Western diplomats in Caracas meanwhile criticized what they said were last-minute changes to soften the wording of the OAS report -- and alleged that the changes were made under strong pressure from the Venezuelan government.
The Herald was told by diplomats from both EU and OAS member states that OAS observer mission chief Rubén Perina received calls from Venezuelan Vice President José Vicente Rangel and electoral council chairman Jorge Rodríguez after the draft report had already been prepared.
The OAS had planned to present its report at a news conference early Tuesday. But it canceled the conference at the last minute and the report was distributed on the Internet.
At times I really get the sense we underestimate JVR's role in Chavez's success. The guy is brutal but incredibly effective. The events of the last two weeks can be seen as a kind of monument to José Simiente's political instincts. Nobody on our side is anywhere near as macchiavelian or effective...