Elections must be “free and fair” and be conducted with respect for human rights and basic individual freedoms, the rule of law, the separation and independence of the branches of government and the freedom to organize politically, essential components of democracy that no longer exist in Bolivia. Quite to the contrary, the ruling regime manipulates judges and prosecutors to grant impunity to its members, to persecute, disqualify and keep in exile the real opposition, while campaigning with the state’s assets, inducing votes through extortion and making even those deceased to vote.
Systematic fraud is fraud that has been institutionalized in the system. The “illegal intervention in the electoral process for the purpose of preventing, annulling or modifying real results in order to favor a candidate or party” is found in the Constitution of Bolivia’s Plurinational State that is the result of crime and counterfeiting. Proclaims “universal suffrage” but disregards it when consecrating the “inequality of citizens”, “discrimination” and “confrontation”. The fraud’s infrastructure is found in the laws of Evo Morales’ dictatorship, the absolute control of institutions, the counterfeited voters’ registration, the inexistence of equality before the law, electoral authorities biased to favor the regime, the inexistence of transparency and the active dictatorial duress.
Electoral “factual fraud” consists “in the facts with which the illegal intervention in the electoral process is made”. These are the “fraud’s techniques” such as; the supplanting of and the duress placed on voters, the buying of votes, the counterfeiting of balloting reports, the preventing of voting with simulations, the duplicating of identities, the making of deceased voters to vote, the filling of ballot boxes with pre-filled ballots, the crashing of computerized systems, the illegal advantages in expenditures and publicity, the manipulation of systems, counterfeiting of signatures, supplanting of votes, manipulation of data and polls, intervention of the government, persecution of opposition’s members, hiding of fraud’s evidence, denying of complaints, and much more.
Bolivia’s voters’ registry is grossly inflated mainly in rural areas with coca-leaf harvesters’ unions, coca-cocaine producer unions, and deliberate squatter settlements, controlled by the regime. Cochabamba’s tropical area, the Beni and Pando departments, East and North of Santa Cruz, the high plateaus of La Paz, Oruro, Potosi and areas of valleys of Chuquisaca, Tarija. This is how the regime will present fraudulent victories in almost all governorships and rural municipalities, but will lose in mayoral races in La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and wherever the control of the number of voters’ population and citizens’ participation is notorious.
The counterfeiting and “fattening of the voters’ registry” are undeniable clear due to the following facts:
1. The 99.26% increase of registered voters relative to an only 22.51% growth of the population from 2005 to 2019, period in which voters registered in the registry was doubled.
3. In Bolivia, personal identification data does not match what is on the voters’ registry! Last year, the Personal Identification Service (SEGIP in Spanish) “sought to correlate the Voters’ Registry with its own data” to reduce the possibility of electoral fraud in the 2020 elections, after the proven fraud committed in the 2019 elections. According to the newspaper El Deber, by order from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE in Spanish) only 413,082 names were correlated, in other words 5.6% of the voters’ registry. Any discrepancy between the number of identified voters and the names of those registered in the registry is fraud.
4. Civic organizations have publicly and insistently asked the TSE for an “audit of the voters’ registry” and have denounced fraud in the elections of October of 2020. The result has been political persecutions with penal trials for extortion like the one against attorney Jorge Valda and a TSE that is subservient to the regime.
5. The absolute and reiterated denial of the TSE to allow a review of the voters’ registry and proceed with requests for investigation have placed it in a situation of “public distrust” and breach of duty and transparency. Bolivians have already asked that the TSE be held legally accountable for dereliction of duty but that is not going to happen because there are no unbiased and impartial judges.
*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.