The Colombian government announced yesterday that crime along the border region with Venezuela is down significantly since Maduro ordered border crossings closed on August 19.
Luis Carlos Villegas, the Colombian Minister of Defense, said:
I can confirm today that the border with Venezuela on the Colombian side is safer today than it was a year ago, and I can confirm without a doubt that the border with Venezuela on the Colombian side is safer today than it was 60 days ago.
Along the entire border there was been a decrease in murders of 20% the whole year, and over the past 60 days an additional decrease of 10%.
Villegas that over the last two months, the border region has experienced a decrease of 39% in assault, 19% in theft, 70% in vehicle theft, and 84% in extortion. While between August and October of 2014 there were 40 cases of extortion in the region, during the same time this year only 6 cases have been reported.
Villegas summed up his report in the following way:
In other words, Mr. President, I report that the border has been safer during this 60-day period.
Maduro order crossings into Colombia closed starting on August 19 in an attempt to fight the so-called “economic war” he claims the country’s enemies are waging against Venezuela. Since that time, more than 22,000 Colombians have fled Venezuela, after a deportation campaign by Venezuelan authorities separated families and destroyed residential homes.
CNE Conducts Election Practice, Finalizes Process
The Consejo Nacional Electoral [CNE] will be conducting a practice run of the December 6 parliamentary elections in order to help ensure that the process runs smoothly during the actual election.
The CNE will set up 4,455 voting tables in 87 districts around the country, but only 55 voting centers will conduct full election procedures.
CNE Ignores Six Out of 12 Transparency Demands
Over the last two weeks, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) called on the CNE to implement twelve points in order to guarantee transparency during the elections. Yesterday, the head of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena, announced that the electoral body agreed to six out of the twelve points.
Below, a list of the six points the CNE has agreed to implement for the December 6 elections:
- A pre-election audit to verify that voters whose fingerprints are not recognized by identity-verification machines are not voting under someone else’s identity.
- The number of voters allowed to cast ballots after failing to be recognized by fingerprint scanning machines will be reduced to an unspecified amount. Currently, each machine is allowed to not recognize 20% of elector.
- The MUD will be allowed to have three members present during each auditing process.
- The CNE will crack down on people accompanying electors to voting centers for “undue reasons”.
- Audit forms will now include the time at which its corresponding voting table closed.
- The CNE will provide opposition technicians with the codes required to verify the proper function of the machines during the manufacturing process.
Below, a list of the six points the CNE did not agree to implement for the December 6 elections:
- To announce the election results “with maximum transparency and as quickly as possible”. The MUD had asked for real-time updates on what percentage of voting centers had reported to the CNE, and that the CNE provide partial results at 7:00 PM on districts were the results were irreversible.
- To ensure that the voting centers close at 6:00 PM, as is required by law.
- To carry out “an institutional campaign” to ensure the secrecy of the ballot, a right that election staff must safeguard.
- To lower from seven to four the number of consecutive times fingerprint scanning machines can fail to recognize a voter and still allow them to vote.
- To give the MUD a copy of the transmission logs from voting machines to the CNE.
- To allow MUD representatives to be present inside the CNE headquarters on the day of the election.
Grenade Attack Injures Two in El Cementerio
Two National Bolivarian Police officers were injured yesterday when a group of unknown attackers opened fire and threw a grenade at them in the El Cementerio area of Caracas.
One of the officers was hit by shrapnel on his left hand, while the other suffered hearing loss as a result of the grenade’s detonation.
Leopoldo Lopez’s Sister Suffers Attempted Abduction
Three men attempted to abduct Diana Lopez, Leopoldo Lopez’s sister, yesterday afternoon.
Diana said that her driver was in a vehicle when it was intercepted by three armed men who jumped out of an SUV without license plates. The men began beating the driver, Jorge Leones, asked him for details regarding Diana, and then asked him to drive them to her.
The men held and tortured Leones for twelve hours, but Leones managed to escape.
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