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Civil war is knocking on Venezuela’s door…

By Aleksander Boyd

London 21.02.2004 – The directors of the National Electoral Council are playing with fire and they might get badly burned… The word is that Venezuela’s electoral authorities intend to invalidate about 1 million signatures or more specifically those contained in “planillas planas.” The problem stems from the fact that many people were ‘helped’ during the signature drive by those who were taking active part in the process, namely volunteers or appointees from political parties registered with the CNE. These ‘helpers’ filled the forms with details of individuals who in turn signed and placed fingerprints in the said form.

The Organic Law of the Electoral Power does not contain provisions for such invalidations, nor are they contemplated in the Organic Law of Suffrage and Political Participation neither in the Constitution. So these eunuchs from the CNE, exhibiting outstanding legislative capacities that could well be the envy of the most progressive and advanced legislators of the planet, proclaim each day new rules, new validation methods, they discover unsung forms of fraud, mind you what an extraordinary capacity they have got to uncover the machinations of the people who legally and constitutionally submitted their requests for the recall. The criminal at the presidency -a.k.a. Hugo Chavez- wastes no time in uttering insults, to deviate attention, to pretty much everyone; it’s really surprising that Eminem has escaped unscathed from his rants.

The opposition delivered 3.448.747 million signatures of which 3.183.526 are meant to be valid. To trigger the recall 20 % of the electoral roll has to request it. According to the CNE figures there are 12.180.413 people registered, meaning that 2.436.082 valid signatures are required. It is no secret by now that the CNE is run by the chavista majority composed by Carrasquero, Rodriguez and Battaglini. These three stooges have in their hands the future of my country and to be honest that pisses me off incredibly for none of them seems to have, in my view, the guts to say ‘let the people decide.’

This situation begs for the question, what are we supposed to do now? I mean should they invalidate a million signatures, or whatever number is necessary to prevent the recall from materialising, what other democratic and constitutional ways out have we got? There is ample evidence of the unconstitutional character of this regime; moreover no rational person can affirm seriously that Hugo Chavez is bent on respecting the law. He is just a crook and a convicted criminal. As such he will not abide any unfavourable ruling or any ruling for that matter because if he does Castro will come swiftly to slap him in the face.

Few days ago I read an article of a great Venezuelan democrat where he was saying that the only escape is that contemplated in the constitution, however we are about to lose that chance too. Next opportunity will come in 2006 and by then, let me assure you, Chavez will be so entrenched in power that it will be impossible to remove him. In my opinion it is a life or death situation. Unfortunately for us there are not many people upholding democratic values in a country where criminality reigns supreme. How can one even contemplate the possibility of dialogue with thuggish interlocutors? It so happens that justice and the Rule of Law are concepts incomprehensible for this rabble and every institution of Venezuela today is controlled by them.

They came up with the rules of the game and we have been playing all along, I’m truly sorry for those thinking of linking me to the coup, I didn’t participate in any of it. The game started and we are close to the end, we are winning, or so we would have thought, alas the arbiter changed the rules in the last minute giving away the game to our opponents. There’s not much time left, only a fraction. Realistically speaking we have got two choices; to win or to be illegally defeated. Firstly we can appeal the conscience of the arbiter, who by the way has been watched during the whole game by the spectators, and tell him that there is a lot at stake here. In so doing we can ask the spectators to give their opinion on things, which seems to be the more civilised and educated manner to go about it. We can not reset the match and we have not got time to score again so it is a matter of trying to make the arbiter observe the rules.

Should the arbiter decide that there are no valid reasons to maintain the previous result, this decision being reached after his careful consideration of the rules and regulations, we can ask him again to consult and research about it, I mean we were clearly winning, everyone saw it.

The game ended and the arbiter sticks to his absurd and obviously biased stance, we can follow him to the locker room, in a desperate attempt to revert his unfair decision but he has none of it. He is already thinking about retiring in the Bahamas or Miami with the kind presents received from our opponents. Some of us will go home and lament for years to come while others will see the arbiter in the car park to square things up.

On my way home I see some of my team mates beating the crap out of the arbiter and others are engaged in fighting our opponents, that realising what was happening, came to assist the poor arbiter. Typical hooligan behaviour, but then again what can be expected?

I know it’s a rather light way of describing our conflict nonetheless the characteristics are similar with the aggravating factor that one must really doubt that Venezuela’s crisis will be solved in a car park throwing a few punches. The CNE –Chavez’ Network of Escorts- must decide not, for the first time in history, about the outcome of a particular electoral process but rather about sparing the country from civil war. The decision is theirs and whatever happens they will be responsible according to the dead letter enshrined in our laws.

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