The last half of the 2010s and the early part of the 2020s has focused internationally on the issues of nationalism and election interference.
So extensively did these issues impact on US politics, in fact, that one could not escape the bombardment by the 24-hour mainstream media coverage of the Mueller probe of Russian interference in the U.S. election of 2016.
The findings of that report essentially took the wind out of the sails of the left that ferociously and incessantly called for impeachment of President Trump.
In striking contrast, there has been little-to-no coverage of bona fide Mexican interference in the Bolivian election that just happened late last year.
This leads to one poignant question of why didn’t the American media cover this latest—and possibly most blatant—case of election meddling?
In the case of Bolivia, Mexico was helping to orchestrate the re-election of the socialist President Evo Morales Ayma, the leader of the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) party. This election interference was, in fact, so damaging to the Bolivian government, that nearly every high-ranking official had to vacate his or her offices.
The exodus in officials resulted in then-Senator Beni Jeanine Áñez’s ascension to becoming the Interim President of Bolivia, in a period of a few months.
The election controversy in Bolivia did not begin or end on election night. Rather, it began with Morales violating Article 168 of the 2009 Bolivian constitution by running for an illegal fourth term. Ironically, self-styled “democratic-socialist” Bernie Sanders was affectionate to Morales--who violated the constitutional process in a democracy by seeking a constitutionally illegal re-election.
After the election discrepancy, there were massive protests across Bolivia that lasted from October 21, 2019 to November 21, 2019. The anti-Morales protests had subsided when “el Presidente” finally resigned on November 10, but then there were pro-Morales/anti-Áñez protests that lasted until November 21.
These protests ultimately left 33 dead, 804 injured, and 1511 arrested, and the interim Áñez government found that human rights were flagrantly violated. Morales thereupon fled to Mexico under the invitation of political asylum offered by leftist President Lopez Obrador.
Newsmax interviewed Alvaro Andrade, CEO of Ethical Hacking Consultores (EH), the man who blew the whistle on the elections we covered in detail what led to the Organization of the American States (OAS) investigation, the findings of the OAS report, and attempt by the socialist sympathizing Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and their “independent” reviewers to discredit the findings of the OAS.
Andrade began by explaining exactly what happened in real time during the election that alerted him and his team that there was electoral interference. When Ethical Hacking “monitored the entire electoral infrastructure, minutes after the members of the TSE [Supreme Electoral Tribunal] published the data where the difference between the MAS and the CC [Comunidad Ciudadana, one of the anti-Morales parties) was approximately 7 percent, we began to register a large number of errors in the TREP [Transmission of Preliminary Electoral Result] application that we reported to NEOTEC[a software company that makes electoral results systems].
He noted that “minutes later, we began to record an excessive amount of data that came from an unknown IP (10.1.0.222 - BO20) that was not part of the monitored electoral infrastructure, nor did it have our monitoring agent.”
It was this transfer from the unknown server (BO20) that motivated Ethical Hacking to report the irregularity to the IT company that was contracted for the software to use in the election.
While this report was a routine task by Ethical Hacking, Andrade pointed out that “[w]hen we reported this, NEOTEC never answered us. We reported it to the members of the TSE and it was at that moment, in a meeting with them behind closed doors, the members of the TSE decided to withdraw the TREP. The perception they expressed during the meeting was no longer neutral, all the comments were like NEOTEC was cheating the MAS, and not the Bolivian people.” [Michael, may I cut this part out?]
Soon after the election the OAS published its findings in a report that concluded there was election interference that was intentional and that there were “grave irregularities.” [italics added] This prompted the CEPR to write a critique of the OAS’s findings in its own report.
The CEPR's main attack on the OAS report, via their report and the findings of the “independent reviewers”, was that "there does not seem to be any statistically significant difference in [Morales’] margin before and after the halt of the preliminary vote."
Andrade underscored that CEPR’s argument for undermining the validity of the OAS report neglects three crucial aspects that altogether dismantle this charge:
1) The CEPR does not indicate the origin of its samples for the study they carried out.
2) The only public source that existed at that time was the data published on the website of the OEP (Plurinational Electoral Body) and all that information was already invalid because it was demonstrated in our report and in the OAS report that both the digital and physical records were modified.
