It’s not the Rectors, it’s the System

By Luis Manuel Aguana

Versión en español

The speed with which elections have been held within the framework of the Statute governing the Transition approved on 5 February 2019 has gone unnoticed (see https://tinyurl.com/yx8tfhrh), with the corresponding approval of the Agreement for the Establishment of the Electoral Route to Achieve Free Elections in the Framework of the Democratic Transition, dated February 19, 2019 (see Agreement in http://www.asambleanacional.gob.ve/actos/_acuerdo-para-el-establecimiento-de-la-ruta-electoralpara-lograr-elecciones-libres-en-el-marcode-la-transicion-democratica), where this step corresponds to number three of the trilogy “Cessation of usurpation, Transitional Government, Free elections”, established in the itinerary of Article 2 of the Statute of 5 February.

And it must certainly begin with enough time to guarantee the points established in the National Assembly’s electoral agreement of 19 February. But the intervention of March 6 in the National Assembly of Deputy Stalin González, President of the Committee of Electoral Nominations that will evaluate the candidates for Rectors of the CNE, announcing the beginning of the work of the Special Commission of Follow-up to the Electoral Processes (see below). https://twitter.com/stalin_gonzalez/status/1103327104744202244?s=19) lets us see the clear intention of the National Assembly to enter an electoral process as soon as possible without Venezuelans still knowing when, how, under what conditions, or with whom. And the latter is, as the Colombians say, “supremely important”.

After the approval of the referred electoral Statute of the transition some Venezuelans worried about the issue have tuned the antennas because we suspect that we want to lead to another electoral process without fulfilling the minimum conditions that guarantee us an Authentic Elections in accordance with international standards, on account of not wanting Juan Guaidó more of the time as President in charge of the time that some political factors of the official opposition desire. This situation could implode the whole transition process that the President in charge of the Republic has been going through since 23E, when he assumed constitutionally the First Magistracy.

Although it is true that the third phase of the trilogy -Free Elections- must begin well in advance, there are tasks within the electoral recovery chronogram that make it indispensable that the “cessation of usurpation” has taken place. Without Maduro not having left definitively WE CANNOT INTERVENE THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM.

The entire proposal to recover the electoral system in order to achieve the third phase of the trilogy is based precisely on the fact that the usurpation has ceased; and subsequently follows a decision by the CNE to intervene that will put us in a position to call any electoral process with all the guarantees, something that is impossible to do without modifying the bases on which the current system is built and which has been the cornerstone on which the castro-chavismo-madurismo has mounted its permanence in power, distorting all the elections since 2004, that is: change of the Organic Law of Electoral Processes, LOPRE and deep revision of all the internal regulation of the CNE, audit and purging of the Electoral Registry, audit and purging of the Registry of Venezuelan cedados (SAIME), redefinition of the automation of the electoral processes, re-establishment of the fiscal office of cedulation (who can and who cannot vote), redefinition of the electoral circuits with the re-establishment of the proportional representation of minorities, and return to the manual scrutiny of the elections in Venezuela.

These recommendations are not new. They are part of what ESDATA has been proposing for years as technical specialists in electoral matters, and whom I have accompanied in innumerable public petitions for the adaptation of the Venezuelan electoral system. Recently its President, Alfredo Weil has returned on the subject from his twitter account (see AlfredoWeil “For the first time I am going to make a “thread” to expose my point of view on the possibilities of future elections, after the cessation of USURPATION” https://twitter.com/AlfredoWeil/status/1096939253974683648).

In this twitter thread Weil goes beyond the above, proposing that BEFORE appointing the new Rectors of the CNE, the institution should intervene to make the necessary organizational and technical changes. Likewise, and according to the result of the audits of the Electoral Registry and of Venezuelans who have been ceded, the decision of a complete electoral re-registration and re-cedulation of Venezuelans should be taken or not. And on that I completely agree.

