What has been called an election victory for Hugo Chávez was in reality a military coup. The opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, won the election, but the regime activated a military coup with tanks on the streets of all the major cities in Venezuela, while withdrawing the protection from the presidential palace. They then told Capriles, “accept defeat or else.” Meanwhile they committed election fraud after the polls closed, just so as to be able to make it plausible to the international community that Chávez had won. There was no effective election supervision, and the opposition’s parallel vote counting operations were shut down by force while people were still standing in line to vote.
Make no mistake, this was a military self-coup. Hugo Chávez now is a three-time military coupster. There was a spontaneous protest on Monday evening, but a protest that had been called via social media on Saturday outside the election authority CNE failed to materialize. Many expressed on Facebook that they were afraid to demonstrate, that they feared for their lives.
Updates: An editorial in Venezuela reached me just after publishing this. The title is “Coup d’état against Capriles“.
Here is a declaration made by a number of civil groups that are rejecting the election results unless proof are presented within 48 hours, “Declaración de Caracas“. They mention that although the law says that 54% of the machine results shall be audited, only 2.5% actually were (the voting machine produces a paper printout which the voter then deposits in a ballot box; by counting the papers manually the poll workers are supposed to verify the printout of the machine on 54% of the machines). Since the regime knows which these 2.5% are, they are free to commit voter fraud on the remaining 97.5% of the machines. Still this is just one out of many forms of fraud committed in these elections.