By Arturo Rosales in Caracas. Axis of Logic
US Readers of Axis of Logic will all be aware of their daily diet from the corporate media: that Venezuela is run by a “dictator” with autocratic tendencies, is authoritarian, controls all the legally constituted state powers and that the Chávez government is run according to the dictates of the Castro brothers in Cuba.
Readers may also think that the Venezuelan National Electoral Council, which organizes all elections in Venezuela, totals the votes and gives the official results, is also a tool beholden to Chávez’s dictates meaning that it is impossible for the Venezuelan opposition to win elections. This, my friends, is the world of manipulation and fiction portrayed in the Venezuelan private media and parroted by the likes of Fox News, CNN, NYT, WaPo, Miami Herald and the many opposition blogs and web sites which inhabit the internet.
Now, for the first time, a serious study has been carried out by the Foundation for Democratic Advancement based in Canada about the state of democracy in the world. Here is the text of a media advisory from the FDA on electoral fairness in Venezuela:
Venezuelan democracy receives highest
score in an ongoing global study
Venezuela’s federal electoral system received an overall score of 85 percent for electoral fairness in a global study being conducted by the Foundation of Democratic Advancement (FDA), a nonpartisan organization which aims to advance fair and transparent democratic processes.
Out of the twelve countries the FDA has audited so far, Venezuela has scored the highest. Areas of analysis in the study includes fairness in electoral spending, equality of voter say, equality of candidate and party influence and equality of media coverage. A group of diverse and non-partisan electoral auditors rated each section out of 10 points in terms of fairness.
Key points gleaned from the study:
- The Venezuelan federal electoral system, in terms of electoral legislation and regulations, received an overall exceptional passing grade of 85 percent.
- The Venezuelan score of 80 percent on electoral finance means that there is significant fairness in candidate and party electoral finance.
- The Venezuelan score of 90 percent for the political content of the media and broadcasters means that the political content of media and broadcasters in Venezuela is significantly more fair than unfair.
- Venezuela’s score of 90 percent for equality of political candidate and party influence means that Venezuela is very close to having an equal political playing field.
- Venezuela scored 80 percent for equality of voter say based on third-party freedom of expression, protection of voters, and ambiguity in the role of the National Electoral Council in offsetting unequal third-party electoral spending.
Stephen Garvey, Executive Director, (403) 669-8132
Foundation for Democratic Advancement
Email Stephen Garvey
Aurangzeb Qureshi, Research Assistant/Public Relations Specialist, (403) 390-9750
Foundation for Democratic Advancement
Email Aurangzeb Qureshi
About the FDA
The Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA)'s mission is to help encourage the election of the better political representatives for society as a whole, wherever elections occur. The FDA fulfills its mission by performing detailed electoral background audits on political candidates and parties to inform the public, objectively and impartially, about their electoral choices. Also, the FDA audits electoral legislation in terms of fairness and equity, in order to encourage a more equal playing field for political candidates and parties. The FDA believes that fairer electoral systems coupled with electoral audits of candidates and parties will help create the conditions for the better political representatives to be elected.
At every electoral process the Chávez government is accused of having a huge advantage because it is said that it is using state funds for electoral purposes. The FDA study disproves this unfounded accusation.
When the government lost the constitutional reform referendum in December 2007 by a minimal difference, Axis of Logic editors were in the center of opposition territory during their victory celebrations. Several opposition supporters were asked if, now that they had won, did they believe in the honesty and impartiality of the National Electoral Council? Each and every of those members of the opposition replied with a resounding “No!” This study proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that the fairness of Venezuela’s electoral system receives by far the highest marks out of all the countries investigated by the FDA. This includes super civilized countries such as Denmark and the “champion” of the western democratic process, the United States of America.
Here are three graphs which clearly show numerically and visibly the superiority of fairness in the Venezuelan electoral system:
Graph 1: Fairness in the protection of citizens during electoral campaigns.
Graph 2: Fairness of laws and regulations towards candidates during and after an election
Graph 3: Fairness of laws and the regulation of content during and after an election
The emphasis on fairness made by the FDA prevents better funded candidates from steamrolling their political adversaries and makes for a cleaner electoral campaign and voting process.
|A Venezuelan registers ...
||and then casts a ballot and then ...
||... gets a printout for verification.
In fact it is worth noting that the electoral system is almost 100% automated with voting machines. However, contrary to the system in the US each machine emits a paper vote so that the elector can check his screen vote against the paper vote which is then deposited in a ballot box. At each electoral center the paper votes are counted at the end of the day and checked against the voting machine printout, all done in front of witnesses from all political parties and members of the public. If all agree, the electoral act is signed and then the results are transmitted electronically to the National Electoral Council which totals up all results. In addition, 55% of all electoral centers are audited under supervision of the Electoral Council which includes members of the opposition. These procedures make certain that the result reflects the will of the voters and ensures a clean result with no hidden “trap doors”.
The fact that this report has not been widely published by the private or opposition media in Venezuela is yet another example of how the truth of the institutions in Venezuela is carefully omitted from the public domain so as to maintain the image of the “dictatorship” running the country.
Axis of Logic must congratulate the web site Noticias24 for publishing a report on this study from the FDA while others have simply ignored this vital piece of research for political reasons.
The graphs were created by the pollster GisXXI from the data in the original FDA report.
Now we are waiting for the denials of credibility of this study to begin. It’s obvious, isn’t it? Chávez paid the FDA to concoct this report so that he can swindle the voters in the 2012 presidential election……..same tune, different lyrics from the dissociated Venezuelan opposition.
READ HIS BIO AND MORE ESSAYS BY
AXIS OF LOGIC COLUMNIST, ARTURO ROSALES