Archive for April 14th, 2004

CNE sets signature ratification process for May

April 14, 2004

CNE Director Jorge Rodriguez announced the dates for the ratification of the signatures for the recall referenda of the opposition Deputies (from May 13th. to May 17th.) and for pro-Chavez Deputies and the President (from May 20th. to the 24th.). There will be 2,659 centers to do it in the same locations where the signatures were gathered last November.


The CNE Director abstained from saying which signatures will or not be included in the process, concentrating on the procedure to be used. Thus, the opposition will have until the date of the ratification to have the Supreme Court force the CNE to exclude the forms with the same calligraphy from the ratification process as well as including the 39,000 forms rejected outright.


 


Rodriguez announced that the whole process will be run and monitored by the CNE alone, but there will be one witness for each side on each polling booth. In another amazing twist of the regulations, the five days stipulated will be reduced to only three, with the first and last day being used to set up and dismount the polling booths.


 


I can not get too excited about this announcement. The opposition needs more than 60% of the people to show up to ratify their signatures, there will be lots of confusion about who has to go or not and ratify their signature and the time is too restricted. Moreover, I still do not understand the role of the PC’s at the polling booths. It is an unnecessary expense that in my mind has the purpose of allowing the Chavez Government to monitor the process and apply further pressure on those that signed to go say they did not.


 


I also believe that the absence of any possibility of itinerant ratification will stop the old, the sick as well as the poor from going to ratify their signatures. Unless the Court forces the CNE to allow those 39,000 forms to be part of the ratification I can not be too positive. Having said that, I will still go tomorrow and volunteer and be trained by the Democratic Coordinator (CD) to aid people in the process of ratifying their signatures. What the CD will be doing is set up centers to give out information on whether a signature was deemed valid or not by the CNE and if it is subject to ratification or not.

CNE sets signature ratification process for May

April 14, 2004

CNE Director Jorge Rodriguez announced the dates for the ratification of the signatures for the recall referenda of the opposition Deputies (from May 13th. to May 17th.) and for pro-Chavez Deputies and the President (from May 20th. to the 24th.). There will be 2,659 centers to do it in the same locations where the signatures were gathered last November.


The CNE Director abstained from saying which signatures will or not be included in the process, concentrating on the procedure to be used. Thus, the opposition will have until the date of the ratification to have the Supreme Court force the CNE to exclude the forms with the same calligraphy from the ratification process as well as including the 39,000 forms rejected outright.


 


Rodriguez announced that the whole process will be run and monitored by the CNE alone, but there will be one witness for each side on each polling booth. In another amazing twist of the regulations, the five days stipulated will be reduced to only three, with the first and last day being used to set up and dismount the polling booths.


 


I can not get too excited about this announcement. The opposition needs more than 60% of the people to show up to ratify their signatures, there will be lots of confusion about who has to go or not and ratify their signature and the time is too restricted. Moreover, I still do not understand the role of the PC’s at the polling booths. It is an unnecessary expense that in my mind has the purpose of allowing the Chavez Government to monitor the process and apply further pressure on those that signed to go say they did not.


 


I also believe that the absence of any possibility of itinerant ratification will stop the old, the sick as well as the poor from going to ratify their signatures. Unless the Court forces the CNE to allow those 39,000 forms to be part of the ratification I can not be too positive. Having said that, I will still go tomorrow and volunteer and be trained by the Democratic Coordinator (CD) to aid people in the process of ratifying their signatures. What the CD will be doing is set up centers to give out information on whether a signature was deemed valid or not by the CNE and if it is subject to ratification or not.

Colombian Senate takes strong stand against Venezuelan Government

April 14, 2004

Today the Colombian Senate approved a declaration today backing the Venezuelan opposition in its request for a recall referendum against President Hugo Chavez, calling for an immediate call for the referendum. In the declaration, the Colombian Senate calls for the application of the OAS Democratic charter of which Venezuela is a participant. The Colombian Senate argued that they are making this request due to the fact that the Chavze regime is not recognizing the principles that oversee a democracy and human rights.


