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The OAS Must Apply the Facts in Caracas

By Pedro Camargo

02.12.05 | On December 4, 2005, Venezuela will supposedly hold assembly elections, akin to Americans voting for a full new Congress or Europeans voting for a new parliament. The Organization of American States (OAS) is in fact the sole election observer of standing, with the European Union (EU), in a simple non-binding observer status. Although the OAS chief, Chile’s Insulza may yet side politically with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, we believe that Insulza would do well to take the high road and fully report all facts regarding this national vote in Venezuela.

Current events have brought forward more than enough probable cause to factually analyze Sunday’s elections: demonstrable voter record fraud, voting machine fraud, and stacked/packed voter slates all spelling the obvious: enormously dirty election practices, which must either be upended or suspended pending review and correction. Following the August, 2004 vote, the OAS itself backed explicit voting repairs for Venezuela, run under its CNE, which have in no way been installed. Thus, the OAS not only has past performance practice problems which have, by its own pronouncements, not been repaired to insure certifiable elections, but has this week observed remarkable demonstrations of corrupt practices underway by CNE, Venezuela’s electoral authorities.

Comes now an even more remarkable development: every major political party outside of the Chavez machine has pulled out of Sunday’s election in the face of now all-too-obvious CNE election fraud. The political parties no doubt know what the OAS should be reporting: these elections are rigged and are simply political parades for the Chavez machine.

The OAS in fact is the major candidate in this election. The OAS itself must stand for free and fair elections or be known for what they do now. If Insulza fails to act, based on the obvious, he fails his own OAS mandate, further endangering the OAS for the coming years. The OAS has been reported as physically and morally bankrupt of late. If Insulza acts to bless this upcoming corrupt election, he will force the nail in the coffin not only of already dysfunctional democracy in Venezuela (and like falling dominoes, the entire Latin American panoply of upcoming presidential elections) but also for the entire OAS which will see its own standing eroded, leaving it as nothing more than an anti-U.S. political vehicle for its new political partners in main: Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, neither of whom would know functional democracy if it hit them on the head.

Venezuela, so we have been informed, has been splintered and its `opposition’ broken, battered and barely on life support. But the will of the pro-democracy, anti-Chavez machinations have been only mostly dead, not all the way dead. And we have seen this week extraordinary forbearance, vibrant and thoughtful political debate -even in the face of physical threat, on-going camaraderie, decency and strength as the opposition elements united on the high road to stand against corrupt government controlled and rigged elections in Venezuela. For any national political debate, this is remarkable and for Venezuela, this is all the more remarkable, particularly in the face of Chavez’s very real KGB-style goon squads and control freaks.

But political unity in Caracas is only mostly dead, which means it is barely alive. And barely alive means that with many challenges ahead and while struggling against tremendous odds, there is some small hope for Venezuelans who have miraculously resuscitated this week with extraordinary acts of courage and new found integrity.

We can only hope that the OAS, under Insulza, does not do what Insulza is assumed to do very shortly: cancel all life support for any real democracy in Venezuela and take the low road. In so doing, the OAS will seal its own fate. It will not be just democracy in Chavez’s Venezuela that will be shuttered but the OAS itself: exposed fully as morally and physically bankrupt.

It is to Insulza this day to deliver an honest observation of Sunday’s election.

Or else declare that democracy in Venezuela, like the OAS, is not mostly dead but all dead. And should Venezuela be declared as all dead, there is only one thing left to do: like scavengers in a post mortem, take what is left and flee. The flights departing Venezuela would in the coming days not only be carrying failed sycophants or the now standard massive heroin shipments through Venezuela but the quite obvious beginnings of a massive diaspora of Venezuelans, heart sick and bleeding from the sell out.

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