Coup in Ecuador?

[UPDATED] At work I have to, well, work, but also we have no radio or TV and unless I am plugged on the web, events pass by and reach me at home at night during Alo Ciudadano.

Well, apparently there are disgruntled military and cops in Ecuador that are threatening to overthrow (already did?) Correa.  I do not like Correa but I am able to observe that he is very significantly better than Chavez, if anything because he preserved the dollarization of the country which stopped him from the vulgar populism of Chavez, while not stopping him from sucking as much from Chavez as he could, for the political dollars he could not find at home.  I also observe that he has a real opposition though wakened which has chances to bounce back sooner than later, to pick up a country that will not be ruined the way Chavez ruined Venezuela.  Simply because it was not in the plans of Correa to ruin his country.  That he knows better or that he actually believes in the reforms he proposes the fact of the matter is that today Ecuador is doing much better than Venezuela.

Thus there is NO REASON whatsoever that we know of to forcibly remove Correa.  What is going on is that like in all Latin America countries where we are subject to the military plague when you touch their privileges they overthrow you.  Yes I use the world privileges because that is what takes place, and in Venezuela worst of all. If anyone understand that the best way not to be overthrown by the army is to make it fat, it is Chavez.

I cannot thus support the going on coup in Ecuador because simply it will not solve the country's problems whatsoever.  And more than that, not only it will increase Ecuador's problems but it will increase ours as Chavez will use that excuse to speed up his own reactionary regime.  Trust me on that one, for all his flaws we would be better off today with Correa than Chavez.  If Chavez is removed by a coup, we could get worse than what we are.  And I do not want Chavez removed by a coup because I want a democratic regime to put him in jail after a fair trial.

PS: by the way, that today in Ecuador a coup or pseudo coup is taking place is an eloquent witness at the failures of the OAS and UNASUR to deal with such situations in the past in the past.


UPDATE: as Miguel eloquently twitted, it takes centuries to tune up the third world mindset. 

Apparently the whole affair which threatened to engulf the country in total chaos (well, that can still happen) was a group of people who have access to weapons that were willing to use them to get what they consider their due.  No law, no strike, no suing, just start shooting and see what happens.

To this you have an egocentric president who thinks he can do it all Superman like and thus takes risks that he should have never taken, and voila! pandemonium.

I do not know what was more mesmerizing, watching live the rescue of Correa or his bean counter speech later where he explained to an adoring crowd how much the Ecuadorian cops made.  Certainly not the most uplifting moment of the day.... 

If you ask me both Correa and the Quito cops should be sent to the Galapagos in the hope that this type of attitude becomes an endangered species.

I am going to give at least one thing to Correa: he sure has more guts than Chavez in such situations.  Chavez tends to spill them.

World Elections: the Venezuelan election gets great analysis elsewhere

Please, visit the World Elections blog where you will find very complete analysis of elections in many places of the world but also a great flawless analysis on the Venezuelan one. 

This was at the end, and it is very appropriate for the chavista readers that lurk:
More ample information on the various states, these elections and their results can be found on two excellent English-language local blogs, the first one being the Venezuela News and Views and the other being the Caracas Chronicles. Both of these come from a very anti-Chavist view, but the analysis is excellent, insightful and also extremely honest.
I cannot speak for Quico but this is one of the best compliments I have ever received.

Simple considerations as to why last Sunday was an electoral fraud and what to do about it

I will be brief and to the point

This morning I was in an early talk show with a Jamaica Kingston radio.  They call me when there is stuff going on in Venezuela and over the years my sparring partners have varied including one year Eva Golinger herself.  This time I found someone who I debated with at NPR years ago, Daniel Hellinger.  The man remains a chavista light, those who live safely in civilized countries and do not need to worry about their everyday life degradation if they had to live here.  Actually we had no problems agreeing in some points, but he dismissed the electoral result distortion saying that this was the norm.  It is not.

I also wrote a text in French and I was surprised this time around at the virulence from the loony left.  One thing that also struck me is how fast they had picked up the official line to defend the lopsided results, a witness at how well oiled is the pro Chavez "information".  You find this also through Mark Weisbrot at Comment is Free of the Guardian, with the added bonus that for him it is democracy back to normal in Venezuela that we should focus on.  Which is not but that is another subject.  And at home we can find such spin pieces such as this terribly written AVN text.  Without forgetting the one of a kind performance by Socorro Hernandez stating that those who disagree with her electoral shenanigans are creeps and manipulators.

One common thread needs to be observed here: the minimizing of the lopsided chavista victory of last Sunday, when many of these observers are suddenly less upset about the unfair electoral advantages they perceived in their countries now that these tricks benefit their hero/pay-master Hugo Chavez.  I am not going to discuss the hypocrisy of the case, it is self explanatory.

What is more interesting to observe here is that in fact these people have a deep ignorance of how electoral systems are created and how easily they are willing to accept that these are modified when it serves their side.  Nothing new you may say, but you are wrong because now the global left has discovered that using democracy and corrupting it and its electoral system you can access power and keep it for as long as you can get away with your cheating.  That is right, the left which is supposed to promote democracy has discovered the joys of electoral cheating on its favor.

We need to frame our debate in simple terms because we can win that one easily.  I am not speaking for myself who has had a life long interest in history, politics and henceforth electoral systems.  I cosigned a letter with my fellow bloggers challenging Socorro Hernandez but I have no false modesty in writing here that I can take on Soccorro Hernandez or anyone else mentioned above alone, anywhere, anytime, without any manual or lap top, with just a white board and at least two different colored markers.  I will trash them all, arguments and lies, in 10 minutes top.

It is not difficult if you know what you are talking about.  You only need to present material such as the table I drew two days ago and carry it around, rub it on the nose of any defender of the Sunday result and see them wince.  You do not need to mention Zulia or Anzoategui or Podunk: in no electoral system in the world who prides itself of a minimum of fairness you will see a regional result like the one I illustrated in that table.  Nowhere you will see 3 of the 4 main states in the country go one way in votes and the other way in seats.  It can happen for a state, maybe two in the case of very close elections but it will never happen for three major states.  Never.  And if per chance it were to happen, the civilized society will immediately think about a correction, not about defending the injustice from the dungeon high tower.

The Venezuelan opposition that lost so much last Sunday should never leave this issue sleep but should never be mired in stupid details about some busload of fake voters reaching a voting center 5 minutes after closing time.  Just with my table, just with a couple of additional tables that Esdata or Sumate can provide or me or Quico if they want them for free, we can demand from the National Assembly that the electoral law be reviewed and see how the undemocratic chavismo squirms and looks worse and worse as it blocks the hearings of Socorro Hernandez and Tibisay Lucena.  We have a great tool to expose chavismo and I am afraid that maybe the opposition is not seeing it clearly.

