• Maibort Petit

Naked Election Fraud: Part Three

"The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do." This quote has been falsely attributed to Joseph Stalin. Although it is not true that Stalin ever expressed this message, one must wonder, how true is the quotation, and on we go with our report.


By Maibort Petit


Smartmatic in Venezuela


Guillermo Salas refers to Venezuela, where the Smartmatic company was consolidated. [9] registered in the state of Florida, starting from her hiring as the person in charge of the automation of the voting system and where the narrative has been imposed that the solution to the Venezuelan crisis is solely electoral.


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Likewise, he pointed out that only until recently, in Venezuela the thesis was handled that, both with Chávez and with Nicolás Maduro, an authoritarian government has ruled but not dictatorial.

In the same way, it has been said that in Venezuela "competitive elections" are held, that "there has never been electoral fraud"

and they maintain that

"the exit will be electoral",

as we had already pointed out previously.

"That is a kind of Ritornello that they put on us every year," says Salas.

It is a narrative that was even handled by important spokespersons of Venezuelan politics such as Teodoro Petkoff, who in 2015, declared after being awarded the Ortega y Gasset Prize, that Nicolás Maduro's regime,

“that is an authoritarian government , but not dictatorial ”; “… Democracy is alive. Harassed, but alive ”;

"Democratic institutions have resisted the government and the outcome of this situation will be democratic"; "... if there is no fraud, which there has never been until now, by the way"; "Chávez, as much as he had a militaristic vision of politics, had a democratic sense in his relationship with the country."

Petkoff made these claims in 2015 - Salas points out - when in just 2014 the Maduro government had carried out a massacre of students.

He emphasizes that, in politics, the politicians who win are the ones who impose their narrative, regardless of whether it is true or not, and that was the case in Venezuela for many years and, even today, some echo this “official truth. ”.

But meanwhile the government and politicians maintain this discourse, the population has another opinion. In this sense, Salas refers to a survey carried out by the Andrés Bello Catholic University in May 2015, on “Citizen Perceptions of the Venezuelan electoral system”, where one of the questions is:

“In the CNE the results can be changed electronically? ”,

Resulting in that 44.5 percent of those consulted thought yes and only 30.7 percent believed no.



"In other words, the perception of the majority of Venezuelans is totally divorced from the narrative of the official opposition," says Guillermo Salas.


The two truths


Then Guillermo Salas makes mention of the fact that, in reality, there are two truths. On the one hand,

the official truth that regimes like the Venezuelan are authoritarian governments, but not dictatorial;

who make competitive elections; that there has never been electoral fraud; and that the exit will be electoral.


On the other hand, there is a proscribed truth that is silenced,

“you cannot imagine how we have been censored in all the media in Venezuela. Perhaps the only one that gave us a certain space is El Nacional ”.


This proscribed truth ensures that the aforementioned regimes such as the Venezuelan one "are modern totalitarianisms";

They "hold controlled elections";

“They have remained in power thanks to electoral fraud”;

and consequently they maintain that

"there is no electoral way out."

Alert, then, that these are two opposing truths that it is necessary for the Venezuelan opposition to decide to elucidate, because until now it has limited itself to discarding the proscribed truth, without even analyzing it and determining how much truth it might contain. Such a situation, he stresses, keeps Venezuelan opponents divided.


The check method


Guillermo Salas uses the method of Galileo Galilei to evaluate two opposing truths and that he developed in his book "Dialogue" in which an official truth was raised that said that the Earth was the center of the universe, the Ptolemaic model; meanwhile, a forbidden truth held that the earth revolved around the sun, the model of Copernicus.

Galileo Galilei examines a series of events through three characters who dialogue with each other:

Simplicio, who represents the official truth;

Salviati , who represents the proscribed truth and was basically Galileo himself; and Sagredo, who was a very intelligent guy who listened to both parties and asked counter questions; that's what the dialogue is based on.


The facts to examine


Guillermo Salas believes that analyzing these narratives would serve to unify the opposition around the truth and not a false premise.

The facts to be examined are the following:

the origin of the Smartmatic voting system;

the debut of the Smartmatic voting system:

software auditing,

voting,

counting

and audits of results;

the first allegations of fraud;

the hypotheses; and

other evidence of fraud;

what happened in The Statistical Science affair.

Salas refers to the book written by Emili J. Blasco called “Bumeran Chávez. "The frauds that led to the collapse of Venezuela ”, in which the author interviews Leamsy Salazar, ex-bodyguards of Hugo Chávez and Diosdado Cabello, who made these declarations in sworn form in the United States. Blasco interviewed him and collected his statements in the aforementioned book.

