martes, 24 de agosto de 2004

A irmandade chavista

por Diogo Mainardi (comments on this article in spanish)

Sessenta e oito intelectuais e artistas brasileiros assinaram o manifesto "Se fosse venezuelano, eu votaria em Chávez". Os nomes de sempre: Oscar Niemeyer, Celso Furtado, Antonio Candido, Leonardo Boff, Chico Buarque, Augusto Boal, João Pedro Stédile, Beth Carvalho. Não sei se os venezuelanos consideram Beth Carvalho uma intelectual ou uma artista. Também não sei quantos votos seu apoio rendeu a Hugo Chávez.

Os intelectuais e artistas brasileiros não perdem ocasião para assinar manifestos. O decano da categoria é Oscar Niemeyer. Assinou praticamente todos os manifestos que surgiram nos últimos anos. Do que condena a guerra no Iraque ao que repudia a autonomia do Banco Central. Do que defende o MST ao que pede a reabertura das investigações sobre o assassinato de Toninho do PT, prefeito de Campinas. Pena que os intelectuais e artistas brasileiros não tenham pensado em assinar um manifesto pedindo uma CPI sobre o assassinato de Celso Daniel, prefeito de Santo André. Esperemos que seus pares venezuelanos tomem essa iniciativa.

Oscar Niemeyer, Chico Buarque e João Pedro Stédile assinaram um manifesto de solidariedade a José Dirceu, abalado pelo caso de corrupção em seu ministério. Os mesmos Oscar Niemeyer, Chico Buarque e João Pedro Stédile assinaram um manifesto de solidariedade a Cuba, depois que o regime de Fidel Castro mandou matar uns miseráveis que roubaram um barco para tentar fugir do país.

Os intelectuais brasileiros formam uma espécie de irmandade. Entre os signatários do manifesto de apoio a Chávez, encontram-se tanto Carlos Heitor Cony, agraciado com uma aposentadoria milionária pela Comissão de Anistia, quanto Marcelo Lavenère, presidente da mesma comissão. Outros dois intelectuais que manifestaram apoio a Chávez foram Fernando Morais e Guilherme Fontes, respectivamente autor e diretor de Chatô. Guilherme Fontes, por causa do filme, passou os últimos tempos defendendo-se de acusações de irregularidades no uso de verbas públicas. Fernando Morais passou os últimos tempos defendendo seu padrinho político, Orestes Quércia, de acusações semelhantes.

Um dos mais entusiasmados signatários do manifesto chavista foi o bispo Tomás Balduino. Ele pregou "a mística bolivariana", por sua "coragem de enfrentar o império americano", da mesma maneira que pregou, no passado, a invasão de terras produtivas e o saque a supermercados. Tomás Balduino foi um dos promotores do fracassado plebiscito da dívida externa. Ultimamente, passou a recolher adesões para um plebiscito contra a Alca. Muitas das personalidades que assinaram o manifesto chavista assinaram também, um ano atrás, uma carta aberta a Lula, alertando-o contra a Alca e seu projeto neoliberal, que condena o Brasil a pagar juros apenas "para saciar credores insaciáveis". Preocupados com os rumos da cultura, os intelectuais e artistas aproveitaram para lembrar o presidente de que a nação não pode "entregar ao mercado a formação de sua juventude". Lula continuou a pagar juros aos credores. Em compensação, intelectuais e artistas ganharam cargos públicos e projetos de lei para o controle de imprensa e cinema.

Se eu fosse venezuelano, votaria contra os brasileiros.

viernes, 20 de agosto de 2004

The Price of Dissent in Venezuela

Thursday, August 19, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

CARACAS, Venezuela--On Monday afternoon, dozens of people assembled in the Altamira Plaza, a public square in a residential neighborhood here that has come to symbolize nonviolent dissent in Venezuela. The crowd was there to question the accuracy of the results that announced a triumph for President Hugo Chávez in Sunday's recall referendum.

Within one hour of the gathering, just over 100 of Lt. Col. Chávez's supporters, many of them brandishing his trademark army parachutist beret, began moving down the main avenue towards the crowd in the square. Encouraged by their leader's victory, this bully-boy group had been marching through opposition neighborhoods all day. They were led by men on motorcycles with two-way radios. From afar they began to taunt the crowd in the square, chanting, "We own this country now," and ordering the people in the opposition crowd to return to their homes. All of this was transmitted live by the local news station. The Chávez group threw bottles and rocks at the crowd. Moments later a young woman in the square screamed for the crowd to get down as three of the men with walkie-talkies, wearing red T-shirts with the insignia of the government-funded "Bolivarian Circle," revealed their firearms. They began shooting indiscriminately into the multitude.

A 61-year-old grandmother was shot in the back as she ran for cover. The bullet ripped through her aorta, kidney and stomach. She later bled to death in the emergency room. An opposition congressman was shot in the shoulder and remains in critical care. Eight others suffered severe gunshot wounds. Hilda Mendoza Denham, a British subject visiting Caracas for her mother's 80th birthday, was shot at close range with hollow-point bullets from a high-caliber pistol. She now lies sedated in a hospital bed after a long and complicated operation. She is my mother.


Jimmy Carter's double standards.

While one U.S. president's double standards might be really funny (Clinton's "I did not have a sexual relation with that woman, Monica Lewinsky"), this one is not funny, at all. I'm referring to the 39th U.S. president, James Carter.

On November 15th, 2000, Jimmy Carter was interviewed by CNN's Larry King. This interview was done more than a week after the controversial United States election, right in the middle of all the fuss caused by Florida's ballots, which would decide who would get to be the next president of the United States.

Now, if you didn't have the time to read the entire transcript, maybe you should read one of CNN's front cover news the next day, which refers to the interview carried on the day before, in which Jimmy Carter, the same man who said a couple of days ago that he trusted CNE's results on our referendum and a manual count wouldn't be necessary, said the Floridian ballots should be recounted.

Of course, at the time he was on the challenging side, not on the dominant one. Now I wonder if our democracy has less value than U.S. democracy.

jueves, 19 de agosto de 2004

Smartmatic foresees the future.

Smartmatic president, Antonio Mugica, was interviewed by Tal Cual. On the interview, he says they knew, at NOON of August 15th, the NO would win. If there was a massive turnout, most voting centers didn't open until 0700hs or 0800hs, and we had lines of people waiting to cast their votes until 0300hs THE NEXT DAY, how come this man says they already knew the outcome of the referendum? Moreover, no voting center had closed at noon, so none had transmitted any results. Did Smartmatic carry its own exit-poll?

Smartmatic president, Antonio Mugica. Posted by Hello

Italy's RAI does its own "after-the-fraud" poll

According to Descifrado, italian news outlet RAI carried an informal survey amongst street vendors at Sabana Grande Boulevard. These vendors are not what first-world leftists may call oligharchs, and yet, 7 out of 10 believe there was a fraud on the Aug. 15th referendum. They also say they voted SÍ, but are already resignated, for they still have to go out, put up their kiosks and try to sell their stuff.

miércoles, 18 de agosto de 2004

Some whys, some wheres, some hows.

Francisco, Daniel and Miguel have already pointed out their own questions, so mine are not going to be that different.

Why Carrasquero announced, early Monday, that the NO option had already gotten 4,991,483 votes, and on the same afternoon the NO votes "shrunk" to 4,917,279 votes, only to "stretch" again - today - to 5,553,209?

Why Carter said the OAS/CC mission were allowed into de tallying room, and a couple of minutes later Gaviria said they weren't?

Why two of CNE directors, Zamora and Mejías, were not allowed into the tallying room either?

How come four - or more - different exit polls were giving the same results, and now they're off the mark by almost 20%?

Where were the five million chavistas and their children celebrating on the streets? I saw a 'caravana' here in Valencia, with about 40 vehicles, and that was it.

Where are Luis Tascon, Iris Varela, Cilia Flores, Nicolás Maduro and Juan Barreto right now? If we know them well, we should expect them to rub their victory on our faces, and yet none of them have spoken out. Already working hard on the audit tampering, maybe? And why VTV seemed like a funeral all Sunday?

Why the hell - and this has nothing to do with the fraud - JVR and the people's ombudsman said the Altamira shooting was the demonstrator's fault? Is it already illegal to protest? Aren't they getting ahead of themselves?

How come at least 16 pairs of voting tables had exactly the same number of SÍ votes? That's as likely as to hit the Lotto Jackpot, twice.

If CNE's Jorge Rodriguez is so fair, why did he deny the on-the-spot-audit, and is denying a proper audit right now? If he said, after the signature gathering, that there was a reasonable doubt about such signatures, and hence the reparos took place, why the hell he won't admit a deep audit right now?

Why Jorge Rodriguez mentions over and over again that 'the international observers endorse the CNE results' and hence there's nothing left to do? Why didn't he say such thing when the SAME observers said the signature gathering was fair and all the necessary signatures were there?

Why Jorge Rodriguez ordered ALL signatures to be checked, and now is denying a ballot count on a 1% sample?

Why both Carter and Jorge Rodriguez say the audits are going to take place, but the results won't change? Do they have a crystal ball?

And finally, why keep the entire country with a reasonable doubt, instead of allowing all the audits the opposition wants, the way they want it, where they want it?

lunes, 16 de agosto de 2004

Results online.

CNE results are already online.

Shots at Plaza Francia.

Reports say eight people were wounded by chavista supporters at Plaza Francia, Altamira, eastern Caracas. One of the victims is opposition representative Ernesto Alvarenga. Some people say he got shot at the chest and is in critical condition, while other reports claim the shot hit his shoulder. Same reports say one woman died in the shooting.

Image from a webcam just over Plaza Francia, Altamira. Posted by Hello

OAS/CC back CNE results.

Major observers OAS and Carter Center have just said, in a press conference, their numbers are consistent with those announced by CNE early this morning. They failed to mention the fact that the observers themselves were denied entry to scrutiny room at CNE, as well as representatives from Coordinadora Democrática.

Also this morning Timoteo Zambrano admitted on a radio interview that the so called audits on the voting machines had not been properly done, and that they blindly agreed to go on with the referendum because of the lack of time between the audits and the event. In other words, we might have been robbed, but there's not much we can do about it. Personally, I believe that if there was a fraud, it was not on the voting machines, but on the scrutiny center. It's easier to hack only one machine instead of 10,000.

I'm still wondering where are those 5 million NO voters celebrating.

If those are in fact the real results, then democracy wins, but Venezuela loses. May our children forgive us.

Trying to go back to routine. Not that easy.

I'm at work now. Here, one could guess a dear co-worker had died, from the look on everybody's faces.

On the matter of the results, the opposition is not buying it, and the fact that the Carter Center and OAS have not said anything at this time of the day is pissing me off. Reports say CNE VP Ezequiel Zamora and fellow director Sobella Mejías were not allowed in the add-up room, unbelievable! Also, audits on the results were witnessed only by CNE president Carrasquero and fellow directors Rodriguez and Battaglini, the so called three CNE chavistas.

I wonder why, for Pete's sake, if you're winning by a landslide, you keep opposition representatives out of the scrutiny room? It just doesn't make any sense.

Everybody's waiting for CC and OAS, 'cause we've learned the type of crooks these CNE clowns are. Those observers also have exit polls, and no leftist philochavista can say they're biased. If, and only if, they say Chavez won, then indeed we're doomed.

Now it depends on OAS and Carter Center

CNE president Francisco Carrasquero announced at 4am that the NO option had won with almost five million votes. I don't buy it, at least not yet. I'll wait for the main international observers to speak out, even though they were not allowed to observe the add-up process.

Pinch me

Is it real?

I'm getting great news from Coordinadora Democratica here in Valencia. Exit polls say SÍ won with more than 60%, exactly my prediction on Caracas Chronicles.

We've nothing official just yet, but all sources tell almost exactly the same numbers.

I'll call it a day for blogging, but I'll stay up watching the news. I'll post again at about 0700hs.

Thanks to all of you for caring about Venezuela on this historical day.

One more pic from Sagrado. My mom and I went there to bring water and snacks to people waiting in line. Military officers were delaying the process, but people hanged in there. I'm very proud of my fellow venezuelans. Posted by Hello

More pics from Sagrado Corazón. According to local radio reports, this voting center had the longest line of the city. Posted by Hello

At 1810hs, people were still waiting to cast their vote at Sagrado Corazón School. Posted by Hello

domingo, 15 de agosto de 2004

No internet access

If you want to write to me, send an email to with a short message on the subject field.

Late voting

Closing time has been extended until midnight. First projections say SI 4.5 million, NO 2.5 million. Wait and see.

Still at Sagrado

Some people have been in line for 14 hours, and they say they'll stay for as long as it takes. They're tough.

Endless line

Military officers at Sagrado Corazon School have actually managed to slow things down. It's dark, so no pics.

On the go

I'm out bringing water and snacks to people waiting in line. There's a line of about 300 yards. Pics later.

A cadena because of a joke

CNE president, Francisco Carrasquero, has 'announced' he got an audio sample with his voice, saying that Chavez had been revoked. The audio has the introductory music used in every single cadena, and one can hear the voice of Carrasquero announcing the SÍ option had won with more than 11 million votes. An outrage, right?

The truth is, it's an audio sample made by Fausto Malavé, a popular radio host. He has a morning radio program at Circuito X FM, every weekday from 6am to 8am. It's the program I listen to everyday, and I've heard the Carrasquero audio every morning for the last month or so. Fausto uses the audio as a joke, saying that if you want something so bad, you have to visualize it. That's what the audio is for. Nothing but a radio joke, and these CNE clowns are making too much of a deal out of it.

Click here to read Fausto Malave's statement on the audio joke.

