Voting Underway in Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly Election

From Telesur English:

People lined up from long before dawn to cast their ballot.

“Voters are casting their ballots in Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly elections.  Polling stations opened at 6 a.m. local time, following a bugle wake-up call and fireworks.

Almost 20 million Venezuelans are registered to vote for 545 members of the Assembly.  The president of the country’s National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, said the electoral system is “one of the safest, most reliable and transparent in the world.”

The process is fingerprint-based and automated.

Lucena said the election is being audited by local and international entities, and that her organization will ensure and protect the Venezuelan people’s right to vote, despite recent threats by the opposition to disrupt the proceedings. 

People can cast their ballots at any polling center in the municipality where they are registered.

On Saturday, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro stressed the importance of the vote.

Maduro said, “This is the most important election in the Venezuelan political system because we are electing the sovereign constituent body, the body that is above all others, the maximum political authority.”

He also reiterated his offer of peace talks with the opposition.

But some of the government’s opponents have urged a boycott of the elections.

Two of their leaders, Leopoldo Lopez and Henrique Capriles, are calling for a march against the vote in the capital Caracas to coincide with polling day.”

OTOH: ‘Vote or lose your home: Venezuela’s ‘illegal’ election, Stuart Ramsay describes the extraordinary lengths to which the Venezuelan government is going to try and legitimise the election.’,

‘CNN is in Venezuela: Latest updates from the ground’,

Shooting death of candidate probed

Venezuelan authorities are investigating the shooting death of a candidate in Constituent Assembly elections. The office of the Attorney General said lawyer José Félix Pineda was shot dead in his home Saturday night.

“A group of people broke into the home of the victim in the Brisas del Sur sector and shot him multiple times,” the office of the Attorney General said in a tweet. A state prosecutor is investigating.

The National Electoral Council lists Pineda as candidate number 3 in Bolivar state.”

(interesting that they included that, eh?)

Heh.   ‘CNN AND PSYOPS’, by Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch March 26, 2000

Venezuela Votes for National Constituent Assembly: Live Updates

And for Spanish-speakers, one of the opposition’s twitter accounts: Unidad Venezuela on twitter

And former 2002 and more Coup orchestrators Twitter accounts Leopoldo Lopez and  Henrique Capriles

23 responses to “Voting Underway in Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly Election

  1. I wish that Jimmy Carter were there at least, to lend cred to the vote among American liberals. Though given the opposition’s boycott, I reckon that’s moot.

    • he’d always claimed the VZ’s elections were as transparent and fair as any on the planet, hadn’t he? but your comment caused me to go telesur’s ‘VEC guarantees transparency in election’, and woot! one question i’d had was answered. i wondered if their announcement that given the threats by the opposition in X areas, citizens could vote at any polling place in that city, town, might be construed by the oppo western media as ‘election fraud’. but here it is:

      “The head of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena, said Friday that the fingerprint-based voting process is automated and guaranteed that the rule of “one elector, one vote” will be in place. The rule prohibits voters from voting more than once.

      Lucena said the election process for the National Constituent Assembly is audited by local and international entities, and that her organization will ensure and protect the Venezuelan people’s right to vote, despite recent threats by the opposition to stage violent protests and prevent the election.

      “We continue to implement security measures to guarantee Venezuelans the extra security we are accustomed to,” Lucena said in an interview. The CNE leader said the voting centers will transmit voter data to a server that will inform them whether the person is eligible to vote.

      “We will be checking people coming from other centers (…) so we can know if people are authorized to vote,” Lucena said.

      nice to see you, by da bye. ;-)

      • Here in Bernalillo County (Albuquerque) we have been voting in ‘convenience centers’ for several cycles. Given our name and address, the poll workers print the ballot for our precinct no matter which place we vote. Easy and fun – and the county clerk that implemented this system here is now NM’s Secretary of State. She is our first effective SoS in decades after a series of corrupt and inept election managers from both parties.
        There is the potential for hacking that either votes for people or strikes them from the rolls because the system is internet based. Creating a secure, encrypted system to prevent outside manipulation is quite possible, but difficult to absolutely guarantee. Vulnerability to insiders, whether they are part of willing, blackjack or blackmail attacks, are never possible to completely eliminate – computers can be made secure… people not so much.
        NM has had paper ballots since the early 2000’s after widespread reports of machines refusing or changing votes and strange undervotes (entire precincts that voted for neither Bush nor Gore) – of course no paper trail existed to check. Sadly, the votes are still counted by machines that are literally big black boxes that we feed our paper ballots into. The low reported error rate on the counting machines is still high enough that any race that ends up within a few percent should be counted by hand to ensure accuracy.

