Venezuela’s recent election was controversial enough. Very few outside the Maduro regime believe its outcome.
Smartmatic’s extraordinary press conference lends greater weight to that scepticism.
The company has worked in Venezuela for a decade providing the systems to operate and verify elections.
It has a lot invested in the country, but appears compelled to put that at risk because it had to speak out.
Smartmatic says the official turnout figure was exaggerated by a million. The company would not go into any further detail, but the implication is clear: the Venezuelan government has been engaged in monstrous electoral fraud.
It says eight million people voted for a new constituent assembly. Barely that number voted for Hugo Chavez at the height of his popularity.
The figure has been mercilessly mocked on social media inside the country, but only in the darkest of humour – a darkness that tinges everything in Venezuela these days.
The vote, regarded as rigged from Lima to Bogota and from Washington to London, gave Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro the means by which to entrench himself in power, at the same time as his popularity plummets.
The new assembly will replace the National Assembly and be stuffed full of Mr Maduro’s cronies and family members.
Venezuela’s economy is falling apart. Rampant inflation, massive unemployment, not enough food to adequately feed 90% of the population, a crisis in medical supplies – the list goes on.
It is a humanitarian disaster. Not in some basket case third-world country with inadequate natural resources, but in a nation sitting on top of more oil than any other on Earth.
The Americans say this is a slide into tyranny.
US Vice President Mike Pence called it a collapse in to dictatorship and listed its transgressions – a sham election, the arrest of opposition members already being held illegally, the abuse of power and people.
Isaias Medina was a Venezuelan diplomat until he resigned two weeks ago in protest at the deteriorating situation.
“So far what we have seen since Sunday was a massacre,” he told Sky News.
“The violation of civil rights, abuse and these midnight raids taking these two opposition leaders. And this is just the beginning.
“I believe what he is planning to do is have absolute power and absolute power means absolute corruption.”
Venezuela has been sinking deeper and deeper into lawless chaos.
More than 100 people have died in protests in the last four months. Huge demonstrations are planned for Thursday when the new assembly is convened.
More violence seems certain.