Sunday, February 29, 2004

Another day full of action?

Sunday 29, February 2004

Action 1: Chavismo is calling for its two sets of marches. One is leaving from Parque del Este (without official permit but chavismo refuses to ask permit from city halls that are not in their hands, which tells you right there the extent of their respect for democracy and law). The other one leaving from their "stronghold" of El Valle. They will meet at Jardin Botanico, which is interesting. Indeed after having pretended that there were only a handful of people on February 14 they want in turn to go there to measure up. Another case of imitation as the sincerest form of flattery.

Chavez has postponed his Sunday peroration Alo, Presidente for tonight, so we do not know exactly what is going on, whether he will cancel it if attendance is good and prefers to show up at the podium for another 2-3 hours speech, or if he is saving the excuse of Alo Presidente to bail out of a low attendance rally. No matter what, the open air speech will be at night which helps inflate attendance.

It was funny this morning to hear Celia Flores (one of the two pasionaras of the regime) calling all to march in the defense of Venezuelan sovereignty against interference of the USA. In pure castrist style, culpabilizing those that do not share such a noble purpose as are ready to sell their fatherland to imperialism. Just like Chavez did in Guyana a few days ago? It did sting Celia, no?

Action 2: the Electoral Board (CNE) is supposed to gather this morning and emit some communication. Today was supposedly the self appointed deadline from the CNE to give the final result, a final result that should have legally been given in January 19. But the CNE has stopped any pretense at trying to play by the rules that they set themselves, when the trio is not changing the rules of the game as they go.

The best we can hope there is an agreement as to have a real and realistic way to "correct" the "faulty signatures". The opposition does not seem to be amused and the OAS and Carter Center will need to pull out a miracle from their trick hat.

Incidentally dear CNE. If you had announced that the electoral calendar would not be affected by your sloppy work the opposition would be quieter. But the fact that you are refusing to consider to make any amend might be what is altering people so much. Why not announce a referendum on May 15 even if the official date of announcement is only mid March? Who is stopping you to prepare for an election even if this one will not take place? You would have at least acted in good faith, or projected that image.

Action 3: which brings us to the opposition. Today there might be some activity going on still. But what we are waiting is for an official announcement that would follow immediately a new failure of the CNE to come up with something acceptable. It could be a declaration of war or a last ditch effort to play by the rules. The CNE knows now what can happen in the streets. It is not a mater anymore of having a referendum or not, it is a matter if we can trust the CNE for elections, any election, even Miss Podunk election.

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