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Carta abierta a los periodistas que cubren las elecciones parlamentarias en Venezuela 

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Carta abierta a los periodistas que cubren las elecciones parlamentarias en Venezuela

La decisión de cuatro partidos de la oposición de retirarse de las elecciones a celebrarse este fin de semana plantea preguntas importantes a los medios.

Cualquiera que tenga conocimiento de la situación entiende que se trata de un intento de aquellos partidos que, según sus propias encuestas, iban a obtener resultados desfavorables en estos comicios. Todo esto a pesar de controlar la mayor parte de los medios televisivos y de prensa en Venezuela, así como la mayor parte de la riqueza de la nación.

Sin embargo, casi toda la cobertura de la prensa internacional convencería al público en general, que no conoce los detalles de la situación, que estos partidos podrían tener razón en que no se puede confiar en el proceso de votación. Aparentemente es una cuestión de opinión, a pesar de que la OEA demuestra con contundencia lo contrario al servir como ente observador de las elecciones. Sin embargo, hasta esta mañana ningún medio de prensa de habla inglesa había publicado los comentarios de la OEA, más sí fueron publicados en periódicos en español como El Clarín de Argentina.

Es evidente que el intento de la oposición para desacreditar estas elecciones guardará relación con figuras importantes en Estados Unidos, incluyendo algunos miembros del congreso y posiblemente, dependiendo de cómo los medios cubran estos acontecimientos, miembros de la Casa Blanca y del Departamento de Estado.

Vale la pena mencionar que esos mismos partidos opositores, además de Súmate (grupo opositor que coordinó el llamado a referendo para revocar el mandato del presidente Chávez en agosto del 2004), se rehusaron a aceptar los resultados del referendo, el cual perdieron por un margen de 59 a 41. Denunciaron que hubo fraude electoral, e incluso encargaron un análisis estadístico, realizado por dos economistas en la Harvard Kennedy School y el MIT (Instituto de Tecnología de Massachussets), que proporcionó una teoría y supuestas evidencias para probar el fraude. Ver aquí (inglés)

La OEA y el Centro Carter certificaron el referendo. Las máquinas electrónicas de votación utilizadas en esas elecciones generaron un papel por cada voto que luego era depositado en las urnas. Por ello resultó bastante fácil para los observadores (OEA/Centro Carter) auditar una muestra del voto electrónico y compararlo con las papeletas.

Posteriormente, el Centro Carter designó un panel independiente de estadistas que descubrió que no había evidencia estadística que indicara fraude en la elección. Ver aquí (inglés). El informe del panel incluyó el documento anexado anteriormente, el cual tenía defectos e imperfecciones metodológicas y estaba basado en encuestas recogidas por la oposición. Ver aquí (inglés)

A pesar de esto, los líderes de la oposición no dejaron de mantener sus alegatos. “Nos sentimos víctimas de un fraude” en el referendo, dijo ayer Henry Ramos, secretario general de Acción Democrática, a la Associated Press para justificar el retiro de su partido de las elecciones.

La gran mayoría de la prensa internacional (con algunas excepciones como la de la junta editorial de The Wall Street Journal) aceptó la certificación de la OEA y del Centro Carter en el referendo de agosto de 2004 y no tomó en serio las declaraciones de la oposición sobre un robo en las elecciones.

Los medios harían bien en tratar con la misma objetividad este último intento de desacreditar lo que parece ser, con el apoyo de la OEA, un proceso electoral justo y honesto. Si Walter Mondale, candidato demócrata en las elecciones presidenciales de 1984, se hubiese retirado unos días antes de las elecciones (las cuales perdió por un gran margen) y hubiese alegado que no se podía confiar en el conteo de los votos, la prensa no lo hubiese tomado en serio por este acto tan egoísta. Ya no hay razón para tomar en serio ese tipo de declaraciones sobre las elecciones en Venezuela, mucho menos si vienen de parte de un bloque político que se ha negado a aceptar los claros resultados de unas elecciones observadas y certificadas a nivel internacional. Además, los representantes que protegen las elecciones en Venezuela del fraude electoral tienen mucho más peso que aquellos que gobiernan Estados Unidos actualmente.
Ver comunicado de la OEA

Mark Weisbrot/Centro de Investigación Económica y Política
December 1, 2005
Open Letter to the Journalists Covering the Venezuelan Elections

        The decision of four opposition parties in Venezuela to withdraw from elections this weekend raises important questions for the media. It is clear to anyone familiar with the situation that this is an attempt to discredit the election, by parties that (according to opposition polling) were indisputably expected to do very badly in the election. This is despite their control over the majority of the broadcast and print media in Venezuela, as well as most of the country’s national income and wealth.

        Yet much of the international press coverage would convince the general reader, who is not familiar with the details of the situation, that these parties may have a case for their claim that the ballot couldn’t be trusted. In this coverage it appears to be a matter of opinion, despite a strong statement to the contrary from the OAS, which is observing the election. (See below). As of this morning, almost none of the English-language press had reported the OAS comments, although they were reported in Spanish-language newspapers such as Clarin in Argentina.

        It is clear that the opposition’s attempt to discredit these elections will be joined by powerful figures in the United States, including some Members of Congress and – possibly, depending on how the media covers these events – the White House and State Department.

        It is worth noting that most of these same opposition parties, and also Súmate (an opposition group that co-ordinated the August 2004 attempt to recall President Chavez), refused to accept the results of that referendum, which they lost by a 59-41 margin. They claimed that a massive electronic fraud had taken place, and even commissioned a statistical analysis by two economists, at Harvard’s Kennedy school and MIT, which provided a theory and alleged evidence for this fraud. (See <http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~rhausma/new/blackswan03.pdf > ).

 The referendum was certified by the OAS and the Carter Center. The electronic voting machines used in that election produced a paper receipt for each vote, which was then deposited in a ballot box. It was thus a simple matter for the election observers (OAS/Carter Center) to audit a sample of the electronic vote and match it to the paper ballots, which they did.

        The Carter Center subsequently appointed an independent panel of statisticians who found that there was no statistical evidence for fraud in the election. (See <http://www.cartercenter.org/documents/2020.pdf%A0> ).  The panel’s review included the
above-cited paper, which was methodologically flawed and relied on data from opposition-gathered exit polls. (See <http://www.cepr.net/publications/fraud_venezu_conspiracy.pdf> ).

        In spite of this, opposition leaders continue to maintain their allegations: "We felt we were victims of fraud" in the referendum, said Henry Ramos, Secretary General of Accion Democratica yesterday (Associated Press), in justifying his party’s withdrawal from the election.

        The vast majority of the international press (with some exceptions such as the Wall Street Journal editorial board) accepted the certification of the OAS and the Carter Center in the August 2004 referendum, and did not take seriously opposition claims that the ballot was stolen.

        The media would do well to treat with similar objectivity this latest attempt to discredit what appears, with OAS support, to be a fair and honest electoral process. If Walter Mondale, the Democratic candidate for President in 1984, had withdrawn a few days before the election (which he lost by a wide margin), claiming that the vote count could not be trusted, he would not have been taken seriously in the press for such self-serving actions. There is no reason to take these allegations about the Venezuelan elections any more seriously, especially from a political bloc that has refused to accept the clear results of internationally monitored and certified elections. And the safeguards against electoral fraud in the Venezuelan elections are arguably stronger than those that prevail in the United States even today.

Mark Weisbrot
202 746-7264
Co-Director
Center for Economic and Policy Research

Larry Birns
202 223-4975
Director
Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Open Letter to the Journalists Covering the Venezuelan Elections        
The decision of four opposition parties in Venezuela to withdraw from elections this weekend raises important questions for the media. It is clear to anyone familiar with the situation that this is an attempt to discredit the election, by parties that (according to opposition polling) were indisputably expected to do very badly in the election. This is despite their control over the majority of the broadcast and print media in Venezuela, as well as most of the country’s national income and wealth.        
Yet much of the international press coverage would convince the general reader, who is not familiar with the details of the situation, that these parties may have a case for their claim that the ballot couldn’t be trusted. In this coverage it appears to be a matter of opinion, despite a strong statement to the contrary from the OAS, which is observing the election. (See below). As of this morning, almost none of the English-language press had reported the OAS comments, although they were reported in Spanish-language newspapers such as Clarin in Argentina.         
It is clear that the opposition’s attempt to discredit these elections will be joined by powerful figures in the United States, including some Members of Congress and – possibly, depending on how the media covers these events – the White House and State Department.         
It is worth noting that most of these same opposition parties, and also Súmate (an opposition group that co-ordinated the August 2004 attempt to recall President Chavez), refused to accept the results of that referendum, which they lost by a 59-41 margin. They claimed that a massive electronic fraud had taken place, and even commissioned a statistical analysis by two economists, at Harvard’s Kennedy school and MIT, which provided a theory and alleged evidence for this fraud.

Saludos
Roberto Peña A
Agregado de Prensa
Embajada de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela en Chile
562-225-00-21
prensavenezuela@gmail.com
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