To close this I need to remind that this is not a personal matter as I kept trying to explain some of these people above: I predicted 69 seats for the opposition and it got 66.  No one got closer than I did, at least as far as I know.  Quico Toro did not predict the outcome of the vote but he created a model where plugging in the final result gave you the seat count to a seat.  It was there, for public information all along, the distorted voting system.  It was no witchcraft or tarot reading.  Everyone in Venezuela with a critical political mind knew that the chances for the opposition to win were slim, and impossible this time around if you put its target at 53% of the vote for the MUD alone.  It is all in my blog, it is all in Francisco Toro blog, there is no mystery.  The result was predictable because the extent of the handicap was known.

What happened is that the cheating in fact worked better than expected and even chavismo was surprised by it, hence the lousy defense of the result, starting with Chavez himself who fell apart in front of Andreina Flores of RFI.

The opposition leadership could do worse than reflect on this.  Quico and myself are their disposition and if they find us too arrogant our side kicks on the matter, Juan, Miguel and Alek can do the job too.  The 5 of us have been better than any polling group in Venezuela, have yielded better explanations of the CNE cheating than them or even major newspapers.  In fact, these polling groups should be sending us job offers, Globovision, El Universal and El Nacional should be begging us to write for them......

A reminder of the immense wisdom of Chavez and the extreme sycophancy of his hanger on

From my latest French post a reader reminded us about this video where Chavez states that human species is 25 centuries old and some French supporter taken aback cannot muster the courage to correct him.  First he says that no, we are more than 20 centuries and then when Chavez states 25 he just accepts it.  Think about Chavez and Andreina Monday night, this was no accident....  there is nothing worse than an ignorant that thinks he knows it all.   PS: by the way, I never heard of that François ever again.  Maybe he knows better now.

I think I posted it once upon a time but it bears re-posting.

Silly pro anti Chavez poll at the Guardian

Do not miss this chance for your daily fluff.  You have two hours left to vote.

Letter to the CNE

I am on the road and it is hard to blog from here, but I wanted to ask to the people of the Venezuelan Electoral Commission the same question Francisco, Juan, Daniel, Alek and Miguel asked. So, here it goes:

Querida Socorro,

Con curiosidad leímos tus declaraciones del día de hoy, en las que dices, con la precisión de un reloj suizo, que las circunscripciones electorales fueron diseñadas por un “método” basado en la “ley.”

¿Cuál es ese “método” Socorro?

Los únicos estados donde hubo modificaciones fueron Zulia, Distrito Capital, Miranda, Carabobo, Amazonas, Barinas, Lara y Táchira. Qué casualidad que siete de estos ocho estados favorecen a la oposición, y el otro (Barinas) es el estado natal del Presidente.

Cosas de la matemática, dirás. Pero dinos, ¿será posible que compartas con nosotros la mágica fórmula matemática – “el método”, como lo llamas tú - que dio ese maravilloso resultado?

No seas pichirre, vale. Si tienes un “método” exacto que obliga a unir Baruta con Chacao y Leoncio Martínez, ¿acaso no es un crímen tenerlo guardado bajo llave?

Debe ser fascinante ese “método” que los llevó a dividir el Municipio Sucre del Estado Miranda en tres partes – dos partes en las que tradicionalmente gana la oposición, y otra en la que gana el gobierno y que fue anexada a Guarenas.

Debe ser muy sabio ese “método” que unió las parroquias de El Paraíso y La Vega del Distrito Capital – en las que la oposición salió relativamente bien - con las parroquias de Antímano y Macarao, donde el chavismo nos da palo.

Ese método debe ser tan sofisticado que por eso nadie lo entiende. ¿Será por eso que tu colega Vicente Díaz dijo que no existían criterios técnicos para los cambios? ¿No crees que ese “método” - que ni siquiera el otro rector del CNE conoce - quiere ver la luz del día? ¿Acaso no merece tu “método” salir del closet?

Mira, Socorro, nosotros no somos sino unos simples ciudadanos blogueros. No tenemos a la mano la fuerza del aparato del Estado, ni comandamos el Plan República. No tenemos las armas tecnológicas, financieras, ni matemáticas que ustedes, los poderosos, sí tienen.

Lo único que sí tenemos – por ahora, ¿verdad? – es nuestra voz y el artículo 186 de la Constitución, que dice que la representación en la Asamblea deberá ser proporcional.

Y por eso te invitamos a discutir tu “método” con nosotros, donde quieras y cuando quieras. Trae tu fórmula, y nosotros traemos nuestros estudios que, modestia aparte, creemos son bastante serios. Trae tu “modelo” y nosotros traeremos las predicciones y pronósticos que hicimos y que lograron predecir el resultado de la elección.

Porque si es verdad que el “método” no favorece a nadie en particular, no deberías tener problema en debatirlo con nosotros. Si tu “método” es como lo pintas, te lo reconoceríamos sin dudar.

Es más, si nos convences, te hacemos tronco de publicidad. Como nuestro trabajo ha sido citado por The Guardian, The Economist, la BBC, Reuters, y otros medios internacionales, capaz y hasta te ayudamos a revertir esa “matriz de opinión” contraria al CNE que también hoy denunciaste.

Sería sólo un simple debate entre compatriotas. Democracia pura, pues.

Entonces Socorro, ¿te anotas?

Los autores de

Actualizado: Socorro dice que quienes no entendemos su “método” no tenemos principios. Alek Boyd tiene el video.

Venezuelan elections in French

I could not resist and wrote for Agoravox  an article in French with table included.  The mood among the "gauchistes" is at pitch fork level!!!!


We had to wait eight hours to get the results of the legislative elections. Readers are probably thinking: “What did you guys do during those eight hours, besides eating your nails?” Well; we looked at a door for eight hours – an exhausting but now iconic image that Globovision brought us -, knowing that inside that door where the CNE authorities counting the votes and that they could go outside any minute to announce the results. When looking at the door became, well, boring; we twitted. Venezuelans dragged their anxiety publishing messages of 140 characters or less. We twitted a lot: All ten global trending topics of Twitter, during Sunday night belonged or where about Venezuelan’ legislative elections.
So, what all those Tweets were about?

Mostly, they were jokes. Yes, J-O-K-E-S. One of the very few things I love about Venezuelans is that we know how to answer to adversities with a smile. People mistakenly believe we don’t take anything seriously, but we do. Joking is not our way to reduce seriousness or importance of an issue, but quite contrary, joking is our way to deal with it, to make it more visible, and at the same time, more bearable. Joking is surviving. If you let me choose, I prefer to survive with a smile than with a grumpy – serious face I’m forced to make because of the “seriousness” the situation requires.

