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The Price of Freedom

Episode #12  |  December 2nd, 2020
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In This Episode:

What happened to the ability to listen to others and critically think? Joining Trish to discuss the mainstream media’s agenda and bias against moderate and conservative thought is Dinesh D’Souza, best-selling author and filmmaker. His own latest movie is the subject of scrutiny, as the average Hollywood film attempts to blind audiences to actual global problems. Then, Maria Corina Machado, a Venezuelan politician who ran for president of Venezuela in 2012, discusses voter fraud from the 2004 Venezuelan election that led to the late Hugo Chavez’ effective takeover of the government. Did the same thing happen with polls in the U.S.? That and more this week on American Consequences with Trish Regan. 


Dinesh D’Souza

A prominent career as a writer, scholar, and public intellectual, and has also become an award-winning filmmaker. Born in India, D’Souza came to the U.S. as an exchange student at the age of 18 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College. Called one of the “top young public-policy makers in the country,” D’Souza quickly became known as a major force in public policy through his books, speeches, and films.

Maria Corina Machado

Venezuelan politician
Maria Corina Machado, a Venezuelan politician who served as an elected member of the National Assembly of Venezuela from 2011 to 2014. She was a candidate for Venezuelan president in the 2012 elections.


Trish Regan:               We spent years listening to the Left tell us that Russia, Russia, Russia was a total effort by Donald Trump and the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. That was treated like fact, and now when two-thirds – of those polled in a new McLaughlin/Newsmax poll, two-thirds of likely voters say they think it’s appropriate to have recounts in states where the margin was razor-thin.

We’re talking 1%. Two-thirds of Americans say that is appropriate, and yet it’s being shut down. That’s considered conspiracy talk to even suggest that maybe we ought to make sure everything was on the up and up. Why is it that they were able to push one narrative, but the other side can’t even get some of these basic questions addressed?

This is part of what we’re talking about here today with Dinesh D’Souza, a brilliant, brilliant man who’s produced numerous documentaries and really devoted his career and life to making sure that we accept and are willing to entertain more thought in academia or in our culture in general, because that’s part of being educated, thoughtful people: being willing to listen to another side.

We’re also going to talk with María Corina Machado. María Corina Machado ran for president of Venezuela in 2012. She has been spearheading the movement for freedom in her home country and has a lot to say about the Smartmatic voting machines that she believes fraudulently caused Hugo Chávez back in 2004 to win his referendum.

Welcome to this week’s edition of American Consequences. I am Trish Regan. One of the biggest challenges in this country right now is groupthink. In other words, they decide. The Left right now is deciding what you should think about anything.

Think about the whole Russia, Russia, Russia thing that we dealt with for a couple of years. In fact, I would argue that we’re still in some ways dealing with it. Joe Biden, who was running for president, was out on the campaign trail saying that Donald Trump stole the election. This was just common. It would just flow right off their tongues. This would just sort of be expected.

That was that groupthink that I’m talking about. I remember at the time watching some of these cable shows from MSNBC or CNN and thinking, “Wow, that’s really kind of kind of conspiracy theory stuff that they’re talking about.” But yet it was treated like fact.

Or even think about this. I was looking at an article earlier today that was titled “Fact check: Trump Needs Miracle,” they said a miracle to get a vaccine before the end of the year. This was in NBC News, and it was as recent as this May.

Well, guess what? It looks like God has answered the prayer because we’re getting a vaccine before the end of the year, and we’re getting multiple vaccines.

So my point is that there is their version of reality, their facts, and then what’s actually truth and what’s actually real. I find that to be kind of a dangerous spot for us to be in when you’re not willing to listen to all sides and you’re not willing to appreciate intellectual diversity and to hear another opinion.

And why is that, I wonder? And then you think about our culture. You think about the influences we have had over the last 20 years, and how that’s affected things, even academia. In the last 20 years, it has shifted so increasingly Left, where there’s become such a lack of tolerance for anything else.

Well, there is a man that’s trying to change that right now. He’s trying to influence our culture so that people are more accepting of different ideas and that there is not this one kind of groupthink. That may be the only way to really get to the heart of this and really start to shift things, if we can affect culture.

