During the past weeks, thanks to the Venezuelan Student Movement, we could follow the Venezuelan electoral campaign. I hope you enjoyed the reading as much as I enjoyed passing on the information. Today, October 7th, 2012, the presidential elections take place. Let us hope that these elections will be as free and fair as they should be and that the looser, whoever he is, will show fairplay and accept the results.
The article below includes the daily newsletters of the past days. Pierre-Antoine KLETHI
October 2nd, 2012
CNE: witnesses, board members and distribution of machines to voting centers
On Sunday, the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, said that 96,374 witnesses of political parties were accredited to participate in the elections. (1) At the same time, today began the distribution of voting machines to voting centers, stated Lucena. By October 7th, there will be 245 international observers. (2, 3)
Capriles: Vice-President, Minister of Defense and foreign policy plans
The presidential candidate Henrique Capriles announced he had already decided who would be his vice president and defense minister if he were to win the elections, but that he would reveal their names after the results of the elections on Sunday.
He added that “our foreign relations will be linked to the solution of the problems of Venezuelans” and that his government will emphasize that each “integration process should be favorable for Venezuela”. In addition, he reported that if he were to win on October 7th, one of the first visits he will make would be to Brazil and also plans to sell Venezuelan products to China. “Our relation must be win-win situation, not one where we are at a disadvantage (…) we should follow the example of successful cases such as Brazil and China,” he added.
Rangel Silva accuses Capriles of wanting to destabilize the military
The Minister of Defense, Henry Rangel Silva, said this morning in the program “All Venezuela” of Ernesto Villegas, on the state channel Venezolana de Television, that ” the dismantle of the armed forces is part of Capriles’ plan of government and I believe there are no active Generals willing to dismantle the armed forces.” The general said: “We have control of the situation … those who attempt to disturb the order, in an effort to want to change the results, will be controlled by the forces of order and security, and perhaps by the people.” (4)
October 4th, 2012
CNE authorities assure the system will work accordingly
The rector of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Vicente Díaz, informed that all the electoral material must be deployed to all the voting centres between today and tomorrow, and assured that the system is “definitely” bulletproof. He indicated that the Electoral Registration has been revised and pointed out that this upcoming Thursday morning, the collaborating members and witnesses must attend the installation of the voting tables and verify that no material is missing and make sure the machines have their validation seals. The protocol check by the CNE will be done on Friday. (5)
Venezuelan Government alerts “coup oriented” violence at the UN
The permanent representative of Venezuela for the United Nations (UN), Jorge Valero, denounced this past Monday in the UN that “antidemocratic and coup oriented” sectors of his country will seek to turn to violence in the scenario that the president and re-election candidate, Chávez, wins the October 7th elections. (6)
TSJ accompaniment during October 7th
Luisa Estela Morales, president of the Supreme Justice Tribunal (TSJ), informed that the Judicial Branch of Power will place 344 judges on call in the respective justice courts for the voting process, and will maintain the Constitutional and Criminal Courts of the TSJ in standby, in order to “closely follow the unfolding of this electoral event”. Morales highlighted the high professional quality of the five rectors of the electoral referee, the Electoral National Council (CNE), and affirmed, “We’re prepared for this Sunday”. (7)
Statements of the Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS
The Venezuelan ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Roy Chaderton, assured that “Chávez hasn’t lost and won’t lose any election and I’m absolutely convinced about it”. Chaderton also indicated that the President has a capacity to rectify when he makes mistakes and he does it in public, reason why he assures that Chavez’s commitment “will be to improve every day, to be more socialist, democratic and thus get us closer to social justice”. (8)
Moreover, the ambassador, during his participation in the program “All Venezuela” transmitted by Venezolana de Television (VTV), State owned network, affirmed that on October 7th “the motherland is at stake”. He says “everything that has been built in 14 years must be continued”, and that he doesn’t believe in the proposal of the opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski. (9)
US Hispanic-American Senators declarations on Venezuelan elections
The only two Hispanic-American Senators, Democrat Bob Menéndez and Republican Marco Rubio, requested international vigilance of the Venezuelan elections. Both senators pointed out in a joint communicate that “the Venezuelan government has the obligation to make sure a free and transparent electoral process takes place, guarantee the safety of all the voters, and respect the will of the voters”. (10)
Public employees that don’t wish to go to Bolivar Avenue are threatened
Employees of the ministries, autonomous institutes and State entities will not work this Thursday October 4th, because they must attend an act of the Regime, in this case, a mobilization and concentration in the Bolivar Avenue of Caracas for the closure of the electoral campaign of president Hugo Chávez Frías. A public officer that requested to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation, explained: “The order is to go tomorrow to the organisms where they’ll pass an attendance sheet and then go to Bolivar Avenue”, and added that “not accepting or sneaking from marching is risking being transferred without consulting or of hindering a promotion up the ladder for years of service, the culmination of specialized studies or merit”. (11)
