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The democratic tactics of Venezuela's Foreign Ministry

By Aleksander Boyd

London (01.12.03) – The last person signing in London did so at about 5 PM yesterday. There are still many cities around the world where organizers continue to gather signatures for the recall referendum of Hugo Chavez. In total 136 cities worldwide witnessed the democratic effort of Venezuelans who have been forced out of the country owing to the catastrophic situation. Alas none of it is mentioned in the world’s media.

Never before in contemporary history a people [in the sociological sense] has been so determined to democratically get rid of its ruler. As a matter of fact, Venezuela is the only place in the planet where a fascist, coup-plotter, oligarchycal and exploitative opposition is crying out loud for elections and its “democratically-elected, populist, charismatic and saviour-of-the-downtrodden" president is desperately attempting to block and boycott the effort. Indeed Chavez started already to make comments about this weekend event, stating that it was a "Mega-Fraud". Is it his subconscious speaking?? I will not adventure into predictions, but even the most cautious reports point out that the minimum signatures needed for the recall referendum to take place have been collected.

Examples abound. Firstly the resolution of the Electoral Council of denying the political participation of 26.000 Venezuelans registered in the electoral roll. A number of articles of the constitution –drafted by Hugo Chavez- were violated by said measure therefore it deems the decision as unconstitutional. Then we have the closure of the Venezuelan-Colombian border after orders of VP Jose Vicente Rangel. I expect the brown-nosed-salaried apologists of the Venezuelan pariah will come up with all sorts of excuses (they have actually started as of now...) Nevertheless is yet another proof of the nature of this regime.

Days ago Hugo Chavez left behind his sheepish attitude when he blasted the media for not accepting advertising from "the parties supporting his Government". Unfortunately, and as revealed by Tal Cual, the problem was that the advertising submitted to the TV station as part of Chavez' Movimiento Quinta Republica party (MVR) was submitted and paid by none other than PDVSA. Imagine this, a Government company PDVSA, pays and submits and ad for a party (MVR) in what has a number of violations of Venezuelan law. First of all, this is outright corruption as a Government company is financing the campaign of a private party. Second, Venezuela's electoral law explicitly prohibits ANY advertising by any Government agency in political campaigns or elections. Finally, by publicly filing a complaint in a nationwide TV address on behalf of his party, Hugo Chavez is violating the ethical separation between his Government and his party. [1]

Memos were sent to every Venezuelan diplomatic office around the globe to discourage those who were thinking in taking part of the collection drive overseas (please refer to the picture above). In certain cases, such as London, consular staff has been providing misleading information to citizens who want to change domicile in the electoral roll.

The race for the greatest liar of the regime is reaching epic proportions. Hugo Chavez was comfortable in the lead although VP Jose Vicente Rangel’s late recovery is worth commending. He firstly said during the official signature drive of last weekend 7.5 million signatures were collected, BBC quickly echoed the report, however when government officials handed in the signatures they delivered only 8 boxes containing a little over 29.000 signatures. He then went on saying that the opposition’s collection drive was “virtual”, I assume he has not watched TV for the last four days.

In any case this regime is at the last bend of the road. No report, declaration or statement coming from then can be taken seriously. There is of course the peanut gallery -composed by the BBC, The Guardian, Amnesty International and some others- ever eager and ready to reverberate the nonsense, however “no se puede tapar el sol con un dedo” that is “you just cannot block the sun with one finger”. That argument of the vast support enjoyed by the tin pot dictator has irremediably died this weekend. Even a zany lefty from LSE who less than 6 months ago affirmed that the best that could have ever happened to Venezuela was Chavez, commented on the outcome stating “Chavez is bound to lose a recall, he will probable retreat to lick his wounds and come back in 2006”. Hopefully by then he will be in prison.

[1] From Miguel Octavio

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