On April 21st, a month into Bolivia’s lockdown, police in riot gear swarmed the home of Patricia Arce, the mayor of Vinto, a city in the department of Cochabamba, and a senate candidate for the left-wing Movement to Socialism (mas). Her family, their driver and a friend were celebrating her son’s 27th birthday with cake and chicha, a fermented-corn drink. All nine were jailed for two nights and charged with violating quarantine orders. Two weeks later, photos surfaced on Facebook of a birthday party in La Paz, Bolivia’s administrative capital, for the daughter of the country’s interim president, Jeanine Áñez, a conservative Catholic. Two guests had hitched a ride from Tarija, a department in the south, on an air-force jet. Ms Áñez’s critics accused her of hypocrisy. She had denounced such abuses of power by Evo Morales, her mas predecessor, who resigned late last year after an attempt to rig his re-election led to protests in which at least 36 people died.Full Article: In limbo - Bolivia needs an election, but covid-19 makes that hard | The Americas | The Economist.
Articles about voting issues in South America.
An unknown militant group has claimed responsibility for a blaze which destroyed 99 percent of Venezuela’s electoral machines on Saturday. In a video message published on Twitter on Sunday, seven masked men calling themselves the Venezuelan Patriotic Front stated that the attack formed part of “Operation Sodom,” a reference to the biblical tale of the city destroyed by “divine judgement” on the Jordan River. The group goes on to justify the arson by alleging that electoral authorities have “violated the people’s rights through fraudulent elections.” In the same message, it also claimed responsibility for a fire last month at a state-run CANTV telecommunications center used in elections in Valencia, Carabobo State. While the origins and connections of the group remain unclear, its video message pledged further actions against government supporters and leaders, which it defined as being “military targets,” as well as issuing warnings about “what may occur” at the upcoming opposition march on Tuesday. Speaking Monday, National Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello condemned the fire as a “terrorist attack.” Opposition leaders are yet to comment.Full Article: Venezuela: Nearly 50,000 Voting Machines Burnt in ‘Terrorist Attack’ | Venezuelanalysis.com.
Venezuela’s electoral system was damaged but not destroyed after a fire broke out in a warehouse used to store voting equipment, the National Electoral Council said Sunday. A 6,000-square-meter (65,000 square feet) warehouse in Caracas caught fire on Saturday. In just half an hour, the fire devoured thousands of pieces of electric equipment. These included 44,408 voting machines, 582 civil registry computers and more than 49,000 biometric identification devices used in the elections, according to the electoral council (CNE) president Tibisay Lucena. “The Venezuelan electoral system is far from being destroyed,” Lucena said, adding the electoral procedure is a multi-step process, only two of which have been damaged. “This act, which we are waiting to hear if it was criminal, affected only two of the processes: the inventory process and the machine production process,” she told reporters.Full Article: Fire will not destroy Venezuelan electoral system: official - France 24.
Bolivia: President Evo Morales resigns after election result dispute | Ernesto Londoño/The New York Times
President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who came to power more than a decade ago as part of a leftist wave sweeping Latin America, resigned on Sunday after unrelenting protests by an infuriated population that accused him of undermining democracy to extend his rule. Mr. Morales and his vice president, Álvaro García Linera, who also resigned, said in a national address that they were stepping down in an effort to stop the bloodshed that has spread across the country in recent weeks. But they admitted no wrongdoing and instead insisted that they were victims of a coup. “The coup has been consummated,” Mr. García said. Mr. Morales was once widely popular, and stayed in the presidency longer than any other current head of state in Latin America. He was the first Indigenous president in a country that had been led by a tiny elite of European descent for centuries, and he shepherded Bolivia through an era of economic growth and shrinking inequality, winning support from Bolivians who saw him as their first true representative in the capital. “I want to tell you, brothers and sisters, that the fight does not end here,” Mr. Morales said on Sunday. “The poor, the social movements, will continue in this fight for equality and peace.” “It hurts a lot,” he added. Mr. Morales’s reluctance to give up power — first bending the country’s laws to stand for a fourth election, then insisting that he won despite widespread concerns about fraud — left him besieged by protests, abandoned by allies and unable to count on the police and the armed forces, which sided with the protesters and demanded he resign. As the country slipped into deeper turmoil over the weekend, protesters voiced their fear of Bolivia’s trajectory under Mr. Morales. “This is not Cuba. This is not Venezuela!” they chanted in La Paz, Bolivia’s main city, over the weekend. “This is Bolivia, and Bolivia will be respected.”
