Speaking during a televised event from Maracaibo, Zulia state yesterday, Maduro briefly addressed Mauricio Macri’s recent election as President of Argentina. Maduro downplayed Macri’s victory saying that he’d won by a “micro-milliliter”, and suggested that the Argentinian people were not willing to accept his victory:
I’m telling you: the people of Argentina are ready to fight.
Macri has been an outspoken critic of the Maduro government. On Monday, he said that he would request that Mercosur place economic sanctions on Venezuela over the country’s human rights abuses.
Gov’t: Mercenaries Out to Kill Tintori
Vice-President Jorge Arreaza said yesterday that “mercenaries financed by the ultra-right wing” might be trying to assassinate Lilian Tintori before next Sunday’s parliamentary election. Arreaza said:
We have certain information that there are mercenaries who are being paid $30,000, $50,000 to carry out political crimes, and that she [Tintori] might be a target of these ultra-right wing mercenaries.
While Arreaza did not provide any evidence for his claims, he appeared to be echoing comments made by Maduro on Thursday to the same effect.
Arreaza said that he was afraid that “they will do to her what they were going to do to her husband”, referencing an alleged plot against Leopoldo Lopez’s wife for which no evidence ever surfaced beyond government claims. Arreaza said that the people who might be targeting Tintori have as their goal “generating confusion to blame on the government”.
Tintori Offered Gov’t Protection, Rejects Offer
Lilian Tintori has rejected a government offer to provide her with an escort made up of Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (SEBIN) officers. Through her Twitter account, Tintori explained that the SEBIN reached out to her and proposed a meeting to agree on the arrangement, and that she refused. Tintori gave the following reason for her decision:
I chose to not go because the SEBIN, the state police, are the ones who are harassing, persecuting and intimidating me.
Tintori said that she received a telephone call on behalf of Maduro, and that the people she spoke to said that her life was in danger. Tintori dismissed the government’s claims, saying that “no one believes [anything they say] anymore”.
Still, Tintori placed responsibility squarely in the hands of the government should anything happen to her:
To reiterate: terror is a state policy, and if something happens to us, the person directly responsible is Nicolas Maduro.
Machado: Venezuelans Won’t Tolerate Fraud Again
Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado gave an interview to La Patilla published today in which she addressed some of the concerns regarding next week’s election as well as her thoughts on how December 6 could end. Below, my translation of select questions and answers from the interview:
You’ve spoken about two scenarios, but there could be a third one: the opposition wins by a small margin, obtains a simple majority, and an acceptable result for both sides is reached…
That would be a kind of fraud; looking for a point of equilibrium to try to stabilize a government that is no long sustainable. Not only because a vast majority of the people rejects it, but also because its repressive character has been expressed. There has been torture, censorship, political persecution. Additionally, its anti-democratic nature is evident: there are no free and fair elections. Thirdly, we’re talking about a criminal regime. This is something that we warned about a long time ago, and has finally become evident for the world. The Venezuelan regime is not a political project anymore: it’s a criminal organization. As a result, remaining in power is unacceptable.
Still, there are those inside the opposition who argue for the stabilization of the government to avoid confrontation and violence.
That would be ethically abominable and unacceptable. It’s not a matter of switching one mafia for another, or to “domesticate” it. Giving Maduro more time is ethically inconceivable. We are faced with the ethics of urgency. We’re talking about human lives lost with each passing day.
What do you think awaits people during this next electoral process?
In deep Venezuela, which I’ve toured extensively over the past few months, people are profoundly aware of the change that we need. The people know well that it’s not just a matter of how many deputies we elect, or what laws we pass: we must change the regime.
Maduro and his regime must leave so that we can begin to rebuild the country. The fastest, least traumatic way to achieve this would be for Maduro to resign. December 6 is more than a parliamentary election: it’s the day Venezuela will give a definitive, unequivocal verdict on the democratic future of the country and of the Maduro regime.
Torrealba: Results Should Be Out Between 8-10 PM
The head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, Jesus Torrealba, said yesterday that he expects to know the results of the election between 8:00 to 10:00 PM, regardless of whether or not the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) makes them official.
Torrealba made the comments on a Televen interview, where he was also asked if he trusted the Venezuelan electoral process. Torrealba replied:
Look, I trust the Venezuelan people. I trust in the Venezuelan people’s want for change. I trust in the hundreds and thousands of witnesses and poll workers who will have access to voting books, and I trust in our technological capacity to reconcile all of that information. In other words, between 8:00 and 10:00 PM, we will be in a position where we will be able to tell the honourable rectors of the Consejo Nacional Electoral: “We know that you know that we know what’s happening here because we have access to that information”.
When asked if the opposition would release the results of the election in the event that the CNE hesitates to do so, Torrealba said:
No. All I’m saying is exactly what I’ve said: that they can’t falsify results because we will have them. Trying to change the results would be technically a coup d’etat… and a coup d’etat requires a level of political capital that Maduro does not have.
Lucena: Ban on Poll Results Effective Today
The head of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena, announced a ban on publishing polling results effective today.
Speaking in a press conference, Lucena said:
Starting today, tomorrow and the rest [sic], the publishing of poll results is prohibited. We ask not only print media outlets but also [television and radio media] to abstain from referencing any polls. Similarly, any other interested parties – candidates or otherwise – are also to abstain. The law prohibits it.
We’ve shown month after month, week after week, that this electoral program never stopped. It’s solid, and the electoral process (…) is stronger than ever, and earlier than ever…
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