Joining me right now is Dinesh D’Souza. He is the brand-new producer of a movie that just came out today, actually, video on demand, The Infidel. And I’m so happy to have him here on the show. Welcome, Dinesh. Good to talk with you again.


Dinesh D’Souza:         Hey, it’s a pleasure. Nice to be on the show.


Trish Regan:               Tell me your motivation here for producing the movie in the first place, and then we can get to the bigger, overarching thoughts that I was just talking about, because I do think we need more opinion and more intellectual diversity in our society. But what led to you producing this film?


Dinesh D’Souza:         Well, I’ve made a bunch of political documentaries over the past eight years, five of them – beginning with one on Obama and then one this year called Trump Card. These are political documentaries that tell political stories and narratives about America.

But Debbie, my wife, and I have long wanted to make a feature film for the simple reason that Hollywood has become very homogenous in its thinking, even more so than academia or the media, because Hollywood is a much smaller and more tightknit community. So it’s politically very incestuous, if I can use that term, and that’s reflected in the stories that movies tell.

Debbie and I have been binge watching a Netflix showed The Queen’s Gambit, a very good film, actually. It’s about chess, and I’m an aficionado of chess. But embedded in the film is all this ideological propaganda, propaganda about the ’50s, propaganda about the nuclear family as being somehow dysfunctional in which basically the men are all deserters and bums and the women have to take to alcohol and drugs basically just to get by, attacks on Christian missionaries. It’s all right there in a story that actually has nothing to do with any of that per se.

We have long wanted to make films that are good movies that reflect a different set of values. Ideological diversity is a good way to put it, although one of the problems when you do too much ideological propaganda is that it’s deadening. It ultimately kills creativity and reduces stories to stereotypes.


Trish Regan:               I agree with you on that, and I think it’s become more and more that way. Again, I think if you look back over the last couple of decades, that’s what you’ve seen from Hollywood and what you’ve seen from academia.

Infidel, it’s again just out, video on demand. You can get it today. Tell us a little bit about it. I believe it’s a story of an American that is kidnapped by Hezbollah while he’s in Cairo, and he winds up in a prison there.


Dinesh D’Souza:         Yeah, it’s a very simple plot. You’ve got a guy who is a committed Christian, and he’s invited to a conference on religious freedom in the Middle East on the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

He’s there talking about the things that they have in common. But somebody asks him a question about Jesus, who by the way is a prophet in Islam. Jim Caviezel, the main character, talks about how Jesus may be a prophet, but he’s also the son of God.

Now that of course is sort of heresy in Islam, so he sets off a chain of controversy in the Middle East itself, resulting in him getting kidnapped. He’s put on trial, and his faith is on the line. Basically what you have is a patriotic guy, a Christian guy, trapped in the politics of radical Islam.

Now this may seem like a normal plot for a normal movie. But you just have to think about it for a minute to realize that although we have been dealing with Islamic terrorism now at least since 9/11, and even before that, of course, the truth of it is Hollywood has actually not made a single major motion picture on this topic.

Whenever they do terrorism, the terrorists are Russian or Eastern European. And so this really reflects Hollywood’s desire to give a pass, if you will, to radical Islam, even though that’s really what’s been in the news.

So our movie is radical not because it does anything all that astounding, but because it takes a topic that Hollywood is afraid of, and it makes an intelligent movie about it.


Trish Regan:               Do you want to do more of this? I know you and Debbie are committed to really seeing through, I think, this idea that you can help shape in good ways discussions through this format. Is this the start of something bigger, in your view?


Dinesh D’Souza:         Well, I certainly would love to have a virtual studio and do a movie a year. I think it would be just a needed antidote to the homogeneity coming out of Hollywood. Now the movie industry, I to tell you, is in a little bit of a bad way because of COVID. Theaters are still not really open in a serious way.

When Infidel was in the theater, right in the middle of it, 500 Regal theaters shut down. And so, boom, we lost a big chunk of our theatrical market because the theaters were under economic strain due to coronavirus. Now obviously the movie I think did well under the circumstances. It’s great that it’s now coming out on video on demand so people can watch it at home.

But the move business is tough right now. My career has navigated between academia and the media and entertainment, and I think those three things are really all connected. For example, we talk about fake news in the media. There’s also fake academia. It’s really surprising how important truths about our history are suppressed in academia.