Someone started a label called “#cosasquepasaranantesdelboletin” and it soon turned viral, becoming the number 1 trend topic on Twitter for at least a few minutes. This label translates to “things that will happen before the electoral bulletin” and we used it to make general jokes about impossible things (like Alice in Wonderland “think of seven impossible things before breakfast”). I was so tense, and anxious, and angry… but those tweets made my night. As a tribute to all those serious jokers, I’m bringing you translations of some memorable “#cosasquepasaranantesdelboletin”:

1. Venezuela will be part of a World Cup
2. Venezuela will host a World Cup
3. RCTV gets its signal back
4. I’ll be old enough to vote (posted by a 15 year old)
5. I’ll get a raise
6. Gustavo Dudamel will straighten his curls
7. Julio Borges will have two eyebrows
8. Chavez will stop liking the red colour
9. Power will be out, the results will come out but we won’t find it out until tomorrow noon
10. We will all have to go to work
11. I’ll be president of the Republic
12. “He will speak to me, we will date, we’ll marry and have kids together”
13. Paris Hilton will become a nun
14. “Robert Pattison will be mine”
15. Silvester will eat Piolin. And Tom will finally eat Jerry
16. Lady Gaga will have a “Good Romance” – Plus, she will dress with jeans, a white simple t-shirt and sneakers. – Plus she will decide if she wants Alejandro, Roberto or Fernando (There were loads of Tweets about Gaga under this label)
17. Lindsay Lohan will spend one day without f… it up
18. The trilogy “Tibi Potter and the mistery of the Bulletin” will be published
19. Only God knows the “cosasquepasaranantesdelboletin”

Last but not least, the funniest part, foreigners wondering what does that weird task meant:

“It's from Venezuela, dude... > @Aye_Pistol_Pete: i really wanna kno what does #cosasquepasaranantesdelboletin mean...”

“#IWannaKnowWhy they got this long ass #TT #cosasquepasaranantesdelboletin like wut fu*k is tht about it aint even english !”

When the bulletin finally came out, a part of us were secretly sorry. #cosasquepasaranantesdelboletin was over. But Twitter will never be the same after that night. Venezuela will never be the same after that night.

Carta abierta a Socorro Hernández, Rector Principal CNE

Querida Socorro,

Con curiosidad leímos tus declaraciones del día de hoy, en las que dices, con la precisión de un reloj suizo, que las circunscripciones electorales fueron diseñadas por un “método” basado en la “ley.”

¿Cuál es ese “método” Socorro?

Los únicos estados donde hubo modificaciones fueron Zulia, Distrito Capital, Miranda, Carabobo, Amazonas, Barinas, Lara y Táchira. Qué casualidad que siete de estos ocho estados son bastiones de la oposición, y el otro (Barinas) es el estado natal del Presidente. Cosas de la matemática, dirás.

Pero dinos, ¿será posible que compartas con nosotros la mágica fórmula matemática – “el método”, como lo llamas tú - que dio ese maravilloso resultado? No seas pichirre, vale.

Si tienes un “método” exacto que obliga a unir Baruta con Chacao y Leoncio Martínez, ¿acaso no es un crímen tenerlo guardado bajo llave?

Debe ser fascinante ese “método” que los llevó a dividir el Municipio Sucre del Estado Miranda en tres partes – dos partes en las que tradicionalmente gana la oposición, y otra en la que gana el gobierno y que fue anexada a Guarenas. 

Debe ser muy sabio ese “método” que unió las parroquias de El Paraíso y La Vega del Distrito Capital – en las que la oposición salió relativamente bien - con las parroquias de Antímano y Macarao, donde el chavismo nos da palo.

Ese método debe ser tan sofisticado que por eso nadie lo entiende. ¿Será por eso que tu colega Vicente Díaz dijo en enero del 2010 que no existían criterios técnicos para los cambios? ¿No crees que ese “método” quiere ver la luz del día? ¿Acaso no merece tu “método” salir del closet?

Mira, Socorro, nosotros no somos sino unos simples ciudadanos blogueros. No tenemos a la mano la fuerza del aparato del Estado, ni comandamos el Plan República. No tenemos las armas tecnológicas, financieras, ni matemáticas que ustedes, los poderosos, sí tienen.

Lo único que sí tenemos – por ahora, ¿verdad? – es nuestra voz y el artículo 186 de la Constitución, que dice que la representación en la Asamblea deberá ser proporcional.

Y por eso te invitamos a discutir tu “método” con nosotros, donde quieras y cuando quieras. Trae tu fórmula, y nosotros traemos nuestros estudios que, modestia aparte, creemos son bastante serios. Trae tu “modelo” y nosotros traeremos las predicciones y pronósticos que hicimos y que lograron predecir el resultado de la elección.

Porque si es verdad que el “método” no favorece a nadie en particular, no deberías tener problema en debatirlo con nosotros. Si tu “método” es como lo pintas, te lo reconoceríamos sin dudar.

Es más, si nos convences, te hacemos tronco de publicidad. Como nuestro trabajo ha sido citado por The Guardian, The Economist, la BBC, Reuters, y otros medios internacionales, capaz y hasta te ayudamos a revertir esa “matriz de opinión” contraria al CNE que también hoy denunciaste.

Sería sólo un simple debate entre compatriotas. Democracia pura, pues.

Entonces Socorro, ¿te anotas?

Los autores de

There is really something wrong with the neuronal connections of hard core chavistas

We had the visit of a few PP representatives during the election.  The Partido Popular Español is certainly no friend of Chavez but it seems that it is now cured of residual Franco remains and has embraced democracy.  After all Aznar refused to run for a third term that he would have won without much trouble (though one can question why Rajoy is so determined to hold to the helm of the PP after two defeats, but I digress).

Apparently such news have never reached chavismo who now through its chofiller Maduro, ooops!, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, is calling El Pais and ABC of Spain tabloids issued from the Franco era, fascists rags that defend the exploitation of men if "the South".  Somebody should inform that poor soul that El Pais was founded 6 months after the death of Franco, when free press was barely becoming a possibility and that if ABC is indeed from the right. it preceded Franco for quite a while it remains that it was not necessarily his favorite during his long rein and that today VEA or El Correo del Orinoco could do worse than getting inspiration from its pages....

Well, whatever Maduro said or influenced it is reported today that when Carlos Iturgaiz, Spanish representative to the Strasbourg Eurochamber left Venezuela he was not only stopped for a while at the airport by the SEBIN, security police of the regime, but he had to listen to a lecture about the wonders of chavismo before he could get his passport back and be allowed to fly to Spain "una clase de formación del espíritu bolivariano" a class of bolivarian spirit foramtion.

Seriously, do people in chavismo still believe that those who oppose Chavez do so out of ignorance? That a mere chat will change their outlook? I have met evangelical missionaries with infinitely more intelligence and doigté. At any rate, Iturgaiz had no problem telling the SEBIN creep lecturing him that probably that was why so many people voted against Chavez.

The truth about Chavez "victory"

Weill goes to the jugular after all the pantomimes of Chavez yesterday dodging questions, insulting journalists, explaining why he won, etc, etc....  The fact of the matter is that he did not show up Sunday night at his Miraflores Balcony to celebrate with "el pueblo".  First time ever he fails to do that.  There was no victory, there was no pueblo under the balcony....

