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View Diary: The U.S., selflessly concerned about democracy in Venezuela, questions integrity of election result (233 comments)

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  •  I don't see any evidence at this point (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, burlydee, slatsg, JesseCW

    that there is a level of fraud in the elections there that demands US attention. The US should not be picking fights on foreign elections unless there is significant evidence the elections were stolen. Where does it stop?

    The biggest advantage the Chavistas have is in the gerrymandering of the legislature, but we have the exact same problem here in the us (in some states, to almost the same degree, too).

    •  1.6% plus party control of the election counting?? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      killjoy, Riff

      Those are two pretty good reasons to challenge the first count and question the government's legitimacy.

      If it's true that the people really do support Maduro, then he'll find a way to get the recount to work in his favor.  The US knows that, but just making the challenge complies with US government's responsibility to its Venezuelan-American constituents (a plus for the Democrats) as well lets Venezuela know that expelling a US diplomat for political advantage in an election carries consequences.  As I said above, it's really a no-brainer -- Diplomacy 101.

      •  The democrats had party control (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, JesseCW

        of the last election here in which Michelle Bachmann won my district by less than that.

        I'm not screaming for a recount.

        •  In the US, we have an independent FEC (0+ / 0-)

          In the US, we have an independent (that is, not controlled by the Executive Branch) FEC that is in charge, ultimately, of Federal elections.  They monitor the vote counting of elected secretaries of state.  This system is based on our liberal democratic model of government which places emphasis on checks and balances and separation of powers.  That system no longer exists under the new constitutions in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, which are all trying something both new and in many ways in conflict with liberal democracy forms of governance.  Separation of powers and checks and balances have been discarded in those three countries because of their association with institutions that perpetuate capitalist discourse (Gramsci).  So there is no independent organs in any of those three countries any more.  Instead their democracies are organized around finding local and national executive authority through mass opinion, which is the purpose of state and local elections.

          In the new radical democratic systems (see my link to the good Venezuela analysis piece on this in my first comment above)  there is no presumption of independence of the electoral commission in the constitution.  Instead it is presumed that the president will count the votes and has complete and direct authority over the officials responsible for it.  It's a Brave New World in Venezuela and the Lockean discourse of liberal democracy has been discarded in favor of rule by executive authority.

          That's really the whole problem here, and why it looks like there has been tampering.  Since the electoral commission in Venezuela is not independent of the president, if the vote was accurate, the president would have nothing to fear from a recount, and Maduro originally called for one himself.  But he later rescinded that call when it looked like he couldn't guarantee a win without appearing to have intervened himself.  This only would have happened if the vote count didn't support the president, so the official vote looks false.

          •  Many countries (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            have systems that don't resemble ours. Meddling in this result - which was likely close no matter who you think actually won - would likely do nothing but promote political instability during a very delicate time in Venezuela's history. And what if we were right? What if American meddling got Capriles, a rather non-specific politician who seems to enjoy looking at himself on television, into office by what cannot possibly be anything more than the slimmest of margins?

            Do you think that would end well?

            •  This isn't meddling (0+ / 0-)

              This is using official diplomatic channels to signal to Venezuela and the political forces within and without Venezuela, that the US has problems with Maduro and seeks to weaken, not legitimize, his administration.  To reduce Maduro's ability to govern until he can come to some kind of agreement to not expel diplomats and things like that for political gain is the objective, and its the correct, lawful and democratic way to seek that objective.

              The two actors who are really reading these signals are the Chinese and the Russians, both of whom have told Chavez they will not invest any more in Venezuela's oil industry unless, among other things, it can get on the same page diplomatically with the US.  

              •  Before this election (0+ / 0-)

                When Chavez was in his "is he alive or dead" phase, I read in a couple of places that the US administration actually kind of likes Maduro, and has had friendly back channel communications with him.

                And pretty much everything you just described, by the way, is quintessential meddling.

                let the Mexicans meddle if they feel the need. Why should it be us?

                •  If this is meddling, (0+ / 0-)

                  then Latin American governments lobbying for passage of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate, which they are all doing right now, is also meddling.

                  I don't call that meddling. I call that democracy at work, on a global scale.  

                  Meddling is sending spies in to break laws and cheat, not using formal, legal diplomatic channels to let governments know what your values and concerns are regarding an election.  Obama is doing exactly what we elected him for here, and he deserves credit for this.

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