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Vicente Bello, the MUD’s representative before the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), said today that the opposition hopes to be able to verify at least 600,000 out of the 1.3 million signatures the CNE validated as part of the recall referendum process against Maduro. The verification process starts tomorrow, and will involve 128 verification stations around the country with a total of 300 verification machines. The MUD’s request to increase the number of machines to 600 was denied by the CNE.
In order to verify their signatures, Venezuelans who signed a petition earlier this year in favour of holding a referendum against Maduro must go to a verification station in the state in which they are registered to vote. Once there, the individuals must present their national I.D. card, which will then be matched with their signature on the petition. The individual must then scan their fingerprint on a machine which will match their fingerprint to the one attached to their signature.
Bello said that under optimal conditions, the entire verification process for one person should take five minutes. Since the verification process is scheduled to take place over five days, he calculates that 600,000 signatures would be verified, well over the approximately 197,000 required by the CNE.
National Assembly deputy Tomas Guanipa explained one of the ways in which the CNE has made this step in the process difficult:
The CNE is the main enemy of the referendum, and they’ve once again broken the rules since they said that the MUD and the CNE would decide together where to set up the verification stations.
Guanipa said that the CNE is not setting up verification stations proportional to the amount of people who signed in each state. For example, he explained:
In Bolivar state, in [the municipality of] Piar they’ve put two machines, but only 191 people signed [there], or 0.25% [of all signatures collected in Bolivar state]. On the other hand, in Caroni, where 49% [of all signatures collected in Bolivar state], there are only two machines. Even worse, in Ocumare de la Costa in Aragua state they’ve put four machines for 0.26% [of all signatures collected in Aragua state], 264 people. On the other hand, in Girardot the put three machines for 28.77% of signatures.
Venezuelan Move Against Almagro Fails
A Venezuelan bid to review Luis Almagro’s role as Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) over his loud criticism of the Maduro administration has failed due to a lack of consensus to move forward with the motion by the OAS’ General Assembly, said Sergio Jellinek, a spokesperson for the organization.
The motion, which was brought forward earlier this week by Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez, charged Almagro with turning the OAS into a body that sough to “attack and overthrow” the Venezuelan government.
When announcing the failure of the move, Jellinek said:
The Venezuelan administration demonstrates signs of weakness when it comes to rhetoric, [which is] inflammatory and of little decency.
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