Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro admitted to knowing ‘with IDs and all’ who are the 900.000 Chavistas who crossed lines and did not vote for him in the 14 April election which anointed him as the successor of deceased Hugo Chavez.
“When there is a man fallen in combat as was our commander (Chavez) strength must prevail. Instead of feeling defeated by sadness, we must defeat that sadness and overcome the lethargic feeling. We have identified the 900.000 compatriots with IDs and all…which meant that the gap was smaller, when the gap could have been good”, said Maduro during one of his outdoors ‘Government in the streets’ ceremonies.
Maduro’s candidness or ‘active imprudence’ further questions the fragility of the ballot system in Venezuela. Since the Venezuelan Electoral Council decided to make more automatic the voting process and included bio-metric identification systems to go to the polling booth, the opposition and experts have claimed there are no guarantees the ballot is effectively secret.
The opposition protested by boycotting the 2005 election but despite attacking the voting system was back in 2006. However it is well known in Venezuela that previous to each election, and taking advantage of such doubts, the government puts pressure on the beneficiaries of support programs and the bureaucracy about how they are going to vote.
It is also fresh in the minds of Venezuelans the famous Tacon List which was elaborated by the Chavez administration with the data from those persons who signed for a referendum to oust Chavez in 2004 and later became an exclusion mechanism for those wishing to obtain a government job or making business with the state.
There are almost a million votes that last October supported the deceased leader helping him to a new re-election, but on 14 April they turned around and voted for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. The migration was seen as ‘treason’ by the most radical supporters of the ruling Venezuelan Socialist party and even Maduro attacked them on national television a few hours after he had been declared winner and the successor of Chavez.
Maduro’s difference over Capriles experienced a surprising contraction following the vote count, including those from overseas, and according to the National Electoral Council of Venezuela, the incumbent garnered 50.61% of the vote and his runner up 49.12%. In other words the gap was of only 225.000 votes or 1.49 percentage points.
Given the tight difference plus the numerous claims of irregularities, Capriles has insisted in a one by one vote recount of 100% of ballots cast.
The reaction from the Maduro administration and the ruling party did not wait: they are targeting government employees who voted against in April. Furthermore there is a twit account @cerotraidores, which publishes the photos of those bureaucrats who campaigned for Capriles or have been ‘caught’ at opposition rallies. The twit account calls for the “purging and depuration” of ‘traitors’ from the government offices and enterprises.