Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) rector Tania D’Amelio confirmed today that the electoral body will take 20 days to “confirm” that approximately 409,000 Venezuelans did in fact validate their signatures last week as part of the recall referendum process against Maduro.
D’Amelio made the announcement through her Twitter account, saying:
If the validation of the signatures is confirmed, [the CNE will have] verified that the MUD has met the 1% signature requirement which will legitimize it as an intermediary for the electors in requesting a recall referendum…
It is not clear exactly what this confirmation process looks like, or even why it is necessary.
All throughout last week, approximately 409,000 Venezuelans turned out to CNE validation stations throughout the country. At the station, an individual would have told the CNE worker there that they had indeed signed a petition earlier this year in favour of recalling Maduro. The CNE worker would have found the individual’s signature on a computer database. Once found, the individual would scan his or her fingerprint to validate their signature – in essence a way of saying, “Yes, I did sign the petition”.
The process was instantaneous, and the results of the validation would have been uploaded immediately to the CNE database, in effect making a 20 day confirmation process wholly unnecessary.
Allup Defiant Before D’Amelio’s Announcement
National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup mocked D’Amelio’s announcement, dismissing it as a naked attempt to delay the recall against Maduro.
Speaking on a television interview today, Allup said:
Still with all the validation? What’s next, [the CNE] saying that the people who scanned their fingerprints used fake fingers? Those of us who could validate went up to a machine that was operated by a CNE worker. Before we got there, we had to show our I.D. cards, and they gave us a little piece of paper. You went in there with your I.D. and your little paper. Then, we put our fingers where the worker told us to – press the right finger, then the left. [The machine] printed a receipt for evidence, and then we put it in a box before leaving. Do they have to confirm all of that as well?
Allup also emphasized that there is little logical sense for the CNE’s 20 day confirmation process, since it is essentially a validation of a validation. Allup said:
What are they going to say? That our fingerprints are ugly? That they’re not pretty? That they don’t have enough lines?
Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles reacted to D’Amelio’s statement today by saying that he expected a “timely answer” to all of the questions surrounding the 20 day confirmation period.
Speaking at an event in Miranda state, Capriles said:
We are going to demand starting today that the CNE give us an answer, because they are violating the rules.
NGO Tracks Dying Independent Media
A civil rights NGO called ProCiudadanos has released a report in which it shows that 13 independent media outlets have been forced to close in the past two years in Venezuela as a result of what it considers to be continued and systematic assaults against freedom of expression in the country.
Guzman Gonzalez, a director at ProCiudadanos, said:
It is unacceptable for the government to continue to control that which is a right given to us by article 57 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: the right to freedom of expression and [freedom of] thought….
The same report found that there were 47 cases of censorship and 32 cases of “aggression” committed against journalists in Venezuela last year.
ProCiudadanos also points out that up until May of this year, there were 3 newspapers editors in prison, 4 under some kind of judicial order, 4 journalists living in exile, and that three newspapers were forced to shut down operations due to lack of printing paper.
Maduro Calls for Int’l “Media Revolution”
Speaking at a PSUV at the Teresa Carreño Theater in Caracas, Maduro decried what he calls the international media war against Venezuela, and called for an “international media revolution” to somehow get international media outlets to show what he considers to be the true situation in Venezuela.
We are facing a monster. It’s not only the written press that seeks to turn Venezuela into a bad example (…) no process can take place if we are unable to create a force that will destroy, defeat, unveil the mass media to show the horrendous face of the media mafias that own national and international bourgeois media.
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