Salazar says in the book:

“The secret computers of the Chavistas indicated it very clearly. At six in the afternoon, the time it is April 14, 2013, the electoral centers in Venezuela were to close, the presidential elections had been won by Henrique Capriles Radonski… ”.

Then he added:

"A computer system parallel to the official one allowed Chavismo to know in real time throughout the day the evolution of the vote and allowed it to know the number of false votes it had to produce to turn the result."

This, alert, is absolutely necessary to determine.

On the origin of the Smartmatic company and its voting system, Guillermo Salas refers that it is quite conflictive and controversial.

It recalls the year 2002 which was tremendously conflictive and controversial, with the Venezuelan opposition fully activated in a struggle to get out of Hugo Chávez, with confrontations on all sides, strikes and marches were gigantic. There is an oil strike to which the business community and the unions joined. "Virtually the entire country was on strike against Chávez."

On April 11, 2002, Chávez fell when the Armed Forces withdrew its support, but due to the actions of a small group that tried to steal the efforts of all Venezuelans and issued a shameful decree that, in fact, was a coup. , the constitutional support was lost and Chávez was restored to power by a group of soldiers headed by General Raúl Isaías Baduel, today fallen out of favor with Chavismo.

Given the serious situation in the country,

the "Negotiation and Agreement Table" was created in which the Carter Center and the OAS settled in Venezuela as facilitators. In these conversations, on May 30, 2003, it was agreed that the solution to the conflict would be electoral, through the convocation of the recall referendum proposed by an article of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The purchase of Bitza


A few days after this decision, the Venezuelan government buys a company called Bizta Corporation [10] and which is the “twin sister” of the Smartmatic company, since both were registered in the United States by Antonio Mugica. The two companies had the same address, namely the house of Mugica's parents. "They are Siamese companies."

That is, says Guillermo Salas, the Chávez government instead of going to do normal proselytism, bought the Bitza company, a fact that came to light thanks to an investigative work undertaken by The Miami Herald, written by journalists Richard Brand and Alonso Chardy, on May 28, 2004, who discovered that the major investor in the software company that would be in charge of producing electronic ballots in Venezuela's much-criticized voting system, turned out to be the government of Venezuela itself.

Brand and Chardy discovered that the engineer Antonio Mugica in January 2000, registered the two companies in Boca Raton, Florida, Smartmatic and Bitza, two practically Siamese companies.

On May 30, 2003, the electoral route for the Venezuelan conflict was resolved at the Negotiation and Agreement Table.

“Then, in the first days of June 2003, Chávez buys Bitza, I say Chávez because it was the Venezuelan state and in these regimes like Chávez's, he was the state. In other words, Chávez becomes a Bitza shareholder, ”says Salas.

New CNE balanced?

Subsequently, in August 2003, Hugo Chávez, through the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) under his control, replaced the old board of directors of the National Electoral Council (CNE) and appointed a new supposedly balanced board, made up of two members of the ruling party, two from the opposition and one independent. The particular issue was that the independent rector ended up being the most Chavista of all, namely Jorge Rodríguez. In this way, an overwhelming 3 to 2 is established that prevents opposition representatives from acting in the electoral body.

At the beginning of December 2003, in a four-day task, the opposition managed to collect the necessary signatures to call the recall referendum.

In January 2004, a deputy minister of the Chávez government named Omar Montilla Castillo, was appointed director of Bitza. His father was secretary of the Chávez council of ministers.

On February 4, 2004, Jorge Rodríguez takes over the bidding process to select a voting system to automate voting in Venezuela.

The Miami Herald says about this: "The bidding process to select the new voting system in Venezuela was secret and no information was allowed about the bidders and their products," said Sobella Mejías after this happened, one of the rectors not related to the government.

The decision would be made on the basis of a technical evaluation for which Jorge Rodríguez appointed two professors from the Simón Bolívar University. One is Carlos Figueira and the other is Félix Arroyo.

The first, Carlos Eloy Figueira, is currently the deputy consul of Venezuela in Barcelona. From 2003 to 2007 he worked from the university as a consultant on electoral systems. He was Vice Minister of Science and Technology for a year. He gave a conference called "Venezuela, neither coup nor interference", which was convened by pure leftist organizations.

Figueira is a confessed Marxist.

The other evaluator, Félix Arroyo, does not seem Marxist, but when the "Dictionary of corruption in Venezuela" is reviewed. Volume 3 covering the years between 1984 and 1992, we find that he was involved in the case of Chinese visas. Arroyo was director of the DIEX (Directorate of Identification and Immigration). They charged between USD 2,500 and USD 30,000 per visa to citizens of Chinese origin. In November 1992, the Superior Safeguard Court ordered the arrest of Arroyo and the other implicated, José Gonzalo Ramírez Calles, consul of Venezuela in Hong Kong, for the improper issuance of documents.


