Mr Chávez has been in power for more than 13 years and the opposition sees this year’s poll – due to take place on October 7 – as its best chance yet of ousting one of Latin America’s most controversial leaders. Henrique Capriles, the pro-business opposition leader, is Mr Chávez’s main rival. Now allegations of government electoral abuses have raised fears about how far will Mr Chávez go to ensure his victory.Sounds like someone a certain incumbent running for reelection in the U.S. might be emulating...
“This is corruption, a crime,” says Eduardo Semtei, a former member of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), which oversees the election, of Mr Chávez’s ‘chain broadcasts’.
Mr Semtei, who now advises the opposition, criticises the “fawning” body for abandoning its duties. “Everyone knows that four of the CNE’s five directors are pro-Chávez – that’s one thing. But it’s not OK that they ignore . . . government abuses,” he says.
The CNE’s partial treatment was evident last month when it sought to prevent Mr Capriles from wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with the colours of the national flag. It claimed this violated campaign regulations – although it has never questioned the president’s use of national symbols in his own clothing and logos.
“Without a doubt the greatest weakness of the process lies in the inequitable conditions of competition,” according to a report on Venezuela’s elections released by the Wilson Center, a US think-tank. Although it described the voting system itself as “reliable”, it criticised the politicisation of the electoral council, Mr Chávez’s media advantage and opaque campaign financing.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The Politics Of Baby Hugo
I am shocked to hear that a would-be Communist revolutionary is using such methods: