March 7, 2006

And then they were ten...

Well, the 10 "civil society representatives" for the CNE Nominations Committee have been picked. Just to review the whole process:
  1. First, the National Assembly selects a Preliminary Committee of Assembly Members to select Civil Society's representatives on the CNE Nominations Committee. (Done.)
  2. That Preliminary Committee solicits input from civil society organizations for people to sit on the CNE Nominations Committee. (Done)
  3. The Preliminary Committee checks the people suggested by civil society to serve on the CNE Nominations Committee and drafts a preliminary list of vetted candidates. (Done)
  4. The National Assembly selects ten people from the list drafted by the Preliminary Committee to serve as Civil Socety representatives on the CNE Nominations Committee (this happened yesterday.)
  5. Those ten Civil Society representatives sit on the CNE Nominations Committee alongside 11 National Assembly Members. (This is the next step.)
  6. The 21-member CNE Nominations Committee solicits civil society for possible CNE board members.
  7. The CNE Nominations Committee picks a short-list of qualified, impartial candidates for the CNE board
  8. Chavez chooses the five he likes best. (OK, ok, officially the National Assembly selects five names from the CNE Nominations Committee's short-list by a two-thirds majority, but lets get real here.)

The ten civil society representatives who will sit alongside the 11 chavista Assembly Members on the CNE Nominations Committee are:
  1. Antonieta di Stefano, chavista, Misión Cultura bureaucrat.
  2. Orlando González, no Google Trail.
  3. Alberto Lovera De Sola, opposition, sifrino civil society activist and anti decree-1011 agitator.
  4. José Luis Machado, opposition, one-time deputy chairman of the Lara State Bar (Colegio de Abogados.)
  5. Rafael Madrid Maya, no Google Trail.
  6. Humberto Rafael Mendoza, ambiguous Google Trail (could he be this Humberto Mendoza, Teodoro Petkoff's lawyer?)
  7. Gilberto Guerrero Quintero, chavista, former Supreme Tribunal substitute magistrate, expert on leasing law.
  8. Fernando González Jiménez, antichavista. Skimpy Google trail, but did sign this anti-government petition.
  9. José Diógenes Muziotti, chavista, nominated to CNE last time around by something called the Frente Bolivariano Popular Unico de Trabajadores y Cesantes Petroleros, Petroquímicos, Metalúrgicos y de la Construcción del Estado Zulia.
  10. Marlene Robles de Rodríguez, hard to pin-down, but appears Ni-Niish. Chairwoman of the Carabobo State Bar (Colegio de Abogados)
Significantly, Antonio Paris, president of UCV, is not on the list.

As it stands, I count 3 chavistas, 3 or 4 antichavistas (depends how you classify Humberto Mendoza), 1 Ni Ni, and 2 or 3 unknown quantities. This means the ultimate CNE Nominations Committee will have at least 14 chavistas (the 11 AN members plus Muziotti, Guerrero Quintero and di Stefano.)

The government is clearly in the driver's seat here. It would take an ocean of naïveté to think the Assembly would select a CNE board Chavez doesn't approve of - a movement that has explicitly attacked the representative role of the Assembly and promoted loyalty to the leader as the cardinal political virtue cannot seriously be expected to make a decision this sensitive without at least his tacit approval. After all, Chávez es el pueblo.

So after this whole byzantine rigmarole, we're more or less where we've been all along: does Chavez want a broadly acceptable CNE, or does he prefer to run alone? It's his call to make...