Archive for February, 2004

Protests continue

February 29, 2004

A friend reports that in La Candelaria, only blocks away from the Presidential palace, people are coming down from the buildings, burning tires and carboard taken from Chavez’ billboards.  The civil desobedience is not nationwide yet, but it is spreading.

Protests continue

February 29, 2004

A friend reports that in La Candelaria, only blocks away from the Presidential palace, people are coming down from the buildings, burning tires and carboard taken from Chavez’ billboards.  The civil desobedience is not nationwide yet, but it is spreading.

Carter and OAS back postponment,some negotiation is going on

February 29, 2004

Jennifer McCoy from The Carter center and Fernando Jaramillo from the OAS come on TV to “back” the decision by the CNE not to announce the final results of the petition process tonight and allow for people to give their input on the way to have people ratify their signature. Something is definitely up!

Reuters: Chavez calls Bush an asshole

February 29, 2004


Reuters headline as sent by a good friend: ” 





Chavez calls Bush an “asshole” as foes fight troops” , he called him “pendejo”.

Weird CNE announcement

February 29, 2004

The CNE just made a very strange announcement that “to allow the different parties interested in the recall referenda and the mechanisms established this morning for people to correct whether their signature is good or not. the announcemnet of the different referenda as well as waiting for those interested to make comments, will be postponed until tomorrow”.


Negotiations taking place?

Getting Scary

February 29, 2004

 


Things are changing very fast. Repression is taking place in too many places right now. As Hugo Chavez was giving a nationwide speech that TV stations are forced to broadcast, the National Guard attacked the people in Altamira using the new, dangerous and very repressive technique of having Guards riding in motorcycles shooting tear gas canisters (see picture next post up).


 


Chavez’ speech had a different tone. While it is the people of Venezuela asking for respect for their rights and defending their signatures, Hugo Chavez began attacking the US and George Bush, challenging him to see who would last longer in power and threatening to cut off oil supplies to that country. He even said that if the US took over Venezuelan property, he would nationalize American property in Venezuela.


 


Right now, the National Guard is repressing in the East of Caracas, Maracaibo, San Antonio, right outside of Caracas and the west of Caracas. Now political police is all over the place with assault rifles in El Paraiso, in the west and in Horizonte in the east of Caracas. Meanwhile in Barquisimeto, Deputy Alfredo Ramos has been jailed, despite having immunity according to the Constitution. Other, lower level political activists of various parties have been jailed.


 



 


As I write 7:18 PM, it seems as if more people are going out despite it being more dangerous. Right now, I see political police officials with assault weapons in front of the Baruta municipality building. Their faces are covered.


 


Very scary…but I am going out tonight anyway.

Getting Scary

February 29, 2004

 


Things are changing very fast. Repression is taking place in too many places right now. As Hugo Chavez was giving a nationwide speech that TV stations are forced to broadcast, the National Guard attacked the people in Altamira using the new, dangerous and very repressive technique of having Guards riding in motorcycles shooting tear gas canisters (see picture next post up).


 


Chavez’ speech had a different tone. While it is the people of Venezuela asking for respect for their rights and defending their signatures, Hugo Chavez began attacking the US and George Bush, challenging him to see who would last longer in power and threatening to cut off oil supplies to that country. He even said that if the US took over Venezuelan property, he would nationalize American property in Venezuela.


 


Right now, the National Guard is repressing in the East of Caracas, Maracaibo, San Antonio, right outside of Caracas and the west of Caracas. Now political police is all over the place with assault rifles in El Paraiso, in the west and in Horizonte in the east of Caracas. Meanwhile in Barquisimeto, Deputy Alfredo Ramos has been jailed, despite having immunity according to the Constitution. Other, lower level political activists of various parties have been jailed.


 



 


As I write 7:18 PM, it seems as if more people are going out despite it being more dangerous. Right now, I see political police officials with assault weapons in front of the Baruta municipality building. Their faces are covered.


 


Very scary…but I am going out tonight anyway.

Tension and clashes throughout Venezuela

February 29, 2004

Caracas and Maracaibo are tense as National Guardsmen and opposition groups continue to clash. No more than two miles from my house there is lots of smoke. It all started when some Guardsmen in motorcycles were booed by people and some began throwing stones at them. The Guards got off the motorcycle and started throwng cannisters at the people.


Separately, the funeral procession of the carpenter shot death on Friday was attacked as it went by the Bolivarian University. Civialinas and members of the political police thrww tear gas at the procession. Fewer details about Maracaibo, but I undertand that when the CNE announced the questioning of the 148,000 forms, things got more intense.

