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November 7-2011

Unfair Elections, a Chronology of Undemocratic Incidents since

By Vladimir Chelminski (unpublished)


When Hugo Chavez (aka HC) won his first election in December 1998, Venezuela was a
country in disarray. There was freedom of expression, information, migration, association,
and political participation. The Central (or Federal) Government was divided horizontally
into rather autonomous Executive Power, Congress and the Judiciary. Besides the Central
Government, there were State and Municipal Governments.
Voting to elect authorities was timely and for the most part clean. Political parties in power
usually were punished by the electorate. The arbiter was tightly controlled by the vying
political parties at least until early 1998—it had credibility inside and outside of the
Electoral rules were not perfect, but at least they were the product of consensus among the
competing political parties. When a staunch enemy of the system including the electoral
arbiter like HC got the votes, his victory was admitted without delay.

These civil and political liberties began in earnest in 1958 and though slowly, constantly
evolved for the better until 1998. During the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s these liberties were the
envy of democrats throughout Latin America. Costa Rica was the only other country in the
region with a tradition of civil and political freedom.

Yet, despite the liberties mentioned, the country was failing. There was crime,
unacceptable levels of basic services like justice, health, education electric power, a
housing deficit always growing bigger and most conspicuous of all, an ill economy that
offered few decent jobs. The chance for someone born in the slums to honestly work his or
her way up was almost nil. Since circa 1977, people living in this (energy rich) country
never heard good economic news strong enough to offer hope for the poor. Populist talk,
moderate or exacerbated, has been a fact of life since 1936.
In my opinion, the deep social problems, associated with the malfunctioning of the
economy, were the result of lack of economic freedom coupled with a state too heavy,
corrupt and inefficient.
The few economic rights spelled out in the 1961 Constitution were suspended the same the
day the constitution was approved--until July 5th. 1991. Price controls were ubiquitous
(except for the period between 1989-93 when prices were mostly free), exchange controls
existed in four out of eight administrations (1958 through 1998). Foreign companies
allowed to stay in 1974, since then were harassed until 1989; foreign oil companies were
“nationalized” in 1976 (until the mid 1990’s); whatever the state categorized as “basic”
became a state monopoly (steel and aluminum for instance), taxes were upped by each
Alas, all these measures against economic freedom counted with the approval of most
Venezuelans. The different governments with their laws and executive orders, the
opposition political parties and other elites almost without exception acquiescing-- to say
the least-- and the public jubilant about them.

The prolonged malfunctioning of the economy set the stage for a charismatic man that told
the people that the country’s vast resources had been dilapidated by the different
governments, that the rich had what the poor were lacking, that the poor did not have the
slightest responsibility in what happened to them, that they deserved better government
services, that the political parties were corrupt and should disappear. All these assurances
were partly true or at least carried a grain of truth. They were also fallacious and at times
In their desperation and ignorance, the great majority of the people could not recognize
their real problem. Venezuelans thought the situation would not get worse with a heavier
dose of populism or even with communism. They did not value the civil and political
freedom that, in spite of widespread poverty problems, they had enjoyed till then.

About the arbiter and the electoral system

Before HC’s arrival in December 1998, Congress made a huge mistake reforming the
Suffrage Law in May 98. Until then, the arbiter (National Electoral Council, aka NEC) was
composed of 11 directors, five representing the mayor political parties plus 6 others that
though not directly associated to them, but were sympathetic.
The change in the May 98 law meant that from now on, NEC’s directorate would be
integrated by seven honorable –non partisan at least in theory--persons. The political
parties were taken out of the directorate. From then on NEC’s vigilantes in voting centers
would come from draws among the constituents, no longer from the political parties.
Fortunately, at least for a while, the all important national identification system, matrix of
the voter registrar would continue to be closely watched by opposing political parties1.
Thereafter, the new (Bolivarian) Constitution of 1999 would reaffirm the idea that the
political parties would not be part of the NEC.

Your editor believes that the arbiter’s directorate and voting centers watched by the
competing political parties (usually the most important five out of a total of 11) until May
Political parties were not allowed by HC to have any control of the National Identification System that
nourishes the NEC. Moreover, on July 15th-11 Venezuelans learned that in secret, the government had
outsourced the identification system to the Cuban government.
1998, was a rather successful formula. That way it was difficult for parties, even for the
strongest, to take advantage of one another. It will be interesting to see the National
Assembly nominating a NEC’s directorate that will be truly “impartial” and without
connections to political parties, particularly if one sole party is in control of the assembly.

Characteristics of our electoral system

-According to our laws (Constitution 1961 through December 1999, and the “Bolivarian”
Constitution since then, government functionaries at all levels are not allowed to partake in
political campaigns.
Not all modern democracies have rules likewise. With its advantages and disadvantages,
the fact is that in Venezuela it is against the law for government employees to be distracted
in political campaigns.

- Our laws call for “proportional representation” in all elected deliberative bodies such as
National Assembly (or National Congress), State Legislatures and Municipal Councils.
(Article 113 of Constitution 1961-1999, articles 63 and 186 of “Bolivarian” Constitution
since January 2000, and various other laws)
This means that, after the elections for deliberative bodies, the various contestants will get
a representation close to the percentage of the votes that they get.
It is a system with a good dose of fairness, accepted in many modern democratic countries,
although not accepted in all (the USA or The United Kingdom for example that have a
majority system).
Your editor considers the “proportional representation system” fair by itself, and notes it is
written on stone in both Constitutions of 1961 and 1999. A major advantage of the
proportional system in an immature democracy is that it becomes more difficult for the
strongest party to use its government power to annihilate its competitors.

The “Bolivarian” revolution grossly disregarded the constitutional principle of proportional

representation of the minorities when it was time to select de deputies that would write the
new Constitution in 1999. For that Constituent Assembly of 133 deputies, with some 60%
of the votes, the Bolivarians got 128 seats or 96%.

In the new Constitution of 1999, article 63 guaranteed the principle of proportional

Between 2004 and 2009 the “bolivarians” flouted the rules related to the proportional
representation principle through the use of so called “morochas” in Spanish or “duplicate
parties” (voting once legitimately for names proposed by an established party, then unfairly
directing the party’s list vote, to a phony party registered with the sole purpose of lessening
the legal principle of proportional representation)
When the “Revolutionary National Assembly” changed the Suffrage law in August 12-
2009, it further reduced the concept of proportional representation mandated by the
Constitution. With the new text, the use of “morochas or duplicates” would play no role to
circumvent the law, as the law itself reduced the weight of the proportional vote in favor of
the majority vote. Furthermore, the new law gave the NEC more freedom to gerrymand.

though it erased “of the minorities”
The revolutionary Constitution of 1999, maintained the principle of proportional
representation in elections for deliberative bodies, but at the same time, according to article
186, it gave too much representation in the National Assembly to the least populated states
where the “revolutionaries” have more chances to win elections 3. It called for a National
Assembly with 165 deputies. Three of them, representing the indigenous (or aborigine),
that would quite likely turn out to be “bolivarians”. Of the remaining 162 members, all 23
states would have at least three deputies, regardless of their size.
This over-representation to the small states played a major role in the national assembly
elected on September 26TH-2010 for a period of five years. The overall vote was
opposition 52%, the revolutionaries 48%. Yet, despite this difference against HC, the
National Assembly of 165 deputies turned out to have 98 bolivarians or 59% (including
three indigenous) and the opposition only 67 deputies or 41%. In this evident
disproportion of seats and votes, also played a role the unchecked gerrymandering done by
the NEC on January 2010 in the municipalities where HC seemed to be weak.

About television and radio

Until “bolivarians” rose to power in 1999, there were both privately owned and
government owned broadcast stations. The majority were private. Government television
and radio stations—the minority-- were not political players; they were mainly dedicated to
entertainment (without advertisements). The private or commercial media was mainly
dedicated to entertainment as well, but in different degrees it also dedicated itself to
broadcast news, third party opinions and their own opinions. As a general rule, they were
mostly critical of whichever government was in power. Owners, editors, journalists,
photographers, opinion makers, analysts and commentators did not have to fear the
authorities, nor attacks on the streets from government sympathizers. Freedom of speech or
expression through the media, and freedom to choose stations and programs, could be
taken for granted.
With HC’s revolution, it has all changed. As of now, there is only one TV station
(Globovision) daring to show problems, protests, the voice of political dissenters and even
the voice of “chavistas” complaining. But Globovision operates with an open free signal
restricted to only Caracas and Carabobo State. Through paid cable it goes further. All in all,
only 42% of the population having a television set may see it 4. It broadcasts under
enormous pressure from the government. The other TV stations have been neutralized or
closed up, such as RCTV’s open signal shut down in May 2007, and RCTV International
(only through the costly cable) taken out in January 2010.
Thirty two radio stations were closed on July 2009, and many more will be, according to
government statements. The majority of the radio broadcasters remaining in the air have
changed their profiles to avoid irritating the government, hoping to continue broadcasting.
There are journalists jailed, in exile and standing trial, accused of the worst crimes.

In the least populated states, people depend more on the government for their income, and are more likely to
only see TV or read newspapers that are government owned or controlled.
Guillermo Zuloaga, Globovision´s president. The Wall Street Journal, Las Americas column, Mary
O’Grady’s “Chavez’s assault on the Press, July 12-10
HC likes to abuse the media. By February 2 nd 2010, his eleventh anniversary as President,
he forced a link up of all media to the official channel, his number 2000 (About once every
other day, almost the equivalent of 60 days of uninterrupted talk).
In addition to those obligatory comprehensive link ups, almost every Sunday HC has a talk
show lasting about 6 hours. Indeed, HC has all but monopolized his own voice.
During the first semester 2010 HC’s record abusing the media is the worse so far: 38
linkups of all TV channels and radio stations. 15 Alo Presidente, 9 interviews, 3 press
conferences (only friendly journalists invited), 105 other programs. In total, 496 hours on
the air, about 3 hours per day according to Súmate. El Nacional July 13th-10

The independent newspapers cannot be too critical, or else they might not get the dollars
“allotted by the state” that they need to buy paper. Also owners, journalists, and
commentators are liable to the penal code, which may put anyone in jail for “defaming
authority”, or for “instigating hate”5.

HC quite frequently tells us that the revolution is peaceful, “but armed”. In almost all of his
speeches he reminds Venezuelans that the revolution came to stay forever, that there will be
war if the opposition wins an election.
These ubiquitous threats combined with HC’s abuse of the media and of all state resources,
are the main frame present in Venezuela’s frequent elections.

Generalities on main electoral cheatings

--The arbiter leans heavily towards the “bolivarians”. Its board composed of five directors,
carried three shameless “revolutionaries” from August 2003 until September 2004. Since
then it has had four militants of HC’s party and one independent.

--The voter’s registrar since August 2003 is in the hands of the bolivarians. When a copy
of it is given to the opposition parties, they cannot do much with it, since it is handed
without the addresses of those listed. Thus, there is little to verify.

--HC abuses using the media to campaign all the time, for himself or for his buddies. He
enhances his government policies and destroys his adversaries with slander and ridicule.
He knows that lies, misinterpretation or slander can be sold to the masses if repeated often

--Besides the media, at HC’s disposal are unlimited funds, stadiums, concert halls, hotels,
airplanes, billboards, the facades of buildings, newspapers.
The “bolivarians” claim that anyone may criticize the government, as some newspapers and one television
channel can demonstrate. But the most important television channel RCTV was taken out of the air in 2006,
34 radio stations were also confiscated in 2009, many journalists, commentators have been thrown in jail or
forced into exile before being locked up, or lynched in the streets. Even several owners of the media have
gone through similar ordeals.
Weekly newspaper Sexto Poder, on August 21-11 published in the front page a photo-montage of six ladies
(all of them holding key jobs) dressed like cabaret dancers (The top of the picture states “The Powerful
Ladies of the Revolution. At the foot of the picture: “HC´s Ladies in Power. That day the police arrested its
General Manager Dinora Giron, and were looking for its owner and editor in chief Leocenis García. The next
day a tribunal ordered the weekly closed for ever and a prohibition to disseminate its content.
The opposition can hardly get any funding. The government budget does not help finance
opposition political parties as it used to before HC, and donations are hard to get, because
donators will likely have to face the tax authorities, or the Consumer Protection Police or
an array of other government agencies.
A major breakthrough against the opposition, came on December 23-10 with a Law for the
Defense of the National Sovereignty and Auto-determination. It means that political
parties, NGOs or individuals dedicated to politics or to the promotion or defense of
political or civil rights, or to exert control over government institutions, may not accept any
funding from abroad. Paradoxically, HC finances activists of his liking all over the world,
and in the 1998 campaign received funds from Spanish banks that he failed to admit.

--The “bolivarians” violate their own laws all the time, even when the polls show that they
have a sure win. The best explanation to this paradoxical behavior is that they want
opponents to feel hopeless and unwilling to go voting. The higher the abstention they may
foster, the better results for the “bolivarians”.

--The Smartmatic computers used since 2004 are more than suspect. The least the NEC
could do in order to build confidence in the system is to allow for the auditing the
opposition requests. The NEC has systematically denied full audits.

--For all the elections we have had so far, the law stated that on Election Day voting
centers would close at 4 pm, except those where voters are still in line. Yet, “bolivarians”
since they got control of the arbiter after August 25-2003, in all elections flouted this rule.
Centers without lines of people waiting to vote, have closed later, following public
instructions from the NEC .
Your editor believes doing so would give them a chance to fetch their political followers
that abstained (they have several ways to know who did not go voting) and push them to
cast their votes, providing transportation or even a gratuity if necessary.
Longer hours also allowed their militants to come to the centers and vote a second time in
place of “those that did not go to vote”, at least in the numerous centers where the
opposition could not get the witnesses.

---Voters HC have been led to believe that the vote is not secret 6. True or not, the sole
suspicion of this idea, induces many would be voters against HC, to forgo the vote. The
main reasons for this suspicion are the Fingerprint Checking Machines used since 2004,
the Tascon List, with the names of those that signed a petition requesting a recall
referendum in 2003 and subtle and not so subtle comments made in this regard by HC and
others close to him.

---Opposition parties have not been able to have enough presence in the voting
tables/centers. After its nadir in 2004, the problem is diminishing, according to Súmate.
Yet, for the last contest on February 15th-09, after much improvement recognized by
Súmate, still 20% of the tables/centers were without opposition vigilance. The lack of
volunteers to be present at the voting centers is due to fear, originated in HC’s constant

Analyst and poll taker Alfredo Keller (Veneconomia’s conference on July 15 th -10) estimates 43% of the electorate, right
or wrong, believe that the vote is not secret for the NEC.
belligerent speech, and police and armed forces un-disposed to stop crime. The later it is at
night, the more dangerous it is for opposition witnesses.

Traditional political parties used to be fairly good at making sure that votes would not be
stolen at the voting centers. These parties are barely alive since HC acceded to the
presidency-- they lack the necessary resources to watch the majority of the centers. The
almost death of these parties can be blamed on their own mistakes and lack of charismatic
leaders, but also because HC has used all his powers to annihilate them, at least those
opposing him.

---Last but not least, a distortion in the postulation system for deliberative bodies
commonly referred to as “morochas” or “duplicates”, between 2005 and 2009.
The party willing to take advantage of this scam tells its followers to cast their nominal
vote for their favorite candidate in the party (as expected), then –here is the trick-- to cast
their list vote for a phony or ghost party that has been included in the ballot. By so doing,
the political party flouts the rules designed to assure proportional representation (as
opposed to majority representation), and may get a much higher representation in the
Assembly than they would get otherwise, without the use of the ghost party.
After changes in the law in August 12th -09, the concept of proportional representation all
but disappears and there is no more advantage in creating the ghost party to gather the list
(The Constitution in article 63 calls for a proportional system).

Hugo Chavez, a most terrible looser:

Although with very high abstention, HC has won most elections in which he directly or
indirectly participated. In the few he did not win, he barely recognized defeat and acted
strongly to make sure his policies prevailed any way.
For example, on November 8th-98 (congressional elections) his fledgling party did quite
well but did not gain absolute control. So he reacted by declaring that the new parliament
did not reflect political realities, that it was illegitimate, and that the elections should have
been held together with the ones for President. By December of the following year, that
elected parliament not under his total control, was dissolved.
On October 25th-01, in elections for the main confederation of labor union’s directorate and
Presidency, his candidate Aristobulo Isturiz lost. HC never recognized the defeat and the
NEC annulled the results on January 12-05. That Labor Confederation is about dead,
because since that election on 01, it has not been allowed to renew its directorate through
new elections, and thus has not been recognized at the Labor Department (Ministerio del
Regarding the referendum of December 2nd- 07 where the people were asked to confirm or
reject 69 changes to the Constitution written in 99, he accepted defeat, but called it narrow
and ___________ . Suspiciously the votes were never counted to the end. Since then, he
passed laws to get all he wanted anyway.
On November 23rd-08, in elections for Governors, State Legislative Assemblies and
Mayors, HC won most of them, but did not win the governorships of Zulia, Miranda,
Carabobo, Tachira and Nueva Esparta, nor several other Mayoralties like the one for the
greater Caracas. He declared war to his elected adversaries and within months took away
their sources of income such as roads, airports, ports. In the case of the top Caracas mayor
Antonio Ledezma, HC confiscated nearly all his budget, did not allow him to enter the
official offices of the Mayoralty and created a new “higher” position given to Jackeline
Faria, to lead the governance of the city.
Authorities in traditional public universities are chosen by elections. Since his candidates
to run these universities have almost always lost, HC has created new universities where
authorities are not chosen through elections, but appointed by him. In the meantime he has
slowly suffocated traditional universities that depend entirely on public funds.
On September 26th ,2010 there were parliamentary elections for a total of 165 seats. The
results were 98 bolivarian deputies to 67 opponents 7. This margin did not make HC
For that reason, he asked the incumbent assembly (155 deputies out of 167 in his favor)
whose term will expire on January 4th 2011 to give him the power to legislate by decree
during 18 months. With the new parliament mostly annulled for that period of time, he also
asked the incumbent parliament to swiftly name replacements of the Supreme Court’s
magistrates due to retire in 2012. If the newly elected Assembly were to name, as it should,
the new Supreme Court magistrates, a minimum consensus would have been necessary.
Last but not least, the law for political parties was changed to impede parliamentarians to
vote against their party’s commands (this is a ruling to assure loyalty among his own
If HC has a way of always prevailing-- even after electoral defeat-- many opponents tend
to abstain, a formidable advantage for HC to keep winning elections.

The “Bolivarian Government

Elections are frequent8, though dodgy as this writing tries to convey.
Since HC changed the Constitution in 1999 a year after winning his first election, in theory
the central government is divided horizontally into five autonomous branches (instead of
the classical three) that must collaborate with one and other. Also in theory, there are
HC’s candidates got less votes (48%) than his opponents (united, 52%), nevertheless with the electoral rules
written unilaterally by the “bolivarians”, HC managed to have such a large majority in parliament.
After HC won the Presidency on December 98, Venezuelans have been called to vote:
April 25-99, referendum about calling the Constituent Assembly.
July 25-99, elections to select the Deputies to the Constituent Assembly.
December 15th-99, referendum to confirm the constitutional text written by the Constituent Assembly.
July 30th-00, Presidential, National Assembly, Governors, Mayors, under the new Constitution.
December 3rd-00, elections for City Councilors, and sub county government. Simultaneously a referendum
asking if labor unions should undergo new elections.
October 25th-01 through November 19th-01, labor elections for their top confederation leadership (only among
those belonging to the unions).
August 15th-04, recall referendum on the president.
October 31st-04, elections for state governors.
August 7th-05, elections for City Councilors and sub-county boards.
December 4th-05, elections for the National Assembly.
December 3rd-06, elections for President.
December 2nd-07, Referendum to change the Constitution.
November 23rd-08, elections for State Governors, their Legislative Assemblies and City Mayors.
February 15th-09, referendum to change the Constitution (indefinite postulations)
September 26th-10, elections for the National Assembly, and also to choose 12 members for Latinamerican
December 5th-10, elections for 13 positions, two of them governorships, and eleven mayors.
autonomous State, Local and Sub-local Governments. In reality, there is one boss who
controls all branches tightly, and who tells other elected authorities what they have to do.
No one from his party may contradict HC without having to leave immediately, or even go
to jail. There are some State and Local Mayors elected that oppose HC, but at great
personal risks and with their funding unreliable at best.
HC tries to look respectful of the law. In reality, he writes it, he changes it, and he violates
it as he sees fit. When he considers it appropriate, HC names the judges, instructs them and
removes them.
There is liberty of expression, according to the Constitution. In reality, the independent
media gets smaller, less resourceful and more intimidated all the time. If you speak up,
you may be put in jail and later tried accused of causing anxiety, vilifying the authorities,
conspiring to destabilize, or treason to the motherland or instigating hate.

Elected governors and mayors, if they are not bolivarian will be condemned to fail
HC has tried to destroy all elected authorities with his speech, denying them the funds that
are due according to the laws and to the budgets. The reader should bear in mind that all
oil income, value added taxes and income taxes go directly to the national coffers and
thereafter are distributed by the central government). HC denies or pays too slowly the
funds due to these authorities, does something similar with the asphalt, takes away
facilities that may produce revenues for these authorities (like ports, airports, road tolls in
2009), creates new positions or government or military departments to de facto substitute
governors and mayors he dislikes. The abuse may go as far as waiting for a non Bolivarian
mayor to have a construction plan for, say a bus terminal, sports facilities and/or a day-out
clinic, and then confiscate the land alleging the need of the central government to build
houses. If there is a natural catastrophe HC might design his own ad hoc military plan to
help, but will refuse direct aid to a non bolivarian governor 9.
Condemning these authorities to fail seems for HC to translate into future electoral
victories. This absurd policy began in earnest after HC lost so many governors and mayors
in the November 23rd-08 regional elections, but it existed less sophisticated and directed
against fewer authorities since his access to power in 1999.

In this paper, your editor tries to show how HC or his followers in government positions
often violate the electoral laws and the most elemental tenets of democratic elections. After
such multitude of illegalities and dishonest behavior, the Venezuelan elections since 1999
should be considered fraudulent.

Sources of the chronology: Most of the episodes mentioned here were described in daily
newspapers El Universal and/or El Nacional the day after they occurred. References from
HC’s Aló Presidente on radio and TV come from my own notes. References to HC’s

Three instances: Mayor of Municipio Sucre in Caracas, Carlos Ocariz states that in the last three months,
twice his plans were aborted by HC’s confiscatory policy of any lot fit for his housing plans. In total the
mayoralty has lost six lots. El Nacional August 18-11 and El Universal August 21-11.
Nueva Esparta Governor Morel Rodriguez complains that in five occasions he has asked help to attend major
floods, but never got an answer. El Universal August 25-11
Tachira governor Cesar Pérez Vivas complains that when the floods at end of 2010, HC passed an emergency
decree that he used as an excuse to confiscate the state’s machinery. El Nacional September 2-10
speeches in link ups of all radio and television stations also come from my own notes. Data
related to electoral results come from the NEC.

Following you will find the chronology of most electoral tricks employed by HC in the last
12 years.
Your editor recommends reading this chronological work from the bottom up (1998 is at
the bottom, while the current year is on top). Please take note that the text of the laws
violated and local terms used in this report, are at the end, below the chronology.
A Chronology of Undemocratic Incidents since 1999

November 7th-11
Luisa Estella Morales ratifies that it is impossible for the Supreme Court to change the
“administrative” sanction weighing on Leopoldo López. The country has signed two
international treatises against corruption…LL has all his political rights intact, but has an
administrative sanction related to corruption. OAS’s Inter-American Court of Human
Rights erred treating LL’s case as if he were disqualified for political reasons.

October 18th-11
Globovision, the only TV independent station gets a fine of circa $2 million at the official
Exchange rate. The telecommunications authorities consider that when the broadcaster
covered the prisoner uprising at El Rodeo Penitentiary (The government lost control of the
prison from June 12th through July 13th) it did it in a manner that eulogized crime and
public disorder, created anxiety and instigated hate among its viewers. The fine is
equivalent to 7,5% of the broadcaster sales in 2010. The mayhem was bloody because the
prisoners were heavily armed. The government never bothered to say how many deaths
there were.
For your editor, it is obvious that the government tries all manners it can find to get the
independent station out of the air. Actually Globovision has quite a low rating among TV
viewers. A main reason for that is that it never got authorization to expand its open signal
beyond the cities of Caracas and Valencia. Another reason, it specializes in news and
political and economic opinion, and most Venezuelans like better entertainment channels.
Whether or not the station survives, the fine will encourage all communicators to muzzle
up more than they already are.

October 20-11
The NEC, following the decision by the Supreme Court, states that Leopoldo López may
register as a candidate, bit it has not made up its mind whether or not, should he win the
elections, could be proclaimed president.

October 17th-11
Top Court says that Leopoldo López may run in the presidential elections, because his
disqualification is only “administrative”. His political rights are intact. This means he can
not administer public funds. The court´s head Luisa Estella Morales is asked what happens
if Lopez wins the elections? Her answer: we can’t speak about future events. Should
Lopez win, then the court will have its say.

October 14th-11
Sumate complains to the NEC: Since the beginning of this year, HC has been on radio and
TV 504 hours. That is an average of one hour and forty five minutes per day, violating the
Constitution, articles 67 and 145.

October 12-11
MUD (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática) Complains to the NEC that HC informed (October
8th) that the Presidential Palace will be the headquarters of his own party, violating The
Electoral Law article 75 and the Anti Corruption Law articles 13 and 68.

October 5th-11
The NEC’s (non bolivarian magistrate) Vicente Díaz asks its directorate to investigate HC
for the forced link up of all TV and radio stations on October first, when HC overtly
promoted his candidates and criticized his opponents, violating the constitution´s article
145. This is the seventh time Diaz has tried to put the subject on the board´s agenda.

September 20th-11
The NEC announces the rest of the electoral agenda: elections for governors will be on
December 16th-2012 and the ones for mayors, city councils and sub-county boards on April
14th-2013. The last two are overdue since August 2009.

September 19th-11
The NEC says that in regard to Leopoldo López’s case, it awaits for the Supreme Court

September 16th-11
OAS’s Inter-American Court of Human Rights orders the Venezuelan government to allow
Leopoldo López to run for the October 2012 presidential elections and recommends
modification of article 105 of the Comptroller’s law in order to make it compatible with the
American Convention.
Two days later HC states: that court is not worth a damn, it is like a zero left of the comma.
It is a court designed to help the USA Empire. UNASUR should create a substitute court.
The NEC said that it would wait to hear the opinion of the Supreme Court.
On September 26th the Attorney General Carlos Escarrá formally urges the top court to
annul the sentence.
(The fact is that Venezuela subscribed the Inter-American Convention of Human rights on
November 22-1969 and the National Congress ratified it on June 23-1977. Moreover, The
Bolivarian constitution article 23 says: Treaties, Pacts and Conventions related to Human
Rights subscribed and ratified by Venezuela do have constitutional hierarchy and prevail in
our laws).

September 13th-11
The NEC finally unveils the electoral calendar: Presidential elections will be on October
7th-12, governors (23) will be on December 2012 and Mayors (335) and City Councilors
(2387) on April 2013. The latter will be three years and eight months overdue.
For your editor, anticipating the presidential elections two months (traditionally they were
on December’s first Sunday) will spawn a huge problem should Chavez loose. In that
case, he could jeopardize—to put it mildly-- the possibilities of the next government, like
he did after the parliamentary elections of September 26th-10 that gave him three full
months to sabotage the new National Assembly that was his, but not with a 2/3 majority as
needed for the highest laws.

September 9th-11
Sumate urges the government to facilitate to Venezuelans living abroad the registration in
the voter’s book. It considers that the requirement of legal residence issued by a foreign
government is a violation of the electoral rights of Venezuelans. The 2009 Electoral
Processes Law, articles 29 and 30 state that all voters need to be registered is their
Venezuelan Identity Card.

September 4th-11
Supreme Court Chief Luisa Estella Morales, forewarns that a decision by the Inter-
American Court of Human Rights annulling the disqualification of Leopoldo López to
aspire to the presidency or any public office, will not be accepted. “Such decision would
violate our Constitution”.
(This in spite of Constitution´s articles 23 and 31 about treatises on human rights)
With a similar case there are 405 disqualified Venezuelans waiting for this critical court

September 26th-11
MUD (Mesa Unidad Democrática, 17 political parties opposing HC) suggests HC to exhort
the NEC to let know the electoral calendar for 2012.

