It defies belief. Ex—President Jimmy Carter, who crystallized a fraudulent recall referendum for Venezuela's dictator Hugo Chavez, now says his Carter Center will return to Caracas "to help consolidate peace and democracy." He also says he's got a final report on the Venezuelan recall referendum. (There've been some other final reports but somehow he's got to issue a final final final report) He's up to no good.
No one has demoralized Venezuela's democracy more than America's worst—ever president. The only legitimate reason he has to go to Caracas is to beg Venezuelans for forgiveness after that sorry show he put on last August, endorsing an election that was clearly stolen with his complicity. The Carter Center's shoddy election monitoring and mendacious spin control in the aftermath turned a profound exercise in democracy into a miserable affair swept under the rug, while Carter prepared to move on to the next election.
But something happened along the way to the next election: The State Department declined to endorse Carter's recall referendum observational results, as it had announced it would, and nobody important wanted the Carter Center's business anymore. Carter was conspicuously absent from the dead—serious elections in Ukraine and Iraq recently. Ever the vindictive little man, Carter "participated" in those by sniping at these great human events from the sidelines. For that, President Bush didn't care to call on him to lead tsunami relief either, as he did all other able—bodied former presidents.
That's not all. The Carter Center seems to have fallen on other hard times since its name began to reek in the wake of the Venezuela fiasco. Carter's top lieutenant, Jennifer McCoy, is trying to sell a book and the lecture circuit on her Venezuelan experiences. That's hard to sell when no one believes you. But in Venezuela, as in the U.S., there are usually reasons when no one believes you.
The Carter Center brushed off studies by top economists like Ricardo Hausmann conclusively showing the extent of the fraud. And arrogantly, McCoy herself rebuffed a group of liberal—leaning Venezuelan bloggers in the Boston area, who painstakingly attempted to ask polite questions to claify how the Carterites came to their conclusions during the recall referendum. She didn't have the time of day for them, and added that there were "so many" bulletin boards. That certainly was convenient for her career purposes. But it came at the expense of the Venezuelans' legitimate interest in an explanation and their valid civic interests. Quite a tradeoff for someone who claims to be a peacemaker. But no surprise for someone affiliated with an insincere weakling and coward like Jimmy Carter.
Rightwing blogger Alek Boyd wasn't impressed with her e—mailed responses to his questions either. In short, the Carter Center's blown off every Venezuelan they've come in contact with.
From their own point of view, what purpose could there be for Jimmy Carter's discredited organization to show up in Caracas again? Blogger Miguel Octavio points out that it's an exercise in futility in itself, because there is nothing to make peace with in Venezuela anymore — the opposition has been completely destroyed. Power is now consolidated on one side, Chavez's side alone. The opposition can offer no deal to the ruling Chavistas because the Carter Center's endorsement of the recall referendum fraud has completely stripped them of any means of bargaining. But McCoy's got a book to sell so that might be one reason why this nauseating charade is taking place.
Venezuelan blogger Daniel Duquenal responds: "Leave us alone!" and urges Venezuela's opposition to protest against these fraud—endorsers in the strongest terms possible. This could happen — on his way out last August, Carter was beset by pot and pan bangers who followed him wherever he went, protesting his endorsement of Chavez's dictatorship after they had just voted him out. Miguel says the same thing. Since then, various parties have told him to buzz off and small street demonstrations telling Carter to leave have taken place. 'The Carter Center has lost its ability to be a mediator, of being a facilitator, of being a bridge in this country because it simply acted to dispatch the Venezuelan issue and to wash its hands of the matter,' said one opposition politician in Caracas. And the news has spread like lightning through the blogosphere. You can read about here and here.
A leftwing pal told me that Jimmy Carter, at his last press conference in Caracas in August, seemed tired, irritable and uninterested. Her sense was Carter just wanted to get out of there, regardless of how the recall referendum's results went, and as a result, he bullied the Organization of American States as well as his own low—level staffers to take the easy way out and declare it all 'free and fair.' It was the cheapest, easiest, and most dishonest way to close the books on this sordid sorry affair.
But somehow that book is not closing. There are too many fraudulent ballots choking the pages. The onus is on Carter to make it right but Carter is too vain to admit errors. Instead, the Carterites shamelessly return, arrogant to the real injury of the Venezuelan people and certain they can get away with it again, too. Venezuelans have news for this gullible, dictator—endorsing old fool: not this time. If Carter and his minions have any common sense, they will stay out of Caracas.