After the OAS “preliminary report” was issued, the Armed Forces “suggested” the resignation of President Evo Morales. Photo: Erbol
The Organization of American States (OAS) recently published a report entitled “Analysis of Electoral Integrity General Elections in the Plurinational State of Bolivia” (Análisis de Integridad Electoral Elecciones Generales en el Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia) in reference to the elections in the South American nation that took place on October 20.
As it is known, this election, with a frustrated result, led to a coup d’état through the forced resignation of President Evo Morales.
The OAS General Secretariat in charge of Luis Almagro now releases a report on the Bolivian elections which states that “there was fraudulent manipulation and serious irregularities that make it impossible to validate the results”.
This report was preceded by a “preliminary report” published on November 10, which was presented in an expeditious and advanced manner, adjusting to the rhythm of the timing of the coup d’état underway in Bolivia, incorporating itself as an argumental element that accelerated and unleashed a definitive coup against Morales and the institutions of the Andean country.
After several weeks in which Evo Morales, in exile in Mexico, denounced the OAS for its delay and the failure to publish a definitive report, this report was finally made public, but it is not far from what was reported on November 10.
The @OEA_official acknowledges that it still does not have the final report on the elections in #Bolivia, doubling the time they had to deliver the audit. However, he advanced a preliminary report to consolidate the coup d’état. pic.twitter.com/YJ0tcZHz9D
– Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) November 27, 2019
The “political” timing of the final report
The 95-page report issued by the Secretariat for the Strengthening of Democracy (SFD), together with the Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO), attached to the OAS, is clearly at odds with the unfolding events and institutional time frame in Bolivia.
It is imperative to recognize this factor as a key element in understanding the coup in Bolivia, given that it is a report that had been promised for November 12 or 13 and that, supposedly, would serve to settle the internal tensions in that country.
Conversely, the inconsistent preliminary report served to accelerate and “justify” Bolivia’s institutional breakdown, and now, the final report, establishes a set of new signs of “fraud” after a new de facto authority has taken over the reins in La Paz and the international community has chosen to ignore the coup and its bloody derivations to date.
In the document they reaffirm the questioning of the definitive victory of Evo Morales in the first round, however, the report infers that Evo Morales did have the majority of the votes in that election. But that is now irrelevant in Bolivia in light of events. The report has the political functionability of establishing the tacit legitimacy of the coup in a “post mortem” manner.
For the effects of a consummated coup, this report acquires relevance only for the process of judicialization against the leaders of the Plurinational Electoral Body (OEP) of Bolivia, currently behind bars, for the persecution of the former officialism and for the reaffirmation of the new political scaffolding that is just now being built in Bolivia, under a de facto regime, through the promulgation of a new electoral institutional framework, for new elections on a date not yet determined.
The weaknesses of the OAS final report
As in the preliminary report published by the entity, the final report develops the same lines and points against the electoral result that were emanated in the report of November 10.
Elections impossible to audit: for the OAS itself and as outlined in its final document, the real size of Bolivia’s electoral balance on October 20 will be impossible to determine, given the destruction of “an indeterminate number of minutes,” as a result of the articulated attacks against the electoral headquarters on the night of October 20 and the following days. Actions that, it is worth saying, were highly cohesive and that could be considered far from spontaneous.
The OAS report endorses Morales’ government, and his electoral entity, the weaknesses in the “chain of custody,” which they classify as “mistakes or negligence” without indications of intentionality but which could facilitate actions that potentially did violate the electoral process. The elections had police and military personnel as links in the chain of custody of the votes, and, as is well known, broad sectors of those institutions folded in favour of the coup. But that detail is omitted by the OAS.
The questioning of the electoral records and a non-representative sample: the final OAS expert report states that “4,692 records were analyzed, of which 226 (4.8%) “presented “irregularities”. In contrast to what was published in its preliminary report, the OAS has expanded the sample of analyzed minutes, which had been about 333 by November 10.
However, the criterion for analyzing the minutes is based on reported minutes, which are “suspicious” because of irregularities. Once again, they applied a discretionary and intentional pattern to determine their sample, which is still quite small compared to the universe of records. The total number of minutes of the Bolivian elections is 34,555; the size of the audited sample is equivalent to 13.58%.
This implies that the OAS announces an electoral fraud in Bolivia due to irregularities found in 226 minutes, that is, only 0.65% of the total number of minutes of the election. Something that demonstrates, even for the OAS itself, although they do not declare it, the non-existence of massive electoral fraud in Bolivia.
The questioning of the difference in votes in favour of Evo Morales: the OAS establishes that the minutes with irregularities are decisive in deciding the election and the difference in favour of Evo Morales, which in numbers, according to the OAS, translates into 34,718 votes. The document states that “Morales’ margin of victory in the first round was approximately 40,000 votes”.
Such a statement is mathematically false and is written in this manner in the report to highlight an alleged fraud. Evo Morales obtained 2,889,359 votes (47.08% of the total) in the election, while Carlos Mesa obtained 2,240,920 votes (36.51% of the total). The real difference in votes between the two candidates was 648,439 votes.
The OAS indicates that a 40,000 vote differential, which would be “fraudulent,” would definitively seal the 10 point difference for Morales to win in the first round. The 40,000 “fraudulent” votes represent 0.65% of the total votes of the election.
The percentage difference between both candidates is 10.57%, when subtracting 0.65% of “fraudulent” votes from Morales, the difference between both candidates would be 9.92%. In other words, for the OAS, the real percentage difference in favour of Morales is 9.92% and not 10.57%. Politically speaking, for the OAS, in Bolivia there was a bloody coup d’état and a sector has assumed de facto power by 0.65% of the votes. This is complete nonsense.
But what does the treacherous report indicate? That for mathematical reasons the affirmation of the OAS would only be possible if Evo Morales had obtained a mere 10% or less of votes in the 226 minutes with “irregularities”, an extremely remote possibility, even more so when it comes to those questioned minutes and their electoral centers, which are mainly from rural and indigenous areas.
The concrete questioning of the OAS lies in 34,718 votes in favour of Morales. In their report they take a minimum percentage of the total votes, invalidating them all, to declare the electoral difference null and void. A clear mathematical outburst. As the deposed president originally stated, the validity of the indigenous and rural vote was unknown, and now the OAS has endorsed it in its final report.
“It was a political decision.”
For the OAS itself, even if they do not declare it so, there was no massive fraud in Bolivia and their own numbers corroborate it.
The organization points out that “given the proven fragility of the chain of custody and the irregularities detected in the expert analysis, it is possible to infer that, if it were possible to analyze the totality of the acts, a significantly greater number of alterations and inconsistencies would be found”.
They do not speak of material destroyed by opponents, police and military coup plotters, which is an intentional omission. However, they assert that there was a “fraud” that was minuscule, but that could be greater, although they admit that they cannot prove it.
The final report reaffirms the role of the OAS in the coup plot in Bolivia, which established an electoral dossier, which in unison with the institutional breakdown and destruction of electoral material, ended up being a key component. As Evo Morales stated before his forced resignation when referring to the first preliminary report of the OAS, the facts have confirmed that the role of the OAS, and its institutional participation in Bolivia, was a political plan.
The entity’s report is replete with adjectives that refer to the events of “fraud” in Bolivia as “serious”, “irrefutable”, “malicious actions” and the like, but in contrast reaffirms the weakness of the argument of electoral fraud and the consequent coup d’état for these very reasons.
Translation by Internationalist 360º
- What Happened in Bolivia’s 2019 Vote Count?: The role of the OAS electoral Observation Mission
- Evidence Against Fraudulent Votes Being Decisive in the Bolivia 2019 Election