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A blogger's-analysis of Venezuela Part II

By Daniel Duquenal

Caracas 01/03/2004 - News were varied through the day. EL Universal English section has a good list of events and I will just supplement them.

Letís start with the Electoral Board, CNE. Yet again any final decision had to be postponed. However a public and disgraceful spat happened between the president of the CNE, Carrasquero and one of the director of the opposition, Mejias, who stated strongly her objections to the manipulations going on. He simply said that she should be fired by the high court. But worse, he announced that the Carter Center and the OAS were leaving because of Mejias, only to be contradicted by these ones soon after! He came back a few minutes later and in an even more pathetic announcement said that he had not lied and was mislead. Easier than admit that he shot from the hip. Of course NEVER taking questions, arriving accompanied with National Guards and leaving surrounded by them. Mr. Carrasquero has lost today any credibility. And one wonders if there is ANY hope to have the CNE reach a working scheme again with these characters. Meanwhile there is another 24 hours of discussion with the Carter center and the OAS probably burning their last shots at mediation, as Carrasquero is now openly annoyed with them.

Troubles continued all around the country, not only in Caracas. Yaracuy was particularly active, for once, and the repression stern and no apologies from the local NG commander. It is to be noted that Yaracuy being in the opposition is certainly a state were the NG would love to put Governor Lapi in trouble. But troubles were everywhere and arrests were by the dozens, my neighbor state Lara by itself with 36 including several political leaders. Tales of abuses are also surfacing as some are released or some of the arrests have witness coming through. Amnesty International I understand has made a statement on this.

This did not stop the defense minister to claim that it was only a few weirdos in rich neighborhoods that were causing all the trouble. Well, as I was going back home from a vantage point I could see all sorts of smoke columns rising over the city. I took this picture in particular just before night fall. You can see three independent columns of smoke. Two of them come from an area behind one hill which separates Petare low income areas from El Llanito a lower middle class area. These ARE NOT wealthy neighborhoods, dear Mr. Defense Minister. But Mr. Carneiro, who gained his three stars by fidelity rather by any personal merit, has lost any inhibition in making up stuff. These is the guy that is in charge of our security. In the past few days there is enough reason to bring him to trial if there is ever justice again.

To finish tonight. Explosions and gun shots are still been heard at this late hour but at least they are spotty. What will happen tomorrow?



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