We have witnessed in the last two weeks an absurd discussion on the part of the Chavistas as to the role of the international observers. International observers are invited to electoral processes as a way of guaranteeing the transparency and cleanliness of the process, nothing else, and nothing more. Observers are invited to protect both sides, to warn of tricks and guarantee the results are valid.
Thus, it certainly sounds fishy and sends the wrong signal to the world to limit, restrict and regulate what they can or not do while they are here. In the regulations issued by the pro-Chavez CNE, observers will not be allowed to make any public comments! How absurd can you get? Imagine there is massive cheating by either side and the CNE is saying the observers will have to remain silent, write their reports and then go home? Simply absurd.
The level of absurdity is reaching such a point that in the latest proposal; even the number of days spent in Venezuela is being regulated. To me it is quite clear and it should worry those that are pro-Chavez that this is not a concern: The presence of international observers guarantees that both sides will respect the outcome no matter who wins! If you had one observer per polling station, it would be great! But the argument is that no election in the world has had more than 50 international observers (false: Peru and Nicaragua had many times more than that), thus why should the Venezuelan referendum have more?
The answer is clear; we want the outcome to be respected, clear, and transparent, without any possible or reasonable doubt. We want observers to go around the country freely (not only to the six states specified by the CNE), to speak out freely, to be allowed to visit, probe. As a loyal member of the opposition, I don’t want Chavez to come out and say, like he did after the signatures, that there had been a massive fraud (whatever happened to that?). I want the evidence to be overwhelming that he won or lost, fair and square, for everyone to se and accept. And the only way for that is to have thousands, if possible, observers roaming, probing criticizing and warning. The rest is revolutionary BS by those that, in my opinion, are planning to cheat or interfere with the recall referendum process.