I will not have reliable internet access until June 25. The daily updates will not be as thorough as they usually are until then. I apologize. 

The MUD announced today that it estimates that 45,000 more signatures could have been verified yesterday were it not for the numerous difficulties and obstacles it faced during the first day of the signature-verification process in the recall effort against Nicolas Maduro.

Still, Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles announced today that the opposition had managed to verify 71,557 signatures yesterday. It has until Friday to verify 197,721 signatures so that the recall referendum process against Maduro can move on to the next step.

Capriles said that while the process was not moving as smoothly as he liked, he is not worried about falling short of the goal:

It’s not easy, but we don’t have a shortage either of signatures or of people who want to sign.

Some of the difficulties that Venezuelans who wanted to verify their signatures experienced included power outages at the verification stations, and not being recognized by the computer system for unknown reasons.

The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) also announced that it was hoping to surpass the 197,721 goal in order to gain a “cushion”, since it anticipates that is in the previous stage, the government will seek to disqualify as many signatures as possible in order to derail the recall process.

264 Signatures Verified in 23 de Enero

197 residents of the 23 de Enero neighbourhood in Caracas – once an indomitable Chavista fortress – verified their signatures there yesterday. So far today, 67 people have done so.

Manuel Mir, the coordinator of the verification process in the 23 de Enero, said:

Despite people’s fears, we have seen a great effort to participate by the 23 de Enero community.

Mir pointed out that by placing a verification station in the heart of what is likely the most chavista area of Caracas, the national government attempted to scare Venezuelans into not going to personally verify their signatures.

A man who chose to not give out his name told El Nacional his reason for verifying his signature:

I’ve lost 16 kilograms.

The man also said that he suffers from hypertension, and that his doctor has had to switch medication numerous times because whatever he is prescribed is often impossible to find.

On opposition efforts to organize themselves politically in the neighbourhood, the man said:

The colectivo [a pro-government armed group] doesn’t allow it. Whenever we hold a meeting, they show up with guns and intimidate people.

Revenue Agency Employees Fired For Verifying

Former Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) magistrate Blanco Rosa Marmol announced today that several workers from Venezuela’s revenue agency, SENIAT, have been fired for verifying their signatures in favour of the recall this week. Marmol did not provide any concrete information on the claim.

If true, the news would not come as a surprise. Earlier this year, a number of high-ranking PSUV officials – including the vice president of the PSUV, Diosdado Cabello – stated unequivocally that any government employee found to have signed in favour of the referendum should be fired.

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

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