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Venezuela is the sad exception in South America.

By Sol Maria Castro,

John Taylor, U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs, said that Venezuela is an exception to the surplus increases achieved by the group of the seven major Latin American democracies, allowing them to pay debt and reduce inflation or keep it controlled. "It is noticeable and tragic that Venezuela's per capita income has fallen 25 percent since 1998, in spite of the remarkable increase in the prices of oil during this period," Taylor said. Taylor opposed the Venezuelan economy to those in the group of countries considered, which also comprises Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Peru.

CD explains reasons to go to repairs despite the tricks and presents action chronogram.

As advanced Tuesday evening when the opposition umbrella organization Democratic Coordinator, CD, announced its decision to accept to go to the repair procedure, its coordinator, Miranda State governor, Enrique Mendoza, accompanied by representatives from all political parties and NGOs that conform it, made the political arguments backing the decision public during a press conference on Wednesday. Mendoza indicated the opposition is “going to repairs under protest” considering the tricks and fraud the pro-government groups in the different institutions could activate. “We are going to repairs; not to repair the signatures, but to repair the Venezuelan democracy, the violated and fractured Constitution, the economy subjected to the pillage and plunder of a corrupt government, unemployment, insecurity, the hope of Venezuelans for a prosperous future,” explained Mendoza, who added the CD will continue backing the sentence ruled by the Supreme Court’s Electoral Chamber. To conclude, Mendoza presented a chronogram of actions from April 28 to August 8 when the potential presidential recall referendum could be held if 20% of the registered voters’ signatures needed are validated by the CNE at the end of repairs.

Súmate presented technical report on Wednesday.

Prior to the CD’s press conference, Alejandro Plaz and Maria Corina Machado, leaders of the civic association Súmate, which organized the signature collection drive last November, presented their report which made them conclude that it is "technically" possible to collect the necessary 580,231 signatures to activate the presidential recall referendum if two conditions are met: massive attendance of people, with a no-show rate lower than 40%, and the responsibility and efficiency of the CNE appointed clerks. Other factors that may affect the results could be street violence, blackouts, and even weather conditions. As to the database, Plaz said that although in the third set delivered, the CNE acknowledged the 3.4 million of signatures collected, significant differences were found between the numbers announced by the CNE on March 7 for the accepted and rejected signatures and the database released last week. Súmate established that around 1 million, i.e., 27% of the signatures changed status in that period, attributed to a large degree of subjectivity in the classification process to include handwriting similarities (956,388 cases), fingerprints (the CNE lacks the required technology to verify fingerprints electronically), (170,600), transcription problems (22,960) and missing collection forms (19,842), among other reasons. Immediately after Súmate’s press conference, Jorge Rodríguez, director and president of the National Electoral Board, rejected their reports on significant differences between the data announced by the CNE in March and the definite data delivered on April 23. "It is not true that the data has considerably changed. There were 17 modifications and not 800,000 as Súmate company has said," Rodríguez said.

Updates on Verification Process of Recall Referendum Petitions after 132 days.

§ Starting Wednesday evening, people who signed any of the petitions for a recall referendum can verify the status of his signature in the CNE’s web page: This would correspond to the third database finally delivered to Sumate on Monday and the only one which is valid, according to Director Jorge Rodríguez. Signatures can also be checked at, a much faster server, with the added bonus of identifying the number of the error in any of the three instances (CTS, REP, or CTRA) which may have objected the signature.

§ Súmate has organized an event for May 8 where people will know what happened to their signature and how to ratify their will.

§ The president of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, Monsignor Baltazar Porras, indicated that both the opposition and those who support the government must cooperate with the electoral processes to provide a rapid solution to the political problems in the nation.

§ OAS Secretary General, César Gaviria, and former president Jimmy Carter will be in Caracas on May 29 to witness the repair procedure for the signatures petitioning the presidential recall referendum.

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