        • i do indeed remember your past crap SoSes. well said about the web-based insecurity features and there were reports that the opposition in VZ might hack the machines. how reliable a threat that was is beyond me, nor do i have any idea if their electoral system’s server is encrypted, or the data that’s inputted, if i understand the terms at all.

          when the ‘count’ is tallied nationally, we may hear more about the system, don’t you think? wish i knew enough español to unders capriles and lopez on twitter. way too much bother to use an online translator, lol

  2. 11:00 a.m. Vladimir Padrino, Venezuela’s Minister of Defense for the National Armed Forces, states that we’ve told the whole world that Venezuelans “want peace and liberty.”

    from ‘the world reacts’ at telesur:

    “Among the United States’ traditional junior partners in Latin America, reactions to the elections were predictably negative. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has promised to not recognize Sunday’s vote, while Mexico’s unpopular PRI government under President Enrique Peña Nieto and Panama’s government have both stated that they would collaborate with U.S. President Donald Trump’s sanctions.

    Maduro’s approval ratings remain higher than those of the leaders of Colombia and Mexico, whose people are forced to cope with endemic violence, poverty and lawlessness.

    Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement of Maduro’s continued appeals to opposition forces to engage in dialogue and to abandon violence.
    “We expect that the elections will be free of provocations, will fully comply with Venezuelan law and will contribute to stabilizing the domestic political situation,” the statement noted. Russia has consistently opposed attempts to render the country ungovernable through “the efforts taken by some external forces to apply color revolution scenarios and formulas in Venezuela,” a reference to Washington’s support for the right-wing MUD opposition.”

    The Guardian view on Venezuela: the brink of ruin; After months of unrest, elections to a disputed constitutional assembly threaten a crisis’
    Former chavista loyalists have defected in numbers.” (Indisputable, no?/s)

  3. Sure seems like a news blackout on the search engines. No one has realtime coverage. I find that very interesting.

    • ‘updates’ seem to be all, THD. but lord luv a duck, has glorified the violence of the ‘resistance’ like the guardian has. but a least they’re saying the kinda/sorta truth on this:

      ‘Hashtag battle: Search Twitter and you’ll find the hashtag #CentrosVacios, which means empty centers. People who are against today’s vote are tweeting photos of small or no crowds at polling centers. But Maduro supporters are using the hashtag too, and their photos show much different scenes.”

      tweets from saint nikki, bombing of motorcycle cops (fuck them, oppo-protestors are creating guarimbas out of them) polls open an extra hour…but most importantly: oppo protestors are featured, including ‘around the world’. haven’t had time to check at telesur; weekends are crazy w/ chores and other obligations.

      thanks so much for caring.

    • I tried earlier and found the same self-censorship of the news, searching now reveals the standard shallow hit pieces on CNN, BBC and the Guardian. Somehow the Venezuelans are supposed to be completely undemocratic although they average a national election every year for two decades. From the relative silence, the turnout might be as much as twice what the opposition claimed for their alternative plebiscite earlier this month.
      I presume the voting was relatively quiet and the turnout was good enough for the Chavistas to claim a mandate for the ANC [constituent national assembly en Espanol]. Similarly eerie silence about the opposition’s general strike ten days ago – their latest call for a 48 hour general strike just happened to coincide with this weekend (/s).
      No news is good news in this case, eh?
      It is more than passing strange that the coprocrats and their media have no problem with burning police alive and IEDs when they are aimed at overthrow of governments that are insufficiently business-friendly.

      • whoosh, lemoyne. you’re right, but the western msn boilerplate condemnation of the chavistas plus the glorification of the violent opposition fashion shows is far worse than obscene. i can’t even think of a word to describe it, lest i say ‘evil’.

        it must have been telesur that featured a film on how in the oppo plebiscite the rule seemed to be ‘vote early, vote often’. i didn’t watch, who needed to, really. i was shocked that they tallied their fake vote and only claimed ‘98% were against the ANC’, as if that figure were more believable, quotable by the imperium’s scribes than 100%. crikey x 10.

        how this will end is horrid to contemplate w/ the numerous threats by the US and OAS. too awful, too awful. thank you so much for caring, lemoyne. so few can see/admit the truth of it.

        • Well the “oppo plebiscite” totals may not be too far wrong. There is opposition polling saying that 2/3 of the people didn’t want the ANC to be created. Round that down, allow for the ‘vote early and often’ effect, include the fact that this was an initiative of the extreme authoritarian right [who would dare tell them no to their face?] and recognize that this was the way for people to express disapproval of the whole idea of rewriting the constitution … then the 98% may not be way off.

          Certainly totals were inflated – perhaps doubled… I take the MUD accusation of 3x inflation as confirmation that the oppo plebiscite total was likely 2x inflated. The extreme right ALWAYS accuses others of what they would do themselves given the chance, and the oppo plebiscite was a chance they created for themselves. The up front and obvious example is the way the plebiscite was purposefully intended to produce a result and the actual constitutional process of the ANC is constantly called the ‘fraud constituency’ process by MUD, etc.

