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Salvaging the Recall Election in Venezuela, Third Report

By Daniel Duquenal

The breaking news is that the phone bank of Primero Justicia, possibly the best organized political movement in Venezuela these days, has been "allanada", intervened, seized, by the political police. And without a search warrant. The reason is quite simple actually: they want to block access to phone lines where people can find information as to how repair their signature. Expect further action against Sumate.

This is very much in line with all sorts of petty violations that are slowing today's process, from refusing certain type of ID, to conduct the verification process at exceedingly slow pace in order to discourage people from showing up.

For those of you interested in the multiplicty of "tricks" used by the Chavez administration, Alexandra Beech has a rather complete list in her site, the Sixth Republic. 18 tricks so far, and I am sure that today will add a few more to the list.

I have also heard on TV for lunch that John Kerry again criticized the Chavez administration for the hurdles set against the Recall Election, joining the chorus of Noriega and Powell formed this week. I have not been able to find a link so far to confirm this, so it might just have come out from some exclusive wire service.

Otherwise the rain has been non stop in San Felipe. I did made a quick tour after lunch but the soldiers on guard and a few caught signers were sheltered inside buildings.

I have a report from the Universidad Catolica. A lot of students had signed up there in December and they have been put to repair their signatures nearby in a "red area". The University had to organize a system of buses to take them to the local repair center as pro-Chavez demonstrators were jeering and intimidating hoping to block access!

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