuelan Recall Is in Dispute Even Before the Vote
Published: June 11, 2004

CARACAS, Venezuela, June 10 - Touch-screen voting machines, which have been plagued by security and reliability concerns in the United States, will be used in the recall vote on President Hugo Chávez, prompting his foes and foreign diplomats to contend that the left-leaning government may use the equipment to manipulate the vote.

A new touch-screen system here, bought earlier this year by Mr. Chávez's government, uses voting machines made by the Smartmatic Corporation of Boca Raton, Fla., and software produced by a related company, the Bizta Corporation, also of Florida. Neither company has experience in an actual election.

As the No Confidence movement continues to pick up momentum, it will become increasingly clear that there is a Duh! factor to it all. Are we really going to continue to allow ourselves to be lied to?

Venezuela is not the only place besides America where the citizens are demonstrating justified skepticism of their country's supposedly democratic elections. As AP reported on March 21, 2004:
Taiwan's High Court ordered all ballot boxes sealed Sunday as thousands of protesters demanded a recount of President Chen Shui-bian's re-election, saying it was marred by voting irregularities and an apparent assassination attempt that wounded the incumbent.

As the Washington Post noted on January 25, 2004:
ILHAM ALIYEV was inaugurated as president of the oil-rich Muslim country of Azerbaijan three months ago after an election condemned by international observers as blatantly fraudulent. When members of the opposition tried to protest, they were brutally beaten by police. There followed a massive, nationwide crackdown in which more than 1,000 people were arrested, including opposition leaders, activists from nongovernmental organizations, journalists and election officials who objected to the fraud. More than 100 remain in prison, including most of the senior opposition activists. A new report by Human Rights Watch documents numerous cases of torture, including severe beatings, electric shock, and threats of rape against the opposition leaders. Mr. Aliyev, who succeeded his strongman father, meanwhile has been consolidating dictatorial powers: Most recently he was named director of Azerbaijani radio and television.

Also in March 2004, El Salvador held national elections marred by controversy.

There have also been recent transfers of power clearly influenced by the US as an outside force. For example, in Georgia, where President Eduard Shevardnadze was driven from office amidst the prospect of civil war; and in Haiti, where President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced into exile at gunpoint, as he told CA Rep. Maxine Waters.

I suspect I am missing other relevant examples but the point is made: we must take responsibility for defining this as a bottoming out point from which We The People will turn things around. Can you really fathom letting it get worse?



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