Interview about election in Venezuela on Sputnik radio Trendstorm

Nino Pagliccia, one of the organizers of the Hugo Chavez Front from Vancouver, was recently interviewed by renowned political analyst Andrew Korybko based in Moscow on his radio program Trendstorm. You can hear the podcast of the interview here (first 10 minutes and 30 seconds). The transcript of the interview follows.

Andrew Korybko – What are some of the transparency measures that the government plans to implement in order to prove to the world that the voting process will be free and fair?

Todos con maduro-smallNino Pagliccia – Good timing for this question! As a Canadian I have been invited to witness the elections in Venezuela as an observer from Canada. But I have decided to stay here and vote instead as a Venezuelan and be an observer in Canada.

In preparation for that I did my own research on that same question and I have also written about it.

But let me be specific on the most salient points.

The voting system in Venezuela is a fully automated process and can be audited at any stage in the presence of witnesses.

The system has just been tested last Sunday and it’s fully functional.

The registered voter activates the voting machine with his or her fingerprint. Then the candidates list is displayed and the voter makes his/her selection and pushes the VOTE key when ready. The vote is entered in the system and a receipt is printed that the voter deposits in the ballot box. So there is an electronic as well as a printed vote. They have to match at time of verification.

At any stage of the process party reps are present as witnesses.

But what is unique about the whole system is:
1. Venezuelan citizens can request to attend the electoral process; and
2. International observers called acompañantes,duly accredited by the National Electoral Council, can be present. The UN was invited but declined.

There will be over 2,000 international observers in Venezuela to monitor the elections.

The whole thing can be followed live on CNE TV, on the official website. (www.cne.gob.ve)

It is hard to imagine any fraud in such an open process.

AK – How important is this election in terms of resolving the long-running political problems in Venezuela, and to what extent will its legitimacy be affected by some of the opposition boycotting it?

NP – This election is very important at this particular point in the political life of Venezuela. Just as important as the previous 4 presidential elections were.

It is important for what it has already accomplished in terms of mobilizing the population around a serious political and social process – how to move the country forward – rather than dealing with violence and street riots.

Another important related point is the identification that it has allowed of those who have a serious interest in the democratic process and therefore are willing to participate in it, as opposed to those who would rather use unconstitutional methods to disrupt the Bolivarian project.

In fact, this election is just as legitimate as any other election when you have 4 candidates running – 3 of which are in opposition – and 14 political parties, some in coalition. [Candidates: Nicolas Maduro, Henri Falcon, Javier Bertucci and Reinaldo Quijada]

Those parties that have chosen to boycott the election of May 20, like the MUD (Democratic Unity Roundtable) do not make the election illegitimate. They make themselves illegitimate.

The reason that we are even asking the question is because that group – that has marginalized itself – has the support of powerful governments like the US, EU and Canada that have declared the election a fraud even before it takes place.

The goal is regime change in Venezuela and the method is interference. Mike Pence just called the Venezuelan military to rebel. That is illegitimate!

AK – What steps are envisioned as coming afterwards in order to bring a close to this crisis, and what role will the systemic opposition led by Henri Falcon play in this process?

NP – Political crisis and economic crisis go hand in hand in Venezuela. Unfortunately, what makes the situation more difficult is that both crises are manufactured outside. Different social visions for the country have provoked a reaction from the US with sanctions and a financial blockade supported and aided by the Venezuelan elite, which in turn have produced a deeper ideological divide.

The next government will have to tackle both. Maduro has begun that healing process in words and deeds. 1) He has been relentless with his continuous call for peace that may start to sink in. Just recently he also said that he would call for a new broader peace dialogue in the continent if elected. 2) He has also addressed the economy with the creation of the Petro currency as well as with cutting 3 zeros to the Venezuelan currency, to name the most outstanding policies.

What is unique about the Maduro government, the current and the next, because I believe he will win the elections, is its thinking outside the box with new ideas to tackle the undue pressure.

On the other hand, if Henri Falcon won the elections, his would be an “enhanced” version of the old neoliberal government according to his electoral promises. The enhanced part would be the dollarization of the economy that he is promising.  His would be a total opposite of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Given his political wobbling from Chavismo all the way to the MUD ranks he is trying to create his own niche of rightwing politics. He will be a test for the strength of those who oppose Chavismo.

The most important role his opposition could make is a serious contribution towards peace and reconciliation in the country within a democratic and constitutional process, and join Maduro in the call for dialogue.

Venezuela needs peace badly and Venezuelans will decide freely who is capable of bringing that on May 20th.