Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter last week declared the election process in Venezuela is “the best in the world.”
According to the left-leaning news and views site VenezuelaAnalysis.com, Carter also said in the U.S., “We have one of the worst election processes in the world, and it’s almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money.”
Venezuela, led by socialist dictator Hugo Chavez since 1999, has often been accused of anything but fair elections, and, according to a Reuters report, the country is ranked by Transparency International as the second-most corrupt nation in the Americas, after Haiti.
Yet in 2004, Venezuela began implementing a voting system involving touch-screen machines that also provide a paper receipt of selections to voters. Apparently, the system has impressed Carter.
During the kickoff of the Annual Conversations at the Carter Center series, the former U.S. president declared, “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”
The praise was welcomed by Chavez only a couple of weeks before the nation’s elections, where he faces significant competition from challenger Henrique Capriles.
“He said one true thing,” Chavez said of Carter, “because he had seen it for himself, that the Venezuelan electoral system is, well, we say it is one of the best in the world. He said ‘the best in the world.’”
Chavez’ challenger, Capriles, earlier this month faced corruption questions himself when government lawmakers released a video of an aide taking cash in suspect circumstances.
Yet Capriles fired the aide and argued Chavez couldn’t afford to do the same: “If this government and its candidate took on corruption, they’d have no ministers left.”
On Oct. 7, Venezuelans will elect a president for the 2013-2019 term from a ballot of five candidates, including Chavez and Capriles.