“Let me say with total clarity, I do not care at all about labor rules. In this situation, they don’t matter,” he said, as workers cheered and shouted. “That’s how to govern!”
“I don’t accept that anyone can come here and speak badly of the revolution.”
Political analysts and electoral experts, among them Jennifer McCoy of the Carter Center, say the crisis could be defused with an extensive review of the automated voting system to address concerns raised by the opposition.
“The concerns are not about the machines and whether they counted accurately,” said McCoy, who is the Americas director at the center and has observed six elections here. “The questions are much more about who voted. Was there double voting? Was there impersonation of voters? And was there coerced voting?”
But the National Electoral Council made clear this past weekend that an audit set to begin Monday on 46 percent of the votes would be far more limited than Capriles had demanded.
Tibisay Lucena, head of the council, said that Capriles had generated “false hopes” and that the planned audit would “in no way affect the electoral results” issued by her agency on election day.
The opposition thinks there might have been irregularities in as many as 6,000 of the nearly 14,000 voting centers, said Humberto Villalobos, who has worked with a team of opposition technicians to identify irregularities. The opposition also alleges that government supporters used ID cards from dead voters to cast ballots, that some people voted multiple times, that prospective voters were walked through the voting process and instructed to endorse Maduro, and that opposition witnesses were forced out of voting centers.
Villalobos said the opposition is particularly interested in reviewing the electronic fingerprints taken by automated machines, which would show whether there were multiple voters or if some voters used other people’s IDs to vote. The electoral council’s more limited audit would only compare vote totals from machines with paper receipts for each vote. Capriles’s camp would not be permitted to participate.
“Their audit is one where they define the conditions and all the proposals,” Villalobos said. “It’s not an audit where we can participate.”
Facing scant possibilities of redress from state institutions, Capriles may want to detail the evidence publicly, said David Smilde, an analyst with the Washington Office on Latin America who has studied the political situation in Venezuela.
“Capriles still has people’s attention,” Smilde said. “And calling people’s attention to the government’s arbitrary actions can be quite effective. If they could present their evidence in the court of public opinion, and Capriles could keep denouncing some of these things, it could have an impact.”
Forero reported from Charleston, W.Va.