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Words of advice to Venezuela's opposition parties

By Aleksander Boyd

03.12.05 | Reuters reported yesterday "Venezuela's opposition appeal to observers on vote." Furthermore "opposition leader Cesar Perez said his Copei party and the Proyecto Venezuela political group met European Union observers on Friday to ask for support in changing the electoral system they say is under Chavez's control" (sic). From the statements of Cesar Perez Vivas it can be concluded that some opposition politicos are yet to realize the sudden change. The dynamics of the game have, unexpectedly, been altered. Hugo Chavez is not calling the shots anymore. As a matter of fact he seems to be losing it, as Miguel and Daniel have reported. He needed the participation of opposition parties to prop up the heavily damaged democratic facade of his pseudo revolution. But that ain't going to happen... However his opponents need to be sufficiently informed that they have the upper hand now, and although the collaboration of international entities will shed formality to future negotiations, the anti-Chavez camp is an advantageous bargaining position: i.e. that of being able to condition their participation in electoral processes only if their requirements are fully met.

One can think of a couple of electoral exigencies:

1) Since the Smartmatic machines keep the sequence of the vote, as demonstrated by Leopoldo Gonzalez before a gathering of local and international observers, and transparency can no longer be guaranteed (vote results can be revealed with absolute certainty), the opposition must demand return to manual voting.

2) Immediate change of the illegally appointed board of the National Electoral Council (CNE). As Jorge Rodriguez refuses to meet with Sumate representatives, so the opposition should refuse to negotiate with such a crooked individual, who has, by the way, being caught lying quite often lately.

The above ought to be the base predicament of all political parties in Venezuela, regardless of tendency. To fully restablish confidence in electoral authorities and processes the suggestions made to date by Sumate, the Carter Center, the OAS and others must be implemented.

Opposition politicos should understand that the responsibility of bringing about change falls upon their shoulders, and not on those of international observers. The latter, especial mention to the meddling OAS representatives headed by Ruben Perina, must be demanded to cease and desist in their anti-democratic and disrespectful behaviour. They were invited to Venezuela to observe an election not to interfere in the country's politics, much less to apply arm-twisting tactics to opposition parties to benefit a failed coupster.

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