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.