Saturday, May 29, 2004

Venenezuela counts again 

From Friday through Sunday in Venezuela people are making themselves heard for or against President Chavez. The opposition to president Chavez has been trying to launch a recall referendum against him. To have a referendum they need to gather 2.4 million signatures. They thought they did this last November but electoral autorities ruled many of the signatures they gathered invalid due to many people not writing in their personal data on their own. Only 1.9 million were considered completely valid.

However, rather than reject the signatures outright the electoral authorities decided to allow people who's signatures were challenged to go and re-affirm their signature and show that it was not fraudulent as Chavez supporters have maintened. That is precisely what is happening during this three day period. If over 500,000 signatures are confirmed then the opposition will have enough signatures and there will be a referendum.

So far attendence seems to have been very light at the centers where people have to go to verify their signatures. Ultimas Noticias reports that very few people showed up in Western Caracas, a lower income section of the city, to verify their signatures. This is bad news for the opposition as the part of Caracas where most of the challenged signatures were was western Caracas. So far I have no news on how things are proceeding in other parts of the country.

I will be travelling in Venezuela starting tomorrow. I will post as events warrent and as access to the Internet permits.


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