          If one wishes to read between the lines, an unfriendly roundup of coverage starts with a balanced debate and then proceeds to fascist propaganda – at least for the rest of the first hour ;-)… Gotta love the way Chavistas supporting the gov’t and police are called ‘motorcycle gangs’ but the opposition thugs setting fires in the street, assaulting/killing passers-by, fire-bombing police and even setting off IEDs are always ‘protestors’. Given Venezuela’s HUGE murder rate it looks from here like the counter-revolutionary civil war brewing for years is coming to a boil.

          These days I am constantly reminded of the lines in Revelations that say “the world will be given to the powers of the world” and “they [the various beasts] will be given the power to deceive“.

  4. g’ morning. well here we have the talking point consensus of the anti-chavista left in a nutshell: ‘Venezuela poll: EU condemns violence as turnout figure disputed’, the guardian

    “Venezuelan electoral authorities and opponents of Nicolás Maduro’s ruling socialists have clashed over turnout figures in Sunday’s vote for an assembly to write a new constitution and give the party greater powers.
    The national electoral council said more than 8 million people had voted on one of the deadliest days since massive protests started in early April in Venezuela, but the figure was immediately disputed by the opposition, which said fewer than half that number had taken part.”

    (then quoting coup-plotter henrique capriles, trump swearing he’ll sanction all 545 ‘participants’, EU may not recognize it due to“the excessive and disproportionate use of force by security forces” yada, yada…)

    “An exit poll based on surveys from 110 voting centres by New York investment bank Torino Capital and a Venezuela public opinion company estimated 3.6 million people voted, or about 18.5% of registered voters. “The results thus suggest that the government maintains an important loyal core of supporters that it can mobilise in both electoral and non-electoral scenarios,” the report concluded.

    The same exit poll also noted that Venezuela has an estimated 2.6 million government employees, “suggesting that a large fraction of the votes could have not been voluntary”. (grammar nazi here: ‘votes *might* not have been voluntary’, but what nasty rubbish.)

    “In a press statement released Sunday, the U.S. State Department said it “condemned the violence of Maduro regime against citizens who exercise their right to freedom, expression, association and peaceful reunion.”
    It also warned about implementing “firm measures against the artifacts of Venezuela’s authoritarianism.”
    The State Department, however, found legitimacy in the July 16, referendum organized by sectors of the opposition without the formal approval of Venezuela’s electoral authorities, when “millions of Venezuelans overwhelmingly expressed their refusal of a Constituent Assembly.”

    On the same day, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the election for a Constituent Assembly was a “step toward dictatorship” and that the United States will not accept an illegitimate government in Caracas.”

    under the state dept. tweet some of the commenters seem to be saying ‘send in the marines’ (in spanish, of course).

    from, wtf?: “The election will allow Maduro to replace Venezuela’s current legislative body — the National Assembly — with the new assembly, made up of 545 members, all nominated by his administration.

    The president of the National Assembly, Julio Borges, tweeted earlier that Lucena’s announcement of voter turnout of more than 8 million was almost triple the true turnout and “the biggest electoral fraud in our history.”

  5. The big lie has been pushed so long and so hard from the Bush-Obama-Trump coprocrat regimes that it has stuck. They accuse the Chavistas of suppressing a media that is owned by oligarchs and constantly seditious and yet still on the air 24×7. They accuse the Bolivarian revolutionaries of being extreme socialists when the state in VZ is small as a percentage of GDP. Maduro is said to be extremely unpopular when his approval is 2x Colombia’s and 3x Brazil’s presidents’ approval ratings.

    The problem the Chavistas face is a lack of means of production and distribution of basic goods – they were not socialistic enough. They are directly accused of starving people when the shortages are a result of cratering oil prices, capital strikes and a growing international regime of sanctions becoming an OAS sponsored embargo. Opposition attacks on things like a state-run milk production facility are ignored or swept under the rubric of ‘protests’.

    Particularly galling is the constant claim that VZ ‘used to be the richest country in Latin/South America’, when what it used to be was the most unequal country in the hemisphere. Venezuela’s drop in total income is a direct result of Saudi and US state sponsored overproduction of oil – VZ and Russia are the most obvious side targets of this economic warfare against Iran and the countries that are in any way friendly to them.

    • a near-perfect analysis, save that i’d add that amerikan hegemon and client states, by way of carrots or sticks, call maduro’s govt. ‘anti-democratic and authoritarian’, as in: beware of the US exporting its brand of democracy.

      and ‘evil’ russia has been trying to help V’s agricultural sector and food distribution, but as you note, the egregious sanctions are playing havoc with all of that. burning warehouses full of food and supplies hasn’t helped either.

      i’ll add a few worthy tweets; the grim reaper one seems quite potent and prescient.

      oh, and on authoritarianism, this one from susan babbitt, CP, turning some familiar memes on their heads. for me, it’ll take a closer read or two to grok more fully.