CEV invitation to vote
The president of the Episcopal Venezuelan Conference (CEV), Monsignor Diego Padron, invited all the Venezuelans to vote consciously in order to contribute to the construction of “a just, free and democratic society”. The cleric also delivered statements about the violence that took place in Barinas, where opposition militants were killed and, in that sense, pointed out that we must reinforce the idea that Venezuela is a country of liberty and “if the act of going to vote is a threat then that means that we’re in a sick society”. (12)
Capriles’ response to the Defense Minister
Presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski made reference to the statements given by the Defense Minister, General Henry Rangel Silva, pointing out that his reaction is disparaging to (the Minister) himself, given that he’s placing himself on the side of politics. Silva said about Capriles’ announcement of designating an active General of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) as his Defense Minister that he was mistakenly triumphant, and furthermore criticized his plan for government. Capriles stated that he has been building his cabinet for some time and that it’s made up of Venezuelans committed to the future and progress. (13)
October 5th, 2012
The state’s powers clarify doubts regarding the electoral process and international presence on October 7th. This past Tuesday, October 2nd, public officials of the Chávez’s administration gathered in the National Electoral Council (CNE) to clarify doubts regarding the electoral process that will take place in Venezuela on October 7th. The president of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), Luisa Estella Morales, and the District Attorney, Luisa Ortega Díaz, showed confidence about the development of the elections. Díaz said: “There were several concerns that needed to be clarified to the Venezuelan people. Considering that the exercise to vote is a right, it is a matter of the Public Ministries to guarantee proper voting procedures and that once the elections are ended, the results have to be respected” (14).
The group of international companions of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) was part of this event. The president of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena, declared: “The presence of the observers, as companions, is proof that what we have achieved the reinforcement of the electoral system” (15).
Moreover, several guests invited by “Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD)” will be arriving to Venezuela to be present in the elections that will take place next Sunday, October 7th. Ramón José Medina, Executive Secretary of MUD, explained that 25 of the guests are accredited by the CNE. “They have the opportunity to be at the voting centres to see how the process is moving along. They will be limited regarding declarations, but there is the possibility for them to be witnesses of the problems that might occur”, he explained (16).
Capriles closed his campaign in Portuguesa and Zulia
The presidential candidate of MUD, Henrique Capriles Radonski, closed his campaign in the states Portuguesa and Zulia; in both tours he was accompanied by massive concentrations of followers. In Portuguesa he was with the MUD’s candidate to be governor, Iván Colmenares; he made reference to the big amount of unfinished projects that the government has in that state. “Portuguesa is an example of the failed model that has been ruling over Venezuela: there are schools falling apart, electric shutdowns, lack of high schools, and agriculture deficiency”, Capriles stated (17).
In Zulia, Capriles Radonski’s followers filled the Avenue 5 de Julio (1.5 km) in support of the candidate. He was accompanied by the governor Pablo Pérez and the Mayor of Maracaibo. Capriles expressed that he was confident that he will be the next president of Venezuela, and he asked to manage the victory properly. “There will not be persecutions or revenge (in his eventual government)”, because “hatred will be buried after October 7th. We are going after a Venezuela where we can all think freely” (18).
In an interview made by the TV Channel Venevisión, Capriles said that he is willing to recognize the results of the elections on October 7th. “I will recognize it 100%. To me the will that is expressed by the people is sacred”. (19)
Capriles on the final round on his tour throughout the whole country
The presidential candidate Henrique Capriles made a concentration today in Cojedes state, as part of the final round of his tour throughout the country. “Today is a day to celebrate, today we are closing a wonderful campaign”, he said. He stated that no one was forced to assist the celebration, and criticized: “The government forces several of our public servers to wear a shirt of a specific colour and assist political acts. I want to tell all public workers that starting next Sunday no one will have to dress with a shirt of a certain colour to exercise their rights”.
Regarding his encouragement to vote he said: “I want to ask all of you to vote, but also that each and every single one of you take other people to vote”. The candidate of MUD still has to visit Apure and Lara states to end his campaign (20).
Chavez’s campaign closure in Bolívar Avenue
The president and candidate Hugo Chávez started his speech in his campaign closure Thursday afternoon, in the middle of rain. “Long live the youth, long live the rain”, said the President, highlighting that “the circumstances force me to be brief”. The manifestation included, besides Bolivar Avenue, other six avenues of the capital. While he encouraged his followers to vote, he said: “victory is unquestionable. We are going to beat them up. It will be a great victory, the Bolivarian victory, the popular victory”. The candidate insisted that Chavism needs to go out on the streets early in the morning to vote and be ready to defend “the victory of the people against of the bourgeoisie (…) with this rain we consider ourselves blessed by the hand of God. It is a prelude of what will happen on Sunday. Chávez will win on October 7th”, he said. He added that his followers would celebrate out on the streets by Noon. (21)
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