And so I divide my career between the movies, but I’m also trying, for example, to correct some of these bogus narratives that are taught in schools and in colleges to our young people.


Trish Regan:               I’m really troubled by it, I really am. It’s strange to me because I feel like it’s been all of a sudden – maybe it’s because I’ve got little kids now and I see it up close, or maybe we’re just paying more attention to this narrative that they’re trying to feed, or maybe it’s because in some ways Trump winning really caused the Left to go into high-gear.

When you think about you couldn’t have a Trump sign on a college campus because that was considered hate speech, I’m like, “Wait a second, the guy is running.” This is when he was running in 2016. He’s running. He’s the Republican nominee for the president of the United States, and it’s hate speech just to have a sign. That somehow was just accepted on all these college campuses.

What has happened, Dinesh?


Dinesh D’Souza:         Well, what’s happened really I think is that we’ve seen the rise of a certain type of hard-edged progressivism. It’s a progressivism that argues that the normal protections of classical liberalism such as free speech, diversity, open debate are actually themselves oppressive.

This may seem kind of crazy to say, but a lot of young people are now convinced that if you say things to them that they disagree with or that make them uncomfortable, you are somehow violating their rights.

Now nothing could be more antithetical to the spirit of free speech, the Socratic method, the spirit of academia, because the whole point of academia is to take people’s received assumptions and challenge them, in other words to make then uncomfortable. That’s the job of a college campus.

And so when college campuses basically take their own job and decide that that is somehow a form of oppression, then they cease to be real centers of learning. I’m afraid that that’s true even of some of our very elite campuses. They really have ceased to be centers of genuine learning.


Trish Regan:               And I really think that part of intelligence is having a certain kind of understanding and empathy for the other side. Now you may not agree with any of it, but you should understand where they’re coming from, and that’s what these college campuses and academic institutions were supposed to help provide.

I think about my own education, and it’s been a while and I’ve been out of school for a while. But I went to a great, great high school called Phillips Exeter up in New Hampshire, and we had the Harkness table, which is what they called it.

It was a Socratic method of education. Eight or 12 kids would sit around a table, and the teacher might ask a question, a probing question. We welcomed diversity of viewpoint. The more diverse, the better, because the more exciting and exhilarating the conversation was.

I saw a little less of that frankly at Columbia, but I think if I were to go back to either institution today, it’s becoming increasingly challenged, right? You can’t have that kind of debate anymore because the debate itself is seen as offensive. I’m like, “Wait a second, you guys are taking all the fun out of it, all the fun.”


Dinesh D’Souza:         Yeah, there’s a lack of seriousness in our public debate. We see this is in academia, and we see it in the media. When I write my books, the most recent one called United States of Socialism, for example, I will work very hard to try to summarize other people’s views in a manner that they would recognize.

So if I’m describing Marx, for example, I’ll try to describe Marx’s views in a view that if Marx was sitting across from me in the room, he’d go, “Yeah, that’s what I believe.”

But I find that the Left never does that. When they are describing my views, they’ll say, “Well, Dinesh says the Democrats are Nazis.” Now I’ve never said that. They can never quote me saying that. This is just utter nonsense.

But what they do is they misrepresent you at the outset. Naturally there’s no room for debate. If you stated what I actually believe and then begin to challenge it and examine it and contest it, I would welcome that. But if you start out by flatly misstating what I’m saying, then we don’t even get off the ground in terms of a conversation.


Trish Regan:               Listen, you are a brilliant, brilliant scholar really that is able to – I’ve always enjoyed your writing. I’ve always enjoyed your movies. I’ve always enjoyed hearing you speak, Dinesh, because you really do bring all of this to life, and you have an empathy I think for the other side.

But it’s one-sided right now because that doesn’t exist for you. Look, I’ve gone through the same thing: “Trish Regan says coronavirus is a scam.” By the way, that word never, ever came out of my mouth. [Laughs] You read the headlines, and you’re like, “Wait a second.” But this is what they do, and so it is I think in a way to discredit.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, though. So it’s not like I think we should ever – those of us that maybe are more conservative, it’s not like you turn around and say, “Oh, well, they’re saying this.” I feel very strongly that we still have to be fair and true.

