The 1% Con

We found the secret resolution CNE used to argue we need 1% of the voters in each state to launch a recall. It just doesn't say that. And that's not the only regulatory detail they made up.


This week, opposition activists in Caracas took on the gargantuan task of organizing, indexing, scanning and collating the 2 million + signatures collected so far in the first step of the ridiculously cumbersome process to recall president Maduro. It’s a cumbersome process, made all the worst by CNE’s insistence that it’s not enough that the opposition collect 1% of the National voter roll to start the process, we need 1% of the voter roll in each state. 

As you’ll recall, CNE claimed this requirement is contained in CNE Resolution #070906-2770. That’s a nine-year-old regulation contained in a Gaceta Electoral that, bizarrely, can only be consulted by personally going to the CNE offices in Plaza Caracas, because it isn’t available anywhere online.

Or, well, it wasn’t available, until a crack team of Caracas Chronicles operatives (thank you, A.E.!) finagled a copy and, well, here you have it:

(Resolution #070906-2770 starts on page 6 of the PDF)

Now why would CNE create weird, arbitrary barriers to accessing that specific regulation? Could it be because it plainly doesn’t say what they say it says about the 1% of signatures needed to launch the process?

You be the judge,
Articulo 8 - Gaceta 405 - 18 de diciembre de 2007

Citizen groups may be formed equalling or exceeding one percent (1%) of the population registered in the Electoral Registry of the municipality, state, or the nation, depending on the case corresponding to the official whose mandate they seek to revoke. […]

The phrasing is a mess, of course, but the meaning of the regulation is clear enough. All elected officials are subject to recall. If you want to launch the process to recall a mayor or municipal councillor, you need to collect 1% of the signatures in the municipality where that specific official was elected. Which makes sense. If you want to revoke a state governor or state legislator, you need 1% of the voters in that state. That’s logical. And if you want to recall the president, you have to recall 1% of the national voter roll.

How you read that paragraph to mean we need to collect 1% of the vote in each of the component parts of a jurisdiction is simply seneseless and bizarre. And why stop at states? Why not 1% of each municipality? Of each parroquia? Of the catchment area for each voting center? Más bien se quedaron cortos.

We even asked a proper constitutional scholar, Dr. Carlos García Soto of Universidad Monteavila, to make sure we weren’t missing something. But the norm, again, is straightforward enough. In his words, “the interpretation CNE gave is fraudulent.” Plain and simple.

So, summing up: CNE made up a rule, then tried to hide it, then lied about what it said.


But it doesn’t stop there.

The next step of the process involves bringing the 1% of signatures to CNE within one month, so the verification process can begin. Except now CNE rectora roja-rojita extraordinaire Tania D’amelio says that even if the opposition is finished collecting its 198,000 signatures within 5 days of the process – hell, even if we’re finished collecting ten times that many – CNE won’t move forward with the procedure until the entire 30 day period for collecting them is elapsed.

Justification? CNE Resolution #070906-2770, bien sûr. 

Unlucky for her we have that resolution. And, again, it plainly doesn’t say what she says it says.


This is from Article 10. It says pretty clearly that the citizens asking for a recall have to present their paperwork within 30 days. That’s a ceiling, not a floor: it says dentro, verga, dentro. Not after 30 days or on the 30th day. Within thirty days.

But let’s say you’re tarado and you need someone to explain to you the interpretative principles you should rely on to settle any doubts that might arise about the interpretation of a norm. Well, in that case you could look Articles 2.b and 3 of the same damn resolution, which mandate that acts related to Recall Referenda must follow the principles of promptness (“Celeridad”), timeliness (“Oportunidad”) and efficiency (“Eficiencia”).

Once the request is received, CNE has five calendar days to move the process on. The way this thing is going, D’amelia will then try to tell us those are Venutian days, which last 5,832 hours each.

Not that any of it is news. They’re going to continue to dissemble and delay in the hopes of putting this off until next year. The reality is, nothing’s going to move on this process without people on the street. We always knew that.

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  1. Excellent post. Everyone knows they operate outside the law, but it is important to see it documented. There’s no possible good faith here, it’s just a fraud on the people of V nebula.

    I think if I were MUD, I’d still hand in the signatures tomorrow. And if they don’t do their duty within five days, they should be labelled as constitutional violators once again, and eventually prosecuted.

