Since the start of the year, all eyes have been on Tibisay Lucena, the head of the Consejo Nacional Electoral. As the president of the country’s top electoral body, it is up to Lucena to announce election dates. In recent weeks, Lucena’s unwillingness to announce the date of this year’s parliamentary elections has been cause of some concern, leaving Venezuelans to wonder if the elections will take place at all.

Today, Lucena spoke on Televen’s Jose Vicente Hoy, and while she failed to give an exact date for the elections, she rehashed her assurance that they would take place later this year.

Lucena also spoke on the electoral process in general and the opposition’s doubts that it was fair, saying:

I know that not everyone in the opposition thinks this way [that the elections are rigged], and everyone has acknowledged that our electoral system is extremely safe and that it’s secured through all of the audits that we conduct.

She continued to tout the system’s ruggedness, saying that it was impossible to cheat in Venezuelan elections because access to the software that runs on the voting machines requires passwords from at least four different groups: the opposition, the government, the CNE and an independent auditor. According to Lucena, access to the machine’s software “is divided”, and:

… none of the parties can modify even the smallest thing [inside] the machines. They can’t because they don’t have a way to modify them, how to enter [the system], because they don’t have the passwords. The passwords are shared to stop unilateral access so that the electoral process can’t be modified. That’s the way it is.

Nearly a month ago, Lucena said that the date for the elections would be announced “within two weeks”. The closest Lucena came today to announcing a date was when she said that the elections would take place within the last three months of the year, a fact that has never been in any dispute. In an attempt to ease concerns, Lucena said:

Since the start of 2015 we’ve said that this is an election year. We’re going into primaries (…) the [CNE] has taken concrete steps towards an election that will take place.

Health Ministers: Venezuelan Doctors Aren’t Leaving Venezuela

Last month, Douglas Natera (the head of the Federacion Medica de Venezuela) gave an interview in which he claimed that 13,000 doctors have left Venezuelan in recent years in search of better wages outside of the country. Today, Minister of Health Henry Ventura that Natera was wrong, because over the past six years, “only 320 doctors have left Venezuela, most of them to go to graduate school and then come back to the country”.

Ventura’s figures are shockingly different from those of Natera, who runs the country’s largest medical union.

Ventura also called Natera a liar, saying:

Everything Natera says lacks any credibility, first of all because he never visits hospitals (…) and that’s why he gave that number,

He added that the Ministry of Health is privy to the actual figure of emigrating doctors, since any Venezuelan wishing to practice medicine abroad must file paperwork through both the Ministry of Health and the Foreign Ministry.

Maduro Coming Back from Moscow

After attending Victory Day celebrations in Moscow this weekend, Maduro tweeted earlier today that he was on his way back to Venezuela. He also had a message to the country’s mothers:

With the strength of love and solidarity of the woman-mother we arise, always, with a faithful smile towards the future and sure of our victory.

Video of Students Mocking Maduro Hits YouTube

A video uploaded on May 8 shows what appear to be high schools students in a video mocking Maduro.

In the video, a student mimicking Maduro’s mannerisms rants against Obama and promises to give books to high school students around the country. The video can be seen below:

The student astutely mimics one of Maduro’s most infamous speech habits: giving feminine forms to masculine nouns (and vice-versa), a wholly unnecessary and grammatically incorrect exercise.

In Spanish, nouns have either a feminine (firma [signature], mesa [table], computadora [computer]) or masculine (libro [book], millon [million], joven [youth]) form. There is no particular reason why some nouns are masculine and some are feminine, and the noun’s “gender” cannot be interchanged.

In an attempt to appear fair to all genders, Maduro has in more than one occasion made the mistake of interchanging noun genders to the disappointed amusement of many Venezuelans.

In the video, the student mockingly explains that he has “millones y millonas de firmas y firmosand that he is going to give the “jovenes y jovanas” of the country “libros y libras”.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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