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Venezuela, Local News Review, November 4, 2004

By Sol Castro, sixthrepublic.com

o Ratified or proclaimed governors: (MVR) Tarek William Saab, Anzoátegui; (MVR) Hugo Chávez, Barinas; (MVR) Francisco Rangel, Bolivar; (MVR) Diosdado Cabello, Miranda; (AD) Morel Rodríguez, Nueva Esparta; (MVR) Carlos Jiménez, Yaracuy; (Un Nuevo Tiempo) Manuel Rosales, Zulia.

o Ratified or proclaimed mayors: (MVR) Juan Barreto, Metropolitan Caracas; (PJ) Henrique Capriles Radonsky, Baruta; (MVR) Freddy Bernal, Libertador; (MVR) José Vicente Rangel, Jr., Sucre; (MVR) Gian Carlo di Martino, Maracaibo.

o Former governor of Miranda State and CD coordinator, Enrique Mendoza has refused to concede although former vice-president Diosdado Cabello was proclaimed governor this Tuesday. The governor’s house was seized Monday morning, and the state police Monday evening, both by National Guardsmen to prevent potential disturbances in support of Mendoza.

o Former governor of Bolivar State, Antonio Rojas Suárez conceded “under protest” after National Guards tanks surrounded his campaign command Sunday evening, and indicated he will appeal the decision by the CNE. Candidates have 20 days to appeal results.

o Military units are still deployed in Carabobo State and will remain there until the governor concedes to former General Acosta Carlés according to Jesse Chacón, Minister of Internal Affairs and Justice, to prevent further disturbances. The regional Capitol has been surrounded by National Guardsmen. Other cities with military units deployed even Wednesday include Aguasay in Monagas, and Yaracuy State.

o The Military Prosecution Office dismissed the case against journalist Patricia Poleo, charged with libel and slander for reporting in her paper there were Cubans roaming in military installations, and showing a video of their presence in a garrison in Apure State. The investigation had been opened following an order by the Minister of Defense, General Jorge Luis García Carneiro.

o 41st Caracas Control Court presided by temporary judge Pedro Santoyo postponed a ruling on the Súmate case and its directors until November 24. Soon after the decision was made public, the TSJ Criminal Chamber decided to know of the case which has temporarily paralyzed the trial. María Corina Machado and Alejandro Plaz, president and spokesman for Súmate have been charged with “conspiracy to destroy the republican political system” for having accepted funds from NED; a crime that carries a sentence of 8 to 16 years of jail.

o The TSJ drafted Criminal Code was formally submitted to the National Assembly this Wednesday by its president, Justice Iván Rincón.

o Air Force retired colonel and Bloque Democrático director Silvino Bustillos is still missing. He was last seen being chased by military intelligence officers on Sunday when they tried to arrest him while he was at his corresponding voting station. Bustillos was the first military officer to challenge Chávez’s administration in 2001.

o So far, 27 (of 360) people have been charged with civilian rebellion for signing Pedro Carmona’s inauguration decree on April 12, 2002.

o Environment Prosecutor Danilo Anderson announced he is to subpoena opposition former Caracas Metropolitan Mayor, Alfredo Peña, his chief of Police at the time, Henry Vivas, and Metropolitan Police officer Lázaro Forero, to be charged with the homicide of 21 people on April 11, 2002, on behalf of the General Attorney’s Office.

o President Chávez flew to Rio to attend the Summit of the Río Group. He will then fly to the Dominican Republic on Saturday to sign a couple of (oil) cooperation agreements with the government.

o During an encounter with the Venezuelan- American Chamber of Commerce (VenAmCham), American Ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield asserted Washington is determined to “accept the political differences” with Hugo Chávez’s government, and to lower the confrontational rhetoric between both countries.

o Complicated situations in Carabobo, Anzoátegui, Monagas. Delta Amacuro and Nueva Esparta. The CNE order to stop totaling tally sheets in, at least, four states issued by Jorge Rodríguez, president of the National Electoral Board, JEN, created confusion and sparked protests in the aforementioned states. In Carabobo, the CNE places former general Luis Acosta Carlés ahead with 50.4% of the vote, while it gives current governor, Enrique Salas Feo, 48.8%. Governor Salas Feo, who refuses to concede, alleging he won with more than 60% of the vote, has urged people to rally outside the local CNE headquarters where they have been gathered since Monday morning awaiting results by the local electoral board. The main cities in Carabobo have been militarized and disturbances, including lootings, have been reported in south Valencia, and Bejuma. On Wednesday, the boxes containing the ballots were transported to the CNE headquarters in Caracas to be counted, but after the CNE directors failed to comply with their promises, Governor Salas Feo left the building along with his witnesses. Earlier Vice-president Rangel had announced he had off-the-record information that General Acosta Carles was ahead with 18,000 votes and that the CNE would make the formal announcement around 6 today. In Monagas, Anzoátegui, Nueva Esparta, and Delta Amacuro, mayor candidates protested results that resulted in at least four people dead, and more than a dozen wounded in Tucupita, and over 20 people wounded in Aguasay, Monagas State. Three of the CNE directors have traveled to some of the states to witness the procedures and define the winners.

o Election with non-audited Registry and an average 55% of no-shows gives government most of the governorships. According to preliminary results from the CNE seven and a half hours after voting stations were closed Sunday, and having totaled 76.3% of the tally sheets, pro-government candidates won in all but 2 of the 22 states, Zulia and Nueva Esparta, and had a landslide victory in mayoralties nationwide, claiming 280. In Metropolitan Caracas all mayors were ratified (three opposition, and two pro-government) and Juan Barreto, a MVR legislator was elected as the new Metropolitan Caracas Mayor. A total of 7,859 people ran for 607 positions (22 governors, 336 mayors, 236 legislators, and 13 councilmen to the Metropolitan District Council) October 31: Some 6.3 million electors (45%) voted in the 23,595 touch screen machines located in 28,617 voting stations. The elections held violated, at least, seventeen articles of the Law of Suffrage; the worst having to do with the Electoral Registry, REP. Official results can be found at http://200.109.120.13

o Retired General Luis Felipe Acosta Carles (infamous for his loud belch when he seized a Coca Cola plant during the civic strike of 2002) was proclaimed governor of Carabobo State this Thursday morning. The TSJ declared an injuction introduced by Salas Feo yesterday to stop the proclamation for violation of the Law of Suffrage, inadmissible. Even though former governor Salas Feo has qualified it as a coup, and has asked his people to accept the results to prevent a bloodshed, there are protests and riots in different parts in and around Valencia, the military have seized check-out points in and out of the state, and doubled their presence patroling the streets. At this hour people are rallying outside La Carabobeña, the governor's official residence to show support and ask the governor not to leave, while outisde the pro-government campaign command, supporters of Acosta Carlés have gathered to celebrate. They beheaded and plucked a chicken alive as a symbol of victory (El Pollo (the chicken) is the nickname which Carabobeños use to refer to their former governor as an affectionate term for Junior. His father, Salas Roemer, also former governor of the State is known as El Gallo (The Rooster). In Yaracuy, the governor's residence was seized by intelligence officers from the military and the political police, DIM and DISIP. The governor is in the residence with his wife, and his two children aged 3 and 5. The seize began at 3 am Thursday morning, and was still in progress around noon today.

*** NB: ALL this has been confirmed but very little is being said by the local media...



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