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Chavez' supporters call for violence in Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

London 03 June 2004 – The signals coming out from Venezuela are very confusing indeed. Since this morning armed groups have been vandalising private property in downtown Caracas, burning vehicles and shooting randomly to the offices of the Mayor of Caracas. As I listen the live signal of Radio Nacional de Venezuela I am absolutely shocked by the callers-in to Professor Jose Angel Arenas’ programme, who are for the most part inciting listeners to resort to violence and to disrespect any CNE decisions. Furthermore the chiefs of the Commando Ayacucho, for what I could gather, are the subject of much hatred owing to the failure in beating the opposition in the recall drive. Jorge Rodriguez, director of the CNE, just announced that there is a clear indication that the opposition may have gathered the signatures needed to trigger the recall referendum.

Amazingly enough only three days ago the opposition had, unofficially, more than 100.000 signatures over the threshold; today CNE’s Rodriguez declares that there are 2.451.821 signatures, that is to say only 15.738 signatures more than the minimum required or 20% of the electorate. However hopeful the statements of Rodriguez are one must be extremely wary for the figure given is not final but preliminary. No one can assure that said number will indeed be definite.

On a different note there is much speculation about Chavez’ national address to be broadcast today at 5PM. Some say he will announce his resignation and launch his campaign for a future presidential race; others held the version that he will accept the recall referendum even before the official results of the repair process are public. Minister of Information Jessy Chacon declared that President Chavez will talk about the recall of both opposition politicians and his own.

The political police continue raiding illegally houses of journalist and opposition leaders; Congressman Rafael Marin was viciously beaten today with an iron rod by members of the “Tupamaros” (militia supportive of Chavez purportedly commanded by Mayor Freddy Bernal); Mayor Capriles’ appeal was stroke; and government funded news outlet Aporrea calls for actions to defend the revolution; in sum when everyone looks the recall way the regime keeps violating human rights and the rule of law with total impunity.

Chavistas seem to be convinced that either way they will surpass this electoral obstacle and the opposition on the other hand is already celebrating. Interesting times are coming, definitely not for the faint hearted.

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