"But the bigger worry is that it's part of an orchestrated claim by the opposition to give the impression of an impending victory and then to claim fraud on 7 October should they lose, as the polls suggest is very likely."
An earlier article highlighted the possibility. In late August, Chavez warned about opposition forces planning to declare victory before electoral results are announced. They'll say they won, reject official National Electoral Council (CNE) results, and claim fraud.
Perhaps violence and other destabilizing disruptions will follow. They're capable of anything, said Chavez. He's seen plenty since taking office in February 1999. He stayed there because Venezuelans want him.
Each time he ran he won impressively. It's no surprise. On October 7, he'll do it again for another six-year term. Expect dark opposition forces to cry foul. It never washed before and won't now.
Venezuela's elections are closely monitored. Independent observers agree. The process is open, free and fair.
The Carter Center monitored earlier elections. On September 24, its web site headlined "Carter Center Conducts Study Mission to Venezuela Elections," saying:
It's "conducting an independent study mission to follow the campaign, with political and electoral analysts interviewing political actors and technical experts on the ground."
Post-election, a report will follow. It'll discuss "Venezuelan perceptions of the electoral process and the results."