The Bolivian president, Evo Morales, is to call fresh elections after international monitors identified serious irregularities in the last vote and recommended a new ballot. The announcement comes after weeks of unrest over disputed election results, which escalated over the weekend as police forces joined anti-government protests, and the military said it would not “confront the people” who had taken to the streets. In a televised news conference on Sunday, Morales told journalists he had decided to call fresh elections to “to preserve the new Bolivia, life and democracy”. Morales, who has been Bolivia’s president for nearly 14 years, announced he would also replace members of the country’s election board. The body has been heavily criticised after an unexplained 24-hour halt in the vote count on 20 October, which showed a shift in favour of Morales when it resumed. The stoppage fed accusations of fraud and prompted an audit of the vote by the Organisation of American States. But Bolivia’s opposition leaders say the call for a fresh vote comes too late. Luis Fernando Camacho, a civic leader from the opposition stronghold Santa Cruz, said the OAS audit shows fraud and that Morales should resign.Full Article: Evo Morales agrees to new elections after irregularities found | World news | The Guardian.
Bolivia: Police fire tear gas as president, opposition wrestle over election audit | Vivian Sequera & Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters
Protests over a disputed presidential election convulsed Bolivia on Tuesday as police fired tear gas in the capital and the sitting president and opposition candidate wrestled over an audit of the results. The brief suspension of publication of the results from an electronic count of the Oct. 20 presidential election has triggered protests and strikes that have closed roads, schools and businesses around the nation for more than a week. President Evo Morales, a leftist seeking a fourth term, was eventually declared the winner, prompting accusations of fraud from opposition candidate Carlos Mesa and his supporters. In La Paz, opposition protesters mounted road barricades of rope, wooden boards and sheets of metal. Rows of helmet-clad riot police lined some streets, separating Morales’ supporters from protesters opposed to the president. Tear gas was used in at least two locations to disperse protesters.Full Article: Bolivian police fire tear gas as president, opposition wrestle over election audit - Reuters.
Argentina: Hackers Leaked Sensitive Government Data in Argentina—and Nobody Cares | Eugenia Lostri/Lawfare
On Monday, Aug. 12, hackers leaked 700 GB of data obtained from the government of Argentina, including confidential documents, wiretaps and biometric information from the Argentine Federal Police, along with the personal data of police officers. The Twitter account of the Argentine Naval Prefecture was hacked as well, and used not only to share links to the stolen information but also to spread fake news about a nonexistent British attack on Argentine ships. An operation combining the hacking of law enforcement agencies, an attempt to spread misinformation through social media and the leaking of large amounts of sensitive data on the “Deep Web” would seem to check all the boxes for a major news story. But you most likely have not heard about any of this.Full Article: Hackers Leaked Sensitive Government Data in Argentina—and Nobody Cares - Lawfare.
The voter information of more than 14.3 million Chileans, which accounts to nearly 80% of the country’s entire population, was left exposed and leaking on the internet inside an Elasticsearch database. ZDNet learned of the leaky server from a member of the Wizcase research team, who passed the server’s IP to this reporter last week, in order to identify the nature and source of the leak. We found that the database contained names, home addresses, gender, age, and tax ID numbers (RUT, or Rol Único Tributario) for 14,308,151 individuals. ZDNet has confirmed the validity and accuracy of this information with several of the individuals whose data was contained in the leaky database. A spokesperson for Chile’s Electoral Service — Servicio Electoral de Chile (Servel) — also confirmed the data’s authenticity; however, they denied owning the leaky server.Full Article: Voter records for 80% of Chile's population left exposed online | ZDNet.