September 24-11
In a surprising about face, HC states that top military will respect the electoral results in
2012, whatever they may be.

August 25th-11
HC suggests the NEC to take all the time it wants to decide the dates of the 2012 elections.
In a surprising about face, HC assures the electorate that the military would respect the
constitution if he lost the elections.

August 22-11
The NEC finally publishes electoral results of voting abroad related to the Elections for
Parlatino held on September 26th-10. It states that 15.342 Venezuelans cast their votes, of
which 77% were against HC. The NEC has registered to vote abroad 60.015 in 80
countries, a minimum proportion of the Venezuelan diaspora. Similar results for past
elections are still a secret. El Universal August 23-10, Eugenio Martínez.

August 14th-11
HC cues an investigation of the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD, union of 17
political parties opposing HC). He thinks it is trying de destabilize the country in order to
provoke international action, and that it sends letters to USA congressmen asking for
A day later, Bolivarian parliamentarian Cilia Flores says that the National Assembly will
investigate the MUD´s probable funding from abroad strictly forbidden by the 2010 Law
of Defense of the National Sovereignty and Auto Determination, as well as its compliance
with the Exchange Controls Law and with the Penal Code.
Your editor: the MUD did send a letter to USA congressmen, only to suggest the USA
government keep funding the Organization of American States OAS.
August 3rd-11
General Wilfredo Figueroa Chacin, when sworn as main Commander of the Guard of
Honor, in a national broadcast, states: Mr Chavez, you will be our Comandante for ever,
we will not accept anybody else10.
(On August 21-11, general Wilfredo Figueroa C tries to mend his ignominious statement)
on a TV interview.

July 21-11
The NEC’s vice-president Sandra Oblitas on the date of 2012 several elections: Our
legislation does not say that they must be in December. The date for 2012 elections for
president, governors, mayors and city or municipal councilors has not been called because
it is not the right time. The NEC will discuss them in due time.
For your editor it is not acceptable that that based on changes in the electoral law of august
2009, the NEC remains silent on such an important issue. Venezuelans may not even know
if there will be one, two or three elections in different days. It is obvious that it is waiting
for HC to decide the best option for him, in the meantime making it tricky to the opposition
parties to plan their strategy, as well as letting opposition voters know that it is an
institution designed entirely to serve HC (do not bother to go voting). Since Venezuela´s
first elections in 1947, the elections for president always were held in December.

July 17th-11
The NEC’s board member Vicente Díaz: Venezuelan consulates abroad are making it quite
difficult for Venezuelan citizens to vote. They request the Venezuelan birth certificate,
passport and an official ID of the country where the voter lives. For voting purposes, all
the NEC should need is prove the voter lives there, such as a certificate as a student, a rent
contract or an electricity bill. There are more than 480.000 voting age Venezuelans living
abroad unregistered to vote. El Universal 18-7-11

July 15th-11
Investigative reporter Adriana Vera, in newspaper El Nacional denounces that the National
Identification Service has been outsourced to the Cuban company Albet. A secret contract
with Albet was signed on August 20-08.
Your editor: The National Identification Service feeds the Voter Registrar.

July 15th-11
The Supreme Court orders the National Prosecutor to investigate into Miranda’s governor
and leading presidential candidate Henrique Capriles R for fraud and corruption crimes.

July 13th-11

Original wording: Para nosotros usted será nuestro comandante por ahora, para siempre, y no aceptaremos
a ningún otro comandante.
A tribunal calls presidential pre-candidate Octavio Alvarez Paz guilty of disseminating
false information. Condemns Alvarez to two years in prison, he will have however
conditional liberty. He may not leave de country.
This because on March 8th-2010 Alvarez paraphrased what a Spanish judge Eloy Velasco
had said about Venezuela becoming an operating center that facilitates drug trafficking.
After his harsh words, Alvarez was jailed during 52 days and released on May 13 th-10 on
conditional freedom.

June 26th-11
While HC undergoes medical treatment for cancer in Havana, his brother Adan Chavez
states that the revolution is in danger and we can not forget violent means if necessary to
ensure the survival the revolution11.
Adan Chavez seems eager to succeed his brother if necessary. His words frightens the
opposition, discourages its freedom of expression and discourages the potential voter
against HC to cast his or her vote.

June 19th-11
Investigative Journalist Adriana Rivera states that in the USA year 2000 census there were
91.507 Venezuelans living there. In contrast, the 2010 USA census found 215.000
Venezuelans. This means that about 1% of Venezuelans of voting age have moved to the
USA. El Nacional.

June 14th-11
Communications and Information Ministry´s memoir states that in 2010, HC appeared on
television three times per day. Daily El Universal.
Your editor adds that usually each appearance is quite long.

June 11th-11
Daily El Universal states that the USA census counted 215.000 Venezuelans over 18 years
old living in the USA. Only 25.903 of them are duly registered in the Electoral Register,
because the Venezuelan consulates demand proof of legal residence. (There are consulates
in only seven USA cities, in your editor’s opinion, they are un-disposed to help the vote).

June 4th
The NEC’s board member Vicente Díaz: the NEC intends to buy some 40.000 new
fingerprint checking machines. It plans to spend US$45 million in another voting system,

Adan Chavez says (original in Spanish): Nuestro proceso bolivariano se inicio en esta etapa bicentenaria
por la vía electoral, y queremos seguir por allí, por una vía pacífica que permita construir el socialismo
bolivariano, pero conscientes de los peligros que nos acechan y seguros de que el enemigo no descansa, no
podemos olvidar otros métodos de lucha. Luego, citando al che Guevara “sería imperdonable limitarse tan
solo a lo electoral y a no ver otros mecanismos de lucha, incluso la lucha armada para obtener el poder, que
es el instrumento indispensable para aplicar y desarrollar el programa revolucionario”, al considerar los
peligros que acechan a la revolución socialista. El Nacional y El Universal 29-6-11
which will not solve any problems; instead it will generate intimidation among the non-
bolivarian voters.
If people vote with fear, there is no democracy. Anything done to instill fright among
voters is an attempt against democracy.
Astonishingly that I have presented six times a proposal to probe HC on his -against the
law- electoral campaigning mode and use of state resources, always to be turned down by
the rest of the board. The NEC has not had the will to prompt HC to abide to the law. For
that reason HC derides the arbiter. HC knows perfectly well that he may not link up all the
media to the state channel in order to campaign for himself.
El Nacional 5-6-11, Carlos Crespo’s interview.

May 26th-11
NGOs La Colina and Sumate join the petition made by the opposition political parties
(represented by Mesa de la Unidad Democrática to the NEC to reconsider its plans to buy a
whole new system (40.000 machines) to check fingerprints, this time connected to the
computers. The new system does not make sense; it intimidates voters against HC and
likely will slow up the voting process.

May 25th-11
NEC’s board member Vicente Díaz: The Tascon List, after 8 years it still ravages those
who dared to sign a petition (November 2003) to a constitutional referendum. Dozens of
people still beg to get their names off it, because they must complete some procedures with
the state. Opinion in El Nacional, May 26th-11

May 23rd-05
Copei political party (opposition) Enrique Naim accuses the Venezuelan state of having an
unconstitutional policy to hinder the vote of Venezuelans abroad. The few diplomatic
representation demand Venezuelans to provide proof of legal residence, makes it extremely
difficult for them to renovate their lost or outdated Identification Cards and their
registration in the Voter Book.
Using data from “Venezuela Libre” a foundation dedicated to study migrations, at end of
2010 there were some 948.500 Venezuelans living in 27 countries, of which some 569.100
must be over 18 years old able to vote. Yet, the Voter Book only recognizes 57.523 of
Naim also complains that NEC has refused to publish the results of the votes cast abroad in
the prior elections on September 26th-10.
May 23rd-05
The NEC’s Tibisay Lucena tells that it will let know the electoral calendar for 2012 “as
early as needed”.
(Your editor: Opposition does not know most basic facts like how many elections and on
which dates they will be).

May 18th-10
Mesa de la Unidad Democrática spokesman Ramón Guillermo Aveledo complains that
through the press it has learned that the NEC has decided to buy new equipment and
software destined to make abrupt changes in the voting and counting system. Before taking
a decision, the NEC should have consulted all political parties. The NEC should be
focusing in debugging the Voter Book.

May 12th-11
NEC’s board member Vicente Díaz asks its directorate to probe HC for his early electoral
campaign and for using state resources in it. This is Diaz’s sixth request to the board in
three years. They have all been ignored. El Universal May 13th-11, Eugenio Martínez.

May 11th-11
The NEC’s board member Vicente Díaz states that it has the moral obligation to announce
the electoral calendar for 2012, although the law does not oblige it. It is a pity that the Law
on electoral Processes (August 12-2009) did not establish dates; the only date specified
was assumption day.
Diaz also regrets that the said law makes it difficult to Venezuelans living abroad to vote,
since it specifies that the voter, in addition to his regular Venezuelan ID, needs to prove
his/her legal residency. Dailies El Nacional and El Universal May 12th-11.

May 10th-11
Opposition political parties (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática-MUD) urge the NEC to
present the electoral calendar for 2012, election year for president, for 23 governors, for
335 mayoralties, for 233 members of state legislatures, and for 2387 town/city councilors
of mayoralties. The latter have been unduly waiting since august 2009.
Also they ask NEC to release results of the vote casted in embassies and consulates abroad
on parliamentary elections held on September 26th.

May 1st-11
The radio and TV media forced to link up to the state channel, since HC became president
in February 1999, it has happened 2125 times lasting 1464 hours (61 days around the
clock), according to Teodoro Petkoff, editor of daily newspaper “TalCual”.

April 10th-11
The NEC’s board member Vicente Díaz explains that in the new law of Electoral Processes
(August 2009) does not mention election dates, it is up to the NEC’s criteria.
The NEC should produce the date or dates as soon as possible in order to allow participants
to plan ahead.
In relation to HC’s pre-campaign abuses and use of public funds, Diaz deplores that other
members of the NEC’s board never had the disposition to do discuss the matter and do
something about it. El Universal April 11th, Roberto Giusti’s interview.

April 2nd-11
NEC’s former director (independant) Ezequiel Zamora opines that NEC’s secrecy about
the electoral calendar for 2012 is not about negligence, it is a planned disadvantage to the
opposition parties. It will be known when HC’s considers best.
He deplores that Voter’s Registrar is only known to the bolivarians.
For the next elections, Mr. Zamora recommends international observers with full liberties,
that Plan Republica (the role of the army during election day) clearly spelled out in writing,
respect to Constitution’s article 293 that asks for proportional representation in all
deliberative bodies, a new unbiased or apolitical office in charge of identification cards for
all citizens and the publication of the voter registrar with all its information.
El Nacional April 3-2011 Carlos Crespo’s interview.

March 25th-11
Esdata (an independent NGO, www.esdata.info) address the High Commissioner for
Human Rights of the United Nations Ms Navy Pillay their complaints about the electoral
system. These are:
The automated system and the biometric verification system attempt against the basic
principle of the secrecy of the vote. Although the NEC denies it, only the mere suspicion
among the electors that the vote is not secret causes people to not vote at all, or to vote for
whom it does not want to.
The automated counting since 2004 violates the law (up to August 11th- 2008) because it
did not allow the voters to participate in the counting.
The Voter Registrar can not be checked since it does not show the addresses of those
registered in it. The new Electoral Law (August 12- 2009) has legalized NEC’s refusal to
provide these addresses.
Elections on September 26th-10 did not show proportionality between votes and elected
El Universal 26-3-11, Juan Francisco Alonso.

March 2nd-11:
OAS’s Inter-American Commission for Human Rights asks Inter-American Court for
Human Rights to act on the political disqualifications made by the Comptroller General
Clodosbaldo Russian. The commission urges the Court to 1) ask Venezuela to annul or
modify the law that enables the Comptroller General to act as a judge who disqualifies
candidates, 2) Condemn the Venezuelan government for violating articles 8, 23, and 25 of
Pacto de San José. 3) Urge the Venezuelan government to re-establish Leopoldo López’s
political rights.
This decision could benefit 574 persons disqualified by the Comptroller, according to El
Nacional March 3rd-11.
The Supreme Court’s president Ms Estella Morales retorts that the Venezuelan government
does not have to abide to international court’s decisions. She seems to forget that
Venezuela signed (November 1969) and ratified Convencion Interamericana for Human
rights (June 1977). The Bolivarian constitution of 1999, article 23 that international
treaties related to human rights are part of the first law and prevail above other Venezuelan

February 22nd-11
Psychiatrist and profesor at Universidad Central de Venezuela’s Miguel Angel de Lima
Salas opines:
How can it not produce angst a chief of state that forces all radio and TV stations to
transmit his frequent long speeches, about half of the its time dedicated to threaten, to
insult, to humiliate his enemies, …his menacing gestures… that is why so many people
shun speaking up and so many vote in fear for whom they do not want to vote.
In a country with a withering private sector, where the main employer is the state,
employment related terrorism can be both subtle and potent.
Large numbers of people have fled the country, and more would like to flee. More than
half of my students-all about to graduate- say they wish to leave.
Many state employees recognize that one month before the February 15 th-09 referendum
dedicated their work to the triumph of HC’s proposal. For the previous regional elections
held on November 23rd-08, none runner HC gave away large quantities of refrigerators,
television sets and washing machines to help the candidacy Jesse Chacon.
El Nacional

December 23rd-10
A new law designed to cripple unfriendly political parties and NGOs. Under the name
“Law for the Defense of the National Sovereignty and National Auto-Determination, it
forbids organizations acting in politics, or in the defense of political rights, or dedicating
to check government action, to receive funds from abroad.
Your editor: HC’s 1999 Constitution forbade public financing to political parties.
Individuals and corporations in theory could still help finance political parties, but it
became “unadvisable” to say the least to do so. All of them, with the exception of HC´s
party have been starving for money. Now with this law, opposition political parties can not
lawfully receive foreign funding. Neither may NGO’s (like Sumate) or individuals acting
directly or indirectly in politics. This is a major blow to HC’s opponents and to Human
Rights such as freedom of association, expression, and political action.

December 5th-10
Elections for two governors and eleven mayors. The “bolivarians” win the two
governorships, and 6 mayoralties. Opposition wins five mayoralties, including Maracaibo
Pending elections for city councils and sub-county boards due at the latest in August 2009,
remain forgotten.

November 11th-10
HC promotes loyal General Henry Rafael Silva to Commander in Chief of the Armed

November 7th-10
General Henry Rangel Silva publicly supports what HC said on Alo Presidente #366 on
October 30th: “The Venezuelan Armed Forces does not have half loyalties, it has its
loyalties totally towards the people, towards a life project, towards a Commander. The

The General, by the way, is investigated by the USA DEA for drug smuggling.
Armed Forces are married to this project. The hypothesis of an opposition government is a
hard sell, it will not be accepted by the people. It will not be accepted by the Armed

October 30th-10
Talking about the next presidential elections due December 2012, HC issues his --so far--
bluntest threat: “if the opposition ever came back to power, it would try to get rid of
everything with a Chavez smell. I believe that the military and the people will rebel, then
the revolution will change its character. It would be unfortunate for them (the opposition)
because “it is a minority” and they could not stop a violent revolution led by the military
and the people13.
Alo Presidente 366

October 13th-10
The NEC announces elections on December 5th-10 for Amazon and Guarico state’s
governor, for Maracaibo’s mayor, and for 11 other mayoralties.
The NEC says nothing about pending elections for municipal councils, and sub-County

October 8th-10
Súmate reminds then NEC and the Supreme Court of pending elections: since August
2009, 333 municipal councils where 2389 representatives or city councilors must be
elected and sub-county boards where 3207 representatives must be elected. Also pending
since 2009, elections for Amazonas state’s governor and for mayors of Achaguas (Apure
State) and of Miranda (Carabobo state).

October 5th-10
Local NGO observer “Ojo Electoral” shows their observation: The NEC took 6 hours over
their own estimated time to announce the results. The change of the electoral districts was
done without a homogeneous criteria (…) breaking the relationship between votes and the
parliamentary representation, in violation of the Constitution. Thus, in the Capital District
the opposition with 47,8% of the votes, got only 30% of the seats. In Carabobo state, with
53,5% of the votes, the opposition got only 30% of the seats.
The government employees campaigned, violating article 17 of bylaws of the electoral

October 4th-10
Observers on behalf of the European Parliament reveal the report they will submit to their
The original text: “si esa gente con todo su odio llegara a mandar aquí, trataría de echar de vzla todo lo
que huela a Chávez y yo creo que se alzarían los militares y el pueblo. Entonces la revolución cambaría de
signo, pasaría a hacer otro camino. Pobre de ellos porque son minoría y no tendrían como detener una
revolución violenta liderada por los militares y el pueblo venezolano”.
Main points: The judiciary is used to promote bigotry. The mal-intention of the redrawing
of the electoral districts made it possible for the winners to get the least deputies to the
National Assembly.

October 2nd-10
None-bolivarian Zulia State Governor Pablo Perez’s opinion:
The official campaign based on lies, money, intimidation and violence did not bear fruit.
In this state, the bolivarians gave away money, washing machines, tumble dryers…
The opposition had to overcome 16 mayoralties, the Developing Bank Corpozulia, the
electrical company Enelven, the telephone company Movilnet, the water company
Hidrolago, ICLAM, the different central governments secretaries, and Pdvsa, all of them
controlled by HC. El Nacional October 3rd-10

September 30th-10:
The NEC at last publishes results for Parlamento Andino:
Of 13 representatives, 7 are bolivarians and 6 are opponents. The total vote was: HC’s
PSUV party 5.268.939 votes, opposition parties united in the “Unity Table (Mesa de la
Unidad) got 5.077.043 votes, opponent party Opina 288.899 votes and opponent Grupo
Proparlatino got 85.835.

September 29th-10
NEC’s independent director Vicente Diaz: all votes were counted, more than 17.000 boxes
were audited, the NEC has published results of every voting table, all political parties have
the tallies (or signed minutes) of each table and the tallies of the total count.
55 million votes were counted from almost 37.000 machines.
The members of the tables were duly chosen by draw.
Each center had--like never before-- witnesses from both parties. Every step in the process
(in the electoral day) was reviewed by the interested parties. This is why no one is
objecting the official counting. If a particular candidate is not satisfied, the NEC is giving
him or her, the chance to contest the counting.
There were acts of violence in some centers, some Bolivarian mayors tried to disrupt peace
in order to scare voters, but almost all incidents were overcome.
Diaz regrets that with the reform of the electoral law the concept of proportional
representation was further diminished, the redrawing of the electoral districts where the
bolivarians were not strong, the TV Channel VTV at the exclusive service of HC’s party.
El Nacional, opinion, 30-9-10

September 28th-10
The opposition requests freedom for elect deputies in prison (without a definitive
sentence), in accordance to the Constitution’s article 200. This is the case for José Sanchez
alias Mazuco (a policeman unfairly accused of the killing of prisoner Claudio Macias),
Biaggio Pilieri, Bruzual’s ex mayor(Yaracuy state) Freddy Carupe, Piritu’s ex mayor
(Anzoategui state) and Hernán Alemán, Cabimas’s ex mayor (Zulia state). The three
mayors accused of diversion of funds.
The Constitution’s article 200th: Deputies to the National Assembly will enjoy immunity in
the exercise of their functions since the moment of their proclamation until the end of their

Opinion of Venezuelan lawyer Rafael Chavero G, published in local el Universal 29-9-10:

He regrets the long delay to give results. When finally announced they were incomplete,
and without total count.
The NEC must explain their criteria to redraw the electoral districts last January, explain
why the electoral law was changed last year, and how can a majority get so few Deputies?
He deplores the NEC allowed HC to link-up the media on Election Day.
States that NEC would be a better arbiter if led by representatives of the political parties
and not as is the case since 1998, by supposedly “independent” arbiters.

Spanish Observer Euro-Deputy Gustavo de Arístegui publishes an essay titled “Elections

without Democracy” in local newspaper El Nacional September 30th. Main points:
A summary of campaign abuses by the bolivarians, how he was told that he should leave
the country because of his opinions (at the end he managed to stay), mentions the
incarceration of Richard Blanco; the many disqualifications without cause and without due
process; …notes that past elections show unusually high turnout most in favor of the
bolivarian candidates, in remote places where there were no opposition witnesses; the state
TV station VTV is nothing but an instrument of propaganda and relentless pursuit of

September 27th-10 in the evening

HC offers an international press conference.
HC says that it is not true that he lost the total count of the vote, he claims he won by
100.000 votes.
A Venezuelan journalist, working for Radio Francia International and for RNC (Colombian
National Radio) Ms Andreina Flores asked: how can it be that with 100.000 votes less as
you say, the opposition got 37 deputies less than your party?
HC answers that the elections are district by district, nothing to do with votes country
wide, then humiliates her calling her ignorant…, the question does not have a logical basis,
it seems you live on the moon, I have spoken here for about an hour and you do not seem
to have taken notes, I am beginning to be suspicious of you….
The reader can see the whole lynching of the young journalist in www.You tube.com;
Chavez+andreina Flores.

Parliamentary elections, September 26th

The total population is estimated to be 28.949.489. The voter registrar carries 17.575.975
electors, of which 57.010 will vote abroad. Venezuelans living abroad are upwards of
800.000. Their vote may only be for the Latin-American Parliament, or Parlatino.
There are 12562 voting centers encompassing 36.773 voting booths or tables. Fingerprint
checking machines operate in 8 states.

The new parliament (2011-2016) will have 165 seats. The incumbents were 167. Three
seats are reserved for the indigenous.
A simple majority to approve ordinary laws will need 83 votes.
99 representatives (3/5 of 165) will be needed to enable the president to legislate.
110 representatives (2/3 of 165) will be needed to call a Constituent Assembly, to approve
special laws, to designate when their terms expire, NEC directors, Supreme Court
Magistrates as well as the National Prosecutor, the National Comptroller and the

12 representatives will also be elected on a national basis to the Latin-American Parliament

that meets in Panama. The incumbents are all bolivarians thoroughly dedicated to
international propaganda.
All in all, electors will cast from 4 to 7 votes, depending on their particular states and
districts. Your editor will vote four times: one for a nominal candidate and another for a
political party in the National Assembly; thereafter, for the election of the Latin-American
Parliament or Parlatino, one vote for a political party (or list vote) and another for an
indigenous (a nominal vote).

Results (for the National Assembly): HC’s party PSUV and others allied such as the
communist party get a total of 5.333.910 votes (47,3%). All opposition parties get
5.943.853 (52,7%)
Yet, in spite of getting 609.943 votes less (47,3%), in a parliament of 165 seats, PSUV and
allied parties get 98 deputies or 59,4%, Opposition Unity Table gets 65 deputies or 39,4%,
and splinter opposition party PPT gets 2 deputies or 1,2%.
In the Andean Parliament with 12 seats in dispute, PSUV gets 7 deputies and the
opposition gets 5.

Main incidents:
After casting his vote, HC linked the TV and radio stations, boasting that the country has
the most automated and efficient system in the world.
The NEC offered first results by 8pm, but it finally issued a first un-complete bulletin after
2am on Monday 27th. The delay was never explained.
HC’s PSUV got 59,4% of the National Assembly, with only 47,3% of the votes. It proves
the system has little to do with proportionality of the votes, a precept in the Constitution.
Other incidents14

Observer Leonardo Vitali (Ecuadorian Congressman), in Globovision September 27th:
The unfair advantages the government parties had against the opposition were not apparent on Election Day,
as they were in effect earlier.
He complains about HC’s link up of all TV stations for 45 minutes on Election Day.
This plebiscite demonstrated that HC is not invincible.

Observer Spanish Euro-Deputy Carlos Iturgaiz on Globovision, 11am, September 27th:

Instead of elections, this was a plebiscite. The Bolivarian campaign centered on HC.
The president said that the automated system is the best in the world. The NEC must explain what they were
doing from 6pm up to 2am the next day… there was an informative black-out.
HC did not get the support of the majority of Venezuelans.
He regrets that the job of electoral observers was jeopardized when the observers were told they were only
The worse is that HC changed last year the electoral law to accommodate his interests. The opposition will
get fewer deputies, due to the perversity of the law.
The international community is well aware that the regime is a one man show. That is not democratic.
We tried unsuccessfully to get interviews with Bolivarian personalities.
I wish to see an opposition running with as many guarantees as HC has, to see justice for both sides equally.

Newspaper ABC (Madrid), September 27th headline: HC suspends his public appearance and faces
Venezuelans only through twitter.

Newspaper El Mercurio in Santiago de Chile, September 27th

HC wins but does not get the 2/3 needed to advance his socialist program.
It reminds the referendum in December 2007 that HC lost, the NEC waited until 0,30am to announce results.
Chilean observer, senator (Renovación Nacional) Andres Allamand stated: …lack of proportionality in the
results due to horrific mechanisms of “electoral engineering”.

Newspaper El País, in Madrid September 27: HC saves his majority in Parliament, but opposition takes away
some of his power.
HC drew the electoral map making sure that states and districts were his backing was stronger, would elect
the most deputies.
The NEC hid the results to the nation during 6 hours, up until Monday 27th, 2am.
The results (10:15 am in Caracas on Monday 27th, HC 95 deputies, opposition 64 and 6 still pending) taking
into account the census manipulation, the results show a rejection for HC.
HC and his backers lacked enthusiasm to celebrate their victory. A few gathered in front of the People’s
balcony to cheer HC, but went home without seeing him at 4am.

Monday, at 2:10 am the NEC finally airs their first bulletin, naming the winners, omitting results of the total
voting in the country, delaying results of votes for the Latin American Parliament elections. This bulletin was
expected by 8pm.
(Your editor considers that the countrywide vote count may demonstrate that HC does not have a majority in
the country, and that the proportionality principle embedded in the constitution is dead).

At 12:30am (26S) opposition spokesman Ramón Guillermo Aveledo complains through Globovisión: This is
the only country in the world where elections carry extra-innings. Why the NEC does not say what the results
September 25th-10
The NEC’s president Tibisay Lucena speaks to daily Ultimas Noticias:
State governors and mayors participated in the campaign because they have political rights.
The president also participated, as president of the political party PSUV.
Lucena notes that in Europe, there is no such thing as “International Electoral
Observation”. Their voting system is not automated, if it works for them, good for them.
The Japanese do not accept International Electoral Observers, they consider it an
unacceptable meddling in their own affairs.
No one may desire to see foreigners guaranteeing their electoral processes.

September 23th-10
The NEC states that foreign journalists wanting to be here to cover the electoral journey,
need to get a “courtesy” visa.
This unexpected decision announced so late, did not allow for some journalists to come.
According to Sept 24th El Universal—Reyes Theis, American reporter Angie Sandoval
correspondent for Noticiero Nacional Telemundo, and another journalist correspondent to
channel La Sexta in Spain, had to cancel their trip.

have been when they know them, and we know them as well?

In El Tigre—Anzoategui state, ex-Mayor Ernesto Paraqueima (opposition) and TV reporters Susana Quijada
and Sara Vargas were injured. Cameraman Luis Reina lost his camera. Live on Globovision.

In Catia, a populous Caracas district, opposition candidate Yvan Olivares (a well known basketball star) went
to vote early in the morning, but was so besieged by bolivarian crowds in motorcycles, that he fled to NEC’s
headquarters to beg for protection. Olivares got it and did vote at 3:15pm. Live on Globovision and in El
Universal September 27th.

Some students, members of a group called “Voto Joven” (Young Vote) at Universidad Simon Bolivar used a
classroom and installed three computers with the idea of doing some monitoring of the vicissitudes of the
day. At 6am the military raided the room and detained student Luis Revilla and Andres Suarez. They were
locked up until midday. The reason given by the military (Plan Republica) is that they did not have a permit
to be that day at the University. Live on Globovision and El Universal September 27th, taking declarations
from student Roberto Patiño.

After casting his vote HC calls for a link-up of all the TV and radio stations to promote voting and his
government. He reiterates that we have an automated system to count the votes unsurpassed worldwide.
Victory celebrations usually prepared next to the People’s Balcony in the presidential palace, once the results
are known were cancelled. Instead of celebrating, HC twittered: “well my dear compatriots, it has been a
great journey and we have obtained a solid victory, good enough to continue advancing the Bolivarian and
democratic socialism. We must continue in the defense of the revolution-- a new victory for the people”.
September 24th-10
Súmate’s Dashiell Lopez says that in the 30 days of official campaign, the president had 42
TV appearances, 5 on public installations, 16 rallies on top of a car, all of them contrary to
the Venezuelan law.
Your editor considers that once again the president changed the nature of the campaign into
a plebiscite on his government. The Bolivarian candidates did not appear in the campaign,
only his persona. For his party, it seemed as if he was the only participant campaigning.

