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Venezuela: Union proposes Petkoff as candidate

By Miguel Octavio

Former Chavez comrade in the 1992 coup, Presidential candidate (against Chavez!) and former Governor of Zulia state Francisco Arias Cardenas of the party Union, proposed today that former Minister of Planning and Presidential candidate for Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) Teodoro Petkoff (Editor of Tal Cual) should be the opposition candidate for the transition after the recall referendum. Petkoff, an economist, did a very good job under very difficult economic circumstances during the last years of the Caldera Government. Petkoff speaks bluntly and is not charismatic, but he would appeal to both the pro-Chavez and anti-Chavez forces in the country. He would seem to be an ideal choice, thus he will unlikely be nominated.

Petkoff applied very simple common sense rules during his tenure in planning, but if I had to name one Minister that I agreed the most with in the last twenty years, it would have to be him. Personally, I think that if the opposition manages a consensus around him, it could precipitate a Chavez resignation. Petkoff has been critical of both the Government and the opposition and has had an important influence in some of Chavez' decisions, such as changing the economic Cabinet after April 2002. The idea makes so much sense that it is unlikely to be adopted in the best Macondo style of our country.

In today's editorial, as an example, Petkoff points out how it would be impossible to commit fraud in the petition dirve on the scale that Chavez and his collaborators want to claim. He points out each possible type of cheating, noting how it would be impossible to do under the current rules or would simply be an illegal signature. There can be no duplicate signatures, no fake forms or no illegal signatures, thus, he states, to try to find fraud is silly and this argument will collapse as the CNE checks the sigantures. As pointed out here before, the process was made so complicated, that it is almots impossible to cheat, so the ball is in the Government's court. And in one month it will be, the question is what will they say then. No matter what anyone may think 3.6 million signatures are simply too many...



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