3) By basing this study on altered data, the entire result of CEPR research is invalid. [may I cut this part out?]
The OAS report further validated that there were servers to which Ethical Hacking did not have access to monitor any activity. Specifically, the OAS report notes, the BO20 server was “not under the control of the audit company and its network did not have any security from SERECI, DNTIC, or the audit company.”
This was corroborated by Andrade. He argued that the CEPR’s characterization that Ethical Hacking had the capacity to monitor the BO20 server was entirely incorrect.
“The BO20 server was not on the list provided by NEOTEC of authorized and monitored servers for the presidential elections, so it did not have our monitoring agent. This server was the one to which NEOTEC redirected all the traffic of the 350 SERECI operators in full election and without notifying us or advising the TSE about said change, therefore there was no way that we could control and track where the data came from that the BO20 server sent to TREP. The only thing we could observe was the traffic coming from the BO20 to the TREP server, which was what we alerted, but we could not see who or where they were sending data to the BO20.” [may I cut this out?]
He concluded there clearly was an orchestrated attempt to defraud the Bolivian people by undemocratically and unconstitutionally reelecting Morales to power through covert subterfuge in reporting the votes.
Had it been successful, this ploy would have almost surely undermined the reform that Bolivia has undergone to preserve itself as a democracy in a region where free elections are by no means guaranteed.
The CEPR also attacks the OAS report for misrepresenting the Transmission of Preliminary Electoral Results (TREP) server stoppage as something done maliciously. They claim it was intentionally shut off at 7:40 pm "to allow the TSE to hold its press conference to deliver results and that the intention was to restart the verification and transmission processes after."
Andrade says that this alternative explanation for why the TREP system stopped was one that is purely “based on assumptions.” As someone who actually witnessed the shutdown, he recounts the event in striking detail:
The TSE had coordinated with NEOTEC to pause the TREP to publicize the results collected until 7:40 PM, when we gave the data traffic alert from the BO20 server, there was a meeting between members of the TSE, NEOTEC and us as the audit company (Ethical Hacking Consultores), the atmosphere became heavy, the discussions were very hot, the insults began among the members of the TSE against Marcel Guzmán de Rojas, they accused him of fraud against the government (MAS) and among all that discussion two vowels instructed the TSE president to turn off the TREP, then they gave the order to the OEP's director of technology to drop the TREP, among screams and threats they also made the network people cut the connection between the OEP and SERECI. So, the TREP was cut and they waited until the next day for almost 20 hours to raise the TREP again.
This final refutation of the CEPR’s reporting on the Bolivian election appears to show it as nothing more than a partisan hatchet job aimed at supporting the pro-Morales socialists in Bolivia and undermining the interim Áñez government. The most conclusive piece of evidence was that there was intervention by three Mexican nationals tied to the Morales government. Andrade believes:
If there was foreign interference, from a group of three Mexicans who went to Bolivia months before the elections, to work on an alternative plan to remotely modify the elections.In the results of the TREP audit that we presented prior to the elections, we identified and reported more than seven ways to remotely alter the election due to multiple vulnerabilities. These three Mexicans are computer scientists, were also aware of these vulnerabilities and their meeting center was the 17th floor of the "Casa del Pueblo", the government building that Evo Morales had built. High officials of the government of Evo Morales, the three Mexicans and the alleged adviser to the members of the TSE (Mr. Sergio Martínez), who is now a fugitive from justice, participated in these meetings. [may we cut?]
Therefore, it comes as an unfortunate discovery that such an established media champion for democratic principles, The Washington Post, would tacitly endorse such the Morales regime by allowing a piece of propaganda to run on its “Monkey Cage” section. [an independent forum that the Post defines as connecting “political scientists and the political conversation”].
“It was not until later that they had to issue an ‘update’ that noted that the two researchers were directly paid by a progressive think tank that has routinely defended socialist governments in Latin America, particularly Venezuela,” said the Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the Organization of American States (OAS) Ambassador Jaime Aparicio Otero
All told, for all of the Trump Administration by the self-styled ‘defenders of democracy,’ many of them seem eager to doubt the findings of an election that inarguably had real interference from abroad.
(Michael Cozzi is a Ph.D candidate at Catholic University in Washington DC)
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