CIA: Chavez rigged 2004 recall referendum

A shift in US policy towards Venezuela, or is the CIA finally admitting what was glaringly obvious over four years ago to many observers of President Hugo Chavez?

CIA cybersecurity expert Steve Stigall testified at a US Election Assistance Commission hearing held last month in Orlando, FL that the government of President Hugo Chavez rigged the outcome of the August 2004 presidential referendum. The Election Assistance Commission was created by the US Congress in 2002 to modernize US voting systems.

The hearing received zero coverage from the mainstream “dead-tree” news media, though the Miami Herald finally reported the story this week.

Stigall said at the hearing that the CIA got interested in electronic voting systems a few years ago, after concluding that foreign powers or groups might try to hack US election systems. He declined to say more “in an open, unclassified forum.”

Stigall said that:

*Electronic voting machines like those used in US elections have likely been tampered with during elections in other countries including Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine.

*Computerized electoral systems can be manipulated at five stages, from altering voter registration lists to posting results.

*Voting equipment connected to the Internet can be hacked, and machines that aren’t connected can be compromised wirelessly.

Stigall also said: “…wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that’s an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to . . . make bad things happen.”

Some immediate questions:

*When did the CIA start studying computerized voting systems and why did it wait until now to divulge its suspicions in a public forum chaired by a US federal election entity?

*Who are the “foreigners” interested in hacking computerized voting machines used increasingly in US elections?

China, Russia, India, Iran come to mind immediately. But… what if the “foreigners” mentioned by Stigall are non-state groups with a long-term vested ideological (Marxist) influence in fostering a progressive (i.e. Marxist) revolution in the US by rigging election outcomes? (If Caracas Gringo recalls accurately, Alek Boyd looked into this issue a few years ago, but the dead-tree media and useless multilateral entities like the Organization of American States (OAS) have ignored it obstinately.)

*What evidence does the CIA have that the Chavez regime rigged the outcome of the 2004 recall referendum? And why isn’t this evidence made public immediately? (Ditto with respect to the allegedly rigged elections in Macedonia and Ukraine.)

*If the US government has solid evidence that Chavez rigged the 2004 recall referendum, what steps or actions are the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama and US Congress thinking about taking to challenge the democratic legimitacy of the Chavez regime? (Obviously, we don’t think the White House or Congress are considering anything related to Venezuela.)

*Are Stigall’s remarks at the hearing an indication of a shift in US foreign policy towards Venezuela, and if so, why now?

*What would the Obama administration expect to achieve by challenging the democratic legitimacy of the 2004 recall referendum?

Obviously, if the 2004 recall referendum was rigged, it could be argued that Chavez is not a legitimate president, and that the result sof all the elections held since ther ecall referendum also are illegitimate.

Further, if the 2004 recall referendum was rigged, it can be assumed that every election since has probably been rigged too, given Chavez’s total control of the National Electoral Council (CNE).

But it’s very doubtful that any Latin American leaders would side with the Obama administration in openly challenging Chavez’s democratic legitimacy.

Some of the region’s democratic leaders appear to be, well, scared of Chavez. Others are aligned with Chavez. But overall, the region’s leaders are keen to continue pimping off Chavez’s oil largesse.

If the Obama administration is thinking about challenging Chavez’s electoral legitimacy, it should not expect any support from the OAS in Washington, DC either. The OAS is completely useless, ineffectual, and irrelevant.

The dead tree news media won’t lift an investigative finger either.

Charges that the Chavez regime rigs election outcomes with its computerized voting system have been flying around the world for years.

There’s considerable evidence of voting fraud stretching back to the 2004 presidential referendum, if one bothers to look.

But there’s the rub. It’s easier to ignore the issue, or be skeptical about it, than to invest the time and effort in wading through the complicated technical explanations of how the Chavez regime rigs elections.


About Caracas Gringo

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2 Responses to CIA: Chavez rigged 2004 recall referendum

  1. expaticus americus says:

    The irony of the CIA pointing out that the voting machines are capable of being with tampered with in other countries is absolutely delicious. There is ample evidence that the elections in the US have been rigged for years, and the legitimacy of virtually all elected officials in the US can be legitimately questioned.

    One expects leaders in a banana republic to behave as if they were in, well, a banana republic. The country is small enough and the corruption is open enough that it’s inescapable. The difference between the US and the Venezuela is that the US is big enough that the corruption isn’t easy to see, especially for the average person who isn’t connected enough to know how things really work. Besides- the people in the US still believe the hogwash that they’re taught in high school civics classes.

    What’s the difference between a police checkpoint in the US and a police checkpoint in Venezuela? They’re both money-making operations that have very little to do with public safety: the only real difference is that in Venezuela the cops are collecting the money for themselves and in the US the cops are processing the victims into the criminal justice system which collects the money for the state.


  2. Neil says:

    The evidence that Chavez rigged the 2004 referendum has been out there in the public domain for years. In 2006 a paper by Febres Cordero and Marquez was published in the International Statistical Review, and two years later another paper by Salas and Delfino was published in Statistical Science. These two publications are the most prestigious, internationally-recognized peer-review journals in their field. Both articles prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the 2004 elections were rigged.

    So the CIA didn’t have to go very far.

    Anyone interested in this area should consult, where all the data and papers published on this subject are referenced.

    To my knowledge, the only prominent foreign journalist who’s given full credence to the vote fraud argument is Michael Barone, of US News and World Report. El Universal ran a soft-hitting exposé in their Expediente section several years ago on “anomalies” and “irregularities” in the voting results, and El Nacional regularly echoes voters’ doubts about the transparency of the system, but neither of them has put forth the evidence gathered to date and accused the government of systematically conducting vote fraud.

    Why not? I think it’s because the issue has become THE taboo issue for Chávez, because it goes to the heart of his legitimacy as president. Chávez has potty-trained the voters to go to the polls, year after year, and swallow the results, regardless of the scope of the well-documented “irregularities” and “anomalies.” And one way or the other he’s let the oppo leadership and the media barons know that if they push too hard on this issue he’ll really take off the gloves. I mean, think about it. If Globovision were to do a one-hour exposé showing how the CNE has been rigging the vote since 2004, they’d be shit down immediately.


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