September 21th-10
A Spanish journalist for TV broadcaster “La Sexta” could not come to cover the
parliamentary elections, since a special visa was not obtained in spite of efforts during two
months. Venezuelan ambassador to Spain Isaías Rodriguez says it was a “mistake” made
by someone in the administration, and states that the Spanish media is usually biased
towards HC. El Universal 22nd-10, JFA

September 20th-10
OAS’ General Secretary Jose Miguel Insulza states that OAS was not invited to be an

September 19th-09
The NGO Ciudadania Activa informs through Email that the NEC prohibited 12 micro
programs (30 seconds each) intended for TV.
They are all in Spanish, http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=4E4DE2D479A8FF59

September 16th-09
The NEC’s independent board member Vicente Diaz opines in daily El Nacional:
I have denounced HC as president of the republic, not as president of his political party
PSUV, for violating electoral laws favoring his own candidates.
I have also denounced TV state Channel VTV for the systematic disqualifying of
adversaries of the official party and for promoting for hours the activities of the Psuv party
masking them as news.
The government abuses the electoral laws, but that does not give the right to some
opposition governors and mayors to act likewise.

September 14th-10
Súmate complains that the Foreign Affairs Secretary is flouting the law when on their web
page they explain the mechanics of the vote in such a way that it induces would be voters,
to select the Bolivarian candidates.
(The NEC recently revealed that there are 50.000 Venezuelans registered to vote abroad,
who may do so only for the Parlatino Elections, not for deputies to the National Assembly)

September 9th-10
Súmate complains that in 15 days of official campaigning, HC has been on TV during 63
hours, an average of 4 hours per day. It urges the NEC to ask all high ranking
functionaries to stop using state resources in the campaign.

September 8th-10
The NEC’s Tibisay Lucena rebuffs Vicente Diaz’s complain on September 2nd. Lucena
assures that public functionaries may participate in the campaign, since there are no rules
prohibiting it. Regional, municipal and national chiefs are political actors and subjects that
may participate.
Your editor is mystified about the NEC’s approval of un-Constitutional (article 145).

September 2nd-10
The NEC’s rector Vicente Diaz complains that HC and other functionaries are violating
campaign norms, among them Constitution’s article 145, article 13th of Corruption law,
articles 17, 18 y 19 of by-law #6 of Electoral Law.
HC responds by threatening Mr. Diaz with taking legal actions against him.

August 25th-10
There is street violence on the first (formal) day of the campaign. A small group of
opponents led by candidates Stalin Gonzalez, Pablo Medina, Ivan Olivares, try to go to the
National Assembly to deliver a letter, but are repelled with gases.

August 22nd-10
A simulation of the September 26th election, is abused when HC’s followers become
violent against candidates Maria Corina Machado, Delsa Solorzano and Ricardo Sanchez,
who have to leave the Liceo Gustavo Herrera voting center through the back door. In Liceo
Andres Bello voting center, candidate Stalin Gonzalez is harassed.
For you editor, this may be a harbinger of future violence by the bolivarians.

August 19th-10
Independent NEC’s board member Vicente Diaz opines: The national government may not
participate in the electoral campaign. If it does, it is violating the law. We see president HC
asking governors to lead the campaign, also participating in different acts surrounded by
his candidates; He is not a candidate, yet his image is ubiquitous in all the territory.
Through the state media there is a message of omnipotence, of absolute power, of lack of
limits. This may unite his followers and also may demoralize his adversaries, since they
are getting the message that it is impossible to beat HC.

August 18th-10
For the second time, the NEC’s board denies Vicente Diaz’s petition to investigate TV state
channel VTV.

The NEC accepts national observers for forthcoming elections: Ojo Electoral, Asamblea
de Educación, Proyecto Social, y Electores Activos.

Once again, the NEC postpones once again pending elections for governor of Amazonas
state and of eleven Mayors. It says nothing about the pending elections (since August 7th-
09) for 2389 Municipal Councilors (Concejales) and 3207 members of sub-county boards
(Juntas Parroquiales).

August 16th-10
The NEC publishes the list of candidates for the September 26th election. In total there are
2719 candidates opting for 165 seats at the National Assembly.
Súmate complains that the NEC moved 1.320.029 electors to far away voting centers.
931.358 of them staying within their states, 388.671 moved to different states. No reasons
are given. El Nacional 17-8-10

August 13th-10
Eleven international organizations criticize the NEC for prohibiting national and
international observers to publish their findings, in violation of the Inter-American
Convention of Human Rights and the OAS’s Democratic Letter. The NEC’s resolution of
May 26th, denies the people their right to be informed from several sources.
These organizations are: Poder Ciudadano de Argentina, Bolivia Transparente, Misión de
Observación Electoral Colombiana, Participa Chile, Participación Ciudadana Ecuador,
Acción Ciudadana Guatemala, Alianza Cívica México, Ética y Transparencia Nicaragua,
Decidamos Paraguay, Transparencia Perú, Participación Ciudadana Republica Dominicana.
El Universal 14-8-10, Eugenio Martínez, page 1-2

August 8th-10
Catalina Botero, relator for Liberty of Expression at the Interamerican Comission of
Human Rights, considers the rules (articles 15 and 19) for international observers issued
last May, as unacceptable, since they limit the rights of expression of the observers, and the
right to be informed of the electorate. Nowhere else in Latin-America exist such limitations
to talk to the press. El Universal August 9th-10, Juan Francisco Alonso, page 1-2.

August 4th-10:
The NEC’s directorate establishes rules for “international companions”: The NEC will
assign their route, their reports will be confidential and may be submitted after the electoral
process has come to an end and the winners proclaimed.
The NEC will invite 150 international “companions”, among them the Secretary General
of UN Ban Ki- Moon, of OAS Jose Miguel Insulza, the president of the European
Parliament Jerzy Buzuk.
El Nacional August 5th-10, Jose Javier Moronta
Your editor: If these personalities came at all, it would be only for a few hours, thus not
having a chance to observe anything.

The NEC’s independent director Vicente Díaz opines on several issues:
The National Assembly was elected in 2005 with the vote of only 2 out of 10 Venezuelans.
Democracy does not refer to quantity of elections, but to their quality and conditions.
At the moment, the government’s abuse of the state media and of the forced linkups of all
the radio and TV stations is higher than ever.
In the recent years the NEC has improved the counting of the vote, but it has backtracked
on International Observation of the Process and on the equilibrium of the campaign. Since
2007 the NEC has been substituting international observation for what it dubs
“international companions”
International missions arriving here just a week before Election Day cannot be effective,
because the electoral process is not only about Election Day, but also about the campaign.
They should not come to take a photo of the ballots, but watch the motion picture from the
beginning of the campaign.
The NEC did not invite the EU alleging that in European elections, foreign observers are
not invited.
El Nacional August 1st-10, interviewed by Fabiola Zerpa.

July 24th-10
The NEC’s independent director Vicente Diaz states that the last time that “international
technical missions” came to observe was in 2005. Since then, international observers
might have come, but with diminished roles and capabilities to ferret the electoral process.
Diaz worries that NEC’s policy of denying International Technical Missions might have in
mind to let know that they are aware that the process is not clean. Helping create that
impression is convenient, because it induces the non bolivarians to abstain from voting. El
Universal July 25th, Eugenio G. Martinez, page 1-6.

July 14th-10
HC (in a forced linkup of all media to the official channel) tells all the bolivarian state
governors to be ready to dedicate all their time for the success of the forthcoming
elections, violating the Constitution article 145, and the Anti Corruption Law article 68.
HC repeats that there will be war if he loses Parliament.
Analyst and poll taker Alfredo Keller (Veneconomia’s conference on July 15th -10)
estimates 43% of the electorate believes that the vote is not secret to the NEC. Thus, many
would be voters against HC, fearing the announced war, would feel safer if they abstain
from voting.

July 13th-10
The Chilean Parliament claims to be concerned about the election’s fair play and will name
a commission of senators to oversee the process in situ.
On July 16th, HC says no Chilean parliamentarian will be allowed to oversee our elections.
Tibisay Lucena, the NEC’s president follows HC.
Your editor: The Chilean parliament may have used undiplomatic words, but the fact is that
bolivarians do not want international observers not chosen by themselves, in spite of many
doubts about the process and the arbiter itself.
use of media during the first semester of 2010: 38 linkups of all TV channels and radio
stations. 15 Alo Presidente, 9 interviews, 3 press conferences (only friendly journalists
invited), 105 other programs. In total, 496 hours on the air, about 3 hours per day
according to Súmate. El Nacional July 13th-10

July 7th-10
Súmate complains that the NEC has ruled that the observers in the electoral process will
need to stay silent. Complains may be put in writing--after the process. Súmate´s Monitor
Electoral#42, El Universal July 8th-10.

June 27th-10
The NEC says that the official campaign for the parliamentary elections begins on August
25th. Until that date, the anticipated campaign cannot be regulated, since there are no
norms for it. This is NEC’s response to complaints about HC’s Alo Presidente and other
transmissions by TV state Channel VTV.
This is inconsistent with NEC’s decision of October 20 th-2007 when in attention to the
referendum to be held on December 2nd of that year, the NEC prohibited the publication of
several TV micros prepared by ONG Ciudadanía Activa arguing that these micros could
provoke electoral abstention and that they were anticipated propaganda.
Three years later, the NEC says it cannot do anything about anticipated campaigns.
The note in El Universal of June 28 by Eugenio Martínez reminds that on September 17 th-
08, the NEC defined HC’s Alo Presidente as an opinion program which is permissible to
any civil servant, forgetting that the mentioned program is financed by the state.

June 22nd-10
Enrique Naim vice-president of political party Copei complains about HC campaigning
through the media (violating Constitution Article 145), and plans to take the case to
international courts.

June 17th-10
The NEC’s board member Vicente Diaz asks the directorate to evaluate HC’s use of
national television (all channels linked to the state channel) that is becoming more and
more frequent and long. The response of the four other members is that the theme of
electoral equity has already been settled and will not be further discussed.
Veneconomia daily June 18th-10

June 3rd-10
HC says on national television that Globovision´s president Guillermo Zuloaga should be
in jail, since in Aruba (March 21 at the Inter-American Press Association Conference) he
said that I ordered assassinations on April 11-02. “Only in this country can someone say a
lie of this sort and live in freedom”.
Unsurprisingly, as soon as June 11th, a tribunal issues a warrant commanding the police to
arrest Guillermo Zuloaga N and also his son Guillermo Zuloaga S. The charges are
preposterous and out of the point, generic usury and association to break the law in the
selling of 20 luxurious Toyota automobiles found in his property on May 21-09, a business
in which the Zuloaga’s take active part.
Zuloaga is not found by the police, since he fled the country knowing he was to be
confined in the most dangerous prison of the country (La Planta).
On June 16th, HC says that if Zuloaga does not return to the country and face arrest, all of
his properties will be taken.
June 5th-10:
The ONG Esdata (www.esdata.info) warns that out of 434.336 persons selected to be
acting in the voting tables on election day, 41% of them belong to HC´s party PSUV,
another 41% cannot be characterized and 18% did sign against HC in 2003.
El Nacional June 6th, Carlos Crespo, and Veneconomía weekly June 9th-10.

June 3rd-10
The NEC states that Gustavo Azocar is disqualified to run, though no firm sentence exists
against him. Azocar is a journalist based in Tachira state, put behind bars from March 6th-
06 through March 22-06, then from July 29th-09 through March 26-10. Since then he has
been free, subject to presentation at a tribunal every 8 days. He was condemned to two and
a half years in prison accused of charging for some advertisements that he failed to air in
his radio program in 2000. Azocar has appealed that decision. He is another foremost
leader impeded to run in elections.

May 31st-10
Comptroller General Clodosbaldo Russian disqualifies more candidates.
Now it is Ernesto Paraqueima, ex mayor of municipality Simon Rodriguez in Anzoategui
state. Russian alleges that after leaving his post, Paraqueima failed to submit his net
worth’s declaration. Two Chavistas are also disqualified, Jorge Luis Diaz Cuba and Numa
Rafael Rojas, as a charade.
Days before, Russian disqualified Manuel Rosales and Sucre state ex governor Ramón

May 20th-10
The NEC admits the possibility of having international observers, but refuses to invite the
OAS and the EU. They may come on their own, but with no credentials as observers. This
means they could not enter key places and they could not have a voice.
The NEC’s directorate also refuses to investigate the more than 55.000 people in the
registrar older than 100 years, as the opposition has demanded for a long time.
It postpones the discussion asked by board director Vicente Diaz to investigate VTV, the
main government channel, who constantly ridicules the opposition’s most visible leaders.

May 18th-10
Ivan Simonovis, Lazaro Forero and Henry Vivas appear in the opposition ballot.
Nevertheless, the top Court swiftly ratifies the 30 year sentence to the three ex high
ranking police officers given by a lower court on April 3rd-09, after a three year trial that
denied the accused of all their rights, keeping them in prison for almost 6 years before
condemning them for three of the 19 deaths occurred on April 11th-02. The opposition
believes that all three policemen are innocent.
(HC needed at all costs to imprison scapegoats with the maximum time). With this firm
sentence, they are automatically disqualified to run in the elections and have a chance to
become free.
May 6th-10
Lawyer and military expert Rocio San Miguel denounces that the list of PSUV’s party
members published by NEC on the internet, there are 30 high ranking military personnel,
violating the Constitution’s article 328 and OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter’s
article 4.
Within hours the NEC removes the PUSV’s list of members from the web, and does not
bother to follow up on San Miguel´s demand.

May 2nd-10
The Bolivarians have their primaries to choose 110 candidates that will run nominally.
Their elections are supervised by the NEC, free of cost. The other 52 candidates running
in party lists will be chosen later by HC. The indigenous will name their three candidates

April 25th-10
The opposition parties after agreeing to present a united front (called La Mesa de la Unidad
or the “Table of the United Opposition), hold primary elections to choose 22 of their
candidates. 143 of their candidates were chosen by consensus among the different
opposing parties. The bolivarians ridicule the fact that most candidates were not chosen
through primary elections but rather based on consensus. The opposition claims that the
NEC will charge them a fortune they cannot afford for the supervision of each election,
while the PSUV primaries will be supervised by the NEC for free.
(According to analyst Milagros Socorro, the NEC charged the opposition Bs 2.292.290,
around US$304.000 for supervising 22 elections15, El Nacional May 23-10)
Your editor believes that it is next to impossible for the Table of the United Opposition to
pay US$ 304.000 to the NEC.

April 14th-10,
The NEC states:
The campaign for the parliamentarian elections of September 26th, will begin on August
25th and end on September 23rd.
On April 30th the voter registrar will be closed.
On December 5th there will be elections in Amazonas state, in 12 mayoralties, among them
Maracaibo, whose Mayor Manuel Rosales fled to Peru after a brutal persecution by HC.
It reminds the electorate that on September 26th, 165 members will be elected to the
assembly, of which 110 will be selected on a personal basis, 52 according to party lists and
three by the indigenous people.
Your editor: HC has been campaigning at least since the beginning of the year. As in prior
similar elections, he transforms the election into a plebiscite for or against him.
The Municipal elections due last August are still pending. Thus, Mayors not aligned with
HC elected on November 23rd- 08, must govern with a hostile municipal council elected as
far back as August 7-05.
Your editor: Another explanation for the bypassing of the municipal elections due august
2009 is that the bolivarians are discussing new laws to change completely what they call

NEC charged 22 tributary units per table, according To Milagros Socorro, El Nacional May 23.10.
“the geometry of power”. They are planning a new way of life (not mentioned in the
Constitution) with communes without municipal councils. In that case, they prefer to avoid
the constitutional municipal elections.

March 25th-10
Guillermo Zuloaga, president of Globovision is detained because of his comments on
March 21 at the Interamerican Press Association gathered in Aruba. In his talk, Zuloaga
referred to HC’s use of the military against a massive protest on April 11-02 and to the
limited freedom of expression still available through the media. After a few hours Zuloaga
was released, but without permission to leave the country and subject to an investigation
that might condemn him for up to five years.
Your editor: these detentions in the last three days create more fear about saying anything
adverse to HC.

Congressman (with immunity) Wilmer Azuaje, opposing HC since 2008, is detained, then
released shortly after, but his immunity as a deputy to the assembly is immediately
removed. Thus Azuaje will have to stand trial accused of violent talk and even punching in
the elbow a female police officer at the Police headquarters, where he happened to be
fixing his own car papers.
Azuaje often talks about HC’s family being involved in corruption.

March 22-10th
Oswaldo Alvarez Paz is incarcerated after his talk on TV station Globovision on March 8th.
Alvarez referred to Spanish Judge Eloy Velasco, who recently said that there are
indications that the Venezuelan government collaborates with Spanish terrorists ETA and
Colombian FARC. Judge Velasco formally asked the Venezuelan government for
Alvarez Paz is a foremost politician since the seventies, has been governor of Zulia state
and a candidate for the presidency in 1993.
(After 52 days locked up, Alvarez is released from jail on May 13th-10. He cannot leave the
country and has to show up in the tribunal every 15 days).

March 21th-10
HC: “If the bourgeoisie were to return to power, the people would not allow them to
govern. The country would become ungovernable”.
Alo Presidente 354

March 18th-10
The NEC issues new norms for the next elections. They relate to the media, stating that
coverage of the campaign must be “balanced”. The NEC also exhorts all radio and TV
anchors to abstain from attacking candidates.
Your editor notes that these norms ignore HC’s linkups of all the media and his Sunday
program Alo Presidente.

March 14th-10
HC: So I may continue governing, we must sweep the elections for the National Assembly
next September. These elections are more important for us than those for Governors and
Mayors. If we should lose control of the assembly, I will not get the funding for our plans,
particularly for plans in areas where I get the most support; it could be difficult for me to
go on trips longer than five days, or sign treaties with China or Bielorussia that are so
Alo Presidente 353

February 2nd-10
Súmate urges the NEC to tell where the new 1125 voting centers will be. As many as 6500
new opposition witnesses will have to be trained and that takes time, forestalling the
possibility of opposition of being represented in all centers.
As for the registration of new Venezuelans in the voter’s list, Súmate demands the presence
of opposition witnesses, not seen since 2003.

January 23-10,
Government closes cable TV station RCTV International.
HC closed the open signal (free of charge) in May 27th-07, and RCTV came back through
the paid Cable. Since then the cable system boomed, to the point that it reached 64% of
With RCTV International out, more than half of the poor classified as E class (53% of the
population), do not have a chance to see an independent TV channel (Globovision is the
only one remaining) that could contradict what they may see in the numerous government

January 19th-10
The NEC’s board member Vicenti Diaz:
Changes in voting constituencies in Bolivar state, Carabobo, Miranda and Municipio
Libertador in Distrito Capital cannot be justified technically. El Universal January 20th-10

January 19th-10
Constituencies for the remaining 14 federal entities are announced. In places where HC did
poorly in elections November 23-08, the NEC makes major changes. 36 circuits. This trick
was widely expected. The new Electoral basic Law (August 12-09) gives the NEC
absolute rights to re-draw the constituencies as it sees fit, and also on the timing to
announce them.

January 19th-10:
NEC announces there will be 1125 additional voting centers, with no details.
Your editor: the more centers there are, it becomes more difficult to the opposition to have
witnesses in all.

January 12th-10
HC sends a telephone message through the official TV channel on the late night “The
Razor” Program: we have to put a good fight to prevent “the bottled excrement” from
getting a majority in the Assembly. That would practically be the beginning of war.
December 28th-09
The NEC announces the electoral constituencies for 13 of the least populated federal
entities (24 in total). These 13 entities are generally believed to be in HC’s favor. Their
drawing is similar to the one in 2005. Tibisay Lucena promises that the rest of them will be
announced on January 20th.
The opposition complains that NEC had promised to make the announcement for all of the
constituencies by this date, and that the forthcoming parliamentary elections have been
inexplicably moved forward two months (to September 26th-10 instead of early December
10). The new parliament will convene in early January 2011.
By not having a clear electoral map, the opposition may not start selecting their candidates
that will be elected by name. Worst of all, the opposition worries that NEC will redraw the
most important constituencies in outrageous ways as to make sure the “Bolivarian”
candidates will prevail in the elections.
The opposition also complains that many other rules needed for the September election are
not known yet.
How could NEC be so fast in preparing the Constitutional Referendum last February 15th,
and so slow with the rules for the parliamentarians?

December 21st-09
Comptroller General Clodosbaldo Russian disqualifies 153 persons as possible candidates
for the next elections (among them three are ex-Governors) accusing them of misuse of
funds while in government functions. This violating articles 42 and 65 of the Constitution.
This stunner by the Comptroller (part of Moral Power), almost two years after his first
round of candidate disqualifications, happens when most people are off guard during
Christmas and new Year’s end vacation.

December 4th-09
Tibisay Lucena is ratified as the NEC’s President, until 2013. Sandra Oblitas becomes
Vice President. Alternates are Abdón Hernández and Gustavo Guevara.
Lucena says that the pending elections for Municipal Councils and Sub County boards will
be held around the end of 2010, after the ones for Parliament. 13 mayors and one governor
will also be chosen in that election.
Independent Board member Vicente Díaz says the designation of illegitimate new NEC
authorities named three days ago has the intention of discouraging a portion of the
electorate to go voting.
Your editor notes that the arbiter continues to have four bolivarians and one independent
(Vicente Díaz), as it has been since September 2004.

December 1st-09
“Bolivarian” NEC’s board members Germán Yepez and Janeth Hernández, whose terms
expired on October 2nd, are replaced by Tania D´Amelio y Socorro Hernández. The new
directors are also well known collaborators of the revolution led by HC. D’amelio acted as
a PSUV Deputy to the National Assembly. Hernandez was chosen to preside the Telephone
Company as soon as it was nationalized. The law states that board members must be
politically independent and cannot belong to a political party (Constitution articles 294 and
296. Both claim that they have given up their affiliation to PSUV’s (HC’s own party),
therefore they fulfill well the requisites about impartiality and independence. Their term
should expire December 3-2016.
Although both were chosen by the National Assembly as the Constitution mandates, the
process was not clean. For instance, when looking for candidates, the Assembly put an
advertisement only in two newspapers supported by and written for “bolivarians” daily
Vea and daily La Calle.

November 21-09
HC alerts that if his opponents manage to attain majority at the National Assembly, they
will declare war.
Soon after, on December 2nd, HC says that Fidel Castro warned him that no one, not even
the US empire could stop the slaughter that would ensue if his opponents came back to
(Your editor: a blunt way to tell his people to be ready for war and the whole electorate to
vote for HC in order to avoid war).

November 4th-09
NEC announces elections to the National Assembly for September 26th-2010.
165 deputies will be elected (including 3 indigenous), 110 by name, 52 by list will be
elected, two less than in 2005.
This election call ignores that elections for Municipal (or County) councils (2389 in total)
and sub County members (3207) are still pending since last August.
NEC not only forgets the mentioned local elections, paradoxically it moves forward the
ones for the National Assembly by more than two months. The newly elected
parliamentarians would take office in January 11, so why call them for September 26th
instead of the traditional first Sunday of December?
This relator believes the NEC anticipated the parliamentary elections because at the
moment it is clear that 2010 might be an uphill year for the government: The health system
has been declared “in emergency” on September 19-09. A severe water and electrical crisis
was recognized on October 21.. On November 2nd, water begins to be rationed in Caracas.
Soon there will be plans to ration electricity. Devaluation and yet higher inflation lurks.
Another (diabolical) reason for the NEC to anticipate the elections for the National
Assembly is that if the bolivarians happen to lose the Assembly, they would still have three
months to act at will without opposition—they might even try to neutralize the new

August 24th-09
Súmate complains that four years ago (Aug 7-05) Municipal Councils and Sub County
Boards were elected for 4 years. It is unacceptable that elections to replace them have not
been called.

August 12-09
The new Basic Law for Electoral Process (called Electoral Processes Law) gets approved.
It replaces the Suffrage Law of May 98 and Ley Estatuto Electoral del Poder Público of
February 2nd 2000.
It is written with notorious haste. The plenary of the National Assembly examined it only
in two sessions. “Bolivarians” never intended looking for consensus among other political
parties within the assembly (like PODEMOS party now opposing HC) or out of it. The
Assembly ignored the strong suggestions from the European Union’s final report on the
2005 Parliamentary Elections.

Main changes: Besides empowering NEC to regulate at will all aspects related to each
election on an ad hoc basis, it does not say much.
It all but eliminates the concept of proportional representation. The often mentioned
morochas or duplicates will no longer be needed to flout the concept of “proportional
representation”. There is almost no concept of proportional representation in this law.
NEC gets all the authority to “gerrymand” the constituencies, as it pleases, without any
rules to follow as it had until now.
According to journalist Eugenio Martinez (daily El Universal August 3-09), data from
United Nations’s Electoral knowledge Network (Red del Conocimiento Electoral) only 37
countries in the world allow the politicized drawing of it’s electoral circuits. Among them
Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Botswuana, Cuba, Guinea, Guyana, Indonesia,
Madagascar, Moldavia, Moroco, Zambia y Zimbabwe.

Until now, changes in circumscriptions had to be announced at least 12 months before

elections, now NEC may announce them as late as it wishes.
The length of electoral campaigns used to be spelled in the law, maximum 25 days. Now
the NEC decides at will.
Your editor notes de HC seems to be campaigning since his first day heading the
government on February 2nd-1999.

Protests against this Electoral Process Law are insignificant. The government immediately
created another crisis with the Education law (passed on Aug 15th-09) that dispersed the

August 1-09
32 radio private broadcasters are taken out of the air for ever. Government claims that 206
more (unidentified) may also be suspended likewise.
All radio broadcasters remaining in the air, from now on, will most likely prefer to change
their tone and programs so as not provoke the authorities.

June 6th-09
Sobella Mejías, formerly an independent in NEC’s board warns about the National
Assembly’s making of Electoral Process Law to replace the current Suffrage law intends to
eliminate the traditional concept of “proportional representation” in the deliberative bodies.
This idea struggles with Constitution (articles 63 and 293), with Suffrage law (articles 2, 7
and 11), and Ley del Estatuto Electoral del Poder Publico (articles 15, 19 and 20).
The Assembly pretends to legalize the use of the “morochas”.

April 27th-09
Súmate rejects NEC’s decision to postpone elections for Municipal (or County) councils
(2389 people in total) and sub County members (3207) that should be held this August.
The incumbents were elected in August 05, for a period of four years. “This sets a terrible

April 21st-09
The National Assembly exhorts NEC to not call elections of any kind until it replaces the
current Suffrage law (May 1998) with another it is working on to be called Electoral
Process Law.
The NEC immediately takes heed of the exhortation to suspend pending elections.

April 12th-09
The NEC’s independent director Vicente Díaz worries about HC not allowing non
“Bolivarian” recently elected authorities to govern. Such undemocratic attitude may inhibit
most to go voting, as happened in the 2005 elections for National Parliament. He refers to
elected Mayors Antonio Ledezma and Manuel Rosales.
(Rosales was been harassed to the point that he was forced to abandon his job and looked
for asylum in Peru on April 19-09)

April 1st-09
Súmate deplores OAS statement on the fairness of the Venezuelan electoral system.

March 23th-09
CIA’s Steve Stigall tells Election Assistance Commission, an agency of the US. Congress
founded in 2002 that computerized electoral systems can be manipulated at five stages,
from altering voter registration lists to posting results. Voting equipment connected to the
internet can be hacked, and machines that are not connected, can be compromised
wirelessly. Wireless cards may be embedded in the machines. Most web-based ballot
systems in the world have proved to be insecure.
In the case of Venezuela, Stigall said HC agreed to allow about 100 of 19.000 voting
machines to be audited. “it is my understanding that the computer software program that
generated the random number list of voting machines that were being randomly audited,
was provided by NEC. That is my understanding. It generated a list of computers that
could be audited, and they audited those computers.
McClatchy Newspapers, March 24th-09.

