Thursday, March 04, 2004

A recap on the Venezuela Situation
Part 3: reactions to the electoral fraud of the CNE

The first reactions of the opposition were not very good. Borges and Ledezma last night already seemed unwilling to go to the "reparation" process.

The international observers did not agree with the decision. They did not share the criteria for invalidation adopted by the CNE. They reminded that the process was unusually laden with security checks and witnesses that have failed to report any fraud: security paper, witnesses, serialization of the signing forms, the presence of even CNE witness that did not say anything at the time. A very diplomatic way to say that the CNE screwed up big time. They even alluded to the judicial principles of good faith.

But today some more nuances were perceived. Tal Cual's editor Teodoro Petkoff reminded us that it was not over until it was over, Yogi Berra style. While suggesting that the opposition might be justified not to accept going to reparation under the present scheme.

During the day the multi vilified SUMATE explained clearly why the proposed repair scheme was unrealistic.

Finally former guerilla Pompeyo Marquez, ex-colleague of the Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel when they founded the MAS out of the reconciled guerilla, came out as the spokesperson of the CD to admit that there are negotiations to avoid bloodshed. I quote the English section of El Universal:

Pompeyo Marquez, member of the opposition umbrella group Democratic Coordinator, admitted they are negotiating with the National Electoral Council (CNE) in an effort to "save the referendum", and ensured that "under the current terms, we are not going to accept" the process under which voter must confirmed they signed a presidential recall vote petition.
Marquez said that if the CNE makes more flexible the verification process and pays attention to the Democratic Coordinator proposals, they would convoke electors to said process.

And in the complete Spanish version some more, my translation:

Marquez asked Jose Vicente Rangel to pronounce himself on the human Rights violations of recent days.
"I want to know what does Jose Vicente Rangel says in front of an event as this one. Do you remember, Jose Vicente, Alberto Lovera? Well, there you have some one assassinated through a bullet in the back. Speak! Do not shut up!

Making allusion of a famous case years ago. Chavismo makes friends part ways. Sic transit gloria mundi.

And while we are on Human Rights:

Cofavic, a prominent human rights defender in Venezuela, condemned "the disproportionate use of anti-riot equipment by the National Guard, the indiscriminate and massive use of highly concentrated tear gases with residual effect, the shooting of plastic bullets at short distance and totally unnecessary physical violence."
Seven Venezuelan human rights organizations released a communiqué calling for an urgent cease to violence and rejecting the attitude of opposition mayors who have "directly participated in the building of barricades (...) and failed to keep public order."

Indeed, in my barricade visits I did not see Baruta security checking to at least make sure that home made bombs were safely made. It is true that the opposition mayors might not have been as convincing as they could in pretending to worry about public order. Though in all fairness I wonder what Chacao Police could have done in front of the open insurrection in Plaza Altamira


The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (ICHR) expressed its concern about the "serious violent events" observed in Venezuela during the recent demonstrations, which have left six dead and 60 injured people, news agency Efe reported.
In a communiqué, the ICHR attributed the toll to "the unduly use of force" both by the National Guard, the Directorate for Intelligence, Security, and Prevention (DISIP), and the demonstrators.
The ICHR reminded that the Venezuelan State must keep public order respecting the national and international conventions on human rights.
The organization added that it has been informed about the arrest of numerous people as a result of public demonstrations and urged Venezuela to "respect the procedural guarantees and the basic rights" of the people arrested. Likewise, it called "for the protection of mass media workers and facilities, so that they may continue informing Venezuelan society."
The organization would closely monitor the Venezuelan situation.

But if you thought that this might have some effect, that something was done to this effect in Venezuela read on:

Two judges based on Caracas were removed from their positions for having ordered the release of demonstrators belonging to different opposition political organizations.
Iván Rincón, president of the Supreme Court of Justice, sent the judges a statement informing their dismissal.
Maria Trastoy Hombre ordered the freedom of six members of the opposition Primero Justicia party who were arrested during demonstrations to demand a presidential recall vote. The second judge removed is Petra Jimenez.

Justice in Venezuela! Ivan Rincon demonstrates again that he sold out to Chavez long ago.

Meanwhile the clock keeps ticking and the death toll has risen to 9 since last Friday, and violation of Human Rights reports continue. And my own governor, Yaracuy's Lapi has declared himself in civil disobedience and might be facing arrest.

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