On the other hand Bruno Egloff Keller (https://eleccionesautenticas.blogspot.com/), member of ESDATA, has made a precise diagnosis of several technical aspects of the Venezuelan electoral system published in 2017, entitled “Only with the truth can we be free” (you can download the document in https://goo.gl/VyveaY/) where he supports the reasons why the current Venezuelan electoral system is unable to guarantee Authentic Elections.

But it’s not just the technical aspects. Emblematic public letters that have been signed by many Venezuelans, among whom I am honored to find myself, in search of electoral conditions that will guarantee Authentic Elections in diverse aspects, such as the one published on the occasion of the presidential elections of April 14, 2013 Capriles-Maduro (see Open Letter to the Venezuelan democratic society before the call for elections on April 14, in Spanish   http://declaraciondecaracas.blogspot.com/2013/03/ante-las-elecciones-del-14-de-abril.html), not only technical-institutional aspect of the CNE but also of the multiple interrelated dimensions of the electoral problem in the country, which makes it necessary to have a broad approach that sees the electoral system as a whole, beyond the appointment of the Rectors, if one really wants the adaptation and fundamental change in the way Venezuelans elect their authorities.

So the problem IS NOT ONLY THE APPOINTMENT OF RECTORS but of the need for a high level Commission that has the responsibility of intervening in the Electoral Power, so that it tells us Venezuelans when Authentic Elections can be held, after dismantling the electoral roulette of the Castro-Chavez-Madurist regime made in Havana, establishing a new one for a new Venezuela.

This doesn’t look like a short-term thing. Any deadline that is said would be technically irresponsible. And the situation is complicated when parliamentary elections are scheduled for the end of next year 2020.

This whole scenario makes the “cessation of usurpation” urgent. Without having finished this phase of the trilogy, very little – beyond a cosmetic change of Rectors – could be done to change that monster inside. It is a voting machine for the regime. It would be little less than stupidity to think of using that machinery that is oiled and controlled by the PSUV and the Cubans, without any influence from the Rectors. It has to be intervened to be able to use it.

Although the National Assembly has permanently ignored the ruling of the Electoral Chamber of the legitimate TSJ of June 13, 2018 that declares the Venezuelan Electoral System NULL (see ruling in http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2018/06/tribunal-supremo-de-justicia-declara.html), that in no way disregards it as a decision to be executed, starting with the establishment of a Manual System of scrutinies. My intervention as a witness of that sentence was to establish that fact and I expand on it in my note of 2013 “The Electronic Vote Trap: From Manual Scrutinies to Automated Scrutinies” (see note in Spanish “The Electronic Vote Trap: From Manual Scrutinies to Automated Scrutinies”). http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2013/11/la-trampa-del-voto-electronico-de.html).

Although the Agreement to Achieve Free Elections of February 19, mentioned above, leaves open the possibility of doing whatever is necessary to achieve due transparency in electoral matters, the serious thing is that it does not close the door to the use of the current automated electoral system, annulled by the ruling of June 13, 2018, which makes this Agreement extremely vulnerable to any political decision in favor of electoral continuity by collaborationist factors of the National Assembly interested in the continuity of castro-chavismo-madurismo even without Maduro via this same CNE that Venezuelans have the obligation to change.

Hence, all Rectors appointed have the obligation to be consubstantiated with the idea of a deep and structural change of the electoral paradigm and with a system that complies with the Electoral Sentence of June 13, 2018. Otherwise it will be impossible to comply with the third part of the trilogy “Free Elections”, with the consequent failure of the second phase, Transitional Government.

If the President in Charge of the Republic Juan Guaidó and the National Assembly underestimate the importance of the change in the Electoral System, reducing it to a simple designation of Rectors, or even worse to negotiate that designation politically to go to elections in the short term overlooking that structural change, without establishing an intervention team of the Electoral Power that is willing to its radical transformation, we will never have Free Elections, freezing the recovery of freedom and democracy in Venezuela, and lengthening the solution of the serious problems of Venezuelans The sooner someone explains them to them, the better…

Caracas, March 7, 2019

Blog: http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/

Email: luismanuel.aguana@gmail.com

Twitter:@laguana

 

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