March 8th-09
Cilia Flores president of the National Assembly says that elections for city-councils and
subcounty boards scheduled for this year have been suspended (indefinitely). She argues
that the National Assembly will review the Suffrage Law (Basic Electoral Law) and the
Municipal Power law. “Bolivarian” Party PSUV William Lara argues that economies must
be made.
(Thus mayors in the opposition elected on November 23 rd, will have to live indefinitely
with hostile citi-councils elected in August 05)

February 25th-09
Luis Ugalde, rector of Universidad Católica Andres Bello communicates:
The referendum was anti-constitutional, with an invalid question, and an electoral process
with abuses and coercion.

February 19th-09,
Carla Navarro, journalist of daily El Nacional (Feb 20 th-09) measures the abuse of the radio
and television by HC. Since November 24-08 and February 13 th-09 HC conducted two Alo
Presidente Sunday TV shows, 58 special programs, four press conferences, 18 forced link
ups to the official TV station. Average daily exposure during these 81 days was three hours
and three minutes.
Your editor: besides, the Secretary of Communications Jesse Chacon was constantly
intimidating the independent media.

Súmate’s Maria Corina Machado tells:

Government has had for years a strategy of convincing voters that it may know who votes
for whom. To spook the electors it has instituted that the vote and the counting is
automated, the identification process of the voter is too strict, the voter registrar does not
accept independent audits, NEC is not an impartial arbiter, the military in charge of the
process “Plan República” are thoroughly politicized.
This referendum was characterized by the state abusing of its power, the indelible ink of
poor quality, the control of the voting centers. It has been the most unequal and unfair
elections of all.
I have seen people worried because the recently launched satellite Simon Bolivar is
another tool the NEC has to find out for who people voted.
The voter registrar has not been reviewed with the presence of independents since 2003.

February 18th-09
After so many complains about the poor quality of the ink used in one finger of each voter,
Eglee Pietri director of Chemistry School at Universidad Central de Venezuela says they
can not guarantee its quality once it is taken out of their laboratories.
(In the last three elections there have been complains about the poor quality of the
“indelible” ink).

Tour relator sums up problems associated with the referendum February 15th-09
The question was ridiculous. It hid the real issue.
Ludicrous is the claim that the proposition was not HC’s, but of “the people”.
The date, imposed by HC, was too short-noticed. It could have been done together with
forthcoming elections for city councils and subcounty boards expected next august. The
date proposed was so short, that the Voter Registrar was not opened to allow recent 18 year
olds to exercise their right to vote. Much less was it considered to review the Voter
Registrar that is so questioned. A mock ballot usually conducted prior to elections was not
made twice, according to the rules.
It was illegal. A major change in the Constitution like the one proposed, is not “just an
amendment”, it is a “reform”. According to the Constitution a reform requires the calling
of a Constituent Assembly.
High ranking officials of the executive branch of the central and regional governments, the
Deputies of the National Assembly adjourned weeks before until after the referendum.
Outstanding in the campaign was Minister of Communications Jesse Chacón.
Violence against students protesting in the streets was harsher than ever. Permits for some
of their marches were denied by the Mayor of Municipio Libertador Jorge Rodríguez, who
was acting since December as campaign chief of HC.
Government buildings were painted in red.
The abuse of government power broke all precedents.
The CNE broke the law announcing that voting hours would end at 6pm, instead of 4pm
written in the Suffrage Law.
The trap (illegalities and abuses) against the opposition allowed by NEC was so immense,
that it is fair to ask if there might be anything at all that the NEC would ever reject?
The schools were closed from prior Wednesday to next Monday. Also, HC on February
first declared that February second was a national holiday in observance of his 10 years in
government. This meant that during February, students went to school only during 8 days.

February 18th-09
In the slums, many that by the afternoon had not yet voted, got a telephone message with
the (recorded) voice of HC suggesting them the importance to go and vote.
The “bolivarians” knew who had not voted through the fingerprint checking machines.
Veneconomia weekly.

February 16th-09
Súmate’s Maria Corina Machado says it has gotten 1996 complains. 30% of them saying
the ink in the fingers of the voters was of poor quality, 18% that they voted NO and the
machine registered a yes vote. 8% complained about official propaganda inside the voting
Súmate reminds that the voter registrar has not been reviewed in front of independent
parties since 2003.

February 15th-09 the referendum takes place.

Swarms of armed and defying “bolivarians” in motorcycles once again roam in the cities
creating fear among non”bolivarians”.
High level “bolivarians” such as Jorge Rodriguez, Ali Rodriguez Araque announce HC’s
victory way before NEC does (violating laws).
NEC’s President Tibisay Lucena at 9,30pm offers first results after 94,2% of the votes were
counted: HC’s Yes for the amendment has 54,4% and NO has only 45,5%. Abstention
Two days later, NEC had already published its third and last bulletin with the results
Your editor: Everyone opposing HC still wonder why in referendum December 07 that HC
“barely lost”, the NEC published a first bulletin hours later, but failed to publish a
definitive bulletin with the results of the whole count.
February 13th-09
The NEC’s Vicente Díaz says on television station (Globovision) that “bolivarians” have
laboratories where rumors are invented with the objective of fostering the abstention of
would be voters against HC, or to letting people believe that the government will know
who voted for whom. The latter is an effective threat leading to vote for HC even if the
voter does not want to, or if he or she would rather abstain.

February 13th-09
International observer representing the European Parliament Luis Herrero is caught by the
police and immediately put in an airplane bound to Brazil. HC explains that Herrero had
been rude and had told Venezuelans lots of lies. Other officials said Herrero had called HC
a dictator, dared to criticize the armed forces recently throwing tear gas to the students, and
some of NECs policies as well.
According to Herrero’s colleague Carlos Iturgaiz, his counterpart was kidnapped by the
police and was denied his rights of expression, movement, communication. He was not
allowed to call his ambassador. It confiscated his telephone. Herrero did not have a chance
to go to his hotel room and fetch his passport and medicines. Iturgaiz Admitts Herrero had
asked Venezuelans not to succumb to the fear that the dictator is trying to foster.
Iturgaiz adds that European Parlamentarians have come here to observe electoral processes
in 05, 06, 07 and 08, and have observed countless of other processes around the world.
They have never seen an abuse like this.
Once at home, Luis Herrero said: I could not be silent on assaults to mayoralties won by
the opposition, on the kidnapping of some of its officials, or on the imprisonment of
political adversaries with pre-fabricated proofs.

February 12th-09
General Jesús González, commander of Plan República (armed forces guaranteeing peace
during the electoral process) warns: if anyone in the armed forces is disrespected, the
protester may be jailed 14-20 years. An unfriendly gesture or an insult may be penalized
with up to a year in jail. With two witnesses and an official written statement, the military
justice may determine the crime.
On the streets there will be 140.000 armed men, including 35.000 from the militia.

February 11th-09
A march across the city of Caracas to protest the referendum, called by students for the
13th, is not authorized.

February 11th-09
Opposition does not have the witnesses necessary to watch 34.322 voting tables. Deadline
to postulate them, expires in less than 24 hours. El Nacional, February 12th-09.
(Your editor: the referendum was called too fast for the opposition to react).

February 10th-09
Ex-president Ramón J. Velazquez comments: When a president knows he can be reelected,
it is likely he will think the country belongs to him and that he will not feel the need to
respect the legislative and the judiciary. Beware of the examples of Antonio Guzman
Blanco, Joaquin Crespo, Cipriano castro, Juan Vicente Gómez, Marcos Pérez Jiménez.

February 10th-09
HC announces that Lech Walesa may not visit the country if what he wants is to support
the opposition. He may speak abroad what he wants, but here everyone must respect the
dignity of the country.
Two days later the Walesa Foundation announced it has cancelled the trip. It acknowledges
Walesa had programmed encounters with Human Rights organizations, and representatives
of students and of the Catholic Church.
(Your editor reminds that just before elections of November 23-08 Walesa was not allowed
to come. The excuse then was that the government could no guarantee his security)

February 8th-09
Blogger and lawyer Raymond Orta denounces HC´s party PSUV for being able to
advertise through the Google searching machine. These advertisements must be paid in
US$. The opposition could never do something similar, because government´ s office of
exchange controls CADIVI, established in January 2003, would not handle it the American

February 6th-09
Marcel Granier tells on television station RCTV International: government is creating an
atmosphere of terror, inviting people to abstain.

February 3rd-07
The SUPREME COURT’s Francisco Carrasquero clears legal doubts about the
constitutionality of the referendum. Indefinite postulations for public office do not violate
the constitutional principle of alternative governments. Moreover, the president has the
authority to suggest constitutional amends every year.
(Magistrate Pedro Rondon Haaz saves his vote in that decision)
Your editor believes that indefinite postulations might be democratic, yet when it is
demanded by a man that was elected for a five year term in 1998 and will be in command
until January 2013, and by a man that changed the presidential rules in the 1999
Constitution, it is a preposterous proposition. It should be noted that in democratic
countries that allow for indefinite postulations, there are strict rules to prevent the abuse of
power of the incumbent.

February 2nd-09:
HC tells CNN’s Patricia Janiott that if he looses this referendum, he may repeat the
proposition to amend the Constitution next year, and next…

February 1st-09
Independent analyst Marta Colomina communicates:
The “bolivarians” pretend to convince the people that if HC lost, there would be war.
January 27th-09
Opposition political parties “Un Nuevo Tiempo” and “Primero Justicia” denounce that the
NEC is rejecting propaganda for the NO vote expected to be shown on Radio and TV.

January 25th-09,
The NEC’s independent director Vicente Díaz warn:
The Suffrage Law stipulates that voting is until 4pm, unless in specific centers where there
are still people in line to vote.
The amendment proposed does not amplify the rights of voters. It only amplifies political
rights of the President, Governors and Mayors.
According to the law, the rules of the electoral processes can not be modified within six
months before the event.

January 22nd-09
President of National Academy of Political and Social Sciences, Ramón Duque Corredor
Limitless re-elections are inconvenient to democracies.
In Latin America, only a few countries accept re-elections. Where this is the case, it is only
for a second period.
Alternate mandates for public office, is a constitutional principle embedded in the
Constitution that cannot be modified with a simple amendment.
The academy quotes sentences of the SUPREME COURT’s Electoral Chamber on March
18-02 and March 30th 06 against perpetual postulations for public office.

January 22-09
Súmate warns: Not allowing youngsters becoming 18 years old to the voter registrar,
violates article 64 of Suffrage Law (Basic Electoral Law, May 98).
The amendment suggested is not just a reform of the Constitution, because it modifies the
principle of alternate mandates, of term limits. It violates articles 340 and 342 of the
Of the Suffrage law, it violates articles 1, 119, 158, 182, 184, 185, 193, and 267.
Since the modification suggested by HC is not a minor change in the Constitution, but a
major one, then a Constituent Assembly must approve it.

January 21st-09
“Movimiento 2D” (Opposing HC) demands the NEC to audit all the votes, in a full page
add published in daily El Nacional.

January 15th-09
The National Assembly will adjourn until after referendum, so its (all “Bolivarian”)
deputies can devote themselves to ensure the reform proposed by HC.
This violates articles 67 of Constitution, 210 of the Suffrage Law, and 68 of the Corruption

January 16th-09:
The NEC extends voting hours during the referendum from 4 pm to 6 pm, in violation of
the Suffrage law.
Your editor considers that the extension of the voting hours besides its illegality, it scares
lots in the opposition, since counting and auditing with opposition witnesses in the late
hours of the night is more difficult. The experience of Referendum August 15th -04 after
midnight is truly a nightmare. And the personal security of opposition witnesses becomes
more dangerous as the night progresses.

January 14th-09
The National Assembly sends NEC the question of the referendum:
The Wall Street Journal summarized it this way: Do you approve of changing five articles
in the constitution so as to allow for the indefinite re-election of the president, legislators,
governors and mayors?
A fine way by the WSJ to say what the real purpose of the referendum was. The real
question in Spanish was long, impossible to translate, basically asking if you wanted to
expand the political rights of citizens as a whole, completely hiding the real issues. Your
editor searched scores of major newspapers in English and found that none had dared to
translate the whole question. For that reason, your editor poses the original question with
75 words, in Spanish follows:
¿Aprueba usted la enmienda de los artículos 160, 162, 174, 192 y 230 de la Constitucion
de la República “bolivariana” de Venezuela, tramitada por al AN, que amplía los derechos
políticos del pueblo con el fin de permitir que cualquier ciudadano (a), en ejercicio de un
cargo de elección popular, pueda ser sujeto de postulación como candidato (a) para el
mismo cargo por el tiempo establecido constitucionalmente dependiendo su posible
elección exclusivamente del voto popular?

The NEC approved the question submitted by the National Assembly the next day, January
15th-09. NEC also ratifies that the date of the referendum is February 15th-09.
All this is approved without the vote of board member Vicente Díaz.

January 6th-09
NEC’s Vicente Diaz complains that in order to do the referendum as early as February
15th, the voter registrar will not be opened to those that recently became 18 years old. This
violates article 64 of the Constitution.

January 5th-09
HC’s proposition about the possibility of unlimited terms (or unrestricted postulations as he
would rather call it) for the President, is enlarged. Now he says that the option of
unrestricted postulations would also play for other elected authorities as well. For this, six
articles in the Constitution will have to be amended, not one as it was the case until this
(For years HC maintained fiercely that his idea of unrestricted postulations were only for
the president)

December 16th-08
One hundred scholars declare that the proposition of the amendment violates the
Constitution. El Nacional, December 17th- 08

December 15th-08
The SUPREME COURT President Luisa Estela Morales conveys that the amendment
proposition is perfectly legal.

December 10th-08:
HC Takes the oath of his referendum campaign chiefs, Jorge Rodríguez Mayor of
Libertador municipality within Caracas, of recently elected Governor of Vargas state Jorge
García Carneiro, and of several of his cabinet ministers. This in spite of the fact that the
law prohibits functionaries to campaign for any one.
HC announces that if re-elected in 2012, he will again call for a referendum to change in
the Constitution the 69 articles that failed to be passed on the December 07 Referendum.

December 8th-08:
After threatening to imprison Mayor Manuel Rosales during weeks, the Mayor deems
necessary to seek protection at Interamerican Commission of Human Rights at OAS.

December 7th-08
HC names newly elected Mayor of Libertador Municipality and former NEC’s president,
Jorge Rodríguez to be chief of his referendum campaign.

December 3rd-08:
HC scolds the NEC’s director Vicente Díaz who had declared that February is too short-
noticed to call a referendum. “¡Mr Diaz, do reflect or quit!”
HC suggests that the amendment will go faster if the National Assembly makes the
proposition, rather than the option of the people themselves collecting signatures.
“This proposition is not my idea, it is the people’s”.
None of the NEC’s members of the directorate backs Vicente Díaz who has been attacked
by HC. (The NEC is supposed to be an autonomous branch of government)

November 30th-08
HC asks his party PSUV to initiate the debate and take the necessary actions to amend the
constitution so he can run again for the presidency in 2012.
The President wants the proposition to be completed by February next year.
On December 2nd says “I am convinced that I must lead the process a few years more”.
The amendment to be done in the Constitution is very simple. In article 230, “just one
phrase must be erased”.

November 23rd -08

Elections for Governors, their legislative assemblies, and for Mayors.
No international observers are invited officially to oversee the whole process.
HC wins in 17 governorships out of 23, 263 Mayoralties out of 335. That is a strong
performance indeed. Yet he looses heavily populated Metropolitan Caracas (winner
Antonio Ledezma got 722.822 votes), Municipio Sucre in Caracas, Carabobo state, Tachira
state and the Maracaibo Mayoralty. Zulia State and Nueva Esparta state remain non
“bolivarian”. Chacao and Baruta, municipalities within Caracas, also remain non
Immediately after the elections HC declares war to the few elected officials that do not
belong to his revolutionary group.

Your editor: Before opposition winners were allowed to assume their posts, many of their
assets and responsibilities as well were taken by the central government. Among them
Hospitals, some police corpses, Avila Television.
Thereafter, soon after the newly elected non “Bolivarian” authorities assumed their jobs,
the central government stripped them of their airports, ports and highways (march 09).
Metropolitan Caracas’s top Mayor Antonio Ledezma would never be able to sit in the
headquarters of the main Mayoralty of Caracas. By April 09 the law of the capital state was
changed so that HC would be allowed to name someone above the elected main Mayor of
Caracas. Thus HC named Jackeline Faría to take the city (Distrito Capital) helm on April
Besides all these illegalities, besides the harm done to the people depending on authorities
that would not be allowed to govern, why would non “bolivarians” go voting again
knowing that if they happen to win the elections, it would make no difference?

On October 12th-08
HC had assured candidate to Maracaibo’s Mayoralty Manuel Rosales that he would be
imprisoned on corruption charges.

October 30th-08
HC responds to objections of his too frequent obligatory TV and radio linkups to the
official station: “I do not campaign in these link ups, all I do is teach motherland history.
With it, I do not violate the Constitution, or any other law. Anyone willing to speak tie-in
to the government’s channel, ought to first become president”.

October 29th-08
HC refers to opposition candidate Julio Cesar Reyes running for governor in Barinas state
as a traitor, a Judas. Days later Molotov bombs land at Reyes’s mother home.

October 29th-08
Jenny Manuitt running for governor in Guarico State and opposing HC says she worries
about the NEC arbitrarily migrating selective voters to faraway places.

October 25th-08
HC charges again against candidate to the Maracaibo Mayoralty Manuel Rosales.
Candidate Rosales has tried to kill me, presides mafias, acquires farms illegally. Rosales
has 11 haciendas in his name, armed mafias, makes deals with narcotics. I will command
“operation Rosales goes to prison”.
October 14th-08
Monseñor Roberto Luckert warns: NEC seems to be blind and deaf about the abuse of HC
of the media campaigning for his candidates. Also he cites unlawful HC’s trips to all
regions to promote his candidates.

October 12th-08
HC threatens Manuel Rosales, Zulia Governor, current candidate for Maracaibo’s
Mayoralty, presidential candidate in elections December 06: I will wipe you out of the
Venezuelan political map. I will put you behind bars. You are a bandit, corrupt, coupster,
(Your editor’s postscript: Rosales won the mayoralty of Maracaibo, yet by April 19th of the
following year he was seeking asylum in Peru).

October 5th-08
Because of the electoral campaign, HC does not make his habitual Sunday Alo Presidente
talk show, but nevertheless speaks to his followers from “El Poliedro”, a major stadium.
There he warns that opposing candidates that happen to win the November 23 rd elections
would not get funds to govern.
Your editor comments that the majority of taxes are collected by the central government
lead by HC. Through several laws many these taxes must be distributed among Governors
and Mayoralties. But HC has been flouting these laws since he came to office.
Also, the use of a wonderful place to hold a political concentration as El Poliedro, is a
privilege the opposition never had and likely never will.

September 28th-08
Opposing Henrique Capriles running against “bolivarian” Diosdado Cabello for the
Miranda state governorship complains that the head of Venezuelan Tax Administration is
the brother of his opponent. For that reason, the financing of Capriles´s campaign is
particularly difficult.

September 22nd-08
The NEC’s President Tibisay Lucena says that on Election Day 50.000 militiamen will
help control the electoral material and will guarantee security and tranquility in the outside
of voting centers. However they will not have access inside the centers.
Lucena adds that there are 8294 candidates and promises that unlike in last year elections,
advertisements intended for the media will not be previously censured.

September 10th-08
The NEC, 16 weeks late and without the vote of independent director Vicente Díaz,
publishes “Publicity Norms” for next elections: Accordingly candidates may contract
spaces on open TV maximum two minutes per day, per station. On radio, maximum
allowed is 4 minutes daily. On the printed newspapers standard size, half page per day. In
tabloids, the maximum allowed is a full page per day. Such publicity will be paid by NEC,
the first time political parties receive any help from the state, since 1998.

Your editor: HC has always used unlimited time to promote himself or his candidates. For
next elections, even with the existence of these Publicity Norms, it will be the same. HC
uses 6 national TV stations as much as he wants, his TV program Alo Presidente habitually
every Sunday, around six hours each, and the forced linkups of all the media to the
government channel.

September 1st-08
In the contest for Governors’s assemblies, Chavez’s party PSUV announces the use of
UVE (Union de Vencedores Socialistas) card as a morocha or duplicate card. It encourages
its followers to vote PSUV for the nominal vote and to vote UVE for the list vote.
Your editor: UVE does not exist as a political party; it is only an abstraction that helps the
bolivarians to circumvent the constitutional mandate of proportional representation. A
similar trick might be used by some opposition parties. The NEC should not allow anyone
to include in the ballot a party that does not exist.

August 16th-08
NEC’s independent Vicente Díaz asserts that what HC says on his Sunday TV program to
promote his candidates, is against the law. Diaz also questions government TV station
VTV constantly promoting HC’s candidates and asks the Comptroller General and the
NEC to take measures against these presidential abuses.

August 15th-08,
Armed Forces inform that the militia will be watching on Election Day.
(Your editor: This is an effective way to demoralize the opposition. The militia itself is

August 7th-08
The SUPREME COURT says that decision about the political disqualification of Enrique
Mendoza (willing to run for governor of Miranda state) is a matter to be decided in
February 09 (four months after the elections, though he brought his complain to the
SUPREME COURT two years ago)

August 5th-08
SUPREME COURT’s Constitutional Chamber declares political disqualifications made by
Comptroller General Clodosvaldo Russian are well supported by article 105 of its own law.
Your editor: Yet, Constitution, article 42 and 65 say that anyone can run in elections, unless
a trial with a firm sentence impedes it, and none of the disqualified have ever been tried.

July 31st-08
HC decrees 26 laws (using Congress empowerment) that contain most of the changes he
sought in the Constitutional reform rejected in 2007 referendum. What these 26 laws do
not have is the possibility of unlimited terms in the presidency and the extension of the
presidential term from 6 to 7 years.
(Parliament had given HC powers to legislate during 18 months which came to an end on
that day. This is the fourth time the National Assembly empowers HC to legislate. In total,
HC has legislated through 169 executive decrees)

July 23rd-08
The NEC’s Tibisay Lucena informs that the selection of official members for each voting
center and for each table within the voting center is done by draw. There will be 33.799
voting centers, in total 608.323 chosen between principals and alternates, 18 per Voting
Center. Within days, NEC web page will publish the information and will send a letter to
each person selected.
Opposition says it agrees with the draw.
Another NEC’s rule: Postulations for Governor’s Legislative assemblies will have to be
50% men and 50% women.

July 23rd-08
NEC says the morochas or duplicates may be used in forthcoming elections November

July 22nd-08
NEC recognizes it is already too late to ask international observers to overview the whole
process. There will be invitations however to be present on Election Day.
Your editor: how can the NEC (often) be so negligent as to forget to invite international
observers when tensions are so high?

July 21st-08
Veneconomia daily conveys: Opposition must demand from NEC to observe the law in
these areas: Electoral registrar must be fairly audited and transparent, the five members of
each voting center must be selected randomly, the ink to be put in the fingers of those who
just voted, must be truly indelible. Hours established (in the law) for voting must be
respected, machines in every center must be disconnected to the counting center during the
voting process, until it has issued a certificate of what it counted in the center, counting and
auditing in 54% of electoral centers as it was done on December 2 nd -07, and timely
publication of the whole counting.

July 18th-08, academics from ESDATA (www.esdata.info) alert of unfairness when the
NEC names five officials for every voting center. The data base the NEC uses is dominated
by PSUV militants. Unfortunately, opposition does not object.

Chávez party revives plan to lift presidential re-election

Venezuela's ruling party PSUV said it would seek to reform the nation's constitution to
allow the president, Hugo Chavez, to seek indefinite re-election.
Proposed changes to end the two-term limit for presidents will be presented to the
Venezuelan national Congress after state elections in November. If approved, the
amendments will go before the NEC and will then be put to the voters in a referendum.
The Guardian (in UK), July 18th-08, verbatim

July 18th-08
Independent analyst Alfredo Weil:
The NEC worked much better when its board was made of representatives of the vying
mayor political parties. Since Suffrage Law 1998, it is composed of apolitical personalities,
at least in theory.
Since 2003, almost 8 million voters have arbitrarily been forced to vote in further away
Witnesses in each voting center are of little value if the five members of the center named
by the NEC are inclined to PSUV and are backed by the armed forces.
In prior elections too many unknown individuals were allowed into the centers at the time
of voting.
Independent Analyst María Mercedes Cordero:
There are still 1.800.186 votes in last referendum December 2-07 that we want to see
Elections would be smother if any center that closes at the established hour of 4PM or after
when there are voters still on line, begins to count and audit its own votes with all the
witnesses that want to be there, rather than waiting to do so until all centers closed their
doors to voters.

July 11th-08
Comptroller General Clodosvaldo Russian refines his list of political disqualifications.
Russian handles a new black list to NEC, this time with 260 members, instead of 445 as he
claimed on February 25th-08.

June 24th-08
To assuage the controversy of the politically “disqualified” (banned to run for elective
office), HC praises the Comptroller’s black list. Two days later, Parliament also does.

June 1-08
HC’s party PSUV holds primary elections to decide their 388 candidates for regional
elections November 23-08. Only 18 people got definitive victories according to their own
rules. So, the other 370 candidates still in contention will be decided by HC himself, on
June 5th.
The process was made with borrowed funds from the NEC.

April 28th-08
The NEC’s Janeth Hernández ratifies it must heed the Comptroller’s list, unless
SUPREME COURT says otherwise.
Comptroller general has acted according to article 105 of Comptroller general Law, and
also the SUPREME COURT’s verdict 174 of March 2005 and verdict 1016 of May 31-
2005. Therefore, NEC cannot register the candidacy of anyone politically disqualified by
the Comptroller.

April 25th-08
The NEC gives a copy of the voter registrar to opposition parties. It does not carry the
addresses of the electors. NEC says it will be audited after May 5th.

April 7th-08
The OAS and the NEC together publish a newspaper add stating that the Electoral Arbiter
of each member country of the OAS recognize advances in the technological platform of
Venezuela’s NEC.
April 3rd-08
Independent analyst Oscar Lucien: NEC has not given results of the past referendum in
already 122 days. Electoral Power Law (article 33) states that results must be published in
the Electoral Gazette 30 days after voting day. The votes of as many as 1,8 million people
are unknown.
“It looks as if there is a deliberate plan to promote abstention in next elections”.

March 25th-08
The SUPREME COURT’s Constitutional Chamber says NEC has already given enough
information about results in referendum December 2nd-07.
(The NEC never produced a final bulletin on the results of that referendum)
Celina añez, Eudes Vera y Baldomero Vásquez who had complained of NECs negligence
to the SUPREME COURT’s Constitutional Chamber, will now go to the SUPREME
COURT’s Electoral Chamber and/or to the Political Administrative Chamber. El Universal
April 20th-08

March 1-08
The NEC’s independent Vicente Diaz says HC violates constitution (Article 145) when
through his Sunday TV program Alo Presidente promotes candidates of his party PSUV for
forthcoming regional elections.

February 27th-08
NEC’s President Tibisay Lucena says NEC must follow the instructions of the Comptroller
General (on the disqualifications). Anyone who thinks their political rights are affected
should go to the SUPREME COURT.

February 25th-08
Comptroller General Clodosvaldo Russian submits to NEC a list of 445 people who, while
in government positions were not diligent enough using public funds. For that reason,
those included in the list are disqualified to run for public office. In his black list are the
most important opposition icons, such as Leopoldo López acting mayor of municipality of
Chacao, Oscar Pérez deputy to the Miranda Legislature, Gerardo William Méndez
Guerrero Mayor of San Cristóbal city in Tachira state.
Constitution, articles 65 and 42, say that anyone can run in elections, unless a trial with a
sentence impedes it. None of these popular politicians have been tried.
Your editor believes the Comptroller General, being part of the so called “Moral or Citizen
Power” is supposed to be above the law.

February 23rd-08
Súmate complains that members of voting centers (five in total) have since 2004 been
selected by NEC arbitrarily, not randomly. Súmate suggests that political parties should
demand NEC for their list of possible members.
The NEC makes difficult the work of NGO’s, such as Súmate. Norms for overseeing the
process are changed after every election.

