Hugo Chavez has been…
Hugo Chavez has been caught with his hand in the ballot box.

It was the 32nd birthday of 1,921 Gonzálezes registered to vote in the western state of Zulia on Wednesday. But instead of celebrating with balloons and cake, many Venezuelans have been shouting fraud.

Every one of these Gonzálezes obtained their first government ID — and simultaneously registered to vote — in 2004, just before President Hugo Chávez defeated a recall referendum. And many of them registered on the same day, at the same registration center.

The case is “one for the Guinness Book of Records,” said Roberto Ansuini, a former opposition representative on the National Electoral Council who stumbled on it while looking into the registry’s reliability. He said the most Gonzálezes ever born on one day in one year in Venezuela is 89.

The González case in Zulia typifies the opposition’s claims that the registry is full of fraudulent voters — one of the reasons some parties boycotted the December legislative elections and may sit out the presidential elections late this year. Many say the case also shows fraud in the recall vote.

Maybe Hugo needs a return visit from Harry Belafonte or Cindy Sheehan to turn the PR situation around.

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