  2. Actually the legal basis would be Section 5 that states “Recibida la solicitud de constitución de la agrupación de ciudadanas y ciudadanos, en un lapso no mayor a cinco (5) días continuos, las Oficinas ” because it crealy establishes that the next term starts after the filing of the signatures (recibida la solicitud de la agrupación de ciudadanas y ciudadanos)

    • no doubt 5 days continuous will turn into 5 working days which takes 3 weeks at the current government schedule. every little bit helps! 🙂

  3. What these tortured interpretations reveal is the clearly fraudulent intent to sabotage and delay the referendum process guaranteed by the Constitution , that by itself should serve as grounds to contest the legitimacy or even legal authority of the electoral body itself to supervise or guide the process……

    Another CEN board member gave another reason for the convoluted 30 day interpretation to fail and that is that there is another legal provision somewhere which mandates that govt agencies must act with prompt despatch and expedience so as to speed up all legally regulated processes . Take your pick…!

  4. Its not the first time they use newspeak tricks and it wont be the last. Remember that time they said “alternability” meant that people should had alternatives and so it was ok that people stayed in their charges forever? Good times.

  5. Articles 2.b and 3 of the same resolution mandate that acts related to Recall Referenda must follow the principles of promptness (“Celeridad”), timeliness (“Oportunidad”) and efficiency (“Eficiencia”).

    • It would be in keeping with the purpose of this sort of process to have it proceed efficiently and expeditiously… to minimize the political instability that arises from there being an extended period of uncertainty. But that would only be the thinking from an administrative body that was actually independent and sane. In this case, they clearly have a mandate to crank the conditions for an explosion up as high as they possibly can.

      Well done Caracas Chronicles for chronicling this abuse of power.

  6. What it blows my mind is the open and reckless violation off laws as if the regime will last forever.
    No matter how biased you might be to Chavismo, you have to be suicidal to do what these ladies are doing.
    When this regime falls I am 100% sure they would be prosecuted either by the law or an angry mob of Venezuelans demanding respect and dignity.

    • Perhaps I’m just jaded, but when the fall comes, every chavista in a regulatory capacity will flee the country and live comfortably on spoils they’ve been paid to ignore the laws and the constitution so as to enable the regime. The true believers inside the intelligentsia have long fled the party and those that remain do so only for personal gain – or fear.

      • And, then, after sufficient time passes, if they so choose, they can return to Venezuela, ally themselves with the then powers-that-be, and either live royally off their ill-gotten gains, or start a new scam in league with those mandando, as have so many bankers/insurance scammers/et. al. before them.

  7. According to Henrique Capriles, after the forms were given last Wednesday the whole process would take 228 days!. That would put the recall day on December 10th.

    Sooooo, If they had to wait 30 more days b4 the firms validation start that would delay the process to January 10th which automatically invalidates the whole process LOL
    So f*cking surreal impunity my head is spinning !

      • Totally, it is easy to forget that Chavismo is not a socialist political project but a group of “Marxist revolutionaries” that are determined to be in power indefinitely weather they have the people support or not and are willing to go to the ultimate consequences to achieve it. Fortunately, not all of them are on-board with that idea so we ended up with some small spaces for democracy and we have to use them.

      • For some simple basic reasons: 1/ They could end up in jail after Chavismo falls. 2/ They could lose all they stolen millions of $ and euros. Frozen bank account, confiscated apartments, cars and houses. 3/ Where would someone like Cabello, Cilia or Tarek or Luisa Ortega go to hide? St Barths, Uruguay, Cuba, South Africa or New Zeland? They can barely speak Spanish, not a word of English, their entire families would be miserable overseas. No more power, no more cash or luxuries, and even possible jail time.

        They know that. That’s why they bribe everyone they can, the military, the police, the CNE, the TSJ, and probably now most MUD deputies. Plus all the “pueblo” enchufados in their “ministerios”. Or the crooked “contratistas”, etc.

        They intend to stay in power forever, by their own words “como sea”. And after 17 years, plus the laughable stuff about “referendums” you’d better start believing in an endless Cubazuela. Until, as Leopoldo always said, people get really mad and hit the streets. It’s ain’t gonna be pretty, someday, perhaps after another stolen presidential elections in 2019.

        • Yep, now the reason is two fold. Ideological and for mere survival.
          Watching some old Chavez speeches, indefinite power is what he was set out to do and was willing to sacrifice its own life for it, the utopian revolution!. “hasta la muerte” “’til death”
          In hindsight the moderate Chavez from his early presidency was just a planned phase, a con-man job to achieve the ultimate goal.
          I guess he was incapable of gather full support for that idea hence the current quasi-democracy quasi-castrism system we are left with now.

  8. [From Sumarium]

    (Caracas, Venezuela. Redacción Sumarium).- El rector del Consejo Nacional Electoral, Luis Emilio Rondón, aclaró este domingo que una vez recibidas el 1% de las firmas para iniciar el trámite hacia un revocatorio del mandato de Nicolás Maduro, el Poder Electoral iniciará su verificación.

