Although shown to the world as an extraordinary triumph of 21st Century Socialism, the results of the 18 October 2020 elections in Bolivia are Castrochavism’s most important electoral fraud that, after merely one-year of having perpetrated a similar electoral crime that led up to the resignation of Evo Morales, has enabled it to repeat and improve its “vote-catching dictatorship” system in which “the citizens vote but do not elect”. Holding elections without the essential components of democracy has produced systematic and factual fraud in Bolivia that most everyone pretends to ignore but that will be repeated in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.
Elections are not democracy. For democracy to exist the essential components of democracy established in the Interamerican Democratic Charter must -at the very least- exist. Holding elections without respect for human rights and basic individual freedoms, without the rule of law, with the concentrated control of the legislative and judicial branches, with the control of prosecutors, with an executive hostage, and without free political organization, make it impossible that those elections be “free, fair, and based on the universal secret suffrage…” That is what happened in Bolivia, and that is what the perpetrators are ready to make it happen again in the upcoming Venezuela’s parliamentarian elections on 6 December and are readying for Nicaragua’s general elections on 7 November of 2021. Ecuador has made some progress in its transition (sic to democracy), but is under the same threat in its presidential elections of 7 February of 2021.
Electoral fraud is the “illicit intervention of an electoral process with the objective of preventing, annulling, or modifying the real results” for the benefit of a candidate or political party and that it can be done with separate or concurrent actions. Within this concept; “systematic fraud” is that in which “the legal and electoral system is included as part of the process to illicitly prevent, annul, or modify real results of elections”.
Systematic fraud is found in the “legal measures” included in the constitutions, electoral laws, special laws and legal rules by which -for example- “there is no universal suffrage” even though it is affirmed to exist, there is no equality between citizens, a system in which “relative minorities constitute absolute majorities”, a voters’ and identification registration that enable for “counterfeited electoral registrations” to exist, where discrimination is used with the alibi to favor minorities”, where there are fraudulent technical mechanisms with slow and hindered procedures to address and resolve complaints and conduct reviews.
“Factual Electoral Fraud” refers to “the facts with which the illicit intervention of a electoral process is done” AKA “techniques of fraud” such as; the voter’s supplantation and the duress the voter must endure, the purchase of votes, the counterfeiting of Balloting Minutes/Reports, preventing the casting of ballots by simulating errors, duplicating the identity of voters, enable deceased persons to cast their vote, the pregnancy of ballot boxes, the freezing of computation systems, illegal advantage in expenses and publicity, systems’ manipulation and surveys, government’s intervention, hiding of evidence of fraud, rejecting complaints of fraud and more.
In my 30 August 2020 article “Bolivia’s dictator left but the dictatorship continues” I showed the absence of democracy and the existence of a Castrochavist dictatorial system in Bolivia with its “legal/constitutional structure”, its “criminal territorial structure” and “undisputed impunity”. In my 20 September 2020 article “Rigged elections will keep the dictatorship and impunity in Bolivia” I summarized the elements of a systematic electoral fraud in which Bolivians were being taken to an election on 18 October, including the phrase: “All of these is known by the opposition’s candidates but they participate in the rigged elections without any complaint”.
Elections were held based on the “impunity” of candidates and the legal qualification of the dictatorship’s political party. Unexplainably, the opposition’s candidates did not have “delegates in all balloting places”, there are countless complaints of several ways of factual fraud committed, complaints of “communitarian vote”, of “unexplained or unjustified increase of voters” but no one hears anything about the resounding proclamations of triumph of Luis Arce based on surveys when not even 10% of the ballots had been computed, or his prompt and quick recognition by the Interim President and that of functional opposition’s candidates.
There is denial of electoral justice, there is systematic factual fraud and the division and confrontation between Bolivians remains because elections under a dictatorial system are neither free, nor fair.
*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.
Translated from Spanish by; Edgar L. Terrazas, member of the American Translators Association, ATA # 234680.