European countries urged restraint in Venezuela on Tuesday and called for new elections as a way to settle the political crisis in the South American country, but there wasn’t a unified voice immediately on whether to support or condemn the opposition’s move to oust President Nicolás Maduro. In a statement released late in the day, the European Union said it rejected any form of violence and would continue to push for “free and fair elections.” The president of the bloc’s Parliament, Antonio Tajani, came out as the strongest European voice in support of the opposition. In a tweet in Spanish, Tajani called the events “a historic moment for the return to democracy and freedom in Venezuela,” and described the release of activist Leopoldo López from house arrest as “great news.” “Let’s go Venezuela free!” wrote Tajani, a prominent conservative leader. All but four EU members endorsed the initial, Europe-wide call in February to back opposition leader Juan Guaidó when he appointed himself interim president. The four who did not join the other EU members were Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Slovakia.Full Article: European Union says free, fair elections the solution for Venezuela.
Venezuela’s opposition-dominated congress on Tuesday said it will hold new elections as soon as possible within a year — once embattled President Nicolas Maduro is ousted from power. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s socialist party boss, Diosdado Cabello, threatened to hold early legislative elections that could gut the congress, which is the only branch of government controlled by the opposition. He accused the opposition of taking orders from the United States. “We won’t skip a beat,” Cabello said. “We have no doubt that the imperialism governs the Venezuelan right wing.” The struggle for power in Venezuela resurged this year when congress leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, saying Maduro’s re-election in May was fraudulent.Full Article: Venezuela's dueling political movements each push elections - ABC News.
Britain, along with Spain, France and Sweden and Denmark on Monday recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the South American country’s interim president. The European countries want Venezuela to hold a presidential election as soon as possible to end its political and humanitarian crises. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt posted on Twitter: “Nicolas Maduro has not called Presidential elections within 8 day limit we have set. So UK alongside European allies now recognizes @jguaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held. Let’s hope this take us closer to ending humanitarian crisis.”Full Article: European Countries Call for Presidential Election in Venezuela.
Venezuela: Venezuela set for another round of protests as Maduro rules out fresh elections | Telegraph
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said he was prepared to hold negotiations with the US-backed opposition but ruled out early presidential elections as Caracas braced itself for fresh street protests. “I am ready to sit down at the negotiating table with the opposition so that we could talk for the good of Venezuela,” Maduro told the Russian state news agency in an interview in Caracas. Last week the oil-rich but economically devastated Latin American country was plunged into uncertainty when the US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself “acting president”. The United States, a dozen Latin American countries and Canada have recognised Guaido as interim president, while China and Russia – Venezuela’s two main creditors – have urged non-interference.Full Article: Venezuela set for another round of protests as Maduro rules out fresh elections.
President Nicolás Maduro faced increasing international pressure on Saturday, as European governments threatened to recognize his chief opponent as Venezuela’s leader unless a plan for new elections is announced within eight days. The statements from Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Britain came as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed the United Nations to throw its support behind Juan Guaidó, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, who declared himself president on Wednesday. The United States and most Latin American countries have recognized Guaidó as interim leader in recent days, after Maduro was sworn in for a second term following elections riddled with fraud. But Russia, China and others have defended Maduro. Guaidó’s actions have represented the most significant challenge yet to Maduro, whose socialist policies have contributed to an economic meltdown in this oil-rich country.Full Article: Venezuela: Maduro standoff deepens as E.U. demands new elections - The Washington Post.
Bolsonaro did not win 55 percent of votes thanks to misinformation alone. A powerful desire for political change in Brazil after a yearslong corruption scandal and a court decision compelling the jailed front-runner Luis Inacio Lula da Silva to withdraw from the race both opened the door wide for his win. But Bolsonaro’s candidacy benefited from a powerful and coordinated disinformation campaign intended to discredit his rivals, according to the Brazilian newspaper Folha. Days before the Oct. 28 runoff between Bolsonaro and his leftist competitor, leftist Fernando Haddad, an investigation by Folha revealed that a conservative.Full Article: WhatsApp skewed Brazilian election, proving social media’s danger to democracy | Salon.com.
