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Venezuela: More Than 3.6 Million Signatures To Recall The Mandate Of Hugo Chavez

Caracas, December 2, 2003. (OAIPrensa). - After announcing that the necessary number of signatures to petition a presidential recall referendum had been surpassed, Enrique Mendoza, spokesperson of the opposition’s Democratic Coordinating Coalition (CD), emphasized that “the brave people of Venezuela are ready to defend their signatures within the scope of all civic proceedings”.

According to the results of this first count of the opposition, a total of 3,602,051 signatures were collected, thus surpassing by 1,146,051 signatures the required number (2,456,000 ) for petitioning a recall referendum against Hugo Chavez. In government-controlled states (18), 50% of the voting was achieved. Therefore, Mendoza thanked all those who participated in this wonderful and civic event and stressed that “the brave Venezuelan people allowed their voices to be heard”.

Mendoza stated that “we are pacific people who prize and cherish peace and justice, but today is the time to say so: Patience is not to be confused with weakness, nor respect with submissiveness, nor dignity with cowardice. What will admit no confusion is that this courageous people will not allow any sly tricks to corrupt its determination”

In an intelligible reply regarding accusations of a “mega-fraud” made by President Chávez and other Government representatives, Mendoza invited the Supreme Court of Justice, the National Assembly, the Attorney General of the Republic, the People’s Defender, the Comptroller General of the Republic, the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference as well as international observers, among other institutions, to attend the CD’s collection center to verify, one by one, the records and forms that contain the signatures of millions of Venezuelans who participated in El Reafirmazo.

“Government representatives insist on tarnishing El Reafirmazo in total disrespect for the millions of Venezuelans who stamped their signatures. But all their threats, their last minute stratagems and abuses against the people were worthless; Their immoderate ruses and artificial controls were worthless: and not even the rain that accompanied us throughout the four days was able to stop the overwhelming strength of our people’s determination”, stated Mendoza.

The Democratic Coordinating Coalition (CD) will soon deliver the signatures to the National Electoral Council (CNE), for the pertinent legal verifications to be carried out and for the longed for Presidential Recall to be the announced with no further delays. The signature verification process will count with the observation of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Carter Center, who have stated their interest in supporting the CNE in this new phase that is about to begin.

Moments before the speech of the opposition, the Secretary General of the OAS, César Gaviria, responded to the “mega-fraud” accusations made by President Chávez, stressing that “we are impartial” and together with the Carter Center’s representative, Jennifer McCoy, ratified in a second consecutive day “the clearness and transparency” of the signature collection process.

The OAS, the Carter Center and the Democratic Coordinating Coalition have expressed their trust in the National Electoral Council, the institution in charge of verifying the signatures and summon the recall referendum, which will pave the way to reunite the country and reactivate its economy, with a view to definitely eradicating poverty.


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