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Venezuela Opposition Cries Foul After Recall Suspended, Calls for Coup Against Maduro

teleSUR | October 21, 2016

The ominous calls came as courts temporarily froze the referendum process to investigate thousands of fraudulent signatures submitted in the first phase.

Leader’s from Venezuela’s opposition appeared to call for a coup against President Nicolas Maduro, after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the presidential recall referendum would be temporarily suspended due to fraud committed in the first phase of the process.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said Friday that President Maduro is “in disobedience of the constitution” and called on both the National Assembly and Armed Forces to “make a decision” and have people “respect the constitution.”

The former Venezuelan presidential candidate also said Maduro had vacated his position as president, prompting fears that a coup might be looming.

“Maduro did not only leave the country, he left his position,” Capriles said during Friday’s press conference.

“Maduro declared himself in disobedience, he does not respect the Constitution, and today he left the country, and will leave everything.”

Maduro left Venezuela for various OPEC and non-OPEC countries Thursday to help establish a stable price for oil, which has negatively affected the South American country’s economy.

Capriles, head of Justice First and one of the leaders of the opposition MUD coalition, also called on the nation’s armed forces to intervene.

“Hopefully the armed forces will have people respect the constitution,” he said.

The MUD leader also demanded the government repeal the decision to suspend the signature collection process for the recall referendum and called on opposition members to “take the streets of Venezuela.” Toward the end of his speech, Capriles denied he wanted a coup to oust Maduro and said he does not want to incite violence.

“We don’t want a coup in the country,” said Capriles, “A coup has (already) happened to the people and we have to restore constitutional order.“

Henry Ramos Allup, the president of the National Assembly, also spoke during the press conference and said the National Assembly he leads supports all the decisions and the message promoted by Capriles.

Ramos Allup also called on the Venezuelan Armed Forces “to analyze the abuses to the constitution” allegedly carried out by the government. He also said they were offering a constitutional way out for Maduro through the recall referendum in order to prevent “a violent way out” in the future.

The legislator said a delegation from the assembly will travel to the Organization of American States, or OAS, to demand the OAS apply the so-called Democratic Charter against his country, something the opposition has been requesting for months.

“Venezuelans have always been stronger than its leaders,” he said, before he cast doubt on Maduro’s nationality, suggesting he may actually be Colombian—a common allegation that has no basis.

The National Electoral Council, or CNE, said the decision to postpone the recall referendum process came after the MUD committed the criminal offense of presenting more than 600,000, about 30 percent, of signatures deemed irregular. Among the invalid signatures were almost 11,000 from deceased Venezuelans.

The Supreme Court also declared invalid all acts of the National Assembly after it swore in three legislators who had previously been suspended over irregularities when they were elected.

October 22, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Henrique Capriles: The Prefabricated Leader

Never before in the history of Venezuela has a politician been so promoted and supported by the media as Henrique Capriles has been, and now more than ever. Never before has a politician received so much coverage, and such fawning attention from the media, especially given that we are talking about someone who isn’t even president.

If we were to look to the past we would find Rómulo Betancout, Rafael Caldera, and Carlos Andrés Pérez—all presidents with great media influence. But they were already president when they received so much coverage and still it was not even comparable to what Henrique Capriles receives today.

The fact that the press gives so much coverage to someone who isn’t even the president is unprecedented in our country. Not even in the case of famous opposition leaders of the past like “Tigre” Eduardo Fernández or the very Caldera and Carlos Andrés Pérez before they were presidents, has so much attention been given to a candidate.

Every single day the businessman Capriles appears in national and international media. Only those who are very naïve could believe that someone with so much support is an “independent” politician.

In the case of President Chavez, he didn’t get nearly as much attention from the media when he was a rising leader and presidential candidate. And when he did it was always with a certain slant, from an angle that attacked, criminalized and delegitimized his struggles and his ideas. Chavez couldn’t dream of having the media be so openly servile when he was candidate or when he was president.

Even the politicians named above, like Caldera or Carlos Andrés Pérez, who had a lot of support from the media, always had some journalists that were critical.  But with Capriles, those same media outlets won’t even touch him with a rose petal.

Capriles the “leader”

Objectively speaking, Henrique Capriles as a politician is rather mediocre: he is not a good speaker, he is not a great leader, he is not politically well-educated, he does not have a clear political platform, and he has little charisma. His rhetoric focuses on the daily problems of average Venezuelans, assuring that he can solve them, but without ever saying how. With so few real abilities, it is obvious that without his money and the media’s support he would not go anywhere as a political leader.

