To the editor:
Andres Oppenheimer hurts his own case. In his column in the April 20 Journal-World on the recent Venezuelan election, his omission of key facts and one-sided presentation leaves him with little credibility on the subject. Leaving aside the fact that he simply got the percentages wrong, he neglected to mention that because the vote was close, Venezuelan electoral law required an automatic recount of 54 percent of the vote. A recount of 10 percent of the ballot boxes would have been enough to evaluate, statistically, the validity of the election, and 54 percent is a great excess.
Venezuela has a model electoral system, widely praised as one of the fairest and most transparent in the world by organizations such as the Carter Center. When one votes, the vote is tabulated electronically and the voting machine produces a paper record of the vote. In the recount, paper votes are counted by independent observers and compared with the electronic results. The recount confirmed the electronic result that Maduro won by 262,000 votes. The National Electoral Commission and Supreme Court ruled that a recount of the remaining 46 percent of the vote was not necessary because it would not change the result. They have subsequently agreed to an audit of the remaining 46 percent (a fact somehow omitted by Oppenheimer).
Space does not permit a point-by-point refutation of Oppenheimer’s contentions, but suffice it to say that Maduro has been recognized as president by nearly all of the nations of Latin America and the presidents of 17 Latin American countries attended his inauguration.