The decision is important because it shows the growing concern in Latin America over the Venezuelan situation and puts added pressure on Chavez and the Government to follow the country’s Constitution. It is no small step for the Senate of the neighboring country to do what they did today. This will clearly put a damper on Venezuelan-Colombian relations, one of the most significant trading partners the country has.


 


The pressure on the Chavez administration goes both ways, they could decide to accept the pressure or it could push the Government further into the realm of illegality.  The Minister of Foreign Relations argued that the decision is a coarse interference n the country’s affairs, while Deputy Tarek William Saab called it media noise and a publicity stunt, attempting to blame the Us Government on the announcement.


 


As usual, Venezuelan Government officials twisted the reality calling the decision an interference in Venezuelan politics, forgetting the terms of the Interamerican Democratic Charter, which allows any member Government to ask for the charter to be invoked. It is clearly within the scope of the Colombian Senate to ask its Government requesting such an act.


 


It will be interesting to see what the reaction of the Colombian Government is. It clearly creates problems for its diplomacy. While internally the Colombian Government may agree with the declaration by the Senate, they may disagree with the timing of the vote, preferring to wait until the Chavez Government has stepped further away from legality before addressing the issue.


 


At the same time, it is clear that the Interamerican Democratic Charter has mostly been empty words so far as it was useless in the case of the Fujimori Government and its existence has done little to induce the Chavez administration to obey its own Constitution and stop the violation of Human Rights in Venezuela. In fact, during the last month and a half human rights violations and the attempt to cover them up have intensified in both numbers and intensity, unmasking the true nature of the Government.


 


For the opposition, it is another small step and a recognition that following the democratic path is working and international opinion is no longer on Chavez’ side.

Colombian Senate takes strong stand against Venezuelan Government

April 14, 2004

Today the Colombian Senate approved a declaration today backing the Venezuelan opposition in its request for a recall referendum against President Hugo Chavez, calling for an immediate call for the referendum. In the declaration, the Colombian Senate calls for the application of the OAS Democratic charter of which Venezuela is a participant. The Colombian Senate argued that they are making this request due to the fact that the Chavze regime is not recognizing the principles that oversee a democracy and human rights.


The decision is important because it shows the growing concern in Latin America over the Venezuelan situation and puts added pressure on Chavez and the Government to follow the country’s Constitution. It is no small step for the Senate of the neighboring country to do what they did today. This will clearly put a damper on Venezuelan-Colombian relations, one of the most significant trading partners the country has.


 


The pressure on the Chavez administration goes both ways, they could decide to accept the pressure or it could push the Government further into the realm of illegality.  The Minister of Foreign Relations argued that the decision is a coarse interference n the country’s affairs, while Deputy Tarek William Saab called it media noise and a publicity stunt, attempting to blame the Us Government on the announcement.


 


As usual, Venezuelan Government officials twisted the reality calling the decision an interference in Venezuelan politics, forgetting the terms of the Interamerican Democratic Charter, which allows any member Government to ask for the charter to be invoked. It is clearly within the scope of the Colombian Senate to ask its Government requesting such an act.


 


It will be interesting to see what the reaction of the Colombian Government is. It clearly creates problems for its diplomacy. While internally the Colombian Government may agree with the declaration by the Senate, they may disagree with the timing of the vote, preferring to wait until the Chavez Government has stepped further away from legality before addressing the issue.


 


At the same time, it is clear that the Interamerican Democratic Charter has mostly been empty words so far as it was useless in the case of the Fujimori Government and its existence has done little to induce the Chavez administration to obey its own Constitution and stop the violation of Human Rights in Venezuela. In fact, during the last month and a half human rights violations and the attempt to cover them up have intensified in both numbers and intensity, unmasking the true nature of the Government.


 


For the opposition, it is another small step and a recognition that following the democratic path is working and international opinion is no longer on Chavez’ side.

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