I cannot criticize the Venezuelan elections held on October 7th.  I cannot say they were not an exemplary demonstration of our most democratic system.  I am merely confused about the nature of some claims.

It seems strange people felt secrecy of their votes was not guaranteed. Venezuela is a democracy, and votes are secret in a democracy.  I’m perplexed as to why many of the 8 million people who directly depend on the government were terrified of loosing their jobs, their homes, or even their lives.  Venezuela is a democracy, and this could never happen in a democracy.

It seems bizarre reports have spurred about irregularities in voter registry.  They claim the registry has increased by over 50% in ten years, while voting-eligible population has increased by fewer than 20% in the same period.  Let’s not even consider the claims of “zombie voters” (the voting dead), unconsented voter migration of identified opposition supporters, or those about Iranians, Chinese and Cubans being illegally licensed to vote.  Surely, this cannot be so.  Venezuela is a democracy.

It might seem odd the completely unbiased Supreme Court arrogated two opposition parties and handed them to government supporters.  It might seem strange four parties appeared to endorse the opposition candidate on ballots after having withdrawn their support.  But Venezuela is a democracy, this I can’t deny.

I’m confused by the denouncing of unfair campaigns calling this a battle of David and Goliath.  It is claimed the opposition candidate was limited to three minutes of media appearances a day, whereas the honourable commander was allowed over forty minutes a day.  It is claimed that the irrefutably impartial Electoral Council allowed the use of unlimited state resources in our esteemed commander’s campaign.  But let me remind you:  Venezuela is a model democracy.

I cannot understand people’s claims of being forced out of their homes by armed groups in order to vote for the praiseworthy Commander Chavez.  It seems strange armed groups should take over voting centres forcing witnesses out before counting votes.  Venezuela is surely a democracy, and this intimidation and coercion could never happen in a democracy.

A democracy is not defined by the holding of elections, but rather by the context and the manner in which they are held.  Our honourable government claims Venezuela is a democracy, and this I can’t deny.

I cannot understand my family’s fear of my publishing this text.  They claim I’ll put my life and their own in grave danger.

But alas, Venezuela is a democracy, this I can’t deny.

Can you?

Luis Silva-Ball is an Executive Board member of Students For Liberty living in Caracas, Venezuela.