Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is losing ground among former supporters.
How do we know? Because Associated Press and media outlets across the world that carry AP reports tell us so.
AP correspondent Luis Andres Henao went to an opposition rally in Petare, a poor Caracas barrio, "which used to be a bastion of support for Chavez" but now throws up numbers of people disappointed by lack of progress under the president's Bolivarian revolution.
"Now Chavez is spending heavily building apartments and paying out more benefits to poor families, but some in the working class still complain that they're being bypassed and have lost faith in the government's promises."
Incidentally, Chavez announced last month that Petare, the capital's largest barrio, is to be redeveloped with a new high street and metro-cable system.
Even Henao has to admit that the best showing in opinion polls for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles is "neck and neck," while most pollsters credit Chavez with at least a 10-point lead just over a week before the October 7 presidential election.
The president remains supremely confident, declaring: "For those who say there's a hidden vote or that Chavistas will vote against Chavez, it's something like saying there are Martians on the sun."
The stories about Chavez losing steam, or of his supporters losing their confidence in their champion, follow in the wake of widely syndicated allegations that Chavez is a despot and has clamped down on Venezuela's "free" media.
This is the man who has faced countless elections and referendums, winning all but one and abiding by the people's verdict in the one he lost.
This "dictator" rules a country where private - mainly pro-opposition - TV stations still command nearly 95 per cent of the viewing audience.
Chavez is backed not only by his own United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) but also by the Communist Party (PCV).
Carolus Wimmer, who is PCV international secretary and a member of the regional Latin American Parliament, drew attention in a recent interview with the Communist Party of Australia weekly Guardian to efforts being deployed to frustrate the people's freely expressed will.
He stressed that despite Capriles's efforts to pass himself off as a Lula-style candidate of the left - a comparison which the former Brazilian president rejects - "in his youth he was a member of the international fascist movement Tradicion, Familia y Propriedad (Tradition, Family and Property)."
Wimmer pointed out that Chavez had not hesitated to sign an official commitment to the national electoral council to accept the result of the election, while Capriles refused to do so.
"It's a message. So what is the plan?" asked the PCV representative.
The dirty tricks implication is clear. Many Chavez supporters have noted a number of potentially destabilising incidents recently and detect a pattern.
The false rumour that over 80 Yanomani native Americans had been slaughtered by Brazilian goldminers in the remote south settlement of Irotatheri spread far and wide sowing seeds of doubt over whether the government could defend national territory or its population.
Worse still, media commentators such as James Mackay in Britain's Guardian newspaper dismissed Venezuela Minister for Indigenous Peoples Nick Maldonado's denial of a massacre, suggesting that "the government might have had its own motives not to find evidence of these killings."
There were also widespread - and again false - stories about Venezuelan children being kidnapped so that internal organs could be sold for transplants.
Add to that the recent mysterious explosion at the main oil refinery Amuay, which killed 42 workers, prompting a wave of speculation about government "failure" to safeguard health and safety.
Wimmer noted in his Australian Guardian interview that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had hinted last month that "unforeseen events" might take place and affect the result.
It could have been an off-the-cuff remark, but given regional history and other instances such as the systematic hacking and falsification of PCV websites, government agencies and the twitter account of PSUV vice-president Diosdado Cabella, pro-Chavez forces are on the alert.
Not that the Capriles camp is without troubles. Four of the parties in his coalition have abandoned him, claiming to have been ignored and isolated.
Despite his "Lula" rhetoric, he is also implicated in a leaked document confirming that, in government, he would dismantle social missions introduced by Chavez to help the poorest in society, handing them over to the private sector.
Capriles claims that the document prepared by his supporters is nothing to do with him and that his signature on it was forged.
He also denies any knowledge of a filmed meeting between his representative on the national electoral council Juan Carlos Caldera and a foreign businessman in which Caldera took a large amount of cash for the Capriles election campaign.
Caldera was summarily expelled from Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD) for "corruption" after Capriles insisted that his representative had used his name without permission.
It is against the law for political parties in Venezuela to accept finances from abroad, so the National Assembly has opened an investigation, but that cannot be completed before next weekend's election.
How many more surprises or "unforeseen events" lie in store before the result is known?
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