How Chavez tries to humiliate the journalist of Radio France International

The courageous journalist of RFI, Andreina Flores, asked two fair questions to Chavez. This one dodged the questions, speaking for about ten minutes trying to ridicule her, minimize her, insinuate that she is not a good Venezuelan and what not.... But she held her own very well!!!! A new press hero!! The only one that appears like a true ignoramus of electoral systems is Chavez as he pretends to explain that the Venezuelan one is "normal". Pathetic!!! By the way, since when those who claim they won must spend so much time explaining why is it that they won?

Observe behind Andreina the changing faces of Eva Golinger, Caracas Rose, sucking up to her beloved leader.

Chavez is making a double mistake. By insulting Andreina Flores he also insults RFI which is a rather tolerant radio towards leftist like Chavez.
UPDATE: RFI replies to Chavez
UPDATE 2: Yesterday performance of Chavez and his abuse toward Andreina is reaching far. Already EL Pais has a devastating article by Pablo Ordaz on the inability of Chavez to hide is discomfiture when his cheating is exposed.  It is only starting Hugo, the ignorant is you, not Andreina.

Fue así como el PSUV le robó 5 diputados a la MUD en 3 entidades

En la tabla arriba puse los votos por lista del Distrito Capital, y los estados Miranda y Carabobo.  Estos representan 32 de las 165 sillas de diputados a elegir el domingo 26 pasado.

En esta tabla se indican los porcentajes de voto lista obtenidos por cada bando, se indican el numero de diputados obtenidos en cada entidad para cada bando y el porcentaje que representan.

Al final se suma todo y se calculan los porcentajes totales.  Así se puede ver clarísimo que con solamente 45,3% de los votos el PSUV  saco 59,4% de los diputados de estos tres circuitos, en efecto robándose 5 diputados a la alianza de la MUD.

Reto a quien sea que me demuestre con ejemplos que existe un sistema electoral legislativo tan desigual en cualquier país que se llame democrático.  No estamos hablando aquí de entidades que escogí para hacer quedar mal al gobierno: estas son 3 de las 4 mayores entidades electorales de Venezuela.  No es una coincidencia, es deliberado.

Aquí tienen una prueba fehaciente de como la trampa electoral diseñada por el CNE funcionó, menoscabando la representación popular y transformando a los que votan contra Chávez en ciudadanos de segunda.

PS: para simplificar use el voto lista de cada estado como base, pero si se hace el calculo sumando los votos de los diferentes circuitos se consigue el mismo resultado y tal vez mas grave todavía.  Por ejemplo en Libertador la diferencia del voto lista es de 700 votos pero si uno suma los votos nominales la diferencia se eleva a favor de la MUD en 30,000 votos, agrando aun mas el caso ya que la MUD saco solamente 1 diputado de los 7 nominales en juego.  ¡Aun mas injusto!

Autopsy of a cheating

Before entering in the details of the results I wanted to make a simple and clear post that illustrates the extent of electoral cheating that has taken place in Venezuela Sunday 26 September.  In the slide above I have put together the results of Caracas, and the States of Carabobo and Miranda accounting among them for 32 of the 165 seats in play last Sunday (19.4% of the seats at stake).

I have added the vote list obtained by both the opposition and chavismo in the vote list, the total seats obtained and calculated the percentage.  That is right, between these three areas chavismo got ONLY 45.3% of the vote and yet got 59.4% of the seats.  Please, point out to me of any other electoral system in an alleged democratic country which is as unfair in its results as the Venezuelan one is.  We are talking here of 3 of the 4 most populated areas of the country, not a selective sample I have taken to make the regime look bad.  This is the exhibit A of how the CNE designed electoral laws and gerrymandering to screw the opposition and under-represent it dramatically.

Chavez in cadena

So he started his cadena. After all he did not show up yesterday and he certainly needs to do something to stem the bad press.  So he does a cadena where he explains arcane numbers without addressing the crux of the matter, that is, the gerrymandering that gave him the majority he has today.  But he certainly senses that this would not do in front of the foreign press, even if sympathetic.  So, as usual refusing to take questions from the press which he subjects to a prolonged sit-down while he perorates at will, he comes back to elemental fantasies such as challenging the opposition to call a recall election.  Like a stupid kid dare.

Well, he is certainly considering the foreign press as a set of dumb-asses since even if the opposition were declaring today they will that go for a recall election it would take at the very least 6 months to take place.  Any journalist that will inquire will find out about that, in addition of learning of the Tascon List which has killed that constitutional feature for good.  In 6 months from now, if all goes well, there would barely a year an half left of Chavez term.  What would be the point?

Not forgetting that there are delayed communal election already two years late, that a few mayors need to be elected, etc, etc...  Why spend all of your meager resources in a traumatic recall election that you cannot win (the opposition needs to get more votes than Chavez got in 2006, something that it does not have even if it has a majority today) when you can keep inflicting significant setbacks to Chavez elsewhere at less cost?

In short, a silly exercise by Chavez whose target is not the foreign press but the idiotic strati of his followers who are suddenly discovering that Chavez is a mere cheat....

PS: I did not want to watch the cadena and I switched to CNN.  And within minutes they started transmitting the cadena!!!  until they got bored and realized it was the usual rant they have been subjected so many time already and we switched to a special on Ingrid Betancourt.  Appropriate no?, as we are hostages to Chavez....

Claiming my own little personal victory: 64 to 69

OK, it is still a little bit too early to claim my own personal victory in that result guessing system but overall I am pretty pleased with myself.  Considering how daunting it was to go case by case in the different districts, and how unforgiving turned out to be my variometer I did pretty well, predicting that the opposition would get 69.  It will get, if all is as I assume it will go, 64.  As such I do not know of any other prediction that got as close to the final number.  Note: I did my prediction without safety net, that is I assumed that PPT and chavismo are the same and forgot about the indigenous representatives, only MUD direct seats were counted.

In no particular order of hits and miss, a list that might require further revision as final data finally becomes available:
  • The total number of votes.  For those of you who got my last minute simple variometer you will read that when the default variation is set to 0 the opposition is getting 5.033.249.  The CNE gives for the Parlatino vote 5.054.114. The model gave chavismo 5.140.275 and the Parlatino count is 5.222.364.  Kind of spooky if you ask me...  But of course these are not the final numbers nor are they those one could deduct from the individual districts which will likely be higher.  What maters is that I got the spread between the MUD and the PSUV, the heart of my study (the claim fo 52% for the opposition comes from adding PPT, MUD and whatever else, a valid claim but requiring adequate qualifications, to be discussed in future posts).
  • In individual states I got with high scores 11 states, with passing grade 4 states and I really flunked only in Anzoategui and Bolivar.
  • But if I go to some of my intuitions and educated guesses that I reported in my regional studies, but that did not show up in the strict harshness of my model, I did better because I can include my hunch that Cumana would go opposition, for example, or that in Lara I was not certain that PPT would make it, that it should not get more than 4 out of 10 when it got 0 (I did predict the three opposition seats it would gain in Lara, by the way, it was only the difficulty at judging the PPT-PSUV contest that I had trouble).  I also like my Guarico prediction: [Guarico] is a very interesting case as it is the only other state outside of Lara where the PPT has a chance to do something. That is, if it manages to make a pact with the opposition because divided, even with a calamity like William Lara as a governor, the PSUV can still get it all.As it did.
Thus I am leaving it as is right now because I have lots of data to pour over until I can decide how good I really was.  But bear with me if I can already be a little bit proud with myself.....