How do you combat that, really? Why is it just one-sided? They’re pointing the finger saying we’re all a bunch of crazies, but we can’t do that back at them, nor would I want to. But nonetheless it seems pretty one-sided.


Dinesh D’Souza:         Yeah, we don’t have to do it to them. What we have to do is build large enough megaphones so that we can get our message out. I firmly believe that if truth and error both get an equal hearing that truth will prevail. There is no question that if you are able to make your argument, you’re going to succeed.

The problem, though, is when you can’t make your argument. For example, when you try to do it, for example, on digital media, they put this idiotic warning label on you or they restrict you or they ban you. Consider what Twitter has been doing recently. There’s been all this argument going on about the election, and they constantly put on the president’s tweets, “This claim is disputed.”

Now for anybody who is accustomed a debate, a debate is a dispute. Everything is disputed. Everybody Biden says is disputed. Everything Trump says is disputed. So what is the point? How idiotic do you have to be to put a label that says something is disputed when the whole point of Twitter, as I understand it, was to encourage a robust debate, i.e., a dispute among people of differing views?

It’s very difficult to proceed when the other side doesn’t just want to misrepresent you, but is literally trying to prevent you from saying what you have to say.


Trish Regan:               Or saying you’re a liar or these are made-up facts. The NBC News example I used as we started this off where they said that this was a fact check: He would need a miracle to get this done. Like I said, God answered the prayer, and we’ve got the vaccines coming before the end of the year.

What does this mean for news organizations? Think about this now, Dinesh. If you’re a news organization and you report something and you put it out on Twitter, it’s not you that’s deciding whether or not people are going to see it. You’re not deciding whether it’s true or not, which is normally what news organizations would do.

Suddenly Twitter is the one to decide, right? You consider what happened to the New York Post. They did this big investigation. They tried to get the investigation out there, and they were shut down. They had their account locked for weeks.


Dinesh D’Souza:         Yeah. There’s been this hearing going on in Arizona about voter irregularities and voter fraud. It’s really amazing. Many large institutions, most of them media institutions, aren’t covering it. Now you might disagree with it. You might think that the people speaking there are wrong or that they might be right, but there is no systematic evidence.

But the idea that you’ve got the president’s legal team over there – they’re having a hearing. They’re airing all these accusations. For a long time right after the election, it was like, “Where’s the evidence? Where’s evidence?” Well, here is the evidence, and it’s not being covered. So that is downright strange.

You have digital media and then you have the mainstream media. Both are working to the same end, and the end is ultimately suppression of speech. So think of how odd this is. You’ve got institutions that are protected by the First Amendment, that represent free speech, that have now become the main instruments for the curtailment of free speech.

Orwell assumed that if this ever came, it would come from the government, from the state, what Orwell called Big Brother. But very clearly now it’s coming also from the private sector.


Trish Regan:               It’s quite scary in so many ways that things need to change. Do you have any confidence that they – if we have Biden in place for the next four years, if we have a – gosh, we’ll see what happens with the Senate. But if we were to be so unfortunate as to see an actual sweep there of the Senate and the House and the Oval Office, what happens to speech?


Dinesh D’Souza:         Well, I think digital media will continue to do what it’s doing. We’ll continue to see this one-sidedness in the media. But we have that now, so in that sense we won’t be seeing anything radically new, I don’t think.

It’s very clear that conservatives, in order to be heard, need to build their own institutions, institutions of learning, digital platforms. Although I have built up a big social media following, as you have, on places like Twitter and YouTube, I’m working hard to build up alternative platforms because there’s a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head and many people’s head where at any moment Twitter can decide, “Okay, Dinesh, there go your 1.9 million followers. You’re banned permanently from Twitter.”

Normally we’d have no recourse. But the recourse is alternative institutions. So there’s a lot of work to be done, and quite frankly it’s not tied to whether or not Biden or Trump is in the White House. Either way, this tasks remains a very important cultural imperative.


Trish Regan:               Sure. And I think that free market capitalism hopefully plays a role in all this, right? Which is you look at Parler right now – and by the way, just to remind the listener right now, you can follow Dinesh on Twitter, @DineshDSouza, D-S-O-U-Z-A. I believe is the website, right, for the video on demand? You can see the movie.


