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Fear

If anything, the fear is greater in 2012 than it was in 2006. The government has stated that it is impossible for the opposition to win and a civil war may erupt if it does

MICHAEL ROWAN |  EL UNIVERSAL
martes 2 de octubre de 2012  02:02 PM
Since the infamous Tascón list was published on the Internet after the 2004 Recall Referendum, voters who opposed the Chávez government were justifiably afraid of two things first that the secrecy of the vote had been violated somehow by the authorities, and second that opposition voters were being punished in a variety of ways. Anecdotal cases were rife about such voters losing government business, benefits or even citizen services like renewal of driver's licenses and cédulas. This fear was so great in 2005 that the opposition embargoed the election, handing total control of the legislature to the government party, a mistake it never made again.

But the fear did not go away.  In 2006, President Chávez was found to be running 14% better in polls conducted at homes or by phones where the respondent believed he could be identified and thus punished for his opinion than in surveys taken in malls and other busy places where voters knew there was no way they could be identified. On election day, Governor Rosales capitulated with his exit polls showing a close race, while the government reported a 63% 37% landslide, which Rosales did not dispute. This led to rumors that more than just the voters were scared the candidates were!

If anything, the fear is greater in 2012 than it was in 2006. The government has stated that it is impossible for the opposition to win and a civil war may erupt if it does. The revolution is armed, they repeatedly say. Government workers, contractors and mission dependents have been ordered to support it and that is almost half the population. The side-by-side fingerprint and voting machinery also suggests that a new Tascón list can be easily manufactured.

Nevertheless, Chávez is losing in polls conducted in homes or by phones where respondents can be identified, so either Chávez is running way behind Capriles or millions of voters have lost their fear of reprisal. A review of the crowds turning out for Capriles shows demonstrably that tons more people turn out for him than the president, even in Chávez strongholds like Barinas. If fear is conquered on 7-O, a great upset may be recorded or buried.

michaelrowan22@gmail.com


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