      Stealing an election: Venezuela 2010

      The abject lesson of yesterday's vote is how chavismo managed to steal shamelessly an election. From now on Chavez and his followers are just a bunch of cheats that use all the tricks in the books to steal a "legal" electoral majority at the expense of a democratic majority. If you do not agree with me, well read the world press in general which does not understand how an opposition which gets MORE than the regime's share of the vote, gets not much more than a third of the seats at stake.

      Or wonder how come that for the first time that Chavez "won" an election he did not dare to go out to his Miraflores balcony to celebrate. The cheat knew he had been exposed and could not take the limelight.

      I am going to give you an extremely simple example that can be seen in the Caracas Libertador district. Already on the CNE page you can read that in Caracas the united opposition got 484.844 votes and the chavista alliance 484.103. And yet of the 10 seats at stake the opposition gets 3 and chavismo gets 7. You simply cannot explain this in democratic terms. Such a flagrant manipulation of an electoral system leaves far, far behind other well known "manipulations" like the Gore defeat of 2000 or the recent troubles in the UK where the Tories were stopped from an outright majority, in a system which already is comfortable with the winner not reaching 50% of the vote.

      Another example in cheating  is next door Miranda State where the opposition got 57% of the vote and yet got "only" 50% of the seats.

      Should I keep going?

      That is why Chavez did not show his face last nice: he knows he got caught, he knows the world is unto him, with the FARC in Colombia, with his snake potion economy recipes, and now with outright electoral cheating to disguise the fact that now 52% of Venezuelans, in spite of all the threats, the cheating, the blackmail, the cheating, the insults, the cheating, did not vote for him.  And going....

      Chavez last night got in fact the very worst result he could have gotten.  Had the opposition won he would have blamed every problem on them and get back a shot at 2012 re-election.  Had the opposition lost in votes and seats, well, the rest of the world would have forgotten that business and kept doing more "rewarding" business with Chavez.  But losing the popular vote and winning DRAMATICALLY the seat count is simply not acceptable in polite democratic society, and even less from a pseudo revolution which presents itself as the epitome of democracy, with the safest, best electoral system in the world.

      Chavez cheating yesterday even managed to make the lousy victory of 2005 dignified in comparison.  Then he won 100% courtesy of the opposition mistakes.  A lousy victory but a legal one.  Last night his victory was deprived of any legitimacy, in addition of any legality when the new electoral law was passed in open violation of the constitution.  Think about the consequences.  For example, what serious country will negotiate with Chavez now that the opposition can claim with all reason that they will not honor future fulfillment of the contract unless they are consulted and also approve that contract?

      And if you think that such a cheating victory will offer stability to chavismo, think twice.  For example, an amendment to the constitution can be called by a mere third of the National Assembly.  Amen of other type of referenda that the opposition is now able to call for, and get the votes for considering the outage that is already seeping everywhere.

      The emperor has no clothes and the consequences are coming fast.

      Venezuela has officially ceased today to be a democracy

      And its constitution is dead.

      In Bolivarian Venezuela the opposition gets MORE VOTES than the regime, probably 52% when all is said, and yet it is beaten at least 90 to 65 seats!!!!!!!!!!!!

      The delay of the CNE and the cheating it allowed to ensure a majority for the regime will go into the annals of electoral infamy of the world.

      Trouble ahead in Venezuela!!!!!!!!

      My election day post (Done at 2:27 am)

      2:27 AM. Madrugonazo!!!. Finally, just when five trending topics on Twitter are about this election...Told you I'll wake up. CNE launches it first bulletin, it says it's only partial (After more than six hours! only partial! Amazing how ineffective this high-tech voting system is) but it shows an non reversible tendency. The results: PSUV (Chavistas) got 90 seats, MUD (Opposition) got 59 seats, PPT got 2 seats. According to the MUD, they got 52% of the popular vote, more than Chavismo. Yet, as electoral rules are today, Chavismo is comfortable with more seats. Still, Chavismo does not hold the 2/3 majority they expected. I'll probably post about it in a few hours. For now it's over, off to bed... good night

      11:50 PM. The cacerolazo ended as fast as it begun. CNE hasn't launched any results yet and this girl has decided to go to sleep at Cinderella time. Tomorrow, my day starts as early as 6:00 am. Believe me, when CNE finally launches the official results, I will know. Either someone at home will wake me up, or the fireworks, screams, cacerolazos or whatever will do the rest. Besides, I doubt I'll have a profound, deep, good sleep; given the tension I feel inside. If you are reading, see you later! (hopefully soon).

      11:32 PM. A "cacerolazo" (for the newbies: people hitting kitchen tools as a way of protest) has started in my neighborhood. I feel tempted to join, but my six-month old niece is staying here and has finally fell sleep. So I will not. We are all tense, irritated, angry and tired of this waiting. But I can't say I didn't knew, as unfair as it is, it always happen and early in the day I assured you we wouldn't going to know a thing before midnight. I was right.

      11:13 PM. Both candidates and leaders from government' party: PSUV and opposition political alliance: MUD (goes for "Mesa de la Unidad") refuses to speak on TV. Not even a message of tranquility "lets wait for the CNE results" type of message as they did on past elections. Reason? They probably don't want the "carometro" (read 8:46 Pm message) to give any information. So people are now trying to apply the "carometro" to reporters from both the only opposition channel (Globovision) and the main government one (VTV). But I can't read anything on those faces, do you? This "carometro" story gives me enough material to write a magic realism novel.

      - Speaking of something else: My page has had more than 300 visitors today and that's a lot for a site that usually gets about 50 visitors a day, but no one has left a comment so I wonder if someone is actually reading, anyone out there?-

      11:00 PM. I'm still waiting for the official results. Most voting centers closed at 6:00 PM. Our electoral system is almost completely automatized. And yet, five hours later, we still have no results. There is no excuse for it, and this is totally unacceptable. Be aware that exit polls are not trustworthy; so don't look for them. My boyfriend is off to bed, well I doubt he's really sleeping but trying to, tired of waiting. And I'm about to follow his example. I just heard a truck passing by playing a very loud music - someone celebrating? - but couldn't figure what that was all about.

