August 20, 2004
Email to stop me in my tracks
Just got this in my email, more grist for the mill...
A word of caution: I come from the former Yugoslavia, specifically Serbia. Over there, we overthrew our elected dictator in 2000. The overthrow was trigerred by the opposition claims of electoral fraud, that in turn brought hundreds of thousands (some say millions) protesters to the street, prompted the police and army to switch sides and Milosevic fell. The specific fraud claim was that the opposition candidate won more than 50% of votes in the first round of presidential elections and that the authorities somehow falsified that result. However, two years later, several opposition leaders confessed in interviews included into a documentary film (not sure about the name) that they had lied. The opposition candidate had less than 50% of votes in the first round but the opposition was afraid that Milosevic would get together his act by the second round and did not want to risk yet another failure. So they consciously lied, the people believed them, and the rest is history.
Which makes me wonder whetehr something similar is happening in Venezuela. If I were with CD and I was aware of an impending loss, I would do exactly what they are doing now. Given the divisions in the Venezuelan society, they do not need to provide any verifiable or convincing evidence of fraud. "Indications" of fraud are enough for most of CD supporters, right? Thus, the opposition supporters will continue believing that they are a majority and be even more fired up because of the "fraud". To admit that Chavez' victory was fair essentially means admitting that "they" have the majority, and in a society as divided as in Venezuela, would anything be more discouraging than that?