Sunday, December 3, 2006

Opposition claims irregularities in Venezuelan elections - Vigilance needed!

The electoral centres are being closed at this moment. Both the CNE
(Venezuelan electoral commission, in charge of the electoral process) and spokesmen of the FAN (the armed forces) have stated that everything is going normally and that the procedure is guaranteeing that voting is secret and free.

However, the counter-revolutionary opposition has not wasting its time to begin their dirty campaign of spreading doubts and misinformation about the electoral process. Opposition candidate Manuel Rosales, after voting in his home region Zulia, stated that there were problems with the machines used for the elections, saying that some persons have experienced that their ballot was blank when they had actually voted for him, etc.

He said that a research by his campaign had proved that such problems were much more frequent in the areas were Rosales holds majority than in the Chavista dominated ones. According to him 36% of the places where such irregularities apparently are taking place are the areas were the opposition candidate is likely to win, while 20% of the areas where there is a close race between the candidates and only 5% in the areas were Chavez is favourite.

Rosales added that he didn’t want to “believe that this was the result of any manipulation or part of an organized strategy”, but that the CNE should do extra work to ensure that the process is clean. The same attitude was adopted by the leading figure in the opposition Leopoldo Lòpez, wholaunched an aggressive appeal to the supporters of the opposition to “stay alert” and follow the counting of the votes.

It is quite clear that at least some sectors within the ranks of the counter-revolution are thinking about launching some kind of campaign to delegitimize the elections. They know that Chávez will win and they are desperately trying to start questioning the results.

Some sources indicate that the victory of Chávez might even be bigger than expected. In the biggest region of the country, Bolívar, official CNE sources say that participation have been as high as 70%. This is a clear indication that the opposition has very sound reasons for being worried.

The Venezuelan revolutionary news-site Aporrea has reported that on Friday the 1st of December, big reserves of T-shirts with the word “Fraud” were found together with leaflets denouncing electoral fraud and calling for a demonstration against the fraud for December the 5th. The same source reported that the leading oppositionist, Rafael Poleo, who some days ago revealed on the TV channel Globovision, that the opposition leader should conduct a “Orange revolution” like in Ukraine, to get rid of Chavez, left the country to go to Miami on Friday with a return ticket for Caracas on the 10th of December. He left together with Radames Muñoz, an ex-army man who is also the former minister of defence in the government of Carlos Andrés Perez (the government that conducted the Caracazo massacre of 1989).

Whether this is indeed preparations for a possible new insurgence of the opposition is hard to tell, and will probably only be decided by Imperialism and the Oligarchy in the last moments. What is clear however is, that these are very serious signs and should be a warning to all activists in the revolutionary movement. The opposition is up to something…

The revolutionary forces are mobilizing and remain vigiliant if the counter-revolution raises its ugly head. Hundreds of “situational centres” throughout Venezuela have been prepared to follow the events and call for mass action if necessary. Important left-wing organizations in the Bolivarian movement have formed a pact called “Oligarcas Temblad!” (Oligarchs tremble!). In this alliance is represented, among others, the National Peasant Front Ezequiel Zamora (FNCEZ), the Venezuela Popular Unity (UPV), the Alexis Vive Collective, the Simon Bolivar Coordination Committee, the Revolutionary Front of Occupied Factories, FRETECO, and the Revolutionary Marxist Current.

This will be an important tool to respond to any manoeuvre of the opposition. Both inside and outside Venezuela, revolutionaries should be on their guard, following the events hour by hour and mobilize for demonstrations in support of Chavez's victory tomorrow, Monday. Only by the mobilization of the masses in the streets can the plans of the counter-revolution be stopped.

By Patrick Larsen

Caracas, 5pm (Venezuelan time)

No comments: