Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04CARACAS3291
2004-10-25 20:38:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Caracas
Cable title:  

OPPOSITION FRAUD UPDATE HITS DATA TRANSMISSION,

Tags:  PGOV KDEM PHUM VE 
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C O N F I D E N T I A L CARACAS 003291 

SIPDIS


NSC FOR CBARTON
USCINCSO ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS USAID FOR DCHA/OTI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/21/2014
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM VE
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION FRAUD UPDATE HITS DATA TRANSMISSION,
STATISTICS

REF: A. CARACAS 2840


B. CARACAS 3070

Classified By: Abelardo A. Arias, Political Counselor,
for Reason 1.4(b).

-------
Summary
-------

C O N F I D E N T I A L CARACAS 003291

SIPDIS


NSC FOR CBARTON
USCINCSO ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS USAID FOR DCHA/OTI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/21/2014
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM VE
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION FRAUD UPDATE HITS DATA TRANSMISSION,
STATISTICS

REF: A. CARACAS 2840


B. CARACAS 3070

Classified By: Abelardo A. Arias, Political Counselor,
for Reason 1.4(b).

--------------
Summary
--------------


1. (C) The Coordinadora Democratica issued on October 12 its
second report on alleged electoral fraud in the August 15
recall referendum on President Hugo Chavez. Using
statistical analyses, the report alleges that some 2.5
million votes were manipulated during the referendum to
reverse what should have been an opposition victory. The
report documents irregular patterns in data transmission in
voting machines where Chavez won, implying that the National
Electoral Council (CNE) remotely changed the votes recorded
on the machines. In presenting the Coordinadora report,
legal expert Tulio Alvarez accused the GOV of planning to
commit similar fraud in the October 31 regional elections.
The Coordinadora's strategy is to continue issuing reports in
the hope of smoking out proof positive of the GOV's
complicity. The report is not conclusive and works against
the opposition parties' efforts to boost voter participation
in the upcoming elections. End summary.

-------------- --------------
The Second Report: More Statistics, and Data Transmission
-------------- --------------


2. (U) The Coordinadora Democratica released on October 12
the first official report on fraud in the August 15 recall
referendum on President Hugo Chavez (The September 8 report
was "preliminary." See ref a). The report gives results of
statistical studies carried out by academics at several
Venezuelan universities. Comparing individual machine
results to results at the level of states and "parrochias" (a
political subdivision below a municipality),the academics
concluded that nearly half of voting machines deviated from
the voting patterns of the areas in which they were located.
These irregularities correspond to 2.5 million votes. The
academics claimed that if the alleged manipulation had not
occurred, the "Si" votes against Chavez would have won 60% to
40% (The official results were the converse, with the
opposition losing 40% to 60%). Another study applying

"Benford's law," a mathematical method for detecting numbers
fraud, to both manual and automated voting centers suggested
the Si votes won 55% to 45%. The academics also concluded
that both referendum audit samples (including the one
overseen by the Carter Center) were not representative of the
universe of voting machines.


3. (U) The report gives results of a study of election day
data transmission between the National Electoral Council
(CNE) server and the voting machines over the network
operated by private telephone carrier CANTV. The
Coordinadora contends the CNE server and the voting machines
shared more two-way data than was originally claimed
(Smartmatic officials had asserted that two-way transmissions
were limited to the security protocol handshake). Studying
network logs, however, Coordinadora investigators discovered
higher-than-normal levels of data transmission in 52% of
voting machines. In these machines, the report alleges, the
incidence of "No" votes (in favor of Chavez) was much higher
than the voting machines with normal transmission logs. The
implication is that the CNE was able to re-program half the
voting machines to give Chavez the numerical advantage.

-------------- --------------
Alvarez Backs Abstention, Rattles Sabers With Military
-------------- --------------


4. (C) Legal expert Tulio Alvarez (ref a),who is
coordinating the Coordinadora's fraud documentation efforts,
delivered the report during an opposition event on October 12
attended by poloff. Alvarez repeated his allegation that the
CNE had committed fraud in the electoral registry and had not
repaired the voter rolls for the October 31 elections for
governors and mayors. Alvarez claimed that the mere
manipulation of the electoral registry will result in a loss
for Chavez opponents in all governorships (including the


mayor of Caracas district) and 106 mayoralties. He concluded
by saying that any opposition politician who goes to the
regional elections will be guilty of "validating the August
15 fraud." Coordinadora representatives later told poloff
that Alvarez went beyond what was agreed.


5. (C) Alvarez also alleged during his speech that the
military was involved in the referendum fraud. Alvarez
showed a video of a supposed telecommunications network
control center operated by the military that was reportedly
used to carry out the fraud. Alvarez named four mid-level
military officers who, he alleged, have firsthand knowledge
of the fraud. Coordinadora representative D'lsa Solorzano
told poloff October 25 the video had come just a day before
the Coordinadora event from an undisclosed source in the
military. (Comment: The film appeared to be a video
inventory of a telecommunications network control room.
There were no obvious indications that the control room was
related to either the military or the elections. End
comment.)


6. (C) Alvarez reiterated to PolCouns October 21 that the
opposition is headed into a crushing electoral defeat because
of the fraud. Alvarez said he had presented the information
to Accion Democratica functionaries, who told him the party
planned to pursue elections in spite of the likelihood of
fraud. Alvarez said he believes the referendum fraud is not
confined to a handful of people, but also includes employees
of Smartmatic and some unspecified foreign consultants.
Solorzano told poloff that new information is constantly
being passed to the Coordinadora from sources within the CNE,
Smartmatic, and the military. She said the Coordinadora
plans to issue two more reports at monthly intervals to spur
those with knowledge of the alleged fraud to come forward.

--------------
Legal Remedies Languish
--------------


7. (C) Solorzano, the Coordinadora's legal representative,
also told poloff that the CNE's rejection of her appeal of
the referendum results out of hand on September 23 violated
electoral law (ref b). She asserted that the law requires the
CNE to admit the appeal and then request within five days the
required proofs from the appellant. Instead, Solorzano said,
the CNE tossed out the appeal for lack of evidence. She said
she faced a similar legal paradox at the Supreme Court (TSJ)
when immediately after the referendum she petitioned for an
injunction to force the CNE to turn over copies of electoral
documents. Instead of deciding on the injunction within the
48 hours as stipulated in the law, the Court waited more than
a month to deny her motion on the grounds that the deadline
for challenging the CNE decision had already passed.

--------------
Comment
--------------


8. (C) The substance of the Alvarez report is intriguing to
the interested observer for its revelations about the two-way
transmissions, but it fails to go beyond the circumstantial.
The report has political relevance for the regional
elections, as opposition parties are desperate to get their
already fatigued and disappointed supporters to the polls.
Alvarez's prophecy of another massive fraud on October 31 is
clearly counterproductive to these efforts.
Brownfield


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2004CARACA03291 - CONFIDENTIAL