      9:42 Pm. Still no results. Some voting centers are still open, but most are not so CNE should at least say something; and the opposition members too. But the opposition has announced they will give a press conference after the CNE speaks out, I'm not sure what could that mean. I refuse to give credit to any rumors. Twitters have stopped giving numbers and they are now asking CNE to launched the results. We all wonder, what are they waiting for?

      8:46 Pm. No results still. Twitters are driving me crazy. The "carometro" says there could be good results for the opposition. For those new in here, "carometro" ("face-metter") is to look at the faces of the political leaders on TV to see if they "seem" happy or sad. We know they already know, but is not legal to say anything before the CNE launches the official results. Sounds odd, but since official results take too long, the "carometro" its the only tool we have to know what's happening before midnight. And it has proven to be effective. This blog is saying something. With Carometros, Bloggers, and Twitters; we'll have to wait and see

      8:07 Pm. Two hours after the official closing of the voting tables and still no results. Considering our electoral system is automatized, this is an scandal. But like I said earlier, we are accustomed to not expect any result before midnight, and even then, CNE usually don't give us all the results but only an "irreversible tendency". Rumors come and go, my phone hasn't stop getting calls with the same question "What do you know?" - And my answer "So far, nothing but Twitter says..." Since Twitter escapes from CNE regulations, everyone is posting numbers they supposedly got from a friend of a friend who has an uncle who works at the CNE or belongs to a political party etc...I don't know which tweet I should trust and which tweet I should not. In the meantime, the tension is killing me. Working on my graduate applications? Yeah... right, What was I thinking?

      7:32 Pm. Most voting tables should be closed by now. We are waiting for the results and rumors come and go. History tell us we won't get any official results until midnight at least, so this is going to be a long, exhausting night. I'm off to work on my graduate school applications (or at least try to focus my mind on anything else)

      3:41 Pm - It's raining in Caracas, hope that doesn't stops voters from doing what they have to.

      2:19 Pm Another delayed but important news: three members of an NGO called Voto Joven (means Young vote) were detained and their laptops were seized, without a judicial order. This happened early this morning.

      2:14 pm Some news: our general prosecutor says everything is normal... except for the death of one person at Las Clavellinas, in Miranda State, in hands of the army in charge of the protection of the public order. If you speak Spanish, here is the video

      11 am Done, I voted. Here's the proof: my purple - inked finger. If you have a blog, post a picture of your inked finger as well to call others to vote. In Venezuela voters are marked as cattle... go figure. I'll come back again if anything comes up.

      Voté en Europa por Venezuela. ¿Y tú?

      From Caracas I get these pictures

      What have I heard?

      • The military regime is using hundreds of brand-new jeeps it kept at the huge CORPOVEN oil facilities in Yagua, Carabobo, to transport Chavez supporters to the voting stations. If they are so new that only means they have stolen or let to rot the many thousands they bought for the previous elections.

      • The CNE changed the position of candidates in several areas to the confusion of people.
      • Soldiers went to the Simón Bolívar University and detained three students working to process complains about the elections. The soldiers took away the students' computers as well. The students were released after some hours. Someone out there paying attention?
      • Soldiers killed a person in Guarenas, Miranda (soldiers said he was throwing stones at them and a friend of the victim says they had detained him while he was sent to fetch cigarettes for them and when he returned he found the dying man.
      • Chávez bikers have been continuing campaign in front of everybody and the pro-Chávez Electoral Commission ignores everything as usual.
      • Sevral voting machines are having problems all around Venezuela. People have to wait sometimes over one hour.
      • Chiguire Bipolar was hacked.
      • Chávez's thugs attacked several journalists in Anzoátegui (there are several other reports like this)


      Der Spiegel berichtet über Venezuela. Es ist im grossen und ganzen ein genauer Text, auch wenn einige Fehler einschlüpft sind. Es ist nicht die Armee, die die Venezolaner mit einem Trompetenaufruf zur Wahl auffordert, sondern die Chávez-Sturmtruppen und Chávez-Angestellte. Die Armee ist aber schon nichts mehr als eine Institution zum Dienst des Caudillo seiner Militärbonzen geworden.

      Blogging from inside a voting center

      Follow Miguel at Devil's Excrement . He will be constantly updating this post during the day, showing us a microcosms of how elections are in Venezuela. Now I'm out. When you read this, this blogger will be going to her voting center.
      -There is no rest -


      I just woke up and I'm getting ready for going to my voting center. I'll post the traditional picture of my inked finger when I come back. I'll also keep posting if anything extraordinary comes up. This blog is read all over the world, by foreigners but also by Venezuelans, must of them living abroad. This message goes to you, if you are Venezuelan, no matter where you live, please dedicate a couple of minutes of your day and go to vote. You are still a Venezuelan citizen even if you don't live here and it is your responsibility to act like one. You might say "the Parlantino is not so important" but on this election; that Chavez has turned into another plebiscite about him; every single vote counts, every single vote can send a strong message, no matter if its a vote for the assembly, indigenous vote or the Parlantino. So be responsible, mature, adult, think for once about the country you left; and specially about those you care who still live here and will live here forever. If you care, please, please, I beg you, stop reading and go to your nearest Venezuelan consulate and VOTE. I mean NOW!!!
      - Don't click, there is no rest -

      The 2010 election day post

      Going to bed. Exhausted. Worried sick about a country that is able to rob in such a shameful way the popular will. More analysis tomorrow but we need to wait for the CNE to fess up some more, not like in 2007. At least now the opposition mood is combative and chavismo is on the defensive, no matter how many seats they robbed us.


      60 seats so far for the MUD with the possibility of some more. SO my pessimistic prediction of 69 seats was actually optimistic. We will need to wait some to see how off I was.


      psuv 5.222.364 46.62%
      MUD 5.054.114 45.10%

      but incomplete yet!!!

      chavismo barely wins!!!! BIIIIIIIIIGGGG!

      IMPORTANT: the opposition was divided for the Parlatino and thus together it is larger than 45.1%, IT IS LARGER THAN CHAVISMO!!!!! It is a majority!!!!


      I am not too clear on that. Some states do not report 50% and yet the CNE declares them irreversible.


      miranda 6 PSUV MUD 6

      monagas : psuv 5 previsible 1 mud

      nueva esparta : 3 mud 1 psuv, as expected

      portuguesa : psuv 5 mud 1 as expected

      sucre: mud 3 psuv 3 good one there!

      tachira: mud 5 psuv 1 1 up in the air good prediction

      trujillo: psuv 4 mud 1 predictable

      yaracuy: psuv 4 mud 1 sad but not surprising

      zulia: 12 mud, psuv 3 I got that one!!!!

      vargas: psuv 3 mud 1 predictable


      Barinas: MUD only 1

      Bolivar: MUD 2!!!!! bad

      Carabobo: MUD 3!!! very bad

      cojedes: 1 MUD previsible

      delta amacuro: 4 PSUV bad!!!

      caracas libertador: PSUV 7 MUD 3 really bad

      falcon: 4 PSUV MUD 2 bad

      guarico: PSUV 3 2 undefined

      lara: psuv 6 MUD 3 PPT out!!!!!!!

      merida psuv 4 mud 2 previsible


      Typed as I hear them:

      66.45% participation

      She makes up excuses for the delay

      She admits closeness of the vote

      She starts the "irreversible" seats count

      Amazonas: 2 PPT!!!!

