Did Venezuela’s President Really ‘Steal’ the 2018 Election from an Unknown Who Didn’t Run?

By Joe Emersberger

February 07, 2019 "Information Clearing House" -   Reuters news article on 1 February said that the US, Canada and several Latin American governments claim Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro “stole his second-term election” in May 2018. They have therefore recognized an opposition legislator – Juan Guaidó – as Venezuela’s interim president.

Wait a second. Do they say Maduro “stole” the election from Guaidó?

That wouldn’t make sense. Because Guaidó didn’t even run in the 2018 presidential election.

Henri Falcón was the opposition politician who finished a very distant second in that election, over four million votes (47%) behind Maduro. Nobody has shown or even attempted to show that any votes, never mind millions of votes, were stolen from Falcón. In Venezuela’s electoral system, a very small amount of ballot stuffing is detectable in any contested election. That’s why, in 2012, Jimmy Carter said the electoral system was the best in the world.

That soundness of the electoral system helps to explain the vitriol Falcón received from other Maduro opponents over his decision to run in the election. US officials threatened Falcón with sanctions if he ran. During the campaign, one of Falcón’s top advisors became exasperated enough to publicly ask the opposition party Voluntad Popular (Guaidó’s party) to “stop spreading lies” that a secret pact existed between Maduro and Falcón.

Falcón is a very well known politician who actually ran

Of course, ballot stuffing aside, an election can be grossly unfair in other ways. Much was made about two prominent opposition candidates who were disqualified from running: Leopoldo López and Henrique Capriles.

So was Falcón an obscure politician (like Guaidó was before Trump anointed him as Venezuela’s president) who was allowed to run only because he would be easy to beat? Not according to Venezuelan pollster Datanálisis. That’s the opposition-aligned pollster the international media has cited the most for nearly two decades. A few months before the election, Datanálisis claimed Falcón, a former two-term governor of the Lara state (2008-2017), was basically in a statistical tie with López for top stop in popularity among opposition leaders.

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