Venezuela’s Election System

Like Russia and Iran, Venezuela also maintains a facade of democracy while not allowing democracy.

I want to thank “sonofsamphm1c” in the “Hidden Costs” thread for pointing me to an article on Venezuela’s electronic voting machines. While the tone of the article if laudatory, electronic voting machines allow much easier and more sophisticated vote-manipulation than other voting systems. Algorithms can reduce only a certain fraction of votes from each district, leaving no statistical trace of manipulation while changing the victor. Likewise, electronic voting machines can simply not record, or double-record, some votes, in a way that does not require messy business like “finding” votes in someone’s trunk.

During Venezuela’s recent election, Hugo Chavez also threatened to send in the military and arrest opposition leaders if he or his allies lost.

The Russian Navy is visiting Venezuela, by the way.

7 thoughts on “Venezuela’s Election System”

  1. The Venezuelan elections are extensively monitored by a host of impartial groups. There simply are no facts that support your “wild” claim that their election system is subverting democracy in Venezuela. Impartial scientific polls indicated his party would lose 3 to 8 states in the recent election. He lost a number in that range. Their elections, unlike some elections in the United States, typically fall in line with impartial scientific polling. The little girl from Harvard observed a vote in the actual place where he threatened to send in tanks. Does it sound like people were fearful? A man who allegedly participated in the attempt to overthrow and kill Chavez won that election. That’s odd subversion.

    This election was a significant rebound from the last election, in which Chavez lost his most important vote. How do you square that with what you believe? The polls said the vote would be very close, which is the perfect environment in which to pull off an undetectable fraud. The press in the United States was full of predictions that the evil Chavez would steal that election; after all, it was a vote to essentially allow him to rule for life – if elected. He lost. Democracy was not subverted.

    Chavez uses fiery rhetoric in his political speeches. You will be hard pressed to find an example of where he has followed through upon any of it. He’s a blowhard – a lot of hat, hardly any cattle. It’s foolish to base serious thinking upon his rhetoric. He did not send in tanks, and it was always highly unlikely that he would. He did not arrest opposition leaders. These things were unlikely from the start – if one can be reasonable.

    If our foreign policy with respect to Venezuela and Russia weren’t so boneheaded and reactionary, it’s doubtful the Russians would be doing joint exercises with Venezuela.

    Whatever, the courts recently gave him back the billions ExxonMobil was trying to freeze. Chavez keeps winning. The side with your uninformed take on him keeps losing. Just like Barnett, you don’t understand him. He’s a socialist, and not a very sophisticated one, who appears totally committed to democracy. You think that is impossible; so far Chavez is proving you to be wrong. The sneering Barnetts of the world have made it easy as pie for Chavez to win elections.

    The bidding for tar-sand projects, which is currently underway, will be a significant measure of how confident investors are in doing business in Venezuela. It is a terrible time, could hardly be worse, for investment commitments, but I think he will get substantial bids. Venezuela has a huge amount of oil. Do you really think it was smart of ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips to leave it to the Russians? If they do not already know they were idiots to leave Venezuela, they need to catch up.

    Bush and Chavez hate one another. It was hate at first sight. Here at the end of Bush, he would be lucky to get 40% of the vote. Chavez just racked up 58%, which the brilliant American press construed as a loss. (????). Chavez would argue that if not for election fraud, Bush would have lost. You and he would be wrong together.

    Barnett would not listen to reason on Chavez. Nor will you. Meanwhile, Chavez will keep winning.

    Recently somebody posted that Venezuela requires $102 a barrel to balance its accounts. That is, as I pointed out, an absurd figure – pure American media lying. Last week Chavez stated $80 to $100 is a fair price for OPEC oil. That means at $80 he can accomplish his wildest socialist dreams – schools, healthcare clinics, retirement facilities, baseball diamonds, mass transit, cellulosic ethanol research, etc. You know, all that horrifically dangerous stuff he likes to do.

    Anyway, in January the lunatic American policy with respect to Venezuela dies.

  2. During Venezuela’s recent election, Hugo Chavez also threatened to send in the military and arrest opposition leaders if he or his allies lost.

    The above does not happen in Democratic nations.

    Bush and Chavez hate one another.

    I suspect Pres. Bush doesn’t spend too much time or energy thinking about or feeling about Pres. Chavez.

    BTW, there is more to being a Democracy [1] then just voting anyways.


  3. sonofsamphm1c’s reply in this thread is irrelevant to the points made in the post, which has been typical for him recently.

    Purpleslog is quite right that the mechanism of democracy does not guarantee (or indeed, even reliably predict) the existence of democracy.

    Michael quite right that odd things have been happening in Venezuela that destablize her neighbors.

    The odd case of Raul Baduel [1,2] — the defense minister who returned Chavez to power, became a critic, has since been interrogated, etc — is typical of the war against peace that Chavez has waged. As are his threats to invade Colombia [3], his subsidies of rebel terrorists [4], etc.


  4. Actually, destabilizing other countries isn’t as surprising as destabilizing one’s own country with foreign fighters. And not in one of the states that voted against him, either.

  5. Michael,

    Well said, though dictators naturally try to use different parts of their country’s government against each other, so that the leader can play the role of the balance. Mao did this through his rule (the Cultural Revolution was a deadly shuffling of the cards between the Party, the Army, and revolutionary cadres), Saddam did, etc… it gets the leader out from having to rely on any one group.

    After all, if the country would tire of him and send him out, would it be wiser to rely only on the army’s tanks, or an the army’s tanks and paramilitary irregulars?

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