  6. I googed Liza 1 and 2 to see if/when they appear in the NYT. nothing on page 1, that’s for sure.
    here’s reuters, 6/16/17. who even knows where Guyana is? how nice of exxon to take these oil/n.g. fields into such caring receivership on behalf of the people of Guyana. it’s like a Dickensian fairytale w/rich uncle E Mobil popping up just in time to “save” the day.

    • well, yay-us. poor guyana only has gold, diamonds,and bauxite. Rexxon will save the day, including:

      payara-2 reservoir and ‘Guyana’s government plans to provide new aircraft and technology to its small military in order to increase border protection around the fields, providing “comfort to Exxon and other investors,” the presidential spokesperson said, according to Associated Press’. who do ya think’ll foot the bill?

      but you must have really meant: nyt doesn’t want to out the emergency underlying reasons for their coverage?..” way-ull, the tyrant maduro’s constituent assembly was just a happy coincidence, wasn’t it? bloomberg, ft, will be covering it, i reckon.

      but arrrrgh. there are leftover hummus and falafel thingies, and we just harvested our first japanese (ahem) burpless cukie which i added to greek probiotic yogi lat night: may i say ‘ambrosia’? i’m a-go eat a wrap, then rest a bit, hopefully not zzzzleeeep.

  7. as i often ask, please do talk among yourselves. i have a few things to add, but then i really need to get on my home chore pony and ride. be back on breaks.

    “Some 43 international observers and electoral experts to Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly Sunday called for the international community to respect the will of the Venezuelan people.

    The Council of Electoral Specialist of Latin America composed of former presidents and magistrates from electoral organizations throughout Latin America was the main international organization which observed Venezuela’s ANC.
    International observers — politicians, parliamentarians, campesinos, Indigenous people, workers and representatives from electoral missions and organizations in different parts of the world — also participated and reiterated that Venezuela’s self-determination and sovereignty, as expressed through ANC elections participants, must be recognized and respected.

    Nicanor Moscoso, the organization’s representative, delivered a statement which read, in part, that Venezuela’s legitimate and robust voting system “guarantees that the results accurately reflects the will of voters,” according to Prensa Latina.”, telesur english

    otoh, ‘how many did vote in the oppo plebiscite?’, telesur (the video won’t work for me.)

    thought i’d just stop by southern command to see if there were any hints or clues; nothing overt save for partnering w/ honduras, peru, guatemala, but dang, did i love this one:

    (JTF Guantanamo conducts safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detainees.)

  8. Jeezum crow, i’ve mentioned before that andrea lobos (the wolf) at really has it in for the maduro government. this one from today is a killing punch. the last paragraph of her ‘report’ from july 26 said: “The pseudo-left parties in Venezuela have moved to seek to contain growing opposition behind either the efforts by MUD or to underpin the Maduro government. The Venezuelan section of the Morenoite International Workers’ Unity (UIT-CI), PSL, is one of a number of organizations that has moved from defending Maduro to calling for his ouster. “Protest until the government falls,” it insists, while calling to vote in the MUD-sponsored referendum and participate in MUD’s “strikes.” guess that tells the ‘why’ of it.

    but of far more importance, why do i get ads for ‘hot asian women’ in my junk mail box twice a day, every day? is it down to my androgynous voice or something?

    on morning edit:

  9. via telesur today: “Opposition figures in Venezuela Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma’s house arrests were revoked Tuesday morning after violating the conditions of the agreement that allowed their freedom under special conditions.
    Lopez had urged Venezuelans to take to the streets to block the roads to prevent the election of the National Constituent Assembly, along with Henrique Capriles. In June, while he was still in prison, he published a video asking the military to rebel against the government.” (Related videos accompany the news.”

    from the #SOS VZ hashtag:

  10. the clock is ticking, and it’s right out in the open. telesur english
    ‘Washington has made one of its most foreboding threats so far against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson openly floated the possibility of stepping up “regime change” measures against the government of democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro.

    “Our approach to Venezuela has been to try to work through coalition partners, through the OAS as well as others who share our view of Venezuela’s future … Clearly what we want to see is for Venezuela to return to its constitution, return to its scheduled elections, and allow the people of Venezuela to have the voice in their government they deserve,” Tillerson told members of the press.

    “We are evaluating all of our policy options as to what we can do to create a change of conditions where either Maduro decides he doesn’t have a future and wants to leave of his own accord or we can return the government processes back to their constitution,” the former Exxon Mobil chief executive added.’

    Cuz ‘WE’ have the right, the obligation…We are Exceptional! Our oil is waiting for us!’ cspan video is there; you can watch him say it.

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