      Aragua: 3 MUD

      anzoategui : 5 MUD!!!


      Tibisay about to speak!


      The breathless journalists tells us that all this delay for 8 seats!!!!


      The CNE rectors are finally leaving their counting room!!!!


      Fireworks in San Felipe! At last! Someone thinks they have won! I have no idea who it is.....


      From tweets and tips and stuff the scenario of the opposition getting around 70 seats (sans PPT?) seems to be congealing. Leopoldo Lopez states that the Parlatino is won by the opposition and thus it would be proof that the popular vote went to the opposition.


      The PSUV who was gathered for its election headquarters apparently has decided to leave the place, without declarations, and go straight to Miraflroes Palace. You are free to interpret this as you wish....


      Looks like the madness of King Hugo makes the CNE deaf to the warning of Aveledo.


      I have communicated with Caracas Chronicles. Their site is down. It seems that it is a technical problem, not a hacking matter. They request that you be patient and do not try to enter for a few minutes while they try to fix it.


      The opposition speaks up. The spokesperson of the MUD, Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, says that we all know the result but the CNE.  In other words, either the CNE gives the results or the opposition will give its own ones.

      Ah! the fresh smell of shit hitting the fan!!!

      As such I feel like I can finally call it: the opposition won at least a third of the seats and it seems that it also won the majority of the popular vote (it would not be so cocky if it did not).  But it will not win a majority of the seats.  So my prediction might come true but by how far?


      The ministry for electoral affairs. That is how they call Tibisay Lucena, the CNE head. And tonight she richly deserves that title, unable to call the results until Chavez approves them. Which he will not do unless he gets so many seats. This is the growing rumor, that Chavez does not want to sign his minister decree. Are they going to cheat outright?

      The problem here is that no one is questioning that the opposition did not win in seats though a persistent rumor of it winning in votes is floating. But Chavez hung himself to the highest tree by declaring that it was 2/3 or else and just like it happened in the recent Colombia debacle he does not know how to extricate himself from that non-victory.


      Back from walking the dog. It struck me odd that I had not heard any firework or any procession of honking cars. At the very least that means that the result in San Felipe was very close. the locals do have already in their hands the result and for sure if one side had a clear victory they would already be making noise in the streets. From where I live I might not be able to tell who won but I certainly could hear that someone won.....


      Still nothing. Globovision is resorting to fill up the airwaves to recite all the states and how many seats they get. Chavez on twitter is telling his supporters to get ready to accept the results. Is he preparing them for bad news? Who knows, all is possible in the propaganda crazed regime. I agree with CCSChrns: it looks that at the very least Chavez will fail to win his 2/3 majority which he qualified himself as the only victory he could accept. Too bad for him if he does not get it.

      Curio: I got a "tip" which told me that the opposition would get 70, 1 more than my prediction. even though the thought would be pleasing for my ego, I ain't buying it.


      This is ridiculous! The regime is not talking!!!! And we do not even have "carometros" except for some smiling faces at Globovision. But with botox, you know....


      Mi friend in a very chavista center of Vargas reports chavismo losing 20% from 2009 and the opposition gaining 10%. Chavismo still wins but the difference shrunk quite a lot, down to 10%.


      I am  finally receiving some data from more chavista areas and it seems that abstention was mayor than usual. The two centers where I have friends in Vargas report an increase in 10% or more in their abstention rate respecting 2009. This in spite of later closings to herd a few extra chavista.  So yes, I cannot put it as a national trend but if we put together with the now confirmed good participation in opposition voting areas then we can have some hopes that at least we are stopping chavismo from getting the 2/3 majority they need to keep rolling over us.


      I am not a liberty to tell but I have received encouraging news. At least from some areas.


      Tables should be closing but look at that! A friend in a chavista table is telling me that they are refusing to close the center and that people are still arriving. Also there are reports in chavista areas where they are trying to round up people.


      Polls about to close. The long wait is about to start. I still have not been able to figure out whether chavista centers are voting as usual.


      Impossible to take a nap. Phone calls.

      Only one interesting detail to report. A friend in a voting center has figured out a way to see who votes for PSUV and who does not. See, there are two electronic cards that you need to punch and they are quite large. If you want to vote for the indigenous candidate for the Latin-American parliament you need to make enough of a reach to the bottom right that it is visible from afar!!!! In other words, you can guess who votes opposition straight ticket as only those people would bother marking also the indigenous candidate that runs supported by the opposition.  In his district it does not matter much as most will vote opposition but they took up as a game to watch people they would guess would vote PSUV, and most did vote opposition.  I wonder if chavismo is aware of that and might be using it already, as a type, to force people to vote PSUV....


      Before the nap. A couple of phone calls. They vote in opposition districts and it looks that participation will be larger than in 2008. In particular the center where one of my brother was working in 2008 and 2009 (not this year but he still knows the "testigo" when he went to vote) by 2 PM they were reaching the 2008 number with still three hours to vote.

      Nap time now.


      Nothing to report from around here. After a truly beautiful morning looks like a thunderstorm is on its way to San Felipe. Lunch was great. Three cubalibre. Slightly drunk. Need a nap.

      A survey of news revealed that in Caracas a troupe of chavista goons tried to stop Ivan Olivares of PJ from voting. The army and the CNE remain silent... It seems that there is a certain restlessness among the PSUV as similar absolutely undemocratic attitudes have been observed also in El Tigre and at the Simon bolivar University of Caracas. The one at the USB is worrisome becasue it was the army that intervened with brutal excess.

      Nap time for about an hour, sorry...


      Voting was fast!!! there was no one ahead of me! I was concerned at first but when I looked at my voting book about half of the people had already voted. I suppose that since everybody knows we can vote until 6 PM this time a lot of people decided to stay home for lunch.

      In my voting center abstention was 19% in 2009 with more than 80 % voting NO. So I am in opposotion strongholds here and the only number that matters is the abstention. It looks that by 6 PM we should make it to 80% participation. The interesting data is from chavista centers. If you vote there or know people who vote there let us know.

      After voting I drove around to different voting places, chavista or not, same panorama: few people, no lines. Lunch time for all. So I cannot tell you anything except what I already told you: in San Felipe the opposotion is voting.

      And now, drinks and lunch with my house guest. See you later.


      Before I am off to vote. Another telling sign I forgot to mention. My neighbor is a chavista who benefited from government contracts. in 2009 he was heavily involved in the campaign, with meetings even held in his home. But this time around... nothing.... just a "vote for PSUV" on chalk on his rear window... I am sure he is voting PSUV but the passion ain't there no more.