February 12th-08
Independent analyst Alfredo Weil: The Electoral Books where, on election days all electors
about to vote do sign, should also be audited, although they never were since their
establishment for the recall referendum.
NEC’s Counting Center is literally a “black box”. Only NEC’s president Tibisay Lucena
has access to it. For that reason, NEC’s board validates what they have not seen, and the
opposition also accepts what they have not been able to check.
It is imperative that officials and witnesses at each voting center make sure that the voting
machines are disconnected the whole day from any network capable of transmitting data
until after it issues a statement (tally sheet or report) of its own vote counting.
Weil warns that if the machines are connected to a network able to transmit data, they may
be fed from a third party, or from NEC itself, with false data.

January 11th-08
HC suggests a referendum in 2010, not to reform 69 articles in the constitution as it
happened December 2nd-07, but to vote only for a “small amendment” that would allow
him to run for the presidency indefinitely.

December 14th, The National Assembly approves the National Project Simon Bolivar--First
Socialist Plan (2007-2013). It had been proposed by HC on September 30th-07 Alo
Presidente #296.
With this law, except indefinite possibility of reelection for the president and the
presidential term extended from 6 to 7 years, the socialistic concepts that were denied in
the Constitutional reform referendum in December 3 rd, are now legal, at least in the eyes of
the bolivarians.
For your relator, this means, that if HC looses a referendum, he will find ways to impose
his will anyway. It becomes fair to ask why would people vote in another referendum
knowing that HC gets what he wants, even if he loses?

Next Elections scheduled for November 23-08. They will be for Governors, their
legislative assemblies and Mayors.

December 7-07
NEC’s Tibisay Lucena says that the second bulletin on the electoral results, with 94% of all
votes counted, will be the final results of the constitutional referendum.
Changes proposed in block A get 49,34%. Changes proposed in block B get 48,99%. Both
propositions are rejected.

Your editor: abstention is estimated 43,85%.

December 3rd-07
The “bolivarians” claim that their inability to reform the Constitution is only temporary,
“for the time being” assuring the country that sooner or later the reform will come. Huge
advertisements saying “for the time being” begin to appear on top of major buildings in
some populous areas.
It is the first election/referendum HC looses. Venezuelans can take note how HC will not
accept electoral defeat.
December 2nd-07,
Referendum day to reform 69 articles in the Constitution.
HC looses it by a trickle.
After midnight, in its first bulletin, NEC declares the Constitutional reform was not
approved, by a trickle.
It is widely believed that HC accepted defeat because General Raul Isaías Baduel, his
defense Secretary until July this year, still carrying lots of prestige though not backing him
anymore, pressured HC to recognize the results.
(Your editor’s postscript: General Baduel was incarcerated on April 2 nd-09 on charges of
corruption while acting as Defense Secretary (2006- July 2007)
The SUPREME COURT states on March 25th-08 that NEC does not have to issue a total
vote report, because it already has published enough information).

November 30th-07
HC threatens: “Those voting YES are with me. Those voting NO, are against me. It is that

November 30th-07
Enrique Mendoza former governor of Miranda State, a prominent member of Coordinadora
Democratica until its disappearance just after the recall referendum in August 04, is
arraigned on charges of taking the state television channel VTV on April 11-02 (while he
was governor of Miranda state). This all but annuls his possibilities of running for governor
next November.
Your editor’s postscript: thereafter on August 7th-08, Mendoza got the formal
disqualification for the November Election. The charges against Mendoza were ridiculous.

November 29th-07
Dormitories of Universidad de los Andes and Universidad Experimental del Tachira, both
in Tachira state are attacked with fire arms. Students are sleeping, fortunately no one

November 28th-07
TV station Globovision headquarters are again besieged by armed “bolivarians” riding
motorcycles. The menacing protesters tell the station that if they do not rectify their line of
information/opinion, and government does not act against them, as already solicited by
them on November 6th-07, the station will listen and feel the voice of the people. We will
not allow this channel to continue manipulating information, lying and sowing terror.
Leaders of the siege are Ruben Mendoza representative of the network “Circulos
bolivarianos” and Carlos Sierra of “bolivarian” Student Federation.

November 28th-07
NEC’s independent director Vicente Díaz denounces that famous Colombian militant of
FARC Rodrigo Granda, will not be allowed to vote here because of an “administrative
objection”. Yet, Granda continues to be in the voter registrar. To expunge him off it, a
judicial decision is needed. Granda has been objected of the voter registrar since 2005.
November 28th-07
NGO Active Citizens claims that 19 of their micro videos intended to be aired on TV, have
been prohibited by NEC.

November 23rd-07
HC says on government television channel VTV, “The Razor” Program that cardinal Urosa
is a marauder, villain, stupid, mentally retarded, and protector of the most obscure interests.
Hours later, in Plaza Bolivar in Caracas, in front of the police, the Cardinal is abused by
HC sympathizers.

November 23rd-07
Students protesting the Constitutional reform: since November 9 th there are 75 wounded in
Merida, 23 in Barinas, 40 at Universidad Monteavila in Caracas, El Universal, November
24th-07, 2001 November 14th, El Nacional November 9th.

November 7th-07
Students march from Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) to SUPREME COURT, to
deliver a document on the illegalities of the proposed constitutional reform.
When the students come back to the UCV campus, 11 people are wounded, 3 with bullets,
8 with tear gas, stones or glass bottles. 9 of the wounded are university students, the other
two are photographers of daily newspaper “2001”.
There are other student marches as well in Barquisimeto, Puerto La Cruz, San Cristóbal
and Maracaibo attacked by the police and the “bolivarians”.

November 4th-07
HC “formally inaugurates” the “yes” campaign. In a still more aggressive than usual
speech, HC attacks Cardinal Jorge Urosa S, calls student protesters oligarchs with rich
fathers, suggests that marches against him should not get the permits, that the media should
be sanctioned. Some daring opponents (lead by lawyer and key Bolivarian figure in the
writing of the 1999 Constitution Herman Escarrá) have called to “a march with no return”,
and the media has aired these words. HC asks where is the police and the media supervisor
allowing for this threat to be aired?
More of HC’s speech: I must lead until 2021, because the people’s power and the
revolutionary process can not be organized by 2013. Those against me, just think about a
million of my followers marching in the east side of Caracas burning trees? They could
destroy everything.
(Herman Escarra: this instigation to hate and to destroy is a violation of the penal code)

November 10th-07
Five radio stations in Bolivar state have been closed or denied electricity in less than 15
days. They are: Radio flash 93, 1FM, Sol 100, 3FM, Horizonte 97,7.

November 2nd-07
National Assembly handles NEC the whole reform to be voted in referendum. The text of
the proposed new constitution is published.
The NEC calls the referendum for December 2nd this year.
The NEC specifies that there will be two questions. In the first one, voters will decide on
the block of 46 changes proposed by HC. In the second question, voters will decide on the
block of 23 changes proposed by the Assembly (all with HC’s nod)

November 1-07
Students march protesting against referendum. Police wound several of the peaceful
marchers, including Henry José Vivas Espinoza, son of Henry Vivas the political prisoner.
The next day students protest in several cities. Near La Universidad del Zulia, student
Flavia Araujo, political party Primero Justicia’s activist, is killed.

October 25th-07
Student leader Yon Goicoechea is wounded again, at Instituto Pedagógico where he is
about to speak against the constitutional reform.

October 23rd-07
Students march peacefully with their permit to The National Assembly demanding to
postdate the referendum. Five of the students are wounded by “bolivarians” with stones
and glass bottles, in front of the police.

October 22nd-07
National Academy of Political and Social Sciences makes public their opinion against the
proposed constitutional reform.

October 20th-07
NGO “Acting Citizens (Ciudadanía Activa)” claims that 14 micros they have prepared to
be shown on TV arguing against the reform, have been censured by the NEC. These micros
mention opinions given by Simon Bolivar in 1819 on the subject of allowing long
mandates to one person. Also the forbidden micros mention existing rules across Latin
America (except Cuba) limiting terms for the highest office.

October 19th-07
The Bishops Conference publishes its own position on the proposed constitutional reform.
In essence, it claims the proposition is immoral. The next day HC says the bishop’s
document is a shame and the bishops themselves immoral. On October 24 th the Vatican
supports the bishops and their document.

October 15-07
Student leader Jon Goicoechea and Globovision’s journalists Diana Ruiz and Beatriz
Adrian are beaten by HC’s goons. Goicoechea because he attempted to participate in
deliberations in allegedly “open and public” discussions about the constitutional reform
organized by the National Assembly. All these physical abuses occur in the Arts complex
Teresa Carreño Theater, under full control of The National Guard.

October 9th-07
Secretary of Police and Justice Department calls for criminal charges against TV station
Globovisión because of “its psychological campaign to generate angst and nervousness”.
Minister Pedro Carreño finds unacceptable the airing of a video showing a series of
assaults (all comprised together when in reality they occurred during several days) to car
drivers while traffic is at standstill in a major Caracas Highway.
Your relator includes this apparently non electoral incident to show the level of
intimidation towards the only TV channel transmitting in open signal (for free, actually
only in Caracas and Carabobo state).

September 16th-07
HC says that if the reform is approved, he could continue his presidency up to 2027, or to
2034, even 2041....until God and the Venezuelan people decide. Aló Presidente #294

August 15th-07
HC sends Parliament a formal proposition to change 33 articles in the Constitution written
by his followers, lauded by him so often as the “best of the world”, which suddenly needs
changes. Among them permitting HC to run for the presidency indefinitely--without the
two terms limit. Without the proposed changes, HC president since 1999 could not run
again en elections scheduled for the end of 2012.
Some other changes proposed, to mention just three: the term of the president would be
extended from 6 to 7 years. Besides the traditional armed forces there would be militias as
well. The work day would be limited to 6 hours.
If Parliament approves this proposition of Constitutional Reform, a national referendum
will be needed to reconfirm it.
The next day, HC’s media campaign to support his proposition begins in earnest.
Parliament swiftly approves the project of Constitutional reform as HC presented it, but
adding 36 other changes of HC’s liking. In total, 69 articles would be changed in the
referendum set for December 2nd-07.
(Your editor believes that reducing the day work from 8 to 6 hours with the same pay in the
proposed constitution is nothing but electoral corruption, a sure way to get the votes)

July 13th-07
The NEC tardily sanctions Minister of Energy and President of Pdvsa Rafael Ramírez,
with a fine, for his speech of October 24-06 claiming that all Pdvsa employees “had to be”
with HC.
The fine amounts to US$453416
Ramirez is the only public employee ever sanctioned for proselytism in the 2006
presidential campaign, although it was such a widespread practice.

February 23rd-07
Monica Frassoni chief of the European Union Mission reports that there are laws
prohibiting government at all levels to make publicity and propaganda to political
candidates. She has seen unlawful propaganda for HC, public functionaries participating in
proselytism acts for HC, and the greater part of the media in his favor.

500 Tributary Units at 37,632 each and estimated free exchange rate of 4,15 Bs per dollar
Article 215 of the Suffrage and Political Participation (Basic Electoral Law) clearly
specifies that all public employees must be impartial in their work.
NEC was not diligent sanctioning any public employee violating this law.

January 10th-07
HC is sworn in as president (2007-2013) for the fourth time. He picks as Vice-President
former NEC’s magistrate Jorge Rodríguez.

Next elections should be for Governors, State Assemblies and Mayors at the end 2008

December 3rd-06, presidential elections.

The contest is between incumbent HC against Zulia Governor Manuel Rosales.
Final results: HC gets 7.309.080 million votes, 62,8%. Manuel Rosales 4.292.466 million
votes, 36,9%. Abstention 25,4%, according to NEC
CNE gives results quite early, before much of the auditing process is completed.
Surprisingly, Rosales acknowledges defeat before the auditing is finished. Since Rosales
admitted defeat early, auditing was discontinued.
Immediately HC speaks about accelerating the revolutionary process.

Súmate believes that International Observers did not have a chance to do much, that the
supposedly indelible ink marking the finger of each voter, was easy to erase. It believes
the counting of the votes was fair. The fraud was upstream, in the process, not that day.
Their main complaint: violation of article 68 of Anti-Corruption law, which stipulates that
government employees cannot campaign for anyone.
Voter registrar was not reviewed by independent or opposition witnesses. Addresses of
registered voters were never supplied to the opposition since early 2003, violating the
Suffrage Law article 95.
The 4pm voting limit, unless there are still people in line waiting to vote, according to the
Suffrage Law, was not always enforced.
The Fingerprint Checking Machines instilled fears that the government would know how
people voted.
In areas where HC is strong, abstention is suspiciously low, at times only 5-10%, which
seems almost impossible.

Your editor believes the Fingerprint Checking Machines can be used by the bolivarians to
know who voted and who abstained. Once they know who did not go voting by the end of
the journey, and knowing that voting centers will be (illegally) open after hours, they bring
their people to the centers, in order to cast illegitimate votes, at least in the numerous
centers where the opposition is not present with trained witnesses. The illegitimate votes
are cast in place of those that abstained, helped by friendly members in the voting tables
who may not read the ID of the voter carefully or may ignore the supposedly “indelible”
ink that easily disappears from the finger of those that already voted. Those that have
more than one ID card, there is an easy way to cheat the system, particularly after normal

November 29th-06
The NEC’s Tibisay Lucena assures that this time there will not be an extension of voting
hours after 4pm, according to article 158 of Suffrage Law (Basic Electoral Law).

November 27th-06
Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino suggests to NEC that it should audit all the votes, in order to
guarantee transparency of results. Full audits were done in Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua and
Costa Rica. Why not here?

November 19th-06
Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara on TV (Globovision): NEC refuses to audit all the boxes
and suggests that the opposition should continue demanding full auditing.

November 19th-06
NEC’s President Tibisay Lucena on National TV:
The European Union is sending 120 observers that will arrive on November 20th.
Audits will be performed on 54,31% of all the boxes on election night, and there will be
another auditing on December 11th.
Lucena solicits confidence on NEC, “which has an impeccable history”.

November 17th-06
HC threatens to immediately close television and radio stations that broadcast messages
promoting “terrorism, hate, or challenges to established authorities”.

November 15th-06 European Union accepts to be an observer.

November 8th-06
Súmate´s Alejandro Plaz says the main electoral problems are:
The voter registrar, government abuse of power, NEC allowing the government to do
anything it wants, NEC coaxing public employees, contractors, missions beneficiaries, by
subtlely sending them the message that with the fingerprint checking machines, the
government will know who they voted for.
International observers have not yet arrived, by the time they make it they will be “tourist”
The NEC has failed to enact several rules with the appropriate timing required by the law.

November 7th-06
National Guard prevents Globovisión from covering the arrival of opposition candidate
Manuel Rosales to the Caracas Baseball Stadium which is full of people waiting to see the
Caracas vs Magallanes game.
(Your editor: it is widely believed that HC can not show up for a baseball game because he
would be booed)

November 5th-06
Independent electoral analyst Genaro Mosquera:
The fraud is mainly done forcing large amounts of people to vote far away from their
The automated system can not be verified with previous reliable checks.
All votes should be audited manually.
The majority of officials at every voting center are on HC’s side.

November 3rd-06
HC backs his Minister Rafael Ramirez who on October 24th claimed that all Pdvsa’s
employees are supporting him. HC says if there is anyone in Pdvsa not backing him, he or
she should go elsewhere. ¿what would the opposition say if they knew how the
“Comandantes” tell the soldiers in the Armed Forces how they should vote?
(Your editor: How can the electoral system depend so much on the military when HC
recognizes that they are openly politicized in his favor?)

October 24th-06
Rafael Ramírez Minister of Energy and President of the state Petroleum Company PDVSA
warns its employees: all of you must vote for the President, we are sure you will. In case
anyone forgets, we are in a revolution, we will get rid of any employees that might be
infiltrated by the opposition. We already booted Gennis Lozano who allowed candidate
Manuel Rosales to visit some company installations.
(Your editor: since the law prohibits functionaries to work for electoral candidates, Mr
Ramírez got a fine by NEC, a long time after the election, on July 13th-07.

September 13th-06:
“Bolivarian” Defender of the People (or Ombudsman)” Germán Amundaraín now believes
that the law should allow the state to finance political campaigns. “It is unfortunate that the
Constitution 1999 forbids it”.

August 11th-06
NEC approves the use of Fingerprint Checking Machines for presidential elections. They
have been used since August 15th 04, except during parliament elections on December 05
when NEC made last moment efforts to invite the people to go voting. These machines
may slow the whole process, also they scare many who -right or wrong-believe that
because of them, their vote is not secret. The machines also help the NEC know who have
voted, information that the “bolivarians” can use to mobilize --with all their resources--
their friends who have not yet voted.

August 7th-06
The NEC approves presidential elections without spending limits. Also it warns that
accounting books of any candidate might be inspected without notice.
(Your editor: Stating that the presidential campaign has no spending limits, favors HC who
may continue to dispose off the government budget at will, as we have seen since 1999.
For the opposition the statement is innocuous since it is too difficult for it to raise money
for the campaign, anyway. It is quite risky for a business entity or for a businessman to be
discovered donating money to an HC adversary. Authorities, in particular the tax
administration, would harass them most likely)

June 23rd-06
NEC ratifies the use of the Smartmatic machines being used since the referendum on
August 15th-04. It guarantees that the 33.000 machines will be disconnected from the
Counting Center until they have emitted their own statements or tally sheets and only then
will they be connected to the Counting Center.

June 7th-06
NEC is willing to make an audit to the voter registrar. It will be done between June 9 th and
July 31st with the expertise of seven universities and other institutions of higher learning.
Your editor: all the universities they cited are under absolute control from the government.
Autonomous, more prestigious and experienced Universities such as Universidad Central
de Venezuela, Universidad Simón Bolivar and Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, are left

May 30th-06
Eduardo Lapi, ex governor of Yaracuy, and one of the six opposition members in the
Negotiation and Accord Table facilitated by OAS Carter Center and UNDP, is incarcerated
(with common delinquents). He is expected to be tried for his administration as governor.
(Your editor: this shows how dangerous it may be to challenge HC)

April 28th-06
NEC gets a new Directorate: Tibisay Lucena president, Sandra Oblitas, Germán Yepez,
Janeth Hernández and Vicente Díaz.
Your editor: four of five are amicable with the “bolivarian” revolution. Only Vicente Diaz
is not known as a “Bolivarian”.

March 14th-06
The European Union submits its final report about the elections
December 4th for parliament held December 4th-05.
Their main recommendations: Voter registry must be available to the opposition, with all
the data in it, including addresses. The voter registrar should be comparable to the civil
About the morochas or duplicates, even if they may be lawful, they are against the
proportionality spirit embedded in the Constitution.
The abnormally high abstention was due to a campaign to boycott the elections and to the
use of Tascon and Maisanta lists.
The prohibition to finance political parties during campaigns must be reconsidered.
The NEC should be stricter with the government unlawful campaigning and should
elaborate clearer rules for witnesses in the voting centers.
The main problem was lack of faith in the electoral system.
El Universal 15th and 16th-06.
Your editor reminds about the duplicates: The Constitution in article 63 and Suffrage law
articles 2,7,11, and articles 15, 19, 20 of Electoral Power Law, impose a proportional
system in the deliberative bodies. With the hoax, the rules established to insure the
proportional system, become almost meaningless.

February 19th-06
HC says that if there are no opposition candidates for the forthcoming presidential
elections on December 06, he will then call plebiscites asking the people if they want him
or not, for a third, fourth or fifth mandate, up to 2031? Alo Presidente #247.

February 1-06
At OAS’s Permanent Council in Washington about the Parliamentary Elections of
December 4th-05
Extracts of OAS mission Chief Ruben M. Perina’s preliminary report:
There is an urgent need of reviewing the voter registrar, the automated system of vote
counting, the NEC proper. Government should welcome dialog with opposition parties.
Ambassador of USA to OAS, john Maisto (verbatim):
…my delegation would like to recognize the successful OAS electoral mission to Venezuela,
headed by Rubén M. Perina and with the support of Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and his
staff under challenging conditions. The election results and the findings of both the OAS and
European Union preliminary reports speak for themselves and they complement each other.
This is not the first time the OAS has observed an election at the invitation of the Venezuelan
government. And as we contemplate the most recent report, we have to recall the electoral
observation experience of August 2004.
The OAS and the Carter Center highlighted several concerns in their August 2004 assessments of
the presidential recall referendum. A key finding of both organizations revealed serious concerns
about the Venezuelan National Electoral Council or NEC. Sadly, sixteen months later, those
concerns have intensified; they not lessened.
Ambassador Walter Pecly Moreira, who led the OAS observation, summarized the mission’s
concerns by stating “more transparent behavior from the CNE, including as regards relations
among its own members, would have engendered a more positive effect on the level of confidence
of the electorate in the system.”
Former Secretary General Gaviria reinforced these concerns about the NEC before the Permanent
Council on August 24, 2004, commenting that “The National Electoral Council…was a problem in
Venezuela throughout [the referendum] process – it made decisions along partisan lines all of the
time….This complicated somewhat our work and diminished somewhat the Council’s own
Similarly, the Carter Center study in 2004 reminded us that “Transparency is the fundamental basis
of trust”, and cited what it described as “The internal divisions, lack of transparency, and ad hoc
decision-making practices of the NEC.” It called upon the NEC to “put in place much greater
mechanisms of transparency to restore confidence in the electoral process.”
The European Union, incidentally, declined an invitation to observe the August 2004 referendum
after the NEC refused to agree to the EU observation standards.
Following the 2004 referendum, I posed a simple question before this Council. I stated: “We must
use this experience in Venezuela to take a strong look at the future of electoral observer missions as
guardians of free and fair elections. Is it appropriate for electoral observation missions to have to
negotiate their size and the modalities of their work?”
Yet, here we are, sixteen months later. Today, the OAS member states have received a still-
preliminary report on the December 2005 Venezuelan elections that not only re-articulates prior
concerns, but describes an election supported by no more than 25 percent of the electorate,
according to the NEC’s own data – and private polls by the highly respected firm of Keller and
Associates, and other organizations suggest only 17 percent of the electorate -- and mired in a
climate of mutual distrust that the opposition – and the overwhelming majority of the Venezuelan
people – declined to participate.
The OAS preliminary report echoes the Inter-American Democratic Charter when it states:
“Electoral participation is what contributes to the strengthening of democracy and the legitimacy of
representative institutions. It is up to the electoral authorities to generate the necessary conditions
for the full participation of all sectors. Every democracy requires an institutional opposition
committed to the electoral process.”
The OAS report goes one step further, when it notes that “The primary political responsibility to
promote such a dialogue rests with the governmental authorities.”
And the OAS report continues: “There remains a distrust of the NEC on the part of a significant
segment of the opposition. This was expressed in terms of criticisms about its origins and
composition, the perception that the opposition has of partiality and lack of transparency in the
CNE’s actions,…and…controversial application of some aspects of election laws.”
The European Union’s Preliminary Statement cites the same concerns when it comments that
“Wide sectors of the Venezuelan society do not have trust in the electoral process and in the
independence of the electoral authority. The legal framework contains several inconsistencies that
leave room for differing and contradictory interpretations. The disclosure of a computerized list of
citizens indicating their political preference in the signature collection process for the Presidential
Recall Referendum (so-called “Maisanta Program”) generates fear that the secrecy of the vote
could be violated.”
The OAS and the EU are not alone. The observer delegation from the Spanish Parliament
expressed its uneasiness of a Parliament without opposition; (…) voters do not trust the automated
counting process, nor do they trust the arbiter.
The organization “Human Rights Watch”, in its 2006 Country Report, though not directly
addressing the December elections, offers a broader set of concerns about the curtailment of
Freedom of Expression, government pressures on civil society, and lack of judicial independence
that only deepen the pervasive mistrust cited in the three reports just mentioned: the OAS, the EU
and the Spanish Parliament.
And just two weeks ago, the Venezuelan Catholic Bishops Conference called for the NEC’s
renovation of its authorities, and to become more transparent, autonomous and trustworthy.

Also on February 1st-06:

Opposition leader Gerardo Blyde informs that the NEC’s Jorge Rodriguez told him that it
was willing to audit not half of the boxes, but all of them. This change of mind is after
knowing that opposition parties would boycott the elections. Why did not NEC say that a
month earlier? He also referred to the fact that the NEC eliminated the Finger Print
Checking Machines a week before the December 4th-2005 elections.
El Universal February 2nd-06

January 12th-06,
The Bishops Conference urge for a complete renovation of NEC. It’s directors should be
named following the rules in the Constitution.
Also, they demand that government stop persecuting and harassing those not backing it.

December 4th-05 Parliamentary Elections

OAS and European Union are acting as observers.
The streets look absolutely deserted during the whole day; no one seems to be voting.
HC when casting his own ballot speaks to the media praising his government.
NEC’s first bulletin shows an abstention of 75,1%.
The definitive bulletin (required by law) never appears.
“Bolivarians” get 100% of parliament.
December 3rd-05
HC insists that tomorrow’s elections are mainly a contest between him and George Bush.

November 29th-05
Main opposition political parties decide not to run in the Parliamentary Elections. This
apparently counter intuitively decision originates from the knowledge that people are not
going to vote anyway. Another reason is the recent demonstration that with the help of
Fingerprints Checking Machines, NEC could learn for whom electors cast their votes.
This scary ability was suspected, but always denied categorically by NEC.
Another reason is the trick of the “morochas or duplicates”.
Since the Supreme Court nominated members for a new NEC directorate headed by
Francisco Carrasquero on August 25th-03, opposition electors and its leaders are fed up
with NEC’s abuses and lies.
(Your editor believes Leopoldo Gonzalez’s proof is theoretical. In real life, where voters
often do not cast their votes in perfect order, the direction of the vote probably will not be
known to the NEC. Nevertheless, the fact is that electors were outraged with the arbiter
and thought voting was not worthwhile)

November 28th-05
The NEC says there will be no Fingerprint Checking Machines, likely fearing an
embarrassing massive abstention.

November 23rd-05
At the NEC, while checking the voting process in the presence of international observers
OAS, EU and local “Electoral Eye”, Leopoldo Gonzalez of NGO Grupo Colina proves that
with the use of the Fingerprint Checking Machines, it is possible for NEC to know whom
the people vote for. Until now just a suspicion, Gonzalez’s stunner demonstration led lots
of would be voters to abstain or to vote “Bolivarian” when it was not their sincere wish.

October 27th-05
SUPREME COURT’s Constitutional Chamber accepts as fair play “las morochas or
The sentence’s arguments are known as late as January 25 th-06. It claims that the law does
not prohibit the postulations the way they are been done.
(This in spite that on August 15th NEC’s President Jorge Rodríguez recognized that the
“duplicates” violated some Constitutional rights, unfortunately he claimed to have no
authority to prohibit them).
Your editor explains the morochas or duplicates: It is a hoax used in elections of
deliberative bodies, to lessen the weight of party lists in favor of direct election of
candidates, where there is no proportionality factor at all. The Constitution in article 63
and Suffrage law articles 2,7,11, and Electoral Power Law articles 15,19 and 20, impose a
proportional system. With this trick the proportional system is reduced to a minimum,
giving way to a majority system instead, violating the spirit of the law.

October 14th- 05
The NEC’s Jorge Rodríguez, probably fearing a massive abstention worse than the one on
August 7thm, announces that in the forthcoming Parliamentary Elections there will be
audits (in front of independent witnesses) of one box in every center. The random selection
of the boxes to be audited will be done after the voting. Yet, NEC cannot accept the
petition of audits to as many as 47% of all boxes as Coordinadora Democratica (opposition
parties) is asking. Rodriguez reconfirms that the voter registrar will be available to
Coordinadora Democratica, though without the elector’s addresses.
Your editor: Electors addresses are demanded by the opposition, in order to check the
registrar itself and to plan their campaign. Until early 2003, the voter registrar, with
elector’s addresses used to be public information.
Jonathan 11296

Next Elections, for National Assembly to be held on December 4th, 05

August 7th-05
Elections for Municipal Councils and sub-county boards (5599 positions in total)
The hour of the voting is extended from 4pm until 7pm, even though by 4 pm there is no
one was waiting in line to vote. In those extended hours “bolivarians” urge people to go
voting, often intimidating. At 12,15 pm, from his voting station, HC gives an hour long
press conference praising his government.
The NEC admits that almost 500.000 voters showed up in the extended hours.

The voter’s book has 13.754.937 electors. Only 4.238.839 voted, for an abstention of
69,2%. Amid the abstention, HC’s followers make a big win.

May 5th-05
Cesar Miguel Rondón, anchor in TV station Televen, leaves his nightly critical program.