The fact that the media and the international press have converted such a mediocre politician into the “leader” of a large part of the Venezuelan population is something that should be studied by sociologists and marketing experts alike.

Conscious of the limitations of their candidate, ever since the 2012 elections the rightwing leadership has prohibited him from speaking openly with any media outlet that is not completely supportive of his candidacy: in other words, no community, alternative, leftist, or state media in any part of the world, no media that is not “normal” for the communication logic of big capital. On the other hand, Capriles speaks freely to any journalist or media outlet that is at the service of big capital. He speaks freely because he knows that they will never ask him an incisive question.

In his most recent campaign, Capriles’ fear of incisive questions was so great that he invented a new technique as far as electoral campaigns go: the “private” press conference. These are press conferences where only media that are supportive of his candidacy are allowed to enter. Every journalist that attends these “private” press conferences knows that the state media is not allowed to enter, and that no one can ask incisive questions, but not one of those journalists and none of the media outlets where they work has said anything about this censorship occurring among those who supposedly support democracy.

Lately, not only Capriles but also high up members of his campaign like Carlos Ocariz, mayor of Sucre municipality, have taken to ignoring any questions from reporters that they do not like, no matter how polite. But in spite of all this, they are presented by the private media, domestic and internationally, as being the bearers of democracy. If this kind of censorship can occur while they are in the opposition, we can only imagine what would happen if they were in power.

A Political Birth Bought And Paid For

Henrique Capriles does not come from a background of grassroots party leadership or community activism. Far from representing a “new kind of politics”, Capriles represents the exact same kind of politics that existed before, or perhaps even worse because he is disguised as something else.

He began his political career with an obvious political negotiation in the heart of the social-democratic party Copei, a party that nominated him as a representative in Congress for the state of Zulia. From there he was elected to represent a state in which he had never lived before, and above hundreds of regional leaders from a party that had had previous governors from Zulia. But Copei preferred to run the son of a business leader and disparage the merits of so many local leaders.

With the backing of Copei, as a Congressman he immediately became the president of the Congress, as the old political system attempted to recover its losses from the hurricane that Chavez’s new leadership represented. In this way, the young businessman-made-politician rapidly took over one of the most important posts in the Fourth Republic [as the pre-Chavez era from 1958-1999 is known]. With enough financial backing anyone can be elected to any post.

However, as president of Congress, Henrique Capriles did not hesitate to throw Copei to one side, declaring that he “does not respond to political pressures from any party”. It is very easy to say something like that when you’ve already been elected, and much easier when you have an economic empire backing you.

That is how the rightwing creates their prefabricated politicians.

The Communicational Strategy of the Parallel Government

The strategy underway on the part of big capital, its political actors and its media outlets in Venezuela is that of a parallel government. With the argument that Capriles lost by a very narrow margin, and therefore the country is divided in “two halves”, Capriles doesn’t receive the media coverage that he should as the governor of Miranda, or as a defeated candidate, but rather he is treated by the media as if he were the very president of the country. Whatever he says, whatever interview he does, whatever comment he makes on Twitter, it is immediately covered by all the private media that are constantly waiting to report on everything he does or says.

Instead of having an equitable distribution of the news priorities, this posture by the media is clearly a strategy of aggression against our country. There have been recent cases such as Calderón in Mexico with a narrow victory over López Obrador, or that of Bush over Al Gore in the United States. In both cases the defeated candidates were given media coverage for the first few days after the elections, but afterwards they were treated as everyday politicians again, receiving little media coverage. Only here in Venezuela do they keep giving more coverage to the losing candidate than they give to the very President.

Translation by Chris Carlson for Venezuelanalysis.com

May 20, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela’s Electoral Council Says Capriles Lacks Proof of Fraud

By Chris Carlson | Venezuelanalysis | April 28, 2013

Maracaibo – Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) announced yesterday that they would not approve Henrique Capriles’ additional demands for the auditing of the April 14 elections, and explained that he lacks any proof of fraud.

The announcement was made on Saturday night via a televised statement by CNE President Tibisay Lucena.

Lucena explained that the expanded audit process would be carried out as planned, but the additional demands that the Capriles campaign have made in recent days would not be included.

“It is important to note that the political parties already audited the electoral process at each stage, certifying the integrity and correct functioning of the system,” said Lucena.

“Representatives from each party signed off on each one, as can be seen in the documents on the CNE website…there were a total of 18 auditing processes, but now they are being silenced and ignored in an attempt to discredit the electoral process,” she said.

Venezuela’s electoral process includes extensive auditing throughout the entire process, including audits of the computer software, electoral rolls, machine functioning, finger ink, data transmission and vote tallying, with the presence of representatives from all political parties.

