Venezuela vote meddling claims queried
QUESTIONS are being asked about the links between a former British minister of state, a US billionaire and the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly vote count.
London-based Smartmatic chief executive Antonio Mugica has claimed that the turnout had been tampered with.
Mugica said it had been inflated by about a million votes, but did not elaborate on how the company arrived at their conclusion.
Asked why he did not alert the Venezuelan government, he said: “I guess we probably thought that the authorities would not be sympathetic to what we had to say.”
The Venezuela’s National Electoral Council said over 8 million people had cast their ballots and disputed his claims.
Mark Malloch-Brown, a minister of state in the Foreign and Commonwealth office under the former UK prime minister Gordon Brown is chairperson of Smartmatic.
The British lord is also chairperson of the International Crisis Group (ICG), which has called for a “transitional government” in Venezuela. “Restoration of constitutional rule probably will require the formation of a transitional government of national unity under a mutually acceptable interim president,” said a document published by the organisation last month.
In addition, the briefing note called for the involvement of the Organisation of American States in the suggested negotiations, which would also include a “transitional justice” scheme to give government officials “safe passage to exile”.
“Carrots as well as sticks are needed,” it says.
Formed in the 1990s, the ICG aims “to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world”, through lobbying and “advocacy”.
The Washington-based organisation receives most of its funds from North American and European governments, as well as private bodies.
Lord Malloch-Brown has close links to the Hungarian-born US billionaire NGO kingpin George Soros, who serves on the board of the ICG, and is one of the group’s main funders through his Open Society organisation.