April 15-05
HC says the Tascon List should be buried.
(Your editor: this after so much irreparable damage has been done). So many people lost
their jobs, so many lost their aspiration to a government job. Due to fear, so many
abstained from voting in the recall referendum or voted contrary to their real desires.
It is improbable that there will ever be another petition for a referendum against HC. It has
been proven that signing a petition against the President, may be disastrous.
President of Labor Union’s Confederation (CTV for its initials in Spanish) Carlos Ortega
told Associated Press about a year ago that because of that list, there had been dismissals at
the different Government Departments, at the petroleum company (PDVSA), at the state
water Company, at the Caracas Metro, public hospitals and at Municipal Governments
controlled by HC’s party.
If this list is buried as HC now asks, it is quite likely that it will resuscitate.

March 31st:
Súmate alerts that the secrecy of the vote may be suspect.

February 8th-05
The NEC’s board independent director Sobella Mejías:
The voter registrar is in-auditable.
In 2004 many were registered too easily, without controls. For instance, X goes to a
portable ID issuer, claims to be Y and gets registered.
Up until February 04, the updated voter registrar was given to all interested parties. Since
March 04 it was kept secretly.
In my capacity as Commission Chief of Civil and Electoral Registry I summoned several
times the director of the police (ONIDEX), but he never answered back.
No actions were taken to eliminate those who had died from the voter registrar.

February 2nd-05
Marta Colomina’s critical morning talk show on TV station Televen, comes to an end.

January 30th-05
Independent analyst Enrique Naim says that between March 04 and July 04 the voter
registrar was increased by 4.102.640, of which 1,357.691 were registered through
fast track operatives on the streets. Also an abnormal number of would be voters, as many
as 875.504 were loosely nationalized. Among them famous Colombian rebels in arms, like
Raul Reyes, Ivan Rolando Marquez, Nicolas Rodríguez.

January 20th-05,
The SUPREME COURT’s Constitutional Chamber names a new NEC directory. President
Jorge Rodríguez, Oscar Battaglini, Tibisay Lucena, Oscar de Leon Uzcategui, and Sobella
Mejías. The first four are well known “bolivarians.
(Former NEC’s president Francisco Carrasquero, is now a Magistrate at the SUPREME

Main incidents on the regional elections (October 31st -04):

In Carabobo state, results looked very close. NEC decided that such a close counting had
to be done in Caracas, without the presence of incumbent candidate Henrique Salas Feo.
Finally results counted in Caracas favored “bolivarian” candidate and retired General Luis
Felipe Acosta Carlez 51% to 48%. Looser Salas Feo declared he did not trust the results,
but would abide to NEC’s decision.
In the months prior to the elections, while Governor Salas Feo did not get the money from
the central government mandated by law, the “bolivarian” candidate Luis Felipe Acosta
Carlez acted like a true governor, managing the “missions” (HC’s main social programs),
inaugurating homes, coordinating government actions in the state.
Something similar occurred in Zulia state, where “bolivarian” candidate Alberto Gutierrez,
rich in resources while the legal governor Manuel Rosales was not, also acted during the
campaign as if he was the governor. Yet, in Zulia, Gutierrez was defeated by incumbent
Manuel Rosales.
In Yaracuy state, incumbent Eduardo Lapi (opposition) lost the election. Before the new
“bolivarian” governor took possession of his new post, Lapi’s home was broken into by the
police at 2am.
Veneconomia’s comments on November 3rd: The NEC audited one out of every four
boxes--secretly. There were unknown international observers, carefully chosen by the
October 31st-04
Election for Governors, their Legislative Assemblies, and Mayor of Distrito Capital
(Municipio Libertador)
OAS and the Carter Center were invited too late. They are not present. The only observer
known by Venezuelans is local ONG “Electoral Eye”. There are several other doubtful
“international observers”, invited by HC, unknown to most Venezuelans, presumably fond
of fond of him.
Unlike in the recall referendum, there are no lines of voters.
At 4pm, closing hour, NEC recognizes abstention is high. For that reason it extends the
chance for voters to come later.
Average abstention is as high as 58%, HC wins 21 governorships of 23, plus the Caracas
Mayoralty. Only looses in Zulia and Nueva Esparta states 17. Also wins 270 of 335
In legislative bodies associated with Governorships, results to be known later.
High abstention is due to the frustration of a large part of the electorate related to the
referendum on August 15th-04.
According to weekly “Veneconomía” November 3rd-04, NEC allowed auditing (a
comparison between the reports from the computers to the manual counting of the ballots)
of one box per voting center – but without witnesses. CNE’s argument to deny witnesses in
the audits: “the law allows the presence of witnesses in the counting (scrutiny), but this is
an audit”, according to Veneconomia November 11th-04
In the recall referendum of August 15th, NEC said such comparison could be made in only
199 boxes (1% of the machines).

October 30th- 04
The NEC’s Francisco Carrasquero says there will be auditing in tomorrow’s elections, but
the public will not be allowed to be present.
October 29th-04
The NEC’s Francisco Carrasquero reiterates that the voter registrar has 14.220.110 persons.
There may be doubts with 590.691, barely 0,8%. Misgivings may relate to ID number, first
and last name, date of birth.

October 26th-04
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) clarifies that it had approved for Súmate
US$ 53.400, effectively given US$ 31.150. NED is an institution independent of the US
government. It helps hundreds of groups in 89 countries. It reports annually to the US
Congress about each of the more than 700 projects it backs worldwide.

October 25th-04

Some individual results are: In Zulia state HC’s opposite Manuel Rosales wins with 54% of the votes,
amid abstention of 48%.
In Miranda state, HC’s favorite Diosdado Cabello wins with 52%, amid abstention of 54%.
In Lara state, HC’s favorite Luis Reyes Reyes wins with 73%, amid abstention of 54%.
In Merida state, HC’s favorite Florencio Porras wins with 61%, amid abstention of 49%.
Freddy Bernal, another HC’s favorite, wins the Mayoralty of Municipio Libertador in Caracas with 74% of
the votes, amid abstention of 68%.
The NEC pledges to guarantee:
1) Machine certificates of vote count will be printed before it sends the information to
the Counting Center.
On the recall referendum August 15th, it did the opposite)
2) The machines will only be connected to the Counting Center after the Certificates
are printed and the information is ready to be sent.
3) In each voting center one box will be opened to manually check the results given
by the machines.
Your editor: Why the NEC could not accept this for the recall?

October 15th-04
Professors Tulio Alvarez, Freddy Malpica, Jose Domingo Mujica and Jorge Casado publish
a final report Titled “Fraud to Democracy, the Venezuelan Case. El Universal October 18 th;
in four full paid pages as advertisement.
October 15th-04:
OAS and Carter Center turn down invitation to act as observers in the regional elections.
Both claim that the invitation arrived too late.

October 13th-04
The NEC’s Francisco Carrasquero and Jorge Rodríguez say that those in the Voter
Registrar whose addresses are missing, amount to barely 711.000, the equivalent 5%

October 13th-04
SUPREME COURT states that the certified documents concerning the recall referendum
demanded by the opposition (Coordinadora Democrática) may not be given.

October 9th-04:
In Colombia, ministry of foreign Relations and ministry of Defense say that 500.000
Colombians got a Venezuelan identity card that allowed them to vote in the referendum.

October 7th-04
The NEC denies the Coordinadora Democratica access to certified documents of the recall
referendum that could prove fraud.

October 6-04
The NEC approves International Observation in forthcoming regional elections.

October 3rd-04,
Súmate warns that for regional elections scheduled October 31st, NEC is violating articles
40, 118, 119, 120, 121, 152, 168, 267 y 268, 156, of the Suffrage Law.

Sept 30th-04
The Carter Center once again speaks. It recommends for future elections:
Review of voter registrar made by an independent party.
An analysis of those forced to go voting in far away places.
Machines must print their own counting before they send data to the main counting center.
It recognizes the process was not transparent, fair, or impartial.
(Final Carter Center Report is dated February 25th -05)
Your editor: That is what Jimmy Carter and Jennifer McCoy should have said on August
15th, and before. If they had spoken at the right time, the history of the Bolivarian
revolution could have been different.

September 30th-04
Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Diaz demands imprisonment of María Corina Machado
and Alejandro Plaz members of Súmate’s directorate. The charges: “conspiracy to destroy
the republic” (for soliciting or accepting funds from National Endowment for Democracy
in USA). Other Súmate board members Enrique Palacios and Ricardo Esteves are also
accused of the same crime, though not threatened to be sent to jail. According to the new
penal code, the prison term may be between 8 and 16 years.

September 27-9-04
Valter Pecly Moreira, Chief of OAS Electoral Mission in Venezuela, writes to the new
OAS secretary Miguel Angel Rodríguez rejecting Cesar Gaviria’s report on the
referendum. Gaviria was the Secretary General of OAS for ten years-until September 23).
Pecly claims he is sure that there were no irregularities in the referendum, although admits
14 hour voting lines and suggests NEC should be more transparent. Pecly demands that
OAS erase from their web page Gaviria’s somewhat negative Report. OAS takes it away

September 27-04 NEC board member Ezequiel Zamora resigns. As a consequence the
NEC board now has four directors, has three openly pro HC. No alternate director is called
to replace this vacancy.
Some of Zamora’s complaints that provoked his resignation were:
Changes in the NEC’s technical and administrative personnel that left it without
equilibrium. All 24 regional directors were removed and substituted by “bolivarians”.
Immediately after the voting, NEC refused to conciliate the machine count with the ballots
in the boxes.
Smartmatic machines’s software and hardware along with transmission systems were not
previously audited.
Zamora, despite being a member of the board was denied access to the NEC’s counting
center in the critical moment.
Immediate “hot” auditing was first scheduled to be done in 3% of the voting centers, but
later it was reduced to only 1% (199). When the time to do the “hot” auditing finally came
after mid-night, NEC was able to do it in only 84. But the auditing with the presence of
opposition witnesses (many of them did not get their official credentials on time), occurred
that night in only 27 centers. The presence of international observers for these audits was
also made difficult by the armed forces. Daily newspapers El Nacional and El Universal
September 28th-04.

Excerpts from Zamora’s original resignation letter

…the Fiscal General de Cedulación, a delicate position in charge of watching the fair
expedition of identity cards and registration in the voters list, a position traditionally held
by the opposition parties, was removed and substituted by a “Bolivarian” NEC employee.

(…) few days and hours before the recall referendum, NEC’s directorate made sure that
members of each voting table/center, or of Municipal Electoral Boards did not appear on
the Tascon List
(…) the directorate approved several rules clearly violating the Constitution, in spite of my
(…) on referendum day I was not allowed free access to the totalization room at NEC’s
(…) The NEC’s directorate systematically rejected the checking of ballots in the boxes
with the tally sheets emitted by the machines in front of opposition witnesses. Moreover, it
was not possible to make an independent complete audit of the soft and hardware of the
machines and of the transmission systems.

Auditing of 199 tables/machines was made in only 84 because of the NEC’s failures. The
random selection of the machines applied only to 20 municipalities (out of 336 in 14 states
(out of 24 entities) allowed manipulations in the larger part of the country that was not to
be audited at all.
Of the 84 audits performed, only 27 had opposition witnesses, because NEC failed to issue
the necessary credentials or because the National Guard did not allow their presence.

(Later, November 29th-2005 Mr Zamora said on TV (Globovision) that NEC president

Francisco Carrasquero had fired 200 employees from the NEC’s bureaucracy, clearing the
way for NEC to do whatever he wanted).

September 24th-04
The NEC’s Jorge Rodríguez threatens to imprison any one talking about fraud in the past
referendum without proof.

September 23rd-04,
US Secretary of State Colin Powel recognizes results, praises the Carter Center and OAS

September 18th-04
The Carter Center preliminary report on the recall referendum:
For the auditing to be done of August 20 th, we were not allowed to select the boxes to be
audited according to our own program. Only the NEC’s program was used for that random

August 24th-04
Gaviria’s Oral Report to OAS Permanent Council on the referendum:
The invitation to observe the voting process was difficult to obtain.
Opposition has complained about unjustified movements of voting centers for thousands of
people. It also complained about use of public funds by HC to pay for his costly campaign,
about obstacles for opposition witnesses to reach the centers where the 192 audits were to
take place immediately after the voting.
The full report of OAS Secretary Gaviria was placed in the OAS web page. Shortly after
this, Gaviria’s term as Secretary of OAS ended. Then after request from Valter Pecly
Moreira, Chief of OAS electoral mission to Venezuela, it was removed from the web.
Valter Peckly’s mostly laudatory report on the recall to OAS, recognizes lack of
transparency in the NEC, some lines to vote as long as 14 hours.

(Next Elections scheduled: for Governors and their legislative assemblies, and Mayors to
be held on October 31st, this year)

August 21th-04
International observers the Carter Center and OAS say there was no fraud in the
referendum, after a second auditing the prior day.
(Your editor: that second auditing done five days after, is quite suspect, as explained here
in August 15th. Most likely, HC got the majority of the votes in his favor on the 15 th, but
the abuses of power, delays, non transparent voter registrar, threats should he loose, are
way too many for the process to be characterized as legitimate. It is hard to understand
how a group that wins by such large margin, only permits limited auditing)

August 16th-04
As unsatisfied people begin gathering at Plaza Altamira to protest the recall’s results,
Maritza Ron Castro is assassinated and twelve others are wounded by “Bolivarian” snipers
from a motorcycle.
(Your editor: This violence ended street protesting by the opposition for years to come).

August 15th -04

The revocable referendum is finally held.
(HC gets 5.800.629 votes, 59,25%. Opposing 3.989.008 votes, 40,74%. Abstention

Though the vote Yes or No seems a simple task, the obligatory use of Fingerprint Checking
Machines for the first time ever, may make the process slower than ever.
Voting time is scheduled until 4pm. At that hour, according to the Basic electoral Law,
voting centers that at closing time still have people in line wanting to cast their vote,
should stay open until all get their chance to vote.

Main observations:
This recall referendum should have been held on August 19 th last year, at the exact middle
of HC’s term. Demands for it began in 2001. By April 28 th-02 HC said he was willing to
accept it following the Constitutional norms. The date August 19 th-03 was postponed a
whole year By the NEC and the SUPREME COURT with outlandish reasons.
NEC’s board of Directors was openly pro HC, with three directors out of five. According
to the law, the five of them should be none partisan.
Officials at the voting centers did not have equilibrium. After the draw according to the
law, NEC expunged all those that appeared on the Tascon List.
NEC did not allow EU observers to come. It allowed OAS and the Carter Center, with
The voting machines were bought hastily and without consensus.

The NEC was always against the idea of auditing the results. The opposition wanted full or
at least a large percentage of audits immediately after the closing of each center. The NEC
allowed for the auditing of 199 computers (out of 19.900) in the presence of opposition
witnesses, OAS and Carter Center representatives. The NEC’s reluctance to allow ample
auditing knowing that the Smartmatic computer machines have never been used before,
here or anywhere else, is inexplicable.
The Coordinadora Democratica (opposition) is led to believe that the computers will issue
a report (or tally sheet) after the center is closed. In the audits allowed (199 machines) at
least, the reports issued by the machines will be compared to the manual counting done in
the presence of opposition and international witnesses. Thereafter, only thereafter, the
machines would send their report to the Counting or Totalizing Centre at NEC’s

The voting lasted too long, the Fingerprint Checking Machines considered partially
responsible for the extremely slow voting, were suspended at mid morning. In spite of that,
the process continues to be unreasonably slow. Large numbers of voters arriving before
dawn, had to line up ten hours or more. Many “bolivarians” seemed to have gone to vote
after 4 pm. The lines were smoother by then.
The NEC postponed the 4pm closing hour of all the voting centers first to 8pm, then to
midnight, with the exception of some centers where the voting lasted until 3am.
By the time most centers were closed at midnight, there was chaos: no public
transportation for witnesses, members of the voting centers exhausted, insufficient
protection from the National Guard (in a country so dangerous at night), opposition witness
credentials denied, given too slowly or once given, not admitted by NEC officials or the
National Guard, etc. The audits in the presence of opposition representatives were
performed in only 27 centers.
At 3,00 am NEC announces HC won by a large margin.
Coordinadora Democratica believes there is fraud in the counting, but it has no copies of
the computer reports or tally sheets, and complains about the lack of the minimum auditing
as promised. It cannot do much.

More auditing is made on the 20th at the request of the Carter Center and OAS. HC has
already been declared winner, the second audit is ridiculously out of place. The ballots
have been kept by the military for four days, an institution the opposition cannot trust.
For this second (late) audit there will be 150 machines included and there will be a random
selection of the boxes to be pared with the computer reports (or ballot receipts). That
random selection is suspect, since the NEC insisted in doing the selection using a computer
program prepared behind closed doors in their own computers.

About the first audit, the final Carter Center report dated February 25th 2005, page 69
The Carter Center observers were able to witness 6 auditing processes. In only one of the
six centers it visited, there was a valid comparison between ballots in the boxes with tally
sheets issued by the machines. In the other five sites observed, the auditor appointed by
the NEC did not allow the opening of the ballot box, explaining his/her instructions did not
include the counting of the YES or No ballots from multiple machines.

Other observations from the final Carter Center report:

-…problems due to issuing audit regulation 3 days before the elections. The final result
was that the NEC squandered a crucial opportunity to build confidence and trust in the
electoral system and outcome of the recall Referendum.
- Late printing of voting notebooks severely reduced the capacity of the interested parties
to audit them.
-…the software was electronically signed and later installed in all the machines. The
Comando Maisanta (HC), the Coordinadora Democrática (opposition) and the international
observers did not have access to do any auditing.
- Venezuelan group of observers “Ojo Electoral” (Electoral Eye) participated, but was
invited so late that it could not mount a comprehensive observation.

Your editor comments on the Fingerprint Checking Machines that although they did not
work, they helped to slowdown the process, to the point that closing hours were extended
from 4pm to 8pm and then to 12 midnight, when the situation became chaotic. All over
Latin-America we can note that with simple manual counting, electoral processes more
complex than Yes vs No as this referendum, the results are usually known by 8-10pm.
Also these machines never tried before in Venezuela, sowed the belief that they were an
instrument for the computerized system to find out for whom every individual was voting
for. Opponents to HC scared of the possibility that the vote might not be secret, most
likely will abstain, or even vote for HC.
Days after the referendum the Coordinadora Democratica learns (unofficially, through
engineers at the telephone company who was transporting the data from voting centers to
the main counting center) that the Smartmatic computers did not issue a report or tally
sheet and then communicated with the Counting Center at NEC. Instead, they first
communicated with the Totalizing Center, received feedback, and only then issued a tally
sheet for the officials at the voting centers.
Carter Center and OAS had no experience at all related to electronic fraud.

August 14th-04
According to Súmate’s Electoral Monitor #2, the NEC selects the 199 machines to be
audited immediately after the voting, in only 20 of 335 municipalities (or in only 14 of 24

August 12th-04
The NEC changes norms about the engineering of the voting centers and of military voting
norms, publishes them (in internet) only two days before the referendum).
(Engineering of voting centers refers to the number of centers, number of voters per center,
and maximum time allowed per voter).
Also the NEC spells the rules for the auditing right on referendum day. Only 1% of the
19900 machines, 199 in total, may be audited—in the presence of opponents and
international observers. This means ballot boxes opened, all votes counted and the results
compared to the tally sheets issued by the computers.
According to Súmate’s Electoral Monitor#2, NEC first talked about auditing 10% of the
machines, thereafter only 3%, and finally just 1%.
Your Editor: in a referendum that has raised the passions so much, with an arbiter with
three directors unabashedly pro HC and two not aligned, with machines never tested in the
world before, with a voter’s list that even HC admitted was plagued with inconsistencies,
non bolivarians cannot understand why NEC would not allow full auditing?

August 12-04
The NEC’s Oscar Battaglini says that international observers will not be allowed to enter
the counting center the day of the referendum.

August 10th-04
NEC’s president Francisco Carrasquero says tests of the fingerprint checking machines are
impressive, to the point that in only three seconds they may read two million fingerprints.

July 30th-04
Voter Registrar is cut off for new entrants.
According to the Suffrage Law May 1998), it had to be closed 60 days before the
referendum. That is on June 15th. (Your editor: this legal anticipation is reasonable, to
allow time for revision)

July 29-04
More than 18.000 (opposing) voting center witnesses will be substituted because they have
signed the petition for a referendum against HC.

July 28th-04
The NEC has received more than 60.000 complaints from would be voters forced to go
voting unnecessarily far away from their residencies.

July 23rd-04
The EU (European Union) announces it regrets not being invited to observe the
forthcoming referendum. Days later, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jesús Pérez explains that
it was an-acceptable that EU pretended to send as many as 200 observers with unfettered
rights of mobilization.

July 21st-04
The NEC orders TV stations not to broadcast a documentary titled “Which Revolution”?
made by Oscar Lucien. Jorge Rodriguez alleges its publication would violate norms of
Publicity and Propaganda…
Lucien claims it is a historical documentary and does not intend to tell electors how to

July 20st-04
The National Federation of Public Employees complains before the OAS that 450 workers
have been fired because they signed a petition against HC and their names were on the
“Tascon List”).

July 19th-04
OAS names the Brazilian permanent ambassador Valter Pecly Moreira, Chief of the OAS
Electoral Mission in Venezuela to observe the referendum.

July 12th-04
The NEC prohibits an opposition TV advertisement telling people to vote against HC
because too many obstacles were unfairly created to not have the referendum, and
mentioned the main ones.

July 9-04
The NEC’s Jorge Rodríguez surprisingly says that HC should abstain campaigning for
himself in his TV and radio chains. HC responds that the chains are necessary and thus
they will not be eliminated. They are politically necessary because “the independent media
does not inform about anything positive the government does”.

July 9th-04
HC warns that if he looses the referendum, he will pull out, nevertheless he would run
again in the elections that should occur 30 days after. Minutes later, the SUPREME
COURT’s President Ivan Rincón says the Court is about to officially declare that there are
no impediments for HC to run again 30 days after, should he loose the referendum.

July 6-04
The NEC’s Francisco Carrasquero and Jorge Rodriguez pledge guarantees of access to
International observers OAS and the Carter Center.

July 4th-04,
Orlando Urdaneta, humorist, and anchor for TV station Globovision, critical of the
government, is pressured to leave his job. Days later, Urdaneta moves to Florida, USA.

July 2nd-04
The NEC’s president Francisco Carrasquero applies to be a Magistrate of the SUPREME
(By December 15th Carrasquero gets the job at the Constitutional Chamber)

June 27-04
HC explains that three Magistrates of the SUPREME COURT’s Electoral Chamber are
retired. They are Alberto Martini Urdaneta, Rafael Hernández and Rafael Pérez Perdomo.
Alo Presidente #195
Your editor: Martini and Hernández were part of the SUPREME COURT Electoral
Chamber where some of the decisions about the referendum were not of his liking (see last
March 15th and April 12th).

June 18th-04
After weeks of intense government harassment, independent national TV station
Venevisión decides to not antagonize the government any more.
Its main anchor Napoleon Bravo has been out since June 4 th. Bravo for years conducted a
morning talk show, critical of the government.
(Your editor’s postscript: Up to this date Venevision was the most critical national TV
channel of all. Besides the pressure put by the government months before, the channel is
aware that its “concession” or permit to broadcast will soon be coming to an end and it
might not be renewed.
Private TV channels, in my opinion had a right to have their own opinions and their
editorials. They had been of great help to HC since he appeared in the political scene after
a coup d’etat in February 1992 until he won the presidency in 1998. Once in power, HC
made clear that he was not willing to accept criticism. From the beginning he trounced
rights of information, of expression, of free press; forced all TV stations to link up to the
official station about once every two days, imposed harsh laws to the activity in specific
and set special taxes to them. For those reasons it was natural that the private channels
were hostile to the government in their news programs and editorials.
Since TV Venevision did not strike HC any more, when the Government arbitrarily decided
that their concession to operate had to be renewed in May 27- 2007, it did renew it, though
only for five years-- not twenty as expected.
To TV channel RCTV who remained striking the government, the license to operate their
open signal (free of charge) was not renewed in May 27- 2007and their assets immediately
Private radio stations continued criticizing the government, until August 1st- 09 when the
government announced that it was about to close 238 broadcasters and did close 32 and
took their assets without any indemnity. As could be expected, threatened that way, since
then almost all radio stations remaining in the air lowered their tone.

June 10th-04
Prosecutor General Isaías Rodriguez charges the ONG Súmate’s director Maria Corina
Machado for conspiracy, alleging her organization accepted funds from the National
Endowment for Democracy.

June 8th-04
The NEC admits that the opposition got (six months ago) the number of signatures needed.
It calls the referendum for August 15th.

Your editor: if there are reasons for postponing the August 15 th referendum to after August
19th, then the rules change completely. If this happens and HC looses a referendum held on
the 19th or after, then there remain less than two years of HC’s presidential term. In that
case his Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel --his own appointee-- would substitute him
until next presidential elections scheduled for December 06. The change in government
would be minimal, if at all. And HC cold run again in 2006.

May 28th-30th
All those who signed last November 28 through December 1 a petition for a referendum,
line up again to confirm their signatures. Anyone willing to retract their posture contrary to
HC, or claim that he or she “never intended to sign”, are encouraged by the NEC to do so.
May 20th-04
New law for the SUPREME COURT is approved. Magistrates are increased from 20 to 32.
(Your editor: Thus HC dominates better the highest Court. The selection of new
Magistrates occurs on December 15th- 04)

May 12th-04
OAS and the Carter Center deplore that in forthcoming signature “re-confirmation” it will
be considered fair play for those that signed the petition, to repent their doing and
withdraw the petition they made November 28th through December 1.

April 26th -04

The NEC handles to Súmate the official results of the count of the signatures gotten
November 28 through December 1.

April 20th-04
The NEC approves rules for the “reparations” of the signatures.
NEC´s definitive figures on the signatures: only 1.910.965 are valid. As many as 1.192.114
must be repaired because of “similar calligraphy” or other defects. 375.241 signatures
were rejected because they claim were made by people that are dead, or not registered in
the official voter registrar.
To activate the referendum, there must be 2.491.196 valid signatures. Of the 1.192.114
people that have to sign once again between May 28 th and May 30th, a minimum of
580.231 will be needed. Results will be announced on June 4th.
The NEC has no budget for this journey. Government will have to give the NEC an
additional two (US) billion bolivars or close to US$ 1.042.000.
Elections for Governors, Mayors and their Legislatures scheduled for August 1st, are
postponed to September 26th.

April 12th-04
The SUPREME COURT’s Electoral Chamber challenges the Constitutional Chamber
demanding again the NEC to validate 876.017 signatures it considers suspect.

March 24th-03
The Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber ratifies the Electoral Chamber may not order
the NEC to accept 876.017 signatures considered faulty alleging “similar calligraphy”.

March 16th-03
The coordinator of all political parties backing HC “Comando Ayacucho” asks the
Supreme Court Plenary to put Judge Alberto Martini U on trial.

March 15th-04
The SUPREME COURT’s Electoral Chamber orders NEC to consider as valid 876.017
signatures that NEC had rejected alleging they got unduly assistance or had “similar
calligraphy”. Those signatures should be added to the 1.832.493 signatures it already has
recognized as valid. The required number of signatures to call the referendum is 2,436.083,
20% of the voter registrar.
Hours later, on the same day, Constitutional Chamber lead by José Delgado Ocando)
annuls at least provisionally the sentence of the Electoral Court that allowed for the
(Electoral Chamber acts with the votes of Alberto Martini Urdaneta, Rafael Hernandez
Uzcategui and Orlando Gravina substitute for Luis Martínez)
A week later Constitutional Court makes the final decision.

(March 3rd-04 unrest in the streets since February the 27 th and March 2nd seems to have
ended. In total, there were 9 deaths, 339 arrested and 1200 wounded).

March 3rd-04:
The NEC signs a contract to buy 20.000 machines with Consortium SBC Smartmatic-
Bizta-CANTV (CANTV is a private Venezuelan telephone company). The machines made
by Olivetti in Italy, are built according to Smartmatic specifications.
According to Smarmatic’s CEO Antonio Mugica, the machines are designed to facilitate
and accelerate electoral processes, (…) they store the votes in an encrypted mode without
following their sequence, they assure 100% auditing and the secrecy of the vote;
immediately after the vote is cast, they print the decision of the voter omitting his or her
name… this imprint is deposited by the voter in a sealed box. Thus the electronic system
can be always verified. This information comes from Smartmatic.

