Thursday, August 19, 2004

Auditing, Schmauditing

Taking a look at the State Department press briefing today, it seems that they're on the side of those naive liberal organizations, the Carter Center and the OAS, while most reporters asking the questions on Venezuela seem to believe the opposition's account.

When I posted the earlier note by Ter Horst, I hadn't realized that the opposition in Venezuela had already decided to boycott the audit process being supervised by Carter and the OAS. The fairly independent Teodoro Petkoff, in the lead editorial of Tal Cual Digital, says this move by the opposition is "incomprehensible," "suicide," and likens it (in baseball terminology, and Venezuelans love baseball) to a "wild pitch." (Tal Cual costs money to view, but you can see a report in El Universal here.)

Meanwhile, the quite balanced author of the blog, Caracas Chronicles, has some wise observations in an entry today entitled "Realities":

1-It would take a miracle of public relations management for the opposition to win the international public opinion battle around the referendum. As far as 99% of foreigners are concerned, what Carter says, goes. The opposition has never demonstrated any particular gift for public relations abroad - quite the opposite - so one thing is clear: Five years of efforts by the opposition to explain to the world just how brutally nasty, deceitful and dangerous Hugo Chavez is were comprehensively undone on Monday. This is a battle we will not win....

6-If Chavez won cleanly, CNE's refusal to conduct a hot-audit [an audit immediately after the vote, as soon as the polls had closed] has robbed him of the possibility of convincing the entire country that he won cleanly. The country is back to square one in terms of collective schizophrenia. 60% of us live one reality, 40% live another reality. Perversely, each side is convinced that it is the 60% and the other side is the 40%. Each side is convinced the other is engaged in a mind-blowingly complex, dark, evil conspiracy to usurp power. The governability crisis continues. The epistemic gulf drags on. The only thing that's changed is that Chavez will now enjoy much greater international credibility. Fronteras adentro, nothing has changed.

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