Dinesh D’Souza:         It is, yes, and it’s going to be on a whole bunch of platforms, including cable platforms. So it’s kind of an exciting movie for Christmas because it actually ties into Christian themes, but really it’s a mainstream political thriller. This is not a niche movie. It’s just a fun movie to watch. It’s going to get you thinking, but it’s also hugely entertaining.


Trish Regan:               I look forward to see it. I did see Trump Card, and I saw it through Apple TV. It kept coming up. It must know that I’m a Dinesh fan because it kept coming up, and I said, “Well, I’ve gotta watch this.” I really enjoyed it and your wife singing in it as well.

Anyway, Dinesh D’Souza, I believe wholeheartedly in those alternative platforms as well. I know you’re on Parler. I’m on Parler, too, and Rumble, which I see you on a lot as well, being an alternative to YouTube right now.


Dinesh D’Souza:         Yes, these platforms grow incredibly fast. It took me years to get to almost two million on Twitter. I’m almost at 2.5 million on Parler. I was talking to the Parler CEO, and I go, “My gosh, how can I grow so fast in a matter of weeks.”

And he goes, “Dinesh, that just shows you how much you have been restricted on Twitter.” It kind of startled me because I hadn’t thought I was being restricted. I have never been notified on being restricted. But his point is, “If you just let the market do its job, you would have grown much faster.” So these other platforms do employ mechanisms of restriction.


Trish Regan:               Can you explain that? I have seen it, too. For example, I’ll be up to 800,000 followers, and then suddenly I’m down to 700,000 and it takes months and months to get back up to 800,000. This is constant. I have experienced the exact same thing. With well over a million followers now on Parler, it’s very exciting to see.

And then I look at Rumble, and I have just got a couple videos up and I have more subscribers on Rumble than I do on YouTube. What is this really about? How do they restrict you?


Dinesh D’Souza:         Well, they restrict you by putting in algorithms that essentially limit the number of – so you may have a million followers. Debbie said to me the other day. She has 100,000 followers on Twitter. She goes, “I put out a tweet, and it’s on a very – ” It was actually on the prolife issues. She goes, “I see that I’ve gotten nine retweets.”

Now what is the probability that someone who has 100,000 followers will get nine retweets? It’s almost zero. So obviously what’s happening is Twitter is sending her tweet out to a very small number of people, and that’s why she only gets the nine retweets. Either that or they’re not showing the retweets.

The bottom line of it is these guys have their dirty, grubby hands – it’s almost like they’re messing with the system. It’s as if you had AT&T running the phone company, but they listen in on your phone calls and they go, “Oh, Trish, that was hate speech. We’re not going to let you make phone calls three days a week,” or, “You can’t make long-distance phone calls,” or, “Even though you paid your bill, we’re going to permanently cut off your service.”

People would shut down the phone company if they did that. But that’s what Twitter does. That’s what YouTube does. That’s what Facebook does.


Trish Regan:               Well, all the more reason for those alternative platforms and for people to keep seeking out diverse viewpoints, for sure.

Dinesh, thank you so much. Congrats on the movie. Trump Card, if you haven’t seen it, I highly, highly recommend it, and I am looking forward to seeing Infidel, now available on demand, which I guess is the only way you can really see movies these days since we’re not going to the theaters. But I’ll definitely be watching. Thank you again, sir.


Dinesh D’Souza:         Hey, my pleasure. Thank you.


Trish Regan:               There’s been so many comparisons right now with what’s going on in the U.S. to the challenges that Venezuela has had. One of the big problems I think in Venezuela is that people don’t really trust the system, and the reason they don’t trust it goes all the way back to 2004, when there was a referendum on Hugo Chávez.

Joining me now, my next guest is a woman who ran for president in Venezuela, intends to run for president again. She may just be the next or the first, I should say, female president someday of Venezuela. Her name is María Corina Machado, and I’m so glad to have you here on the show today. Welcome.


María C. Machado:    Thank you so much, Trish. It’s an honor to join you today.


Trish Regan:               Let’s go back to 2004 because in Venezuela you guys were using the Smartmatic machines, and you had some problems?


