Friday, February 23, 2007

Venezuela update: is anyone surprised by this? Except Jimmy?

Chavez may have rigged the referendum of 2004, according to a statistical study by two Venezuelan scientists.

An isolated study or two wouldn't mean much. But there's a lot more evidence that this particular election was rigged.

And is there anyone who doubts Chavez capable of such a thing? In fact, is there anyone who thinks he would think twice about doing such a thing?

And is there anyone who believes that certification of the election results by Jimmy Carter has any meaning whatsoever, except as another example of why he's the worst ex-President in history (and yes indeed, I voted for him--twice).

From the not-particularly disputed Wiki entry on the Venezuelan referendum 0f 2004:

European Union observers did not oversee the elections, saying too many restrictions were put on their participation by the Chávez administration. The Carter Center "concluded the results were accurate." However, a Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB) exit poll showed the opposite result, predicting that Chávez would lose by 20%, whereas the election results showed him to have won by 20%. Schoen commented, "I think it was a massive fraud". US News and World Report offered an analysis of the polls, indicating "very good reason to believe that the (Penn Schoen) exit poll had the result right, and that Chávez's election officials — and Carter and the American media — got it wrong".

According to the Center for Security Policy (disclosure: many of those nefarious neoconservatives are affiliated with the group):

"The [Chavez] government did everything—including granting citizenship to half a million illegal aliens in a crude vote-buying scheme and “migrating” existing voters away from their local election office—to fix the results in its favor. The outcome was then affirmed and legitimated by ex-President Jimmy Carter’s near-unconditional support." "Jimmy Carter ignored pleas from the opposition and publicly endorsed the results, despite the fact that the government reneged on its agreement to carry out an audit of the results. Carter’s actions not only gave the Venezuelan regime the legitimacy it craved, but also destroyed the public’s confidence in the voting process and in the effectiveness of international observers."

Voting fraud allegations have become commonplace--almost required--lately. But in this case they seem only too correct. The evidence is strong, plus Chavez's later acts leave little doubt in my mind that voter fraud is exactly what he would have done to hold onto his power and allow him to carry out his plans for becoming dictator of Venezuela. And Jimmy Carter was his willing enabler, either a pious dupe or a fraud himself.

Most ex-Presidents adhere to the Hippocratic oath when they are out of power: first, do no harm. Would that Carter would stick to it, as well.

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