However, Capriles requested an additional audit after the elections on April 14th, stating that there had been irregularities and that the election was “stolen”.

After Capriles’ request for an additional audit was approved by the CNE last week, his campaign began to demand a more extensive audit, including a revision of the electoral rolls, which were already audited before the election.

“We announced the decision for an additional audit and Capriles publicly accepted. But in later statements he and his spokespeople said it was not enough, and that a different kind of audit was necessary,” said Lucena.

“They began demanding things that had already been audited by their own representatives, such as the electoral rolls, as the signed documents from those audits clearly show,” she said.

Lucena went on to explain that the Capriles campaign had the right to formally challenge the election before Venezuela’s Supreme Court. However, they would have to show proof that fraud occurred, something she said was lacking among the evidenced submitted by the Capriles campaign.

“[Capriles’ evidence] does not constitute any proof of how votes were affected, nor how the results could have been affected without it showing up in the vote tallies that were audited in each voting center by party representatives,” she said.

Lucena gave several examples from the evidence submitted by Capriles in which no concrete information was provided so that the CNE could investigate.

Apparently, much of the evidence was presented in the same basic format that Capriles used during a press conference last week, in which very general claims were simply printed on sheets of paper.

Lucena said without more specific information there was no way that they could be independently verified, nor could it be confirmed if anyone’s vote was actually affected.

“The documents submitted by Capriles last week do not state clearly and precisely the incidents in which the rules were broken. They do not give the specific voting centers, who was involved, nor what possible damage could have occurred as a result,” she said.

Lucena went on to explain that the additional audit of the remaining 46 percent of ballot boxes will proceed as planned and will begin on May 6th.

Capriles’ Response

Henrique Capriles responded on Sunday to the CNE’s announcement with further criticism of the electoral body.

“It’s impossible for Mrs. Tibisay to do anything against the orders of her political party, the PSUV. The nation would find out the truth!” he wrote via Twitter.

He also said that he would continue to challenge the election results inside Venezuela, and internationally as well.

“Soon we will have new elections. Every day we are stronger!” he continued.

On Saturday, Capriles affirmed in an interview that he would continue the process before Venezuela’s Supreme Court, and then in international institutions if needed.

“We think Venezuela’s Supreme Court has been converted into a court of the government, but we must exhaust all the institutions before taking it before international institutions,” he said.

Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Kingdom Samuel Moncada said that this stance by the opposition is very similar to the situation before the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela.

“They are going to say that the CNE ignored them, and so did the Supreme Court, and they are going to take it to the Organization of American States (OAS), but after all the legal mechanisms are exhausted they will try the illegal ones, like calling for a general strike,” he said.

“They will take all legal forms to the limit, like they did in 2002, and try to take the movement to its limit so that the Armed Forces will intervene,” he said.

April 29, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

One Month before Venezuela’s Presidential Election Polls Show Huge Leads for Chávez

Venezuela Solidarity Campaign | September 18th 2012

With just one month left before Venezuelans go to the ballot box, a survey of recent opinion polls shows significant leads for Hugo Chávez in the race to be Venezuela’s next president.

The average of all 13 polls carried out in August and in the first week of September, saw Hugo Chávez on 51% and Henrique Capriles on 35% giving Chávez an average lead of 16% (See table 1).

Such a lead would translate into an advantage of more than two million votes for Hugo Chávez on October 7th.

Of these 13 polls surveyed, 11 gave a lead for Hugo Chávez and just two put the main challenger, Henry Capriles Radonski, ahead. (See chart 1 to the right).

In the 11 polls putting Hugo Chávez ahead, all but one gives him a lead of between 13-28%. In contrast, the two polls that put Henry Capriles Radonski ahead gave him leads of just 2% and 4%. […]

Lee Brown who carried out the survey for the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, said:

“Hugo Chávez clearly has a convincing lead according to the overwhelming majority of pollsters.

The evidence from looking at the full range of polls, rather than cherry picking, does not back up the claims of the campaign of Henrique Capriles Radonski that the race is close or that Capriles is ahead.

Nor is there any evidence that Capriles is making any real inroads into Chávez’s lead as they’ve also claimed.

Hopefully these statements from the right-wing opposition are just the kind of things that get said in the cut and thrust of a campaign.

But the bigger worry is that it’s part of an orchestrated claim by the opposition to give the impression of an impending victory and then to claim fraud on 7 October should they lose, as the polls suggest is very likely.”

Notes

1) The VSC analysis was based on the following poll results published in August and the first week of September, exactly one month before the election.

September 19, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment