Wednesday, August 18, 2004

With friends like these ...

Something isn’t right when Iran hails the outcome as a “vote a victory for democracy” and Cuba echoes their joy. Dig a little deeper in the Iran quotes and you find an interesting reference: "The outcome of this referendum once again proved the reality that people do not accept foreign powers interfering in their internal affairs."

Foreign powers? What did that come from? On Nexis (I can’t seem to find it on a linkable page): Chavez “has accused the United States of funding the campaign to unseat him, and insists that Washington was behind a short-lived coup in April 2002 during which he was ousted for two days.” (Nexis: Copyright 2004 AFX News Limited, AFX.COM, August 18, 2004 Wednesday, SECTION: GOVERNMENT; GENERAL, LENGTH: 453 words, HEADLINE: US accepts Chavez victory in Venezuela vote, urges national reconciliation, DATELINE: WASHINGTON)

Besides the statistical problems with the voting machine vote totals, being glossed over is the violence. The Kansas City Star reports: “[A] group of gunmen who displayed pro-Chavez posters opened fire on an opposition protest Monday, killing a woman and wounding 10 other people.” So far, it is the only episode of violence reported. It seems rather, um, extreme to be the only episode. One would think that violence escalates beginning with wandering groups of thugs who intimidate by their mere presence, increasing to verbal abuse and afterward physical abuse, and finally graduating to life-threatening activities. To begin there indicates perhaps incomplete reporting.

Iran and Cuba support the vote outcome. As noted in a post below, Le Papier de Rapport and Carter support it. This is either a confluence of socialists, communists, and dictators all coming together to gloat over a friend’s victory, or something is putrid east of Puerto Cabello.

W had the sense to extend only cautious recognition to the outcome, contingent upon a transparent audit of the results. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see how many voting machines fail to provide source data. Let’s see how much of the final vote tally escapes audit. Let’s see if Iran, Cuba, the NYT, and Jimmy are right.

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