Statement by Smartmatic’s representative on the Venezuelan election is irresponsible

Dear Editor,

The Venezuelan Electoral Authority wishes to inform you about the serious remarks made by Antonio Mugica, the representative of the company [Smartmatic] that supplies the National Electoral Council.

This refers to the unprecedented opinion of a company whose only role in the electoral process [for the Constituent Assembly] is to provide certain services and technical support, which are not decisive in terms of the results.

These remarks were made in a context of permanent aggression against the Electoral Authority, initiated two weeks ago, which, as is known, included a sanction by the US government against myself, as President of the Electoral Authority, for the sole reason of organizing a universal, direct and secret election whereby all Venezuelans registered on the electoral roll were enabled to vote. This sanction originates from the fulfilment of the Constitution and Venezuelan laws.

This action by the US government also affected other providers that offer services to our institution and we are aware their accounts abroad have been blocked.

Likewise, we have been victims of violence. Before the election, we had to relocate 1,200 voting centres due to the siege and the impossibility of installing them; the night prior to the event, in some states, such as Lara, we had to move voting centres due to the systematic attacks that they were subjected to, until a safe place for the electors was found. During the course of election day, we received direct attacks on about 200 voting centres, including aggressions with grenades and rifle fire. It was necessary, in the midst of the voting process, to mobilize centres in order to ensure the continuity of the process and safeguard voters from violence.

So far, we have counted the burning of 181 voting machines. Our institution suffered and still suffers cyber-attacks on its official website.

This shows the unprecedented situation of siege, framed in a strategy to destroy the electoral institution and to prevent election to the National Constituent Assembly.

Now, three days after the election, and a few hours before establishing the National Constituent Assembly, we witness the emergence of the spokesperson of a company that, after successful processes in Venezuela, has paved its own way to the United States.

It is not a private company, located abroad, that guarantees the transparency and credibility of the Venezuelan electoral system. The Venezuelan electoral system has a security architecture with procedures that leave the validation in the hands of the people.

In his statement, Antonio Mugica deems that an audit would make it possible to know the exact figure of participation and affirms: “We believe that the difference between the number announced and the one provided by the system is at least one million voters”.

This is an irresponsible statement, based on estimates without grounds in the data that are exclusively managed by the Electoral Authority. Nonetheless, even worse, the company, Smartmatic, participated in all the audits, keying-in its passwords for the encryption of the files and protection of the applications that were deployed in the electoral platform. These audits include the certification of the software of the machine and the total system that is now called into question. Any manipulation, like the one indicated by Mugica, would mean disavowing that Smartmatic is part of the security of the total system.

In fact, Mr Mugica intends to question the results of an election in which his sole role was to provide services to this institution.

The Electoral Authority reserves the right to take legal action in relation to such irresponsible statements.

This escalation comes after three days in which the country is calm, three days without barricades. Three days in which the country is at peace. We have defended the elections and their results in difficult times. Just as we did in 2007, 2013, and 2015, we will surely do it once again.

Those who take part in these aggressions against democracy pretend to disregard those who participated in these elections and convert the joy of peace into defeat. By doing so, they also pretend to insist on ignoring and making more than 8 million Venezuelans invisible.

The Electoral Authority has said it and today we ratify it: Venezuelans are not alone. This institution and its officials will defend their right to express themselves in peace and democracy, so that the people’s sovereign will shall be respected through the vote.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Tibisay Lucena Lugo

President

The Electoral Authority of the

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

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