      First accounts from voting readers in the comment. Keep bringing them, it is about the only reliable info we can get right now. All the rest is plain gossip, at least until 2 PM when the first exit polls may start forming the carometros of the regime.

      Off to vote.


      Well, my domestic activities took me longer than expected. Then again I started laundry. Not to lower my electoral stress but to increase my low stack of clean clothes, always a source of stress for me.  In fact I can live dirty dishes stacked but I am always very nervous when my laundry hamper is full of dirty clothes....

      But I digress.

      I did go out to get the papers and that allowed me to drive around the polling stations of San Felipe who always vote for the opposition.  There were line sin all of them.  that is, the opposition electorate is voting en masse, no abstention there, at least not in San Felipe.

      Another telling sign, maybe, there were no "puntos rojos".  Those red points were set up by chavistas in previous elections, in particular the 2009 one in San Felipe.  In those stations PSUV members were set to "help" their voters in how to vote.  This time around, when voting is way, way more complex than in 2009, I have yet to see a chavista helping station...  Not that there are opposition helping stations, they never were around anyway.

      OK, now I am off to take a shower.  My relative form Barquisimeto has voted and she has arrived here to spend the rest of the day.  We will watch the results together tonight.  S.O. is in Caracas where he votes.  thus after the shower I will go out and vote as my relative keeps an eye on my dog.  If voting is fast enough I will try to drive around more chavista areas to see how it goes.  Then again it will be around lunch time so I do not expect to see much people there or in opposition strongholds.


      Off fr a while. Walk dog, clean up kitchen, get papers. See you in about an hour or so.


      Replying to a comment from "snook72" who is asking about exit polls.

      No, as far as I know there will not be exit polls. Too difficult to assess, too expensive for the opposition, too much variation between local areas and districts to make a good sampling for national trend. On the other hand it is possible that in some districts there will be an exit poll. Those could be useful in such districts as Irribaren (Barquisimeto) or Sucre (East Caracas) or even Guarenas-Guatire (Caracas dormitories).

      On the other hand I am sure that the regime will do exit polls at least in Libertador, Zulia, Aragua and Carabobo but I doubt that the PSUV will be kind enough to let me know the results even though my voting stations on the right hand of this blog gives me 6 PSUV readers so far  :)

       9:20 AM

      A novelty this time around. Miguel has been drafted to work at his voting station. So this time around you can follow the inner workings of a polling station live (he has an I-phone, he can blog). On the other hand he will not be able to check out what happens elsewhere so you are stuck with me for the rest :)

      Follow Miguel day at "A day in the life of an electoral worker"

      9:00 AM

      As expected, at 4 AM the chavista jerks started driving around blaring the military reveille!!!!  I think they drove at least 5 times in my neighborhood.  I could get back to sleep only when I saw the graying of the night......  And this is a neighborhood that votes at least 75% opposition!!!   they should let us sleep!  then again, they could not resist the opportunity to piss us off.

      Otherwise taking my coffee I did a scan of all TV channels.  It looks like for the first time in history Venezuela is holding an election....  Pathetic...  But you know what, it is worse in Venevision who in addition is almost all the time in sink with the state system of VTV, Tves. Vive, etc...   At least Globovision makes it look more normal and Televen has more original content.  No wonder Chavez has been praising publicly Venevision lately for being "fair and balanced".

      On the other hand polling stations seem to have good attendance, so people are voting as polls predicted.

      12:01 AM

      When this post will show up first I will be on my way to bed.  I need to go to sleep early because once again chavista jerks threaten to play the "toque de diana" at 4 AM.  That is, the military wake up call...  At least if I hear it I will be able to go back right to sleep since I do not live anymore in front of an electoral center.  then as early at 5 AM it was impossible to sleep well as the grudging poll attendants felt compelled to wake up all the street.

      This time around I have not squared up "correspondents" or anything of the sort.  So my regular updates might  not be as telling as in past elections no matter how many surveys around San Felipe polling stations I do.  Then again if any reader sees interesting stuff, please forward.  Last time we even had pictures from overseas voting centers.  Also if like Miguel you or a relative of yours is stuck managing a voting station let them know to send you the name of their center and the voters at a given time.  And then forward it to me since with that alone I can already come up with participation tendencies.  Obviously if they get their center results around 6-7 PM and the CNE is still not talking I have no problem in revealing the data, anonymously of course, once the closing time of 6 PM is reached.  We might need to put pressure this time around in any possible way we can.

      As for yourselves, please put your personal impressions at voting time in the comment section, if you vote, that is.  I'll try to visit the moderation page at least once every hour.

      And thus with this pre bedtime entry we start early the now traditional election day post who last time got more than 10,000 unique visitors through the day.  See you again around 8 AM.

      In other news, the vice president of Venezuela and a VTV "journalist" harass a Globovision journalist

      There has been plenty of rains this week and even people died because of the flash floods and landslides.  The vice-president of Venezuela (1), Elias Jaua, went to visit one of the affected areas.  The state of mind of chavismo, its intense paranoia and sectarianism makes Jaua unable to grant a brief interview to the Globovision envoy even if such a rare interview, during an election time, would benefit him greatly.  The man just cannot help it, he oozes hatred.  And never mind the state VTV journalist who tries to block the lens of Globovision, proving once again that she ain't no journalist, just a propaganda maker.

      1) Vice presidents are appointed by Chavez, not elected. It is just a prime minister of sorts to the imperial presidency. Still, if Chavez croaks at night, whomever is sitting at the vice president becomes president until elections are held.

      When will we have a first world election?

      Well, it certainly will not happen under Chavez who certainly gets mileage from pretending that elections are risky, controversial and that he is there to make sure the poor get to vote.

      Sadly even Globovision and the MUD play in his hand.

      I watched briefly the news tonight and there were news only about how many centers are open, how many security agents are posted, how many state prosecutors and ombudsmen would be deployed, how many times the CNE has issued reassuring terms, and even Chavez saying that the Venezuelan elections are the best int he world, the safest, the lest fraud prone of the lot.  This time around we even get the restricted schedules of stores, malls and movie theaters!!!!  And of course no booze for three days.....

      I mean, add a few crime pictures of Caracas streets this week end and a casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that he is looking at Iraqi elections 4 years ago!

      What about countries like the US or Britain who hold their elections in a normal week day!?!?!?!?!?  Or even those who do the Sunday thing like in France where in large city the voting stations must remain open until 8 PM so people that went to the country for the day can come back and vote late?

      It is amazing that in Venezuela we have been voting freely since 1958 and it still feel like we are in 1958, even after 11 yeas of chavismo regular plebiscites!!!!

      But of course this suits Chavez fine because he manages to create the feel in his followers that if it were not for him they would be disenfranchised.... So expect continuous war torn third world country electoral feel for as long as Chavez is in office.