Finally, the tender was won by the SBC Consortium, made up of Smartmatic, Bitza and Cantv, that is, the contract was delivered to a company in which the government itself had a stake.

Smartmatic, which had never manufactured a voting machine, entrusts them to Olivetti, while Bitza is in charge of developing the software in a process controlled directly by Omar Montilla. Cantv had to hand over his communication networks.

In April 2004 the voting machines arrived in Venezuela and it is after this, when Hugo Chávez agrees to go to the recall referendum on June 3, 2004: “When the National Electoral Council (CNE) orders it, we are ready to act as a only man, now yes, start the real battle of the presidential recall ”.

In August 2004, the recall referendum comes and the official results give Hugo Chávez the winner in a process that was led by a vice minister of his cabinet.


The official explanations

The Miami Herald said in this regard that “Pro-Chávez government officials and company executives interviewed by the Florida newspaper said that Smartmatic-Bitza machines are among the safest in the world and that the government's investment in Bitza is not related to Bitza's offer for the voting machine contract ”.

They later reported:

"Government officials had repeatedly stated that their investment in Bitza and Vista, as well as Montilla's appointment, was made without knowing that the company would ever seek an election-related contract."

They also insisted that the investment was part of a larger effort to support private business and that their interest in a software company was merely coincidental. They added that a dozen such investments had been made to help promising companies.

Checking

Guillermo Salas proceeds to apply the method of Galileo Galilei:

How would the official truth explain it?

Simplicio: The purchase of Bitza by the Venezuelan government was a chance event that was not related to the fact that this company, a few months later, received a contract from the CNE to develop the software that would count the votes of Venezuelans.

Meanwhile, the proscribed truth would put it like this:

Salviati: It is highly unlikely that all of this happened by chance. Therefore, they must have been deliberate actions related to the preparation of the fraud.

Sagredo will have to be each of the people who evaluate these two opposing visions and it is up to each one to weigh the arguments on one side and the arguments on the other.


Mugica's response

Salas refers again to the article in The New York Times that referred to the purchase of Sequoia Voting Systems by Smartmatic, for which the latter complained to the newspaper and it replied in the following terms:

"At a press conference and In an interview that took place yesterday, Mr. Mugica said that they had never met with Mr. Montilla [Chávez's deputy minister]. When asked about Bitza's minutes from the December 15, 2003 board meeting indicating that both people were together, he said he had a vague memory of that event. "

And then he added:

"If I met him it would have been a kind of greeting," Mugica said, "but I don't remember this."

The reactions of the opposition and the Carter Center

Guillermo Salas reports that the Miami Herald journalists presented these facts to the Democratic Coordinator, which was the one running the opposition at that time, and their response was: “Chávez's opponents told the Herald that they were surprised to learn that the The government has a stake in a company that is fundamental to the electoral process. 'The Venezuelan government? You're joking, 'said Jesús Torrealba, an official with the opposition Democratic Coordinator group. 'It challenges the credibility of the process, this is shocking.'

Despite the surprise, they did not take corrective action in this regard.

They also reported the facts to the Carter Center, which was the guarantor of the process and was an observer.

"But the Atlanta-based Carter Center, which has observed all Venezuelan electoral processes since Chávez's 1998 election, said that the government's involvement in Bitza being found to reinforce the need for independent electoral audits."

The Miami Herald continues to review the response of the Carter Center:

“'What we see in any electoral process is that if each of the components is transparent and auditable, in this case we will include the new machines,' said Jennifer McCoy, who led the mission. from the Carter Center for Venezuela. And he added that he was unaware of the Venezuelan government's investment in Bitza. "


In other words, both the opposition and the Carter Center expressed surprise at the information, but only the second established the need to emphasize audits.


[9] Sunbiz. Division of Corporations. Smarmatic USA Corp. http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/corporationsearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityTICName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=SMARTMATICUSA%20F120000029260&aggregateId=forp-f12000002926-35deTICMTUSC7000002926-35deTICUSA&DirectionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=SMARTMATICUSA%20F120000029260&aggregateId=forp-f12000002926-35deTICUSCM748-9eecM7ecM7ecM7ecM7ecM7eC3C9AcAcAtErCt & listNameOrder = SMARTMATICUSA% 20F120000029260

[10] Sunbiz. Division of Corporations. Bitza Corporation. http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/corporationsearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=BIZTA%20F010000004530&aggregateId=forp-f01000000453-87dad786-Waf44-430a-9650=07DirectionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=BIZTA%20F010000004530&aggregateId=forp-f01000000453-87dad786-Waf44-430a-9650 = 0DirectionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=BIZTA%20F010000004530&aggregateId=forp-f01000000453-87dad786-Waf44-430a- 9650list






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