Peruvians vote on Sunday in a referendum that could empower a sweeping overhaul of the country’s judiciary and a loathed political class following a string of scandals that have laid bare the corruption at the heart of Peru’s public institutions. The referendum comes at the end of a year of hitherto unimaginable political upsets beginning when the president Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki was forced to resign over corruption allegations in March and followed by the jailing in November of his principal adversary, the powerful opposition leader Keiko Fujimori. Four former Peruvian presidents are now under investigation for taking bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which has admitted to paying out $30m in Peru – just a fraction of the estimated $800m the firm has admitted to handing out as kickbacks across Latin America, making it the continent’s biggest-ever corruption scandal.Full Article: Scandal-plagued Peru to vote on reshaping political system | World news | The Guardian.
Venezuelans went to polling stations Sunday to elect municipal council members, but analysts predicted record low turnout, citing mistrust in the process, the banning of opposition parties and widespread exhaustion amid the ongoing socioeconomic crisis. The elections come one month before President Nicolas Maduro begins his second six-year term after winning an election in May termed illegitimate by political opponents, the European Union, the United States and most of Latin America. Voting was suspended in the southern city of Gran Sabana, where an indigenous man died Saturday in an apparent military operation against illegal mining, the National Electoral Council (NEC) reported.Full Article: Weary Venezuelans go to polls with record low turnout predicted.
A Bolivian court has given a green light for President Evo Morales to seek a fourth term in office, which opponents say is unconstitutional. “The full chamber of the Supreme Electoral Court, by virtue of the jurisdiction and competence exercised by law,” approved nine candidates for primary elections in January, including Morales, according to the decision, which was read out at a press briefing. The decision on Tuesday night came just as opposition to Morales’s candidacy was building, with protesters marching in the capital, La Paz, last week. A general strike was called for next Thursday to oppose Morales’ re-election bid. Morales had previously accepted the results of a 2016 referendum, when 51 percent of Bolivian voters rejected his proposal to end existing term limits.Full Article: Bolivia court allows President Morales to run for fourth term | Bolivia News | Al Jazeera.
Brazilian authorities reiterated that the electronic voting machines used in the country’s elections are completely fraud-proof prior to the run-off, which took place on yesterday (29). In a public service announcement run on national television and radio on Saturday night, the minister at the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) Justice Rosa Weber highlighted the security of the electronic polling machines in use in Brazil and the danger of fake news dissemination. To ensure a smooth election involving nearly 148 million citizens in Brazil, where voting is compulsory, Weber said the electoral justice took “various measures to prevent and correct any possible failures.”Full Article: Brazilian government reiterates e-voting security | ZDNet.
A far-right, pro-gun, pro-torture populist has been elected as Brazil’s next president after a drama-filled and deeply divisive election that looks set to radically reforge the future of the world’s fourth biggest democracy. Jair Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former paratrooper who built his campaign around pledges to crush corruption, crime and a supposed communist threat, secured 55.1% of the votes after 99.9% were counted and was therefore elected Brazil’s next president, electoral authorities said on Sunday. Bolsonaro’s leftist rival, Fernando Haddad, secured 44.8% of votes. In a video broadcast from his home in Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro thanked God and vowed to stamp out corruption in the country. “We cannot continue flirting with communism … We are going to change the destiny of Brazil,” he said.Full Article: Jair Bolsonaro declared Brazil's next president | World news | The Guardian.
Brazil’s biggest newspaper said Wednesday that it has asked federal police to investigate threats against a journalist whose story alleged backers of the front-running presidential candidate bankrolled a fake news campaign. The request comes amid an increasingly heated atmosphere ahead of Sunday’s runoff between far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who leads in opinion polls, and his leftist opponent, Fernando Haddad. The newspaper Folha de S. Paulo last week ran a report by Patricia Campos Mello saying businessmen linked to right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro had paid to spread fake news on the WhatsApp messaging service to benefit his candidacy. It said a blast message campaign also was planned for this week. Bolsonaro denied the report. Haddad called on Brazil’s electoral court to investigate.Full Article: Brazil newspaper asks probe of threats to election reporter.