Rafael Alfonzo, a representative of the opposition at the
Negotiation and Agreement Table that signed a pact with the
government in May, 2003, including an eventual presidential
recall referendum, sent a letter to The Wall Street Journal
questioning the performance of former U.S. president Jimmy
Carter as international observer of the recall vote held in
Venezuela this month.
In the letter, Alfonzo said: "As a member of the Coordinadora
Democrática Commission that negotiated the agreement
with the Carter Center and the Organization of American States
(OAS) to oversee the referendum to recall Hugo Chavez, I read,
with dismay and alarm, President Jimmy Carter's Aug. 24 Letter
to the Editor in reference to Mary O'Grady's Aug. 20 Americas
column "Observers Rush to Judgment in Caracas."
He explained that "with dismay, to see how a Nobel Prize
winner is capable of misrepresenting the facts of the electoral
process, as well as covering up actions of an autocratic regime
that for almost two years managed to postpone the referendum,
abusing all its powers and using all kinds of "dirty tricks."
And with alarm for his irresponsible rush to validate a slow-motion
fraud process that started to occur more than a year before
and that culminated with a monumental electronic fraud. Nevertheless,
Mr. Carter writes: "We observed the entire voting process
without limitation or restraint . . . and extra care was taken
to ensure accuracy."
"That's quite an assertion when in reality Mr. Carter accepted
being reduced by the government-controlled electoral council
to the role of a mere onlooker who was not even allowed to
be present in the electoral control center during the process.
A role that the European Community naturally refused to accept,"
Alfonzo added in the letter.
The business leader also said that "back in Florida in 2000,
Mr. Carter demanded the manual count of all votes to reach
'definitive and exact electoral results.' Why he resorted
to a double standard in our case is a matter for which he
probably will never have any satisfactory explanation."