    “A quienes me preguntan: la norma señala lapso de 30 días para recolección de manifestaciones de voluntad de 1 %, no un termino. Una vez recibidas, el Cne inicia la verificación”, explicó.

    El exrector Vicente Díaz también expuso que el ente deberá iniciar la constatación “apenas” reciban las rúbricas. “Rectora usted sabe perfectamente que los plazos son límites máximos, el Principio de Celeridad obliga al mínimo”, respondió a una supuesta cuenta en Twitter de una de las principales del CNE, Tania D’amelio, quien señaló que el organismo esperará se cumpla el lapso de 30 días fijado para la recolección para empezar con la validación.

    “El plazo de 30 días es para recoger las firmas, el CNE bajo el principio de celeridad debe iniciar la constatación apenas las reciban”, corrigió Díaz a D’amelio.

    There are people like Luis Emilio Rondon and the former rector del CNE who do play by the rules. These people merit support. (I posted this yesterday in Naky’s column “Becerro.”

  9. In the face of the clear and overwhelming evidence of the regime’s unconstitutional tricks and manipulations, the Opposition and the Venezuelan people continue to insist on a democratic and constitutional transition of power. At this point, I honestly don’t know whether I see this as morally courageous and admirable, or suicidally stupid.

    History will decide.

      • Sure, there is. A coordinated massive and overwhelming march to Miraflores and other key government installations. It would be messy, but given the current demographics, it would likely be successful. Mind you, I am not advocating this. I am just saying that it is an option.

  10. A veces me pregunto inocentemente que habrá llevado al buena gente de Capriles, no sólo iniciar y promover en Referéndum Revocatorio, sino torpedear las otras iniciativas que, a mi entender también eran validas. Como la enmienda a la Constitución, solicitar la aplicacion dd la Carta Democrática en la OEA y la no menos importante, doble nacionalidad de Maduro.

    Me pregunto, pregunto y no lo se. Alguien me puede ayudar?

    • Porque primero a lo primero. Cuando tienes en frente a una cuerda de ladrones corruptos que no van a soltar el poder, como dicen en poker: se fueron all-in. Se estan dando cuenta que si no se enfocan completamente en el revocatorio, se los van a ‘chigüirear’.

    • ¿Torpedear?

      Deja de leer tanto a Orlando Viera-Blanco, Alberto Franceschi y Gustavo Tovar-Arroyo; o por lo menos procura equilibrar tus fuentes de opinión.

    • Dicho por el mismo Capriles. No se si la palabra correcta es “torpedear”, pero las opciones de la OEA y de la Nacionalidad de Maduro, no la esta guardando para mas tarde, sino que las esta eliminando del mapa de opciones.

      Referente a la opinion de Capriles sobre la Enmienda Constitucional, pregúntale a Emilia Duarte

      • Pues ahí mismo argumenta por qué no le convencen ni la Carta Democrática, ni la nacionalidad; porque deseos no empreñan. La verdad de la nacionalidad de Maduro, a mi juicio, se sabrá después que el régimen caiga, cuando se recupere un poco la decencia en las instituciones; por ahora es puro buche y pluma. La Carta Democrática… sencillamente no confío en la burocracia internacional que premia al chavismo por “logros” en educación, salud, pobreza y DD HH; sin mencionar la carga moral que implica dejar en manos de extranjeros lo que debemos resolver nosotros. (Además, el chavismo-madurismo se ha pasado por el arco del triunfo lo que el sistema interamericano opina, cuando no le favorece).
        Sobre la enmienda, en el mismo artículo de Tal Cual dice que podría ser un mecanismo efectivo; pero, otra vez, con el TSJ hemos topado, amigo Juancho. ¿Qué sabe Emiliana que no sepamos nosotros sobre la opinión de Capriles? Ilumíname. Capriles ha sido consecuente desde el día 1, y lo sabe el país. Que otros factores con otros intereses, busquen desarrollar otra narrativa, es asunto enteramente de ellos.
        Por último, es evidente que las demás opciones aparte del Referendo no las está eliminando Capriles del mapa; se han ido quedando en el camino por sus propias debilidades. Y ojo, no es que el Revocatorio tenga garantizado llegar a la meta ni mucho menos, pero sí que echa en falta el enfoque de todos (como recién se está empezando a notar), para que al menos siga avanzando.

  11. FT, seeing as how there is a difference of opinion as to interpreting the CNE’s regulations, I suggest you, as ombudsman, submit them to the TSJ for interpretation….


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