Wednesday, 5 December 2007


Why did it take so long?

This is some stuff for the conspiracy masters. It goes half way. It describes some alleged details of how Chavez was ready to wait until all votes were counted and how he conceded to give in after military pressure. I think that before advancing anything more, we need to see all the actas and stop speculating. Some people are going through the data available and they will publish it in Caracas Chronicles.

It would be very interesting to ask Hugo Chavez about the veracity of the events described below, but then we all know how difficult it is for journalists to approach him with difficult questions.

Now, here with the "stuff":

Journalist Hernán-Lugo wrote yesterday in El Nacional what he thought happened for Chavez to take so long to recognize the result. The article has been republished in several other newspapers and sites. Here a translation on the run:

2 December: Hugo Chavez meets at 7:30 pm with the Alto Mando Militar, the top of the military, and informs them he is determined to wait for 100% of the actas, the voting registers, to arrive before recognizing any defeat. Jesse Chacon, Diosdado Cabello, Jose Albornoz, Miguel Perez and 4 officers are at his side. Vice-president Jorge Rodriguez is absent. His mission is to keep the National Electoral Council waiting.

Tension grows at the Fuerte Tiuna military base, soldiers are ordered to stay put. A general stands up and after expressing his respect for the commander in chief, warns him that the Armed Forces would not go out to repress the people. To count all records would mean four days of endless waiting and protests. "This country won't stand those days of unrest", he warns.

Chavez looks at them all and remains silent. "They lied to me, they deceived me", he says to Cabello, as the Zamora Command of logistics had constantly reported the YES vote was going to win, even if the reports of the DIM, the Venezuelan Intelligence, said the contrary. Chavez was mad, incredulous in front of his first political defeat in 9 years and after the failed coup of 1992, as those who saw him and heard the details of the story report.

"The blame is on the National Assembly", he said. The governor of Miranda State just manages to say: "The day they leave you, I will stand by your side". Cabello is the unconditional person of the man from Barinas. That has earned him becoming minister of the Presidential Secretary, head of Conatel, Vicepresident of the Republic and the candidate that besieged Enrique Mendoza.

The warning of the officer as well as the messages arriving from Maracay, in Aragua State, from military officers close to retired General Raul Isais Baduel, made Chavez understand that it was inconvenient to postpone the agony. After one hour of discussions, they convinced Chavez that the result, even if close, was technically for the NO. They even brought an expert from the CNE to Fuerte Tiuna to explain him the maths. The functionary explained the numbers in the states with the highest population made the result irreversible. "We are ready to recognize that but we would like to see the results", Cabello said. Chavez only listens. He does not speak. Finally, he stands up and goes to a room he has at the military base. He remains there alone for a long time. Nobody knew what he was going to do.

When he goes out, the President goes back to the Miraflores Palace, where his followers expect that Venezuela will have a new constitution from December. Although the celebration had been cancelled, the music started in order to distract those present and keep them there, to make a wall in case that some "madman" would like to take power in the framework of the "Operacion Tenaza", an alleged CIA plan lead from the US embassy in Valle Arriba, Caracas.

Chavez himself confessed when he recognized the numbers from the CNE that he had thought for a long time about the decision to take and that he had admitted his defeat to avoid a bigger anguish, as 8 hours had already passed and the CNE had saud the country would be informed after 2 hours, as in December of 2006, during the presidential elections. The gambit was to make Chavez look internationally as a democrat and to prevent a possible civil war in Venezuela.

At 9:02 pm, Jorge Rodriguez had appeared publicly at the Provisional centre of the Zamora command, in the Alba hotel, and admits that the votes were very close. In fact, when the vice-president arrived at the place, the difference went down from 8 to 4% and when the voting closed, the difference was around 3%. For then it was impossible to do anything: the voting had been closed, the machines shut down and as in any defeat, loneliness accompanied the besieged, who promised to transform it into a new victory. A new "for the moment" came from a skillful politician and not from the idealist that on 4th February of 1992 tried to get the power through a coup d'etat

Now, CNE official Diaz declared all representatives knew the delay was due to technical problems. Could it be that there is a part of the truth in every version?

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