CNE approves rules for sigantures under observation.

February 29, 2004

The Consejo Nacional Electoral has just approved the procedure for citizens whose signature is being question to ratify hat they signed. The vote was 3-0 with the two pro-opposition Directors not present. There will be 1,000 centers (one thitd of those used to gather the signatures), open during five days from 8 AM to 6 PM. The CNE will issue booklets (!!) with seven million national ID numbers. The list will say whether somebody’s signature is valid, rejected or under observation. Those rejected stand rejected. Those whose sigantures is under observation will have to go to a specific center to ratify they signed.


From other sources I understand that there will be a CNE book with a computer printout with the names and national ID numbers of thos whose signatures are under observation. The person will have to present their national ID number, sign and stamp their fingerprint. There will be no verification of the fingerprints. There is no word about the rules, how the CNE will guarantee access to the opposition and the pro-Chavez forces to the data, the centers. No mention either about international observers, I am sure they will play a role. The problem now is what if some part of this process is also questioned later? How do they guarantee that it will not be?


I think the opposition has to participate and massively ask their supporters to go and ratify. But is it workable in such a short time? How can the poor and the old that were visited ratify their signatures? Will the time lost be subtracted from the timetable towards a recall vote if one ever takes place? We will know later tonight, how many verified signatures the opposition has, I hear the number is 1.925 million good ones.


Note added: From what I understood, if a signature was rejected you have no appeal. I had undeerstood earlier that that was precisley why this period was planned originally. Jorge Rodriguez in making his announcement mentioned some numbers which to me are not that meaningful. Basically, he is saying the planas have a higher percentage, in a sample, of illegible fingerprints, but the differenc is 3% (from 33% to 36-37% or something like that). It seems irrelevant. He also says irregular ones doubles from 11% to 22%. It still says little to me. So far, there is no evidence of fraud. A CMT reporter is saying his sources tell him the opposition has 1.977 million signatures that are valid. If true, the ratification process should be quite easy.


Reportedly now, the ratification process would have live PC’s on site to register what the person signing is doing. How do you verify the correct input was entered? Rodriguez made some very unfair statemnets saying they could have been (tougher), as if it was a matter of benevolence and not the law and basic rights. Very sad.

CNE approves rules for sigantures under observation.

February 29, 2004

The Consejo Nacional Electoral has just approved the procedure for citizens whose signature is being question to ratify hat they signed. The vote was 3-0 with the two pro-opposition Directors not present. There will be 1,000 centers (one thitd of those used to gather the signatures), open during five days from 8 AM to 6 PM. The CNE will issue booklets (!!) with seven million national ID numbers. The list will say whether somebody’s signature is valid, rejected or under observation. Those rejected stand rejected. Those whose sigantures is under observation will have to go to a specific center to ratify they signed.


From other sources I understand that there will be a CNE book with a computer printout with the names and national ID numbers of thos whose signatures are under observation. The person will have to present their national ID number, sign and stamp their fingerprint. There will be no verification of the fingerprints. There is no word about the rules, how the CNE will guarantee access to the opposition and the pro-Chavez forces to the data, the centers. No mention either about international observers, I am sure they will play a role. The problem now is what if some part of this process is also questioned later? How do they guarantee that it will not be?


I think the opposition has to participate and massively ask their supporters to go and ratify. But is it workable in such a short time? How can the poor and the old that were visited ratify their signatures? Will the time lost be subtracted from the timetable towards a recall vote if one ever takes place? We will know later tonight, how many verified signatures the opposition has, I hear the number is 1.925 million good ones.


Note added: From what I understood, if a signature was rejected you have no appeal. I had undeerstood earlier that that was precisley why this period was planned originally. Jorge Rodriguez in making his announcement mentioned some numbers which to me are not that meaningful. Basically, he is saying the planas have a higher percentage, in a sample, of illegible fingerprints, but the differenc is 3% (from 33% to 36-37% or something like that). It seems irrelevant. He also says irregular ones doubles from 11% to 22%. It still says little to me. So far, there is no evidence of fraud. A CMT reporter is saying his sources tell him the opposition has 1.977 million signatures that are valid. If true, the ratification process should be quite easy.


Reportedly now, the ratification process would have live PC’s on site to register what the person signing is doing. How do you verify the correct input was entered? Rodriguez made some very unfair statemnets saying they could have been (tougher), as if it was a matter of benevolence and not the law and basic rights. Very sad.

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