While Nicolás’s writers prepared short phrases for him to “celebrate” –he commemorates nothing- the 200th anniversary of the naval battle at Los Frailes and the PSUV’s attacks against Empresas Polar intensify from all possible sides, Venezuelans woke up to some necessary news. The Democratic Unity Roundtable delivered 80 cases containing 200,000 forms for a total of 1,850,000 signatures to the National Electoral Council’s offices in Filas de Mariches, formally requesting the activation of the process to convene a recall referendum.
It was a coherent action in a peaceful and constitutional spirit that calls for voters instead of warriors. Henrique Capriles Radonski informed this Monday that the CNE now has five continuous days (until Saturday, May 7) to verify voters’ signatures and then announce the locations where voters will ratify their decision, after which the process of collecting signatures and fingerprints of 20% registered voters will start.
The commission nobody asked for
This Monday, the presidential commission tasked with verifying the signatures’ validity went to the CNE, composed by talents such as Hermann Escarrá –law scholar recently added to Chavismo’s ranks-, Jacqueline Farías –a failed minister and now head of Movilnet-, and Héctor Rodríguez, the leader of the PSUV parliamentary caucus whose greatest skill is walking out of the Hemiciclo.
Jorge Rodríguez explained that the commission has three goals: participating in all verification proceedings, protecting the Constitution and filing constitutional complaints, and advancing administrative measures so that the CNE and its officials are unharmed, because the commission “protects the government’s peace, democracy” and Nicolás.
Rodríguez is as incoherent a spokesman as ever. After speaking from conviction in the tasks ahead, he suggested that they were there to “request being present”. Which confirms what experts have said: no entities other than the CNE itself should participate in this phase. Deputy Héctor Rodríguez did no better, talking about a government “prepared for any battle” and deriding the opposition for keeping their golpista, anti-democratic attitude, right on the day we delivered the signatures.
Don’t we want it?
Diosdado Cabello said that the opposition has no intention of activating the Recall Referendum “because with their actions, they contradict themselves when they make the request.” I had the same puzzled expression you have now. According to him, we lack the necessary votes to win a recall referendum. He must have missed Hercon’s study, which reports that 81% of Venezuelans think that a regime change is necessary this year to solve the crisis in our country.
The same guy who imposed TSJ justices in violation of the law, also declared that “the caprichitos are history in this country,” that the PSUV can face a referendum because they’ve learned to navigate storms inspired by el finado, that they’ll soon know how many signatures are valid and that they’re entitled to avoid another fraud.
The necessary defense
Tibisay Lucena, head of the CNE, met with the PSUV commission, thanking them for the support regarding to the attacks suffered by her institution’s headquarters when the vile opposition deputies symbolically chained themselves to demand the CNE to provide the form for the collection of 1% signatures. Lucena issued a statement, warning that she’ll make a formal complaint before the competent institutions –I would’ve chosen “appropriate”, because “competent” presumes other virtues- for these attacks. Sadly, she’s not talking about the journalists beaten by the National Guard, I’d swear they’re more valuable than the headquarters of an institution whose credibility being destroyed by the PSUV more than its tiles, and more furiously.
The godfather who won’t shut up
The National Pantheon was the stage for the Defense minister to ratify, again, the Armed Force’s spirit of independence, although his words make him seem like another PSUV militant. Maybe he didn’t listen to Jorge Rodríguez when he said that those in the military are prohibited from expressing any kind of partisanship. I assume he wasn’t only talking about the prohibition to sign, but also to take sides, right? Well, in the act commemorating Luis Brión, the minister claimed that the Armed Forces will always support independence because the Bolivarian gene “was forever sown within the Venezuelan people and our glorious Armed Forces.” Take note, the gene was sown.
The issue is that this can be refuted with the 495 bodies admitted to the Bello Monte morgue during April, in keeping with the regrettable statistic that makes 2016 the most violent year thus far, setting new horrible records in terms of crime rates. April was the most violent month of 2016 so far and also the one in which more bodies were admitted to the morgue in the last 15 months.
March and trial
The National College of Journalists, the National Syndicate of Press Workers and the NGOs Espacio Público and Expresión Libre called for a march this Tuesday, May 3, with the occasion of the International Press Freedom Day. The march will start at 10:00 am in Los Cortijos and it’ll arrive –if it’s allowed- to PNUD headquarters in Los Palos Grandes. So be it, because this is just one of the events advanced by activist who’ve done relevant work to make sense out of the deplorable state of the press in Venezuela.
The hearing for Francisco Flores and Efraín Antonio Campos, Cilia Flores’ nephews, will also take place tomorrow if it’s not postponed again, while the case of 40 kilos of drugs found in the wrecked vehicle in Cojedes is investigated. Of course, they´re big leaguers: 800 kilos of cocaine in Haiti, bound for the U.S.
The best source of information for this matter is Jessica Carrillo (@jessycarrillo on Twitter), reporting directly from New York.