Unidad Educativa Sagrado Corazón, Valencia. Posted by Hello

Unidad Educativa Sagrado Corazón. Valencia. Posted by Hello

Unidad Educativa Sagrado Corazón, Valencia. Posted by Hello

Escuela Bolivariana Pedro Castillo, Valencia. Posted by Hello

People waiting at Colegio Calasanz, in northern Valencia. Posted by Hello

People waiting at Colegio Calasanz, in northern Valencia. Posted by Hello

Photos from Colegio Calasanz, in northern Valencia. Posted by Hello

Third age line at Lisandro Ramirez Elementary, in Valencia. The viejitos are tough, no doubt about it. Posted by Hello

People waiting to vote at Lisandro Ramirez Elementary, in Valencia. Posted by Hello


I already voted! A huge crowd waiting in line, never seen before, with a lot of enthusiasm and pacience. I got there at about 0430hs, and the voting center was suposed to open at 0530, but chavista witnesses never showed up. We had to wait until 0700hs, as the law says, and new witnesses were picked from the crowd.

The fingerprint machines were pretty fast, but I had to put my right thumb at least five times to get the machine to read it. I was given a piece of paper with only the book and page were my name was, on the electoral notebook at the table. I was worried about that piece of paper, 'cause I thought it would have my name on it, so theoretically they would be able to match my fingerprint with my vote. Not that I don't want anybody to know who I voted on, but other people were very concerned. The fact that the paper doesn't have the name, but only the book and page, ensures the vote is totally secret. The center ended up opening at 0700hs, and I left at 0750hs, after voting at the same classroom I sat 20 years ago, on my second year of elementary school.

When I left, I heard on the radio that some fingerprint machines were not installed or not working properly across the country, so later on we could have a special resolution from the CNE suspending the use of the machines.

Health Minister Roger Capella, the one that said on TV that all those public employees signing against Chavez should be fired, showed up at Lisandro Ramirez Elementary, my voting center, at around 0650hs. Apparently he was trying to sneak in front of everybody else to cast his vote, but the crowd spotted him and a loud boo started to roar. People yelled from "fuera, fuera", to "se va, se va, se va". Then, apparently he second-guessed what he was trying to do and left with a military officer as a bodyguard.

I'm posting some pictures now. I apologize, for my camera is a cheap one, and the maximun resolution is 640x480.

Chavista delay

Turns out, the center has not opened because chavista witnesses are yet to arrive. Ordered delay tactics...


We're more than 30min past the opening time, but the center hasn't opened. Rumor says CANTV technicians haven't arrived.

Before dawn

About 300 people are already waiting in line, and it is only 5am. My voting center has about 10 voting machines.

Off to vote

It's 4 a.m. As I've said before, a cousin, my brother, my mom and I vote on the same center. It's not the closest to where we live, but due to the arbitrary changes on people's voting centers made by CNE, we didn't want to push our luck. If we had tried to change it, maybe they'd sent us to vote in Tibet, Paris, Tokio, San Francisco or Santa Elena de Uairén.

No matter the final result, venezuelans are writing the history our kids and grand-kids will learn at school. I justo hope the majority of us stop thinking a $50/month giveaway by the government is enough for a living. We cannot be afraid to change paths just because the opposition doesn't have a clear leader. And moreover, to have a real election, the SÍ must win today. One month from now, we shall get to choose between two candidates. Meanwhile, today we vote for the approval or disapproval of the worst goverment of venezuelan modern era.

I hope venezuelans vote thinking about Venezuela's fate, and not their own. I don't want to live in a country where you must be a chavista in order to get a passport, and that is only one of the many examples of the unthinkable situations many people have gone through. We need the government to promote ways to make people equally wealthy, not equally miserable.

I'll try to take some pics here in Valencia, and will be posting them later on. I'll also post from my cell phone.

Godspeed us all.

viernes, 13 de agosto de 2004

Manifestação a favor do 'não' em SP, marcha pelo 'sim' em Caracas

Apenas 100 pessoas compareceram ao chamado dos esquerdistas paulistanos, que haviam prometido 3 mil pessoas em apoio ao 'não' no referendo de próximo domingo, na Venezuela. A manifestação aconteceu em frente ao consulado da Venezuela, na capital paulista. A organização ficou por conta do auto-denominado "Comitê de Soliedaridade com o Povo Venezuelano". As informações são da agência espanhola EFE.

Enquanto isso, na opinião do Círculo Bolivariano de São Paulo, a manifestação foi um "sucesso". Confira as fotos tomadas por eles mesmos e tire suas próprias conclusões.

Em Caracas, na tarde de uma quinta-feira chuvosa, a oposição reuniu mais de 500 mil pessoas em apoio ao 'sim', numa das principais vias expressas de Caracas, a autopista Francisco Fajardo. Confira as fotos aqui. Ótimas fotos também no blog do Daniel.

Minha familia está espalhada aqui em Valencia, no que diz respeito às mesas de votação. Eu voto na escola onde fiz a primária, junto com meu irmão, minha mãe e um de meus primos. Queremos chegar lá às 4 da manhã. Vou postar qualquer acontecimento desde meu celular, então não estranhem os posts curtos.