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Maduro will become the president of the organization until 2019 at today’s Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. The summit, which is being held in Margarita Island, will see the presidency move to Venezuela from Iran.

The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of 120 nations that have historically not allied themselves with either NATO or the former Soviet Union.

Media reports yesterday placed the attendance numbers by heads of state at five, but Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles revealed today that 12 presidents had attended the summit. Capriles speculated that the fact that most member states were not represented by their heads of government is due to those nations’ “respect for the Venezuelan people”.

Maduro accepted the position from Iranian President Hassan Rohani. Upon receiving it, Maduro said:

I am grateful for the unanimous support of the [Non-Aligned Movement]. Rest assured that this post that you have given me will be used for the historic security of our peoples.

Al Jazeera called the low attendance at the summit “an embarrassment” for the Maduro government, specially since the last summit – held in 2012 – was attended by 35 heads of state. The news agency also pointed out that India, a “co-founder and key member” of the Movement, was not represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose abscence marks only the second time that India has not sent her head of state to a summit of the Non-Aligment Movement since its founding in 1961.

Bocaranda: No Recall in 2016

Renowned journalist Nelson Bocaranda said on his radio show last night that according to his sources, there will be no recall referendum against Maduro in 2016. Bocaranda is an award-winning journalist, arguably the most famous in Venezuela, and has made a career out of breaking news from his extensive network of high-level sources.

With polls showing that eight out of ten Venezuelans would vote in favour of recalling Maduro, many in the opposition doubted that the PSUV would allow the vote to take place, despite the fact that the referendum is a electoral mechanism entrenched in the Constitution. Bocaranda’s announcement lends credence to this theory.

Bocaranda said:

Take note, unfortunately, of a piece of news that will cause a lot of resentment: luck is on the government’s side, and there are sectors that will not allow this [the recall referendum] to happen, [including] those in charge of the whole thing: Ms. Tibisay Lucena [the head of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE)] and the other three ladies [CNE rectors Socorro Hernandez, Tania D’Amelio and Sandra Oblitas). They will veto it from every angle. They will want the signatures from the 20% [of electors] to be collected by state. They will throw up every possible barrier to make sure it doesn’t happen this year.

If the recall referendum were held before January 10, 2017 and Maduro lost, a new presidential election would take place, almost certainly ushering in the end of the PSUV in Venezuela. If, however, the recall takes place after January 10, 2017 and Maduro lost, then the vice-president would become president until 2019. The PSUV’s strategy since the recall process began in March of this year appears to be to delay the recall until after January 10.


 

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