María C. Machado:    Wow, much more than problems. I’ll start by saying that at that time, me and another group of engineers who were five engineers, we founded an NGO that was kind of an electoral watchdog. Actually, we were the ones who promoted collecting the petitions that finally enabled the recall referendum of Hugo Chávez to take place.

So I was on the front line. I was able to witness everything that happened with the Smartmatic and the way this huge and sophisticated fraud was put in place. Even today, Trish, there is a lot of people that want to keep that silent and buried because they were people that were part of it and that had proof but were not willing to speak out.

So I have to say that this was a process that was fraudulent from point one, to the beginning to the end. Smartmatic was a new firm that had no knowledge or experience whatsoever in electoral processes, and the Chávez regime managed to give them – to acquire their platform without a bidding process that was constitutionally and legally required.

They were able to do that because they said this new technology provided what they call a paper trail, which was the possibility to physically count paper ballots that the machines printed and that every elector would put in a box. That was the argument that they used to give away this acquisition to Smartmatic without any bidding process.


Trish Regan:               So there was supposed to be a paper ballot. Was there? Did you have when you went to vote a copy of your vote?


María C. Machado:    Well, that was part of the biggest obstacles and fights I had to give at that time because actually when they bought the Smartmatic and their platform and technology, as I say, using the argument that they had the paper ballot, then they say, “Well, why bother counting 100% of the ballots? If we count 30%, that’s more than enough from a statistical perspective.”

Then that 30 turned into 10, the 10 into one, and actually they did no physical audit whatsoever. In fact, the Carter Center, which was one of the observers that supposedly should have been watching what was taking place and denouncing if everything went wrong, one of the representatives acknowledged the day after the referendum in my office, with witnesses in my office, that actually the audit of the 1% of the boxes in the voting centers had not taken place. Of 196 centers that was the statistical sample, they acknowledged they had only witnessed one.


Trish Regan:               One of the reasons I wanted to talk to you, María, was because we’ve got all of this unfolding here in the U.S. Now I want to make very clear because there’s been a lot of confusion, and a lot of people think Dominion and Smartmatic are the exact same company. Just for anybody listening, they’re not.

Smartmatic was started by three Venezuelan men who spent their time in Florida and Venezuela. It was a big problem according to so many, including the woman that we’re talking with right now, María Corina Machado. It was a huge problem in 2004.

Very briefly, there was some cross-ownership of another company, not to confuse people too much, but Sequoia which was an American company that at some point Smartmatic bought. They were together very, very briefly, and then Sequoia was sold back to its American membership, and later on down the road Dominion acquired Sequoia and eventually spun it off.

So I just want to clarify that because I think a lot of people, in part because of some of Sidney Powell’s comments, they think that they’re one and the same.

But the reason that I wanted to talk to you, María, is because I guess my question is are we always to be suspicious of this technology? I was reporting on Diebold voting machines back years ago in 2004, and I had concerns then, and many had concerns, about the security of those systems. I don’t know entirely how we get comfortable with these.

But again what’s happened to Venezuela since? How do people? Are they still using these machines, and how are they now?


María C. Machado:    Well, actually unfortunately the regime has made more sophisticated the processes in order to control the behavior of our citizens since then in 2004 because the rejection to Chávez and the system has grown so fast.

They have used several things, Trish. They put in place fear. They have members of the military standing by the Smartmatic machine so that your vote is not secret. Certainly the population is pretty clear that this is a totally fraudulent process.

Once you put the doubt in how true and transparent these processes are, then you are doing a huge – you’re hurting the basis of the republic and of peaceful solutions of our differences.

I believe that in this moment is when you most have to ask for the truth to be known. If there was something that I could say to the U.S. citizens and the U.S. society is that you are part of a society that has been an example for the rigorous application of justice and independence of your institutions and the defense of freedom.

So at this point what ought to be done I believe is go and find really what’s happening, what’s the truth, and then the institutions will decide. But never, ever, for the sake of social peace, as some people said back in 2004, you can sacrifice justice because at the end you will end up not only without justice, but also without peace and freedom.

There are differences between the situation in Venezuela and the U.S., and I will not certainly get into that because I do not have that information. I can talk about what’s going on in Venezuela. I can talk about the regime has totally destroyed the institution of the vote and the trust of it, and how we are willing to fight and certainly one day build an electoral system in which every single citizen can trust not only that they vote but that they can have an election that they truly elect.


