Wednesday, July 19, 2006


On the formal and informal observations of the REP by the Carter Center.

Originally published here

Many of you have been asking what I have been up to. Life has not been good to this ghost. First, my favorite soccer team was eliminated from the World Cup. Then my tocayo (probably a distant cousin) was no longer the manager of the team and next, my tomato plants were not growing as expected.

The good news is that Miguel has been getting so many complaint messages about my disappearance that he has begged me to please do something about it because not even Gmail can contain so many emails.

So, in spite of the fact that I swore not to come back until I was allowed to open the tomato section of this blog , I decided to please my fans, get momentarily out of retirement, and accept Miguel’s invitation once again.

The day started in a cheerful way since I am always happy when I learn that old friends are coming back to visit. In fact, browsing the dayly news this morning, I came up with this news. You read it right: it says that the Canter Center was coming to Venezuela to observe the REP audit that is being carried out by the Universities invited by the CNE. I was so happy to hear that the CC was coming to town that I quickly went to the CNE site and I got confirmation of the news (see here).

The press release from the CNE indicated that the Canter Center invited themselves in a letter addressed to Tibisay Lucena, the “new” CNE President. And that Lucena had accepted the CC as an observer.

But that was this morning just before I left to do errands for my tomato plants. When I came back home this afternoon…surprise surprise! El Universal reported that the Carter Center is not coming as a formal observer. In a Press release, the CC said that they should have been formally invited by the CNE with enough time to send their personnel, which was not the case. It seems that their representative in Venezuela, Héctor Vanolli, is going to informally hang around the audit, but that cannot be considered a formal observation.

So my first observation is that I am happy to learn that one can observe things two ways: formally or informally. In the formal observation, one is formally invited to get a seat and observe. In the informal observation, one is informally invited to get a seat and informally observe what is going on.

What? You don’t see the difference?

Of course there is one difference (like in the ACE commercial). If the informal observer finds something wrong, it does not count, because it is informally wrong. Not so when you are formally invited to be a formal observer, in which case whatever you observe as wrong is then formally wrong.

Clear, isn’t it?

But now, the real question. What happened between this morning and this afternoon?

If you got any formal or informal ideas, you are welcome to post them in the formal comment section.

Formally reporting from Cyberspace,

Jorge Arena

Ghost Blogger Emeritus.

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