Sunday, 10 February 2008

The EU & Venezuela: Politics

The European Union sent a very large observation team for the elections on 2nd of December 2006.

Their report can be seen here.

They based it mostly on what they could observe from their hotel rooms by using one of these things:

Tom de Castella wrote a very interesting article for London Times on this and you can read it here.

No wonder the EU report was mostly about how biased TV channels are. No wonder why the extreme left keeps basing their image of democracy in Venezuela by what they could watch on cable TV Globovisión and RCTV (this latter could be watched back then via your aerial, now only via Internet or cable, something most poor and people in the countryside lack). No surprise that other political groups do not know how to respond accordingly.

We Venezuelans got the confirmation we have to rely more on ourselves and try to keep as many Venezuelan observers in the largest amount of voting centres in spite of all the threats.

Addendum I:
We won last December in spite of all odds. Over 2 months after the 2007 referendum we still do not have the complete results. NGO Súmate has denounced lots of inconsistencies on the numbers provided by the National Electoral Council or CNE and the CNE has not answered. There is a lot of work still to be done.

Addendum II:
You can read a discussion of the EU on the non-renewal of their license for normal non-cable TV) here.


  1. So the EU reported the objective facts... so what's the problem? They cannot say that there is no opposition because all you have to do is turn on a TV and find it 24/7.

    Do you have a problem with the reality and facts on the ground?

  2. The facts you like?
    Of course there is opposition and it is growing stronger.
    The thing is they reported just a tiny part of Venezuela's reality.
    A democracy is not made up of TV only, you know.

    If you have cable TV and live in Caracas and Valencia you indeed can watch it. If you live in a slum, chances are (80%) you have no Globovision or RCTV (on cable).
    Outside Caracas and Valencia, thus, people cannot see much. The poor don't buy many newspapers.

    The EU did not report how Chavez said he would tell the minister of energy to repeat a hundred times that non-Chavista or apolitical people should get kicked out of PDVSA. They did not report how in San Diego, Carabobo, Chavista hordes burnt a Christmas exhibition at one of the few areas where an opposition mayor is in charge (a real pain for Chavistas as San Diego is not a rich area like Chacao).
    The EU did not report about a thousand acts of mobbing by the government.

  3. Just a little addendum: I wrote the European Commission about it and they replied today. They are taking the allegations seriously and are investigating them.

    Also, "the European Commission is preparing a reply that will be sent to the Sunday Times and hopefully published", they stated.

    I guess the article is not the last word on the EU EOM activities.

    Upon reflection, after all, just one article whose main intention is just bashing is not a sufficient condition to nearly prove the unworthiness of the EU's EOMs.

  4. Sire,
    Thanks for the letter. I agree one article is not enough. He shows just a small part of the situation. Still, I think this kind of criticism will prompt the EU to react better.
    When the report was published I was puzzled, on one side it was fine they admitted to the TV bias (which was too obvious), but they did not say anything about Chavez words supporting 100x a day the minister they reported about ("los vamos a sacar a carajazos") or many cases of mobbing.
    Chavez won, definitely. I am not sure we will ever know by how much.
    The CNE reaction to the results of 2007 does not make me feel better on that.

  5. Well I think it is a good thing that Globovision isn't seen by "poor Venezuelans" I mean they embody the "ugly" opposition/right wing, they will just run back to Chavez after 5 minutes. But it is still the opposition and if they are their own worse enemy it is their own fault.
    Secondly I read the Times "report" what did he expect little John Boltons? Secondly he did not find anything wrong, what he did find wrong was that the EU observers was there to certify an election where the people did not vote "the right way", after all nobody would rationally vote for Chavez, except they did... So he tries to caricature the EU observers as well as the bloodless technocrats and meritocrats at the EU with their pie charts.

    same Anonymous as post 1.

  6. Dan, I think there is more into that and I have mentioned it already: one cannot say one is monitoring elections when one is watching TV. Did you read about what happened in San Diego? Why did they talk about what Ramirez said at the PDVSA meeting but they did not say anything about Chavez having then said to Ramirez live: I want him to repeat the same thing 100 times a day?

    I agree Globovisión is very bad, even if it is not as bad as VTV.

  7. Well I agree that the EU report focused more on the direct electoral process and doesn't claim things it can't claim. Also remember the Venezuelan press has no credibility (private and state). Any events has to be independently verified and this being the EU only verified facts was included (like the speech to the oil workers). Also they didn't observe everything by Venezuelan TV, it is described in detail how they had to observe, fill in forms, check in every 15 minutes INSIDE the polling places.

    The Times article is very important, if you are an Eurosceptic (which is an euro right winger) it is music to your ears, for me (if I ignore the caricatures and disapproving tone) it just describes the meritocratic workings of the EU observer process, which is anathema to the Eurosceptics.
    The problem they have is the almost total lack of Political/Ideological Control at the EU institutions, a report from the American State Department observers would essentially be the same, it will just not get published or be edited by political gatekeepers, just like global warming science and environmental reports get censored.


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