Trish Regan:               I think one of the things that is so striking and so poignant in terms of what you just said is your warning really to us here in the States because it is such a sacred, sacred thing. And so I look at it, and I say, “Look,” and this is my bias here because there were years that were spent investigating whether or not Donald Trump stole the election from Hillary Clinton with the help of the Russians.

That was something that people wanted to get to the bottom of, and at some point it became absurd and frankly to me a bit of a conspiracy theory. But you know what, at least the Mueller investigation gave people on the Left proof that that didn’t actually happen.

And so in some ways I think that that’s really important because if it had happened, oh my gosh, that would have been just absolutely horrible and devastating.

And so here we’re in this situation where again people need to know what really is going on. If it means extra work and you go through the legal process and you count the votes, then so be it. I look at it, María, and I think not one vote should be illegal. There’s probably always some fraud in the system, I get it. But given the size and economic might of our country, we ought to be able to weed that out. So I hear you on the truth thing.

Going forward to 2012, you still ran for president knowing that the system might be, at least in your view, corrupt. How do you keep people engaged when they’re so frustrated by what happened?


María C. Machado:    Well, at that point there was so much pressure from us and from the citizens in the streets and so on that we were able to make some change to the design of the electoral system. So some of the faults they have made before were corrected, but they came up with others that we weren’t prepared.

At the end, Hugo Chávez’ request to the people who designed all this process is to make sure that he would have an electoral process platform to give him victory without any trace of the fraud committed. And that’s what he got until now.

You know what, Trish, I’ve heard and we’ve got information about that Smartmatic machines have been used in other countries, in the Philippines, in Argentina, and others in which also denouncements of wrongdoing have been emerging. I have no doubt that they put some of the same practices in place there.

But you know what’s paradoxical is that those countries such as the U.S. that have the strongest institutions and have a long culture of respecting results and a strong let’s say justice system and so on, the people act in good faith. Sot the end perhaps you do not have the mechanisms to validate actually what’s taking place.

I think this is a huge lesson for us all. I’m talking about Western democratic societies. The price is freedom is eternal vigilance, and we ought to be much more active in terms of defending those institutions such as the vote and such as justice and such as the truth.

I am sure that at the end the truth will prevail, and I’m sure that the people of the United States will manage to settle their differences and set an example for the rest of the Western world. This is a difficult moment, but I’m sure that at the end, as I said, we will prevail.


Trish Regan:               You know what, I believe that as well, and I admire your optimism and your commitment. I know how committed you are to your country and to the people of Venezuela, and you have not allowed any of this to stop you in your fight for freedom.

So congratulations to you on that. Yes, I agree with you. Thank you for those heartening words and optimistic words. I agree with you. The people will prevail, and the truth will prevail.

María Corina Machado, thank you so much. It is good to talk to you again.


María C. Machado:    Thank you so much, Trish. Take care. You, too, as well.


Trish Regan:               So I hope that this raises a lot of questions in your mind. Look, I want to make again very clear, Smartmatic and Dominion are different companies, and as María said, she doesn’t know a whole lot about what really took place here. None of us do, frankly.

But she wants what happened to her in her country to be known. Let’s not forget, freedom is very fragile, and there’s nothing wrong with asking questions, right? There’s nothing wrong with just trying to verify everything. I think that’s the state in which we are in right now.

We just want to make sure that everything is on the up and up because in my mind, I know that they say, okay, there’s always a little fraud in some elections. I’m not okay with that. I’m sure you’re not okay with that, either.

Look, if you have to show your ID to get into a building, well, gosh, shouldn’t we have a system in place with all these checks and balances when it comes to the sanctity of our vote? I think if anything, 2020 will be a wake-up call for all of us to demand more vigilance when it comes to the voting process.

It’s great to have you here today. Please make sure to go to my website, You can hear from me daily there. I have a daily podcast, Trish Intel, on Apple iTunes, on Spotify, on Amazon, iHeartRadio, anywhere you get your podcasts. I look forward to seeing you here again next week and of course in my weekly edition of and all of my articles there. Have a good one.


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