The Consejo Nacional Electoral [National Electoral Council] began an auditing process today of electoral books in preparation for the December 6 parliamentary election. The audit will help the CNE confirm that the information in its electoral books matches that of the national electoral registry

Today’s round of audits are part of a CNE-established framework to boost confidence in the electoral system ahead of the elections. As such, members from the opposition were present during the auditing process today. Socorro Hernandez, the CNE rector, told Globovision

All of the audits we conduct count on the presence of every political organization that wishes to take part.

Hernandez also said that along with the book audit, the CNE is auditing and certifying the software that runs on the country’s voting machines today.

Hernandez also suggested that Mision Vivienda subsidized housing buildings could potentially be used as voting centres, saying:

Bringing voting centers [to apartment buildings] so that people can participate in every corner of the country is a strategy of the CNE that will lead to maximum citizen participation.

The Globovision interviewer asked Hernandez if the body was planning to do anything about PSUV National Assembly candidates appearing at inauguration events for public works, Hernandez said that the CNE would take no measures on the issue at this time.

BBC, Stratfor Highlight Dying Ports in Venezuela

An article published on the BBC website yesterday pointed out that between 2013 and 2014, activity in the country’s seaports dropped by 34.5%. In absolute numbers, while 1,441,673 shipping containers entered the country by sea in 2013, only 943,440 did so in 2014.

While there is no official data for 2015, the article points out that the chamber of commerce in Puerto Cabello – the country’s largest port – estimates that traffic this year is down 50% from last year. In La Guaira, home to another large port, facilities there are inactive 90% of the time.

As evidence, the article points to satellite images of Puerto Cabello released by Stratfor in late August. The images can be seen below:

The images, along with Stratfor’s analysis, can be found on their website here.

UN Delegation Arrives in Venezuela

A delegation from the United Nations arrived in Venezuela today on a mission to collect facts regarding the territorial dispute with Guyana over the Essequibo region. The delegation will be in the country until tomorrow.

Prior to arriving in Venezuela, the UN delegation met with Guyanese officials.

OPEC Set to Hear Venezuelan Proposal

OPEC has agreed to hold a meeting on October 21 to discuss a Venezuelan proposal to set fair prices for oil. The meeting was confirmed by the Kuwaiti Minister of Oil, Ali Al-Omair, who told Reuters

No decision has been made. We will discuss it, and [based on the] result, we will decide if we will accept or not.

Former Venezuelan Minister of Oil Rafael Ramirez told Reuters that the Venezuelan proposal involves gradual production cuts to drive the price of oil up. The “first step” of the production cuts should seek to drive the price of oil up to $70 per barrel, with an eventual goal of reaching the $100 per barrel mark.

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