Your editor worries that these machines may be programmed in a way so they give the
voter a proper receipt to be put in the ballot box, it will print at the closing of the journey a
precise tally sheet summing all the votes cast, but could nevertheless send to NEC’s
totalizing center tricked information. This worrisome idea is in part taken from the New
York Times editorial of January 31st-04, and from statements made by experts such as
David Dill from Stanford University, Rebecca Mercury from Bryn Mawr University,
Alvien D. Rubin from Johns Hopkins University.

March 2nd-04
The NEC’s President Carrasquero (6pm) talks further on the signatures. Says NEC’s
verification has found 1.800.000 signatures as fair, but 700.000 are dubious and will need
to be reconfirmed between the 18th and the 22nd this month.
NEC also announces that during the repair journey, those who have changed their minds
and now think they do not want the recall referendum, are free to take their signatures out.
And those that never signed but appear on the records as if they did, will have the
opportunity to reveal the fraud.
The NEC’s counting of the new signature process will be announced also this month.
OAS Fernando Jaramillo says on TV that OAS cannot accept as fair play NEC’s
invalidating signatures in a process done with so many checks and witnesses to prevent

February 28th-04
During the day there is a lot of unrest in the city because of the repression of the march the
day before. Some anti HC protesters brake their until now pacifist mode and decide to burn
tires and close some streets. Repression becomes more brutal as well.
Francisco Carrasquero says NEC has found hundreds of thousands of signatures with
defects that will have to be reconfirmed.
This statement inflames the people protesting and being repressed for two days in a raw.

February 27th-04
The G15 group presided by HC is deliberating at the Teresa Carreño Music Hall18.
The Coordinadora Democratica calls a march to accompany a delegation that would hand
in a document to the G15. The document is about the need of the referendum and the
difficulties to get it.
The official permit for the street march does not allow anyone to get closer than about a
kilometer away.
The real size of the protest cannot be seen live on TV, because the media is on a link up
showing the deliberations of the G15 presidents.
When the front end of the immense (peaceful) march is approaching the limit imposed by
the authorities, it is repealed with unprecedented amounts of pepper gas at the beginning,
and later with rubber bullets. There is one death (Carlos Alberto Aumaidre), 41 wounded,
hundreds, perhaps thousands of protesters, bystanders, and people who happen to live in
buildings near the streets where the gas is used, were close to suffocation.

February 24th-04
The NEC issues new rules related to signatures they now believe to be “unduly assisted by
a third person”. Accordingly, for the signature to be valid, the interested person not only
must have signed, he or she must have also written with his or her own handwriting other
facts such as name (exactly as it appears in the voter registrar), ID number and date of
birth. These rules are to be applied retroactively.
(Your editor clarifies: in front of government witnesses, many petitioners, most of them old
signed and put their fingerprints, but first requested assistance in their filling of their
names, identity number and date of birth because of bad sight, shaky hands, nervousness or
other handicaps. Being illiterate might have been another reason to demand assistance.
Cases like these explain the “similar calligraphy” found by NEC.

February 14th-04,
According to the NEC’s own rules, it should have given the results of the signature
counting, a process it began belatedly on January 13th.

February 8th-04,
HC says that observing internet he got proof that Súmate has received US$60.000 from
institutions created by the USA government, and this should be known by the American
people. Alo Presidente #181
(Your editor: HC referred to a donation from the National Endowment to Democracy.
Since then, Súmates’s board of directors has been in danger of being sent to jail)

February 1-04,

Presidents present besides HC: Lula Da Silva, Nestor Kirchner, Mohammar Khatami, Robert Mugabe.
HC says that he formally asked the NEC for copies of all the forms with the signatures
petitioning a referendum against him.
In the same TV and radio talk show, “Bolivarian” representative to the National Assembly
Luis Tascón cynically wonders ¿why does the opposition object that NEC surrender the list
to us?
Alo Presidente 180.

(Your editor: A few days later, the whole list of signatures appears in Luis Tascon’s internet
site. Since then it became known as the Tascon List. Members of that list working directly
or indirectly for the government, or willing to work for it, or to sell something to it, were in
trouble. When the revocable referendum was later accepted, signers appearing in the
Tascon list were also excluded from the raffles to select officials for the voting centers.
Each center should have five officials. Thus, the administration of all voting centers on
referendum day will be dominated by “bolivarians”).
(January 31st-04 New York Times editorial: How to Hack an Election)

January 27th-04,
The NEC accepts the OAS and the Carter Center to overview the work it is doing with the
signatures submitted by opposition, including deliberations of the technical committee.

January 23rd-04,
HC starts campaigning for his governors and mayors in elections scheduled to be on
October this year. Alo Presidente # 179,

January 23rd, 04
The NEC says that if the valid firms are enough, the referendum will be held on May this

January 23rd 04: OAS Francisco Jaramillo request to be present in the NEC counting of the
signatures and also in the deliberations of NEC’s technical committee.

January 13th, 04, NEC President Francisco Carrasquero says signatures gotten by
opposition abroad are not valid. NEC just began to verify the validity of the signatures
taken in the country.
According to their own rules, NEC has straight 30 days to finish the count, a count they
began notoriously late after Christmas and year-end holidays.
(Your editor: It is irresponsible that the NEC went to their usual Christmas and year end
vacation and only today will start counting the signatures).

December 19th-03: Súmate and the Coordinadora Democrática deliver the signatures to
NEC, without incidents. The signatures handed in, in total 3.467.050 (250 boxes) were all
carefully checked by the NGO Súmate.
According to Norms to Regulate Binding Referenda, the NEC will begin authentication
and verification of the signatures. NEC will have 30 calendar days to finish it. After that, in
February it should say whether or not there will be a referendum.
NEC will put special emphasis checking the fingerprints in the forms with those in the
identification department, a slow, if not impossible procedure.
December 14th-03,
HC: I ratify my confidence in the NEC.
The opposition is so tangled up that it does not know how it will submit the signatures they
collected November 28th through December 1st.
Another proof of fraud is that we taped a telephone conversation between Ramón Escovar
Salom and his son Ramón Escovar leon, both known to be against me. One tells the other
that that a Súmate Representative told him that the signature collection did not go well.
Alo Presidente 174
(Your editor: the conversation recorded (illegally) was broadcasted as proof of an election

December 8th-03: The SUPREME COURT’s Constitutional Chamber establishes rules for
the recall referendum, should there be one. The counting will have to be done entirely by
machines. Manual counting will not be accepted.

December 7th-03
HC: I demand from the NEC my right to know who signed against me. We will ask the
NEC for a certified list of signatures, so we can check them one by one. Only after that
checking might I be convinced that the opposition got the signatures needed to call for the
referendum. The age of fraud is over. Fraud was made by many people managing to vote
several times. Our observers were sabotaged, so much that they were unable to do their
job. Moreover, many workers were forced by their employers to sign against me. We
know that even poor old people, beneficiaries of state’s programs were intimidated to vote
against me. Even some of my sympathizers were tricked to believe that by signing, they
were casting a vote for me. This government is not going to accept a poor arbiter.
Alo Presidente #173.

November 28th through December 1st-03,

The opposition tries once again to get signatures asking for a revocable referendum against
HC. The process is in the streets, since the usual voting centers, mostly schools, are denied.
After dark, lights will be a major obstacle when to when writing the necessary legal reports
to NEC.
OAS has some 25 observers, and the Carter Centre has 30.
The process begins with the petitioner showing a permanent identity card. Then his or her
name must be verified by NEC personnel in the voter´s registrar. This may take a long
After that, in the presence of NEC’s representatives, the military and other witnesses, the
petitioner must fill a form with his or her name, identity number, date of birth, stamp his
fingerprint and sign, all this on scarce “security paper”.
A mistake writing these requirements cannot be amended. If it occurs the petitioner is
disqualified, and most likely, the whole form carrying dozens of other signatures will be
annulled later by NEC.
The process begins at 8am. Half an hour later NEC Vice-President Jorge Rodriguez says
that Súmate’s representatives cannot remain nearby to help petitioners with the process.
Súmate, with the help of laptops, thought to speed up the verification process by helping
petitioners with information about their exact location in the voter registrar, also their exact
name for NEC’s purposes. Knowing the latter is crucial especially for women, who may
change their last names according to marriage, divorce, or remarriage. Súmate is all but
crippled with the surprising dictate. It moves to the periphery of the signing centers. After
doing so it is still able to help some who seek help, but not the majority.
The banning of Súmate (at least located next to the signing booths), to guide petitioners is
an abuse that will considerably slow down the process. Some people wait in line more
than 6 hours. Obligatory formal report to NEC of the final count of the day has to be done
at night, with the help of automobile lights.
Minister Maria Cristina Iglesias says that some employers are coaxing their employees to
go sign against HC. “Bolivarian” deputies to the National Assembly Ismael García and
Desiree Santos Amaral complain that enemy governors, Mayors, and some employers are
coaxing people to go sign. All this without presenting proof.
In addition there are “bolivarians” intimidating people waiting in line to sign.
The usually busy frontier with Colombia is closed three days until December 2nd.
At the end of the first journey, Súmate informs the public that 96% of signature places
were open by 8,30 pm, and that NEC ran out of security paper in some places like
Universidad Nueva Esparta. Immediately after, NEC’s Jorge Rodriguez assures that
Súmate will be sanctioned for these declarations.
On the second day, scarcity of forms on security paper issued by NEC, begins to be felt
everywhere. NEC forbids the moving of forms still available from one place to another,
thus aggravating the scarcity. Signers must go to different places in order to have a chance
of finding the appropriate “security” forms.
Sunday 30th HC speaks of a mega-fraud. The OAS’s mediator Cesar Gaviria rebukes that
there are no signs of fraud. He asks HC to present evidence he might have to NEC.
Francisco Ameliach and Juan Barreto call on “bolivarians” to take the streets to impede the
fraud, fortunately a call largely ignored.
In three days of signatures, there are 42 people wounded by “bolivarians”.
Last day Monday 1st, it is almost impossible to sign, because there are no forms on which
to sign.
Private airports so much needed to mobilize boxes with the signatures from distant places
to Caracas are closed by the government. The excuse is to ensure no private planes would
take off “with the intent of throwing bombs to the people”.
Abroad, without NEC’s assistance, signatures were collected in 136 cities in 34 countries.
These signatures do not have a chance of being recognized, yet they have moral value. The
large number of signatures from abroad is due to the fact that many young well prepared
Venezuelans have left seeking personal security and job opportunities.

November 27th-03
The day before the signature collection, NEC approves additional rules for it.

November 26th-03
HC warns the opposition, on national television, that signatures and fingerprints will be
kept forever.

November 21th through 24th-03

“Bolivarians” dates to collect signatures asking for a recall referendum to oust 16
Opposition Representatives to the National Assembly.
The turnout of voters is negligible and the journey is quite peaceful.
(your editor’s postscript: bolivarians never gathered the necessary signatures)

November 20th-03
NEC dictates additional rules related to signatures and forms for the referendum petition.

November 14th-03
NEC rules that there will be no signature collection outside of the country. The board’s
decision is 3 to 2

November 9th-03
HC: ¡how beautiful that we are on the way to signature collections!
VIVE TV, another new state television, begins broadcasting on November 11-03. It will be
a “cultural” broadcaster.
If the opposition gathers the signatures, which I find unlikely, the referendum will take
place around March 04.
Alo Presidente 171

November 11th-03
Vice-President Jose Vicente Rangel explains that there will be no signature collection
abroad, because what we are going to have is not an electoral event, “it is only a collection
of signatures”.

October 30th-03
NEC regulates the activities of observers to the process of signature collection.

October 15th-03
NEC establishes November 28th through December 1st as the dates for the collection of
signatures asking for the presidential recall referendum. It also establishes November 21st
through the 24th, as the dates to gather signatures for a recall referendum against opposition
deputies to the National Assembly.

September 25th-03
NEC regulates the gathering of signatures for future referenda. Among the rules finally
issued: signatures and fingerprints must be stamped on security paper (the type used for
bank notes), emitted by the Central Bank. Identification Cards covered in plastic must be
presented. Provisional IDs or passports will not be valid identification.
(Your editor: The plastic or permanent official identification cards are hard to renew or
obtain when lost. Usually, when an ID card is lost, the government issues a provisional ID
card, and the permanent (in plastic) ID card takes years to be issued)

September 24th-03
HC tells NEC: If there is a revocable referendum, I will not accept manual counting.
Collections of signatures to call for the referendum, should take no more than one day.
Propaganda in the mass media, must be regulated, there must be tops for both parties.
(Your editor: manual counting is fast enough and more reliable than computer counting)
September 14th-03
HC applauds the NEC’s decision to invalidate the signatures collected by the opposition
last February.
HC deplores that the opposition wants to collect signatures again, in spite of the lack of
Alo Presidente #164

September 12th-03
The NEC declares invalid the signatures gathered on February 2 nd calling for a binding

September 11th-03
The NEC’s legal adviser Andrés Brito, requests that the SUPREME COURT reject the
signatures collected by the opposition on February 2-03.

September 1-03
The SUPREME COURT’s Electoral Chamber states that if HC looses the referendum, then
he cannot aspire to vie in the next election that must be called within 30 days after the
referendum. A few hours later the Constitutional Chamber clarifies that the decision of the
Electoral court is not valid, it is plagued with cheating.

August 31st-03
HC says NEC should restructure itself in the next six months.
The signatures collected by Súmate are frozen. It is more important to restructure NEC
than to deal with the signatures.
HC says the signatures are part of a show by the opposition. NEC should regulate the use
of mass media in electoral campaigns. There should be restrictions for electoral
Alo Presidente #162

August 25th
The SUPREME COURT’s Constitutional Chamber appoints a new board of directors to
lead NEC. The rules for the appointments spelled out in the Constitution articles 294 and
296 and the Suffrage Law article 9, are disregarded (board members cannot be identified
with political parties).
The new board members are: Francisco Carrasquero president, Jorge Rodríguez, Oscar
Bataglini, Ezequiel Zamora and Sobella Mejía. The SUPREME COURT claims that the
board is “balanced”, because it has two opposing and two “bolivarian” members and
Carrasquero the president who is “neutral”.
Substitutes: German Yepez and Orietta Capone for principal Oscar Battaglini; Estefanía de
Talavera and Esther Gauthier for Jorge Rodríguez; Tibisai Lucena and Manuel Rachadel
for Francisco Carrasquero; Carlos Aguilar y Carlos Castillo for Sobella Mejías and Miriam
Kornblitz and Carolina Jaimes for Ezequiel Zamora.
Besides the new board, the SUPREME COURT also takes the liberty to name the NEC’s
Secretary General, William Pacheco and the Legal Adviser Andrés Brito, both
With the new NEC, the opposition is hopeful that there will be a referendum.
Your editor, postscript: NEC’s board becomes 3 staunch “chavistas” against two that are
not. In the next change of directorate, they will be four to one, until this writing. The
President of the Supreme Court Ivan Rincón, upon retiring from the Supreme Court, was
awarded the Vatican Embassy.

August 20th-03,
The signatures petitioning a binding referendum collected on February 2nd, are finally
handed to NEC by the Coordinadora Democrática and Súmate at 6,45am. Receiving the
signatures are directors Alfredo Avella, Romulo Lares, José Manuel Zerpa and secretary of
the board Virginia Rachadell. Rómulo Rangel is missing.
Delivering the signatures to NEC, 3.236.320 in total is an ordeal. Súmate and the
Coordinadora Democratica must dodge the municipal police, the armed forces, and
aggressive civil “bolivarians” always keeping watch around NEC’s headquarters.
(When the signatures for a non binding referendum were handed to NEC on November 4 th-
03, there were 67 people wounded)

August 3rd-03
NGO Súmate’s board is criminally charged by Vice-President José Vicente Rangel.
Rangel alleges that Súmate has illegally represented groups of electors without their
consent, drawn up questions and collected funds from the public in order to seek a
referendum, without NEC’s consent.

July 27-03
HC says the signatures asking for a recall referendum gathered on February 2-03 are
invalid. Alo Presidente 157.

May 29-03
The government and the opposition, with the mediation of the OAS, the Carter Center and
the UNDP (United Nations Developing Program) reach an accord. Among the agreements,
there may be held a revocable referendum according to the Constitution, oversaw by OAS,
Carter Center and UNDP, if petitioners gather the needed signatures.

April 4th-03
NEC’s president Alfredo Avella, Romulo Lares second Vice-President and citizen Arístides
Martínez, assisted by lawyer Yibi Cisneros Mussa, go to the InterAmerican Commission of
Human Rights (ICHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) to complain about
the human rights violation by the SUPREME COURT Electoral Chamber (January 22 nd-
03) when it suspended the non-binding referendum called for February 2nd-03.
(The right to vote in referenda is spelled out in the Constitution)

March 26-03
The SUPREME COURT’s Electoral Chamber accepts the demand lead by “bolivarian”
deputies Desiré Santos Amaral, Darío Vivas and José Khan against Leonardo Pisani’s
reincorporation to NEC’s board, and the annulment of NEC’s resolution of December 3 rd
02 calling for a non-binding referendum on February 2 nd-03. The SUPREME COURT also
states that NEC’s decisions, acting with only four magistrates have to be unanimous.
This decision cripples NEC’s board, since “bolivarian” magistrate Rómulo Rangel is
always in disagreement.

February 2nd-03
The referendum called by NEC, forbidden by the SUPREME COURT Electoral Chamber
on January 22, can not be held. Yet, NGO Súmate manages to organize instead an informal
collection of signatures, this time to demand a binding referendum to be held on August
19th this year, right after the middle of HC’s term.

January 27th-03
Alfredo Avella asks the Constitutional Chamber to review to the Electoral Chamber’s
verdict of January 22nd. According to the Venezuelan law, an injunction has to be cleared
within 48 hours.
(It took them until August 6th-04 to reply, when it said Avella´s request was out of order).

January 22-03,
The SUPREME COURT Electoral Chamber suspends NEC’s resolution calling for a non-
binding referendum to be held on February 2nd. It also orders NEC to abstain from
initiating any type of elections, and to continue acting only in normal and indispensable
administrative functions. Also the Court prohibits Leonardo Pisani to sit in NEC’s board.
Thus the NEC’s board has four directors when it should have five, has no substitutes, and
is disqualified to organize the referendum it called up for February 2nd.
The Electoral Chamber acts with two substitute magistrates that have not been formally
appointed. For that reason, it should be an illegally constituted Court.

December 6th-02 NEC looks for independent and voluntary financing, calls the initiative
“Citizenship Plan”. With it NEC intends to finance the non-binding referendum without
official budget. By January 20th, it has raised Bs 2500 million, the equivalent of some US$

December 5th-02
The National Assembly approves the 2003 government budget, without appropriating
funds to finance the referendum.

December 3rd-02
The Official Gazette carries NEC’s decision of November 27th calling for the non-binding
referendum on February 2-03. Soon after, “bolivarian” deputies to the National Assembly
Desiré Santos Amaral, Darío Vivas, José Khan go to the SUPREME COURT’s Electoral
Chamber to demand the annulment of NEC’s decision of holding a referendum on
February 2nd and Leonardo Pisani’s reincorporation to NEC’s board.

December 2nd-02,
The Confederation of Workers Union (CTV for its initials in Spanish) together with the
employer association (Fedecámaras), call for a general strike demanding certainty that a
non binding referendum would be held. (The strike is partial, it lasts until January 31st-03).
December 2nd-02:
“Bolivarians” Luis Alfonzo Davila, Eustoquio Contreras, Ricardo Gutierrez, Ramón
Rodriguez Chacin, Jose Albornoz, Guillermo García Ponce and Ruben Darío Vivas appeal
to the SUPREME COURT for an injunction against the NEC’s decisions while Leonardo
Pizani is on its board.

November 28th-02
The SUPREME COURT says that NEC cannot call for a referendum on February 2-03,
because it has failed to publish the lists of signatures, and because the decision to call it
was 3 to 2 when it had to be 4 to 1. Thus, at best, there is uncertainty about the

November 27th-02
NEC announces that the nonbinding referendum will be held on February 2nd-03. The
question proposed is fair, and the signatures submitted are sufficient. This decision 3 to 2
(including Pisani´s vote) will appear in the official gazette on Dec 3-02.

November 24th-02

HC says that should he loose in a nonbinding referendum, should there be one, he would
not quit.

November 21st-02
The National Assembly says that Pisani and Avalos may not return to NEC. Avalos accepts
the decision, but not Pisani, who is already acting as a board member since November 15th.

November 18th-02
The Electoral Power Law (Ley de Poder Electoral) is enacted. It regulates NEC.

November 15th-02 Leonardo Pisani begins to act as NEC’s principal board member.

November 11th-02
Leonardo Pisani and Ignacio Avalos back track their resignation letters to NEC’s board
submitted to the National Assembly on October 13th-00. Their resignations had not been
accepted, and no substitutes have been named.
Alfredo Avella G becomes president of NEC.

November 10th-02,
HC alerts that NEC has only four directors on its board. It is incomplete.
HC also reiterates that the voter registrar must be carefully reviewed.
Alo Presidente #126

November 8th-02
The dialog between the government and the opposition begins at a so called “Negotiating
and Agreements Table”. This dialog is facilitated by the OAS, the Carter Center and the
UNDP (United Nations Developing Program). The Government and the Opposition have
each six representatives.
November 5th-02
Roberto Ruiz president of the NEC’s directorate resigns alleging frustration with Romulo
Lares’s declarations while being a substitute. After this resignation, Lares becomes a
principal member of the board. But there are no more substitutes to fill the vacancy of
Vicente Gonzalez Pepper who had gone on vacation and never returned. Thus, NEC board
has only four directors, instead of five.

November 4th-02
Súmate and opposition the Coordinadora Democrática lead a massive march of peaceful
protesters who go to NEC’s headquarters to submit the referendum petition along with the
signatures backing it (77 boxes containing two million signatures, all checked by NGO
Súmate). The marchers are attacked by “bolivarian” civilians with the result of 67
wounded, 20 of them with bullets. None of the attackers is detained.

The question submitted for the non-binding referendum is:

Do you agree to solicit to President HC to voluntarily resign now to his post?

November 3rd-02
HC celebrates that dialog between his government and the Coordinadora Democratica is
about to begin with the help of the OAS and the Carter Center. The subject of a non-
binding or recall referendum will be open for discussion. Alo Presidente #125

October 27th-02
HC says he agrees that the voter registrar needs to be reviewed.
He also makes clear that a non binding (consultative) referendum may be held now, but a
binding referendum has to wait until August 19th-03.
Alo Presidente #124

October 21-02
Tension is so high that entrepreneurs (Fedecamaras) together with the National
Confederation of worker’s Unions (CTV for its initials in Spanish), call for a one day
general strike. It is the third such strike in the last ten months.

October 20th-02
HC “If I loose the constitutional referendum that may be held after August 19 th-03, there
will be general elections the following October. I would run in those presidential
elections”. Alo Presidente #123

The Coordinadora Democrática (a newly formed umbrella organization that covers most
opposition political parties and several NGOs), begins to collect signatures needed in order
to call for a nonbinding referendum.

June 30th-02
HC reaffirms that there may be a recall referendum, at half of his constitutional period,
which is August 19th-03. Alo Presidente #110.
June 16th-02
HC says he is willing to stand in a recall referendum, after the middle of his term, which is
August 19th-03.
He admits he made a mistake in his June 2nd Alo Presidente when he said the referendum
could be held no earlier than January 2004.
Since the SUPREME COURT’s verdict of May 01, his presidential period began August
19th-00 when he took the (last) presidential oath. So it is on August 19 th 03 when a recall
referendum could be held. That day is not far. But it will be necessary that 15% of the
electorate formally ask for it. The opposition must begin to collect the signatures and not
despair because it does not have to wait until January 04.
Alo Presidente #108

June 2nd-02
HC says reiterates he accepts submitting to a referendum which could be held on January
2004. Alo Presidente #106

April 28-02
HC says he is ready to stand in a referendum, non binding, or binding (referendum is an
electoral option that was included in the new Constitution).
HC informs that Jimmy Carter wants to come.
I seek a fair dialog, based on truth and good faith. Alo Presidente #102.

(Your editor: HC talks about a possible referendum due to political turmoil during 01 and
02. Milestones of the unrest against HC’s government: entrepreneurs associated in
Fedecámaras and unions associated in Labor Confederation (CTV for its initials in
Spanish), together they called for a general strike (critical areas excluded) on December
10th-01, and again on April 9th, 10th and 11th-02. On this latter date, nearly one million
people marched (unarmed and peacefully) in the Caracas streets asking for HC’s
resignation. HC called a link up of all TV and radio media to the official TV station, to
announce the suspension of several independent TV channels. That link up lasted 90
minutes. While it lasted, some 19 people were shot to death and more than 150 were
wounded. HC tried to order the military to restore order under the emergency Plan Avila,
which meant using all the necessary force to restore order. Thus several of the high ranking
military decided not to support the government any more. At 3,20am Friday 12 th General
Lucas E. Rincon R, the top military figure backing HC, announced on TV that HC had
resigned19. At 4,50 am, in the most surprising and illegitimate appearance, Pedro Carmona,
the president of Employers Association Fedecámaras, said he was leading a new
provisional government. Carmona lost his initially military support and resigned at the end
of the following day… by dawn on Sunday HC came back to the presidential palace and
regained his status as President.
Soon after, BBC news network, with the help of HC produced a documentary titled “The
Revolution will not be Televised) showing that HC had no responsibility for the deaths of
19 people and that he was toppled by the military. The highly manipulated documentary
does not mention the huge peaceful march (the largest ever in Latin-America) of April 11,
the cutting of several independent TV Station’s signal, the civilians easy to identify as

General Lucas E. Rincón is subsequently named Defense Secretary (April 2002 through July 2002)
Chavistas shooting at the marchers, the (failed) orders to the military to activate the violent
Plan Avila.
What your editor wants to emphasize is that when HC says that he is ready to undergo a
referendum, it is because the political climate is too tense.

October 25-01
Election day for the presidency and directorate Confederation of Labor Unions (CTV for
its initials in Spanish). In violation of the International Labor Organization Agreement 87,
NEC is supervising the process, for the first time.
HC has its own candidate, Aristóbulo Istúriz. In case he wins, HC has promised to include
him in his Cabinet.
Six candidates are participating. The elections do not go smoothly. They last until
November 19th-01 when the Electoral Commission of the Confederation declares Carlos
Ortega the winner with 57,5%. In second place, HC’s candidate Aristobulo isturiz gets
15,8%, then Alfredo Ramos 11,0%, Carlos Navarro 6,4%, Froilan Barrios 5,0%, Reina
Sequera 4,3%.
Carlos Ortega assumes the Presidency. Isturiz challenges the results to the Supreme Court.
NEC does not recognize the results. It claims there was fraud and other irregularities.
Later, almost when new elections were be held again, on January 12-2005, the NEC annuls
the October 2001 elections, and does not allow new elections.

Your editor: The NEC, not recognizing the October 2001 elections has all but destroyed the
Workers confederation CTV, founded in 1936. At the moment, CTV scantily exists with the
same directors they had in November 2001 and it’s president Carlos Ortega exiled in Perú
since 2006. The government promoted another confederation with his supporters--Union
Nacional de Trabajadores (UNT)—in April 2003. The government does not recognize the
CTV confederation.

December 3rd-00:
Besides the elections for Municipal Councils and sub-county boards, the NEC organizes a
Referendum asking the Venezuelan electorate whether or not it believes that new elections
are in order to choose the leadership of the Confederation of Labor Unions.
Abstention is as high as 76,5%. HC’s proposal got 62% of the votes.
Your editor: It is astonishing to what extent HC is meddling in union affairs, and the fact
that he asks the population at large to vote about private sector affairs.

The question written by the NEC: do you agree with the renovation of the labor union’s
leadership in the next 180 days under election rules elaborated by NEC (…), and, that all
current union leaders should cease in their functions until the proposed elections are held?

December 3rd-00
Beyond the referendum on the unions, it is also Election Day for Municipal Councils and
sub-county boards.
There are 72.685 candidates to elect 2349 city councilors and 3148 members of sub-county
boards. The voter registrar has 11.710.113 Venezuelans plus 74.736 foreigners.
HC wins, but there is no convocation to celebrate next the “The Peoples Balcony”.
Among the city 2349 councilors, HC’s party MVR get 35,5%, AD party 21,4%, Copei
party 9,2%, MAS party 5,7%, PPT party 3,6%, LCR 1,5%. The latter three supporting HC.
All others, also supporting HC get the rest.

October 13th-00
Ignacio Avalos and Leonardo Pisani, both alternate NEC Directors, present the National
Assembly their resignation. Both reject a referendum on the labor unions leadership where
all Venezuelans are invited to vote, as HC demands.

Sept 1-00
Substitutes Roberto Ruiz and José Manuel Zerpa become principals in the NEC’s board.
Roberto Ruiz is named president. The remaining substitutes, only three instead of five are
Ignacio Avalos, Leonardo Pisani and Romulo Lares.

August 31-00
The NEC’s Magistrates Cesar Péña Vigas president and Imelda Rincón resign.

July 30th-00
Election Day for the President, for the National Assembly, for the Governors, and for their
Legislative Assemblies.
HC wins the Presidency with 3.757.773 votes, 60,3%. His rival Arias Cardenas get
2.359.459, or 37,5%. Claudio Fermín gets the remaining.
In the National Assembly with 165 seats, his party and other followers get 104 seats, while
the opposition gets 61. For state Governors, HC gets 17 plus Caracas Metropolitan
Mayoralty. The opposition gets only 6 governorships, according to Súmate.

June 22nd-00
The Mini-Congress decides to split the forthcoming elections: On July 30 th, there will be
elections for the presidency and for Congress (renamed by the new Constitution as The
National Assembly. It postponed elections for Governors and their Legislatures, Mayors
and their City Councils and Sub-County Boards, for October first.

June 6th-00,
The new magistrates to lead the NEC are named: Cesar Peña Vigas, President of
Universidad Tecnológica del Centro; Alfredo Avella Guevara, a member of the board of
Universidad Nacional Abierta and a member of Universidad Central de Venezuela’s budget
board, postulated by mayor employer organization Fedecámaras; Imelda Rincón Finol,
President of Fundazulia and former rector of Zulia University); Vicente Nelson González
Pepper member of political party Movimiento al Socialismo, with 30 years of experience at
the NEC and Romulo Rangel Ruiz, formerly member of the Communist Party youth, ex-
production manager of telephone sets local manufacturer Maplatex Inc, postulated by the
National Engineering Association.
As substitutes or alternate directors are named José Manuel Zerpa Guerra, from political
party Liga Socialista, ex-president of National Association of Sociologists); Roberto Ruiz
Torrealba, sociologist, ex Academical Vicerector of Universidad Central de Venezuela;
Rómulo Lares Sanchez, an entrepreneur providing engineering and technical auditing to
large industrial companies for the Swiss company Inspectorate AG; Ignacio Avalos
Gutierrez, former director of the National Council for Scientific and Technological
Research and Leonardo Pisani, lawyer dedicated to promote micro entrepreneurship
postulated by “Venezuelan Election Observer Group”.

They are all named without time limits, can only be removed by decision of the
SUPREME COURT and the National Assembly, or by a new Electoral Law.

Your editor: The new NEC looks rather independent, although it has shadows of doubts.
For instance, Romulo Rangel Ruiz is a known chavista; Imelda Rincón is a cousin of the
President of the Supreme Court Ivan Rincón and of General Lucas Rincón Romero,
Comandante General del Ejército; Vicente Gonzalez Pepper belongs to political party
Movimiento al Socialismo, who is supporting HC.

May 30th-00
The Mini Congress named last December by the Constituent Assembly before it died out,
is in charge of naming a new board to lead the NEC. This time it will follow the procedures
under the constitution. It names 20 people representing the Universities, the different faiths
and the NGOs. Four of those members come from the Mini Congress itself. These 20
notables will open a consulting period to choose between more than 400 postulates the five
magistrates to lead the NEC.
(Elections are reset for July 30th-00)

May 25th-00
Only three days before the mega-elections, the Supreme Court suspends them.
The halting is reasonable, because due to the election’s complexity and NEC’s leadership
inexperience, the elections are bound to fail. It is a major embarrassment for the whole
revolution. The SUPREME COURT’s decision is in response to the demands made on May
23rd by NGOs “Queremos Elegir”20 and “COFAVIC”21.
The five NEC´s magistrates quit on May 29th.

May 23-00 Elias Santana representing “Queremos Elegir” and Liliana Ortega representing
COFAVIC ask the SUPREME COURT’s Constitutional Chamber to defer the elections
scheduled for May 28th. They do so fearing NEC is not prepared to hold such complex
elections so soon.

The candidates for the presidential office are: HC, elected the first time on Dec 98, and
Francisco Arias Cárdenas, another “Comandante” involved with HC in the coups of 1992.
Arias claims to be unsatisfied with the course the revolution is taking.

Queremos Elegir: Translates as We Want Better Elections. This NGO is dedicated to promote a better
electoral system.

COFAVIC, an acronym for Comité de Familiares Víctimas de los Sucesos de Febrero y Marzo de 1989,
Committee for the families of the victims of incidents of February and March of 1989.
(Years later Arias proved to be unconditional to HC).

Dec 23-99,
Under the new revolutionary “bolivarian” constitution approved on December 15 th,
promulgated by the Constituent Assembly on December 20 th, to be published in the official
Gazette on December 30th) the Constituent Assembly, hastily names a new National
Electoral Council board (NEC). Its functions include the organizing of general elections
for the authorities that will govern the newly born Republic, including the President. The
fact that elections were held 12 and 13 months ago, does not matter. The new republic
needs authorities elected under the new rules spelled out in the new Constitution.
Thus, NEC’s board is integrated by Omar Rodríguez, Estanislao González, Argenis Riera,
Eduardo Semtei, Juan Vicente Vadell, all of them sympathizers of the revolution.
Substitutes are Ramón Guillermo Santeliz Ruiz22, Esther Gothier, Omar Reyes and
Humberto Castillo.
Procedures embedded in the new constitution to name the directorate are disregarded,
under the excuse that the new republic is now undergoing a “transitional period”.
Elections, so encompassing (president, parliament, governors and their legislative
assemblies, mayors and their legislative assemblies and sub-county boards), called “mega-
elections” are scheduled for May 28th. Never before did the country undergo elections this

Your editor: The elections were prudently divided in three dates in 1998. NEC’s directorate
was hastily nominated, all of them friendly to the revolution and to HC. It is not
considered an impartial arbiter.
The Constituent Assembly not only named a new board to head NEC, it also, disregarding
the new rules brought by the new Constitution already approved in referendum, hastily
names the magistrates of the new Supreme Court and the magistrates of the newly created
autonomous branch of government called Moral or Citizen Power. A provisional mini
Congress is also appointed, until the forthcoming elections in May next year, produce a
normal one. This mini Congress is composed of 21 members, 11 of them have been
members of the Constituent Assembly, and 10 others are outsiders, picked by them. All
these key appointees that lead the different branches of the central government are

The new Constitution has fair rules to make these appointments, assuming the National
Assembly is integrated by several parties. Yet the new rules are disregarded alleging that
the present time is a “transitory period”. This is how HC assures absolute control of all
branches of government in less than a year in office. He can from now on, do anything he
wants, no other government branch may contain him.

December 15th-99, Referendum day.

It rains heavily all over the country, in some places with catastrophic proportions, like in
Vargas state.
Abstention is 54,7%. HC links the high abstention to the rain.
This general, a staunch closed friend to HC, has played a decisive role inside the NEC for a long time.
For instance, in 2002-03 was Director of Electoral or Voter Registrar in spite of the objections of the majority
of the board of directors.
71,4% of the votes back the new Constitution.
His victory speech is surprisingly friendly to all.

Most people did not have a chance to read the long text they are voting for. It has 350
articles. It also has 18 “transitory dispositions”.
It will be the first law of the (new) Republic as soon as it is published in the Official
Gazette (December 30-12-1999, thereafter with some changes published again on March

The new Constitution calls for five (instead of the classical three) independent branches of
government, at the National, and State governments as well. The Executive branch, the
National Assembly and the Judiciary as before, and the new text adds Moral (or Citizen)
Power, composed of the Public Prosecutor, the Defender of the People or Ombudsman and
the Comptroller General. The fifth branch of government is the Electoral Council.

Your editor: The new constitution sets many rules that may be considered democratically
fair, in particular those related to Human Rights (with the exception of economic rights
such as private property, contracts and enterprise, that are barely recognized).

Article 67 ….there will be no public financing to political parties, unless a new law
regulates it.
(your editor’s postscript: a law to regulate public financing to political parties was never
passed. The opposition parties have been economically asphyxiated since 1999, while HC’s
party always had unlimited public funds)

Article 63 …the law will guarantee the principle of personalized vote (by name) and the
proportional representation (for deliberative bodies like the National or State Assemblies).
(Your editor: This means elections for deliberant assemblies will have a mixture of party
lists and personal names, as has been the case in past elections since December 1992, with
the exception of the Constituent Assembly this year, violating article 113 of the

Article 296 The NEC will be directed by five people not connected to organizations with
political objectives. Three of them will be postulated (to the National Assembly) by the
civil society, one by the faculties of Legal and Political Science of the National
Universities and one from the Moral or Citizen Power just created in the new Constitution.
(Your editor: with this norm the Constituent Assembly tried to insure an “apolitical and
impartial” arbiter, reaffirming the change made in the reform of the Suffrage law in May
1998. The National Assembly already in control of the bolivarians, will be the major player
in the nomination of NEC’s members.

December 12th-99
Vicente Brito head of the entrepreneur’s top organization Fedecamaras complains about the
abuse of state resources by HC and other state institutions. Brito cites the case of the
Gobernacion del Distrito Federal, that took the opportunity to suggest the Yes vote, during
the announcement of the construction of new jails.
December 8th-99
Veneconomía denounces that Diosdado Cabello head of the Telecommunications Board has
been prodding the radio stations to voluntarily campaign for the Yes vote.

November 30th-99
HC: “If the new text were rejected in the December 15th referendum, there will be civil

November 30th-99
Police brakes into radio station Guadalupana in Coro, Falcon state, owned by the Catholic
The Catholic Church is quite important in Venezuela. It is following closely the
Constituent Assembly. It rightfully insists that a constitution should be a peace treaty, not
an element to cause discord.

November 25th-99
In a link up of all TV and radio stations HC predicts there will be total chaos if the text of
the new Constitution is not approved.
He accuses the private media of being against change, of deliberately confusing the people,
ridicules all Governors and Mayors not backing the revolutionary process and also attacks
the entrepreneurs grouped under Association Fedecamaras and the top hierarchy of the
Catholic Church.

The NEC tells HC again that he may campaign for the Yes vote, but without using state
resources. HC’s reply: I will not please NEC, I am ready to get another fine, but this is
getting comical. “I will shoot all my artillery of thoughts and words”.

November 18th-99:
The campaign for the referendum Yes or NO to the new Constitution to be held on
December 15th, officially begins.

November 16th:
Second and last plenary discussion of the Constitutional text is finished. This last review
(of a long text with 350 articles) took only two days.

November 14th-99
The Constituent Assembly debates a most controversial article about the right of
information. At the end, it requires that information should always be “opportune and
The international group “Reporters without Borders” made some explanations about the
dangers of a written rule so ambiguous. HC’s reply: They are “shameless” Reporters

October 31st-99
The new constitutional text is almost ready. It still needs a second and last discussion by
the plenary. Nevertheless, HC says he is campaigning again, this time to urge the
electorate to accept it wholeheartedly in the final referendum.
October 18th-99
The Constituent Assembly in plenary begins discussing the first draft of the Constitutional
text. TV cameras are allowed in to show the debate live. Time is running out to please HC.
(The Constituent Assembly has the help of 30 Spanish professors trying to put their ideas
in good order and proper language)

October 6th-99
The Supreme Court now recognizes that the Constituent Assembly does have a “supra
constitutional” character, contradicting itself with several rulings in the first half of the

September 9-99
The Bishops Conference achieves a certain success trying to mediate between the
Constituent Assembly and the traditional Congress (already) all but dissolved. An 8 point
pact is signed, called “a cohabitation pact”. Congress will continue to exist; both parties
will act with respect to one another. When in doubt, the parties will talk to each other.
Next Tuesday the Congress’s Empowered Commission will return to work, and on October
2nd, the whole Congress will convene after the summer vacation. The Constituent Assembly
will not issue a decree calling for the legislative emergency.
Your editor: Congress was not completely dissolved until the new Constitution was in
effect, but it lived the next months with nothing important to do. Not even the
government’s 2000 budget seems to be its business.

August 30th-09: Henrique Capriles, President of the Congress’s lower house asks the
Supreme Court for an injunction to protect Congressmen from the Constituent Assembly’s
Decree issued on August 25th that eliminates it.

August 27th-99
Some Congressmen intend to enter the Capitol Building, but they find the gates closed.
Lead by Antonio Ledezma, they try to break into the Congress Building where they have
been working at least since its inauguration in January 23-99. Violent “bolivarians” around
the palace attack the Congressmen they now consider intruders. There are 40 people
injured, 8 of them journalists. Pictures of Congressmen valiantly trying to jump over the
fences of the Capitol make headlines around the world.
The Catholic Bishop Conference offers mediation.

August 25th-99
President of the Supreme Court Cecilia Sosa dramatically quits her job. She complains that
the magistrates of the Court in a decision 8 to 6 approved a decree of “Judicial Emergency”
emitted by the Constituent Assembly that turns upside down the whole judicial system.
“The court committed suicide to avoid assassination”.

The Decree from the Constituent Assembly all but annuls Congress (elected on November
8th-98). From now on, the traditional Congress will barely operate with a small Empowered
Commission that would be accountable only to the Constituent Assembly.
(Your editor: The traditional Congress becomes so diminished, that it does not need
headquarters as big as the Capitol Building anymore. The Constituent Assembly that has
been sharing the Capitol edifice with the traditional Congress, wants to be the sole tenant
in the building.

August 4th-99
The Constituent Assembly holds their first session.
HC says it is originaire, omnipotent, above and beyond the current Constitution, is spite of
so many statements to the contrary given by the Supreme Court.
HC puts his own job to the discretion of the Constituent Assembly. Five days after, the
Assembly ratifies and legitimizes him again as President of the Republic. HC swears over
the Independence official document (July 5th-1811, not over the current Constitution
(January 23rd-1961) as was traditional.

July 26th-99
The NEC’s board director Miguel Manrique deplores the election was not really according
to names, but according to lists, as in the bad old days. The deputies elected are for the
most part unknown. Manrique also laments that there is no proportional representation of
minorities in the assembly, as our laws and traditions mandate.

The NEC’s Miriam Kornblith says definite results will need two or three days.

July 25th-99 is the Constituent Election Day for 128 out of 131 seats in the Constituent
As many as 104 candidates will be elected on State Circumscriptions. 24 will be elected
from the National Circumscription.
Three of the 131 deputies have already been chosen, among the indigenous ethnics.
International Observers are present.
Venezuelans living abroad are given the chance to vote in their consulates.
At 8,35 pm, before the NEC gives the final results, HC announces from the People’s
Balcony that his candidates got 121 seats out of 128.
Abstention is around 52%, in spite of the unique importance of this election, where the
republic will be “re-founded” according to HC. This means that in this election and on the
referendum of April 25th, voting was less than on November 8th-08 when Congress, the
institution HC insists it is not legitimate, was elected.

Your editor:
In spite of so much talk by HC about an assembly elected nominally, and not by lists as in
the past, HC’s followers voted from a list provided to them.
Candidates backed by HC (128 in total) never felt they had to let people know their
opinions. They did not even have to campaign. HC did it for them. It was easy for HC to
let the electorate know who his 128 candidates were. The rest 1022 dispersed candidates, if
they wanted to advertise their ideas, the media did not have space for them. Just letting
voters know that they existed and were running was a daunting task, if not impossible.
Opportunities for the candidates were too unbalanced.
HC sold the idea that the Constituent Assembly was the only way and the panacea to cure
our problems.
HC wins his fourth election in just 9 months. In all of them he scared the electorate
announcing war, should he not win.

This is how HC has gotten absolute control of the all powerful Constituent. From now on,
this chronology will highlight the main events related to the Constituent Assembly.

During the campaign for the Constituent Assembly which he started on December 6th-98
when he won the election, HC showed his barrack manners, his ambition to govern during
a longer period of time, his scorn of anyone disagreeing with him, his inclination to let
privately owned farms to be invaded. Yet he was not a declared communist. Days before,
he was in New York asking foreign investors to help develop the country.

In the Constituent Assembly of 131, only 5 members will oppose the “bolivarians”23.
He gets full control of the assembly. In the regional circumscriptions HC got 56% of all the
votes and in the national circumscriptions, he got 65% of the votes24.

July 24th-99
Andres Caleca says the NEC got most of the money it needed so badly only 14 days ago.
For that reason NEC was unable to instruct voters adequately. Caleca also deplores how
late the Official Bulletin came from the printing house.

July 22-99
HC inaugurates “The People’s Balcony” next to his office, overlooking a main avenue. In
his impassioned speech just three days before Election Day, he announces that he will ask
the Constituent Assembly to change the name of República de Venezuela to República
“Bolivariana” de Venezuela.

HC says his backers collected considerably more money than needed to pay the NEC fine.
After paying it, the whole surplus will go to the children’s hospital JM de Los Rios.

July 18th-99
The indigenous ethnic National Congress elects their three representatives to have a seat in
the 131 member Constituent Assembly25.
The process was not accepted as fair by some 100 of the 600 delegates to this --never seen
before—indigenous Congress.
The three elected are staunch backers of HC.
The indigenous, about 1,5% of the total population, will have a representation in the
Constituent Assembly of 2,3% with their three nominees. In addition, if they are registered
in the voter’s list, they may cast another vote.

They are Claudio Fermin, Alberto Franceschi, Allan Brewer Carías, Jorge Olavarría and Virgilio Avila
Vivas. Antonio Di Gianpaolo is not in HC’s list of candidates, nevertheless in his heart he is also
“Bolivarian”. He will be supporting the chavistas in the assembly.
Juan Carlos Rey 2009.
They are Noheli Pocaterra of the Wayoo ethnic, Jose Luis Gonzalez of Pemon Ethnic, and Guillermo
Guevara of Jivi Ethnic.
July 17th-09
NEC reiterates that to have a smooth electoral process, voters should carry their list with
their preferred candidates. If not, the process will be too slow.

July 16th-99
In order to pay for the fine NEC imposed on HC, the “bolivarians” ask their faithful to
contribute with one bolivar (less than two US$ cents)

July 15th-99
The NEC’s Andres Caleca says HC may continue to link up the whole radio and TV
spectrum to the government channel, without campaigning.
NEC board member Rafael García Borges says HC is degrading the electoral process,
because there is no equilibrium among contestants.

July 14th-99
The NEC fines HC for his participation in the campaign Bs 3.360.000, or US $5.51326. The
sanction is based on article 261 of the Suffrage Law. Also, NEC suspends HC’s weekly
radio program called “Alo Presidente”, and his television program “De Frente con el
In addition, the NEC orders HC to abstain from participating in electoral street rallies
(based on article 55 numeral 18 of the Suffrage Law).
Finally, NEC will inform the Organization of American States (OAS) about the democratic
system´s delicate situation as a consequence from HC’s interference in the campaign.

The Chamber of Representatives Comptroller Committee demands that the President,

Ministers, Governors and Mayors refrain from participating and spending state funds in the
electoral campaign.

July 13th-99
State television VTV retransmits again and again the impassioned speech HC gave in Plaza
Caracas the day before. The NEC orders VTV to suspend these retransmissions.

The NEC’s Miriam Kornblith (member of the board of directors), complains that HC’s
attitude of disobedience and indiscipline in regard to the norms, is followed by lower level
government employees. Kornblith also complains about an ambience in which there are no
equal opportunities for all participants.

July 12th-09
HC admits that abstention in the April 25th referendum was 60%.

July 10th-99
According to daily el Universal, HC habitually uses his weekly radio program Alo
Presidente, his television weekly under the name “De Frente con el Presidente”, and daily

350 Tributary Units at Bs 9600 each totals Bs 3.360.000, exchange rate of 609,50 Bs per US dollar.
printed El Correo del Presidente to ask electors to vote for his candidates considered by
him as “patriots”, and to reject his opponents whom he dubs as “masked men”

The NEC receives today from the press the official bulletins, ten million of them, 16 pages
each, carrying the main data of all (1150) candidates, including the name of the political
party supporting them if any and a tiny photo27. It will rush to distribute them as efficiently
as possible in the next three days. Main outlets are political parties, mayoralties, churches,
universities, commercial points where beer is regularly distributed and the candidates
July 9th-99
HC says that he has nothing to do with the name “Chavez” appearing in leaflets and other
forms of propaganda telling the public who the best candidates for the Constituent
Assembly are. “If the name Chavez is there it is because of my wife Maria Isabel
Rodriguez de Chavez, who is running as a candidate. Being my wife, she can use the name
Chavez. Or can anyone dispute that? It is her legitimate communicational strategy.
“Nothing to do with me”.

July 8th-99
NEC starts proceedings against HC’s expensive campaign.

July 7th-99
The NEC’s Andres Caleca complains that their lack of funds has created irreparable
damage to the elections. The worse dent has been the impossibility to inform the electorate
the specifics of the voting process. NEC is lacking Bs 29,5 billion (US$ 48 million), 17
days before election day (July25th)

There are complains that “Oficina Central de Informacion” campaigns on television for
HC‘s candidates.

July 6th-99
Independent candidates (Allan Brewer Carias, Maxim Ross, Leonardo Pizani, Gerardo
Blyde, Leonardo Palacios, Cira Romero, Juan Manuel Raffalli, Miguel Bocco, demand
respect, equal opportunities and honesty from HC.

Foremost Venezuelan intellectual Arturo Uslar Pietri complains that those talking about the
need for radical change (the “bolivarians”) do not give a hint of the changes they want.

June 29th-99
Finally NEC announces the list of candidates that may run on the July 25th election for the
Constituent Assembly. There are 93 candidates for the national circumscription, and 1066
for the states or regional circumscriptions. In total 1150 candidates will vie for 128 seats.

(Cost Bs 78,5 each. Distribution is free).
The “bolivarians” have 128 candidates. The opposition is quite dispersed with 1022

The ballot will contain a list of all candidates to be chosen in each state, in alphabetical
order with an assigned number.
12 million copies will be printed. Each voter should get one that will be distributed on
Election Day, just before the voting.
The Official Bulletin from NEC, a 16 page long brochure, will include the name of each of
the 1159 candidates with a photo, and an-abridged curriculum vitae of each candidate.

NEC’s President Andres Caleca complains that without funds, NEC may not continue their
programs to make a success of the July 25th elections.

Luis Miquilena, (former Police and Justice Secretary under HC and main leader of MVR)
states that current Congress is illegitimate.

June 27th-99
HC tells the NEC he would never accept the postponement of the elections.

June 26th-99
The NEC’s President Andres Caleca clarifies that HC may promote the Constituent
Assembly, yet he cannot promote his own candidates or attack the ones he dislikes.
NEC established July 25th as Election Day, without money and exhausted after a streak of
three elections (November 8th, December 6th and April 25th). On top of that, it is under the
pressure of a President that violates the law. If the situation does not improve, NEC might
be forced to postpone the election.

International Socialist (139 parties worldwide) asks HC to respect human rights and
freedom of opinion and expression. It worries the Constituent Assembly might be

HC says he could act like Peru´s Alberto Fujimori, but does not want to.

June 25th-99
NEC issues a warning, approved by 6 of 7 directors urging HC to respect their majesty and
authority, asking him to respect the rules and to stop promoting his own candidates.
HC replies: If NEC fines me, my checkbook is ready for the payment, but no one can tell
me I may not support my candidates. Moreover, the Suffrage law cannot be invoked
against me, because that law was intended for other types of traditional elections.
“The state media that I use, is open to any Venezuelan, (…) I am not using state resources
to do electoral propaganda”.

NEC announces that the voter registrar has 10.986.871 electors.

June 24th-99
The NEC decides to reprimand HC for taking part in the campaign. Its written statement is
not ready yet.
In relation to the abusive use of public funds, NEC says it is not competent to investigate
this allegation.

June 23nd-99
The campaign for elections to be held on July 25th, begins officially, today. It will last one

June 22-99
The NEC realizes how complex and slow the elections will be. It recommends voters to go
voting with a list of candidates. Most electors will vote for around 20 names, too many if
they do not have their names on a list. All voters will cast 10 votes to elect 24 candidates
in the national circumscription. In addition, for the regional circumscriptions, voters will
cast from two in the smaller states to 9 in Carabobo, 11 in Miranda, 13 in Zulia, 8 in
Federal District to elect 104 candidates

(Your editor: Paradoxically, promoters of the Constituent Assembly always emphasized

that there would not be party lists as in the past)

June 21st-99
NEC advises HC to respect the electoral rules.

HC’s party MVR announces it will expel more than 60 militants that disobeying party
orders to stop running, are still campaigning to be elected as deputies for the Constituent
assembly. MVR will suggest to other friendly parties to act likewise.
The “bolivarians” know too well they must concentrate the vote in only128 candidates.
Meanwhile weakened opposition parties are trying to show unity with 128 candidates as
well, but they do not have the slightest possibility of hindering independents from running.

June 20th-99
Carlos Canache Mata, president of opposition party Acción Democrática:
HC promotes his candidates, violating article 122 of the Constitution, and articles 210 and
215 of the Suffrage Law. Besides, HC abuses the state media and will soon have at his
service a newspaper to be named “The President’s Courier” to promote his candidates to
the Constituent Assembly.

June 17th-99
HC inaugurates a weekly TV program, moderated by Maripili Hernández called “De
Frente con el Presidente”. His Sunday Radio Program Alo Presidente continues.

June 14th-99
It is closing date for the nomination of candidates running in the election for the
Constituent Assembly, scheduled for July 25-99. NEC will take four days to review the
legitimacy of the support signatures that all candidates submitted.

June 11th-99
The Bishops Conference reiterates the importance of a quorum in the forthcoming
June 6th-99
HC in his Sunday radio talk show “Alo Presidente” reiterates that he will campaign hard in
the next 49 days, regardless of what opposing political parties may say.
HC praises Alfredo Peña, his ex-minister now running for the constituent Assembly.

June 4th-99
Prosecutor General Rafael Pérez Perdomo, says if the Constituent Assembly dissolves
Congress, it would be a coup d’etat. The Constituent Assembly has limited power, its
function is to write a new constitution.
Immediately HC replied that the job of the Prosecutor is one that the Constituent Assembly
will evaluate and decide whether or not to dissolve.

June 1st-99
President of the Republic HC is named President of his party MVR, violating Article 122
of the Constitution (public employees are to serve the state, not a political group or party)

May 31st-99
“Bolivarian” leader Guillermo Garcia Ponce says that the Constituent process is unique
---only one of its kind-- for that reason the Suffrage Law does not apply to it.

May 30th-99
HC responds to NEC that the possibility of getting a sanction because of his participation
in the campaign is laughable. “To impede me from taking part in the electoral campaign,
someone will have to gag me up, or put me in a straight jacket”

May 29th-99
The NEC’s director Miguel Manrique complains that the President, Governors and Mayors
campaigning are violating the rules for the elections, which are very clear.
NEC is evaluating sanctions.

May 28th-99
NEC’s president Andrés Caleca reminds HC that he may not intervene in the campaign.

The Bishops Conference complains that there are many candidates, and no one knows what
their opinions are. The Bishops also complain about the pugnacity of the campaign
(referring to the “bolivarians”) and wonder whether it is fair to electors, for Congressmen
to abandon their position after being chosen less than a year ago.

May 27th-99
Another cohort of 35 “bolivarian” Congressmen quit their jobs, in order to run for the
Constituent Assembly.
Postulations to be candidates to the assembly begin, until June 14th.

May 26th-99
Eight “bolivarian” Congressmen resign from their posts, to run for the Constituent
Some Congressmen opposing HC do likewise. But the “bolivarians” will run supported by
HC, while the non “bolivarians” will run without any support and under direct attacks from

May 25th-99
HC announces his wife Maria Isabel Rodriguez de Chavez will seek to be elected to the
Constituent Assembly.

Seven officials in the armed forces quit their jobs in order to run for the Constituent
Assembly. HC leads a military parade to celebrate this, and let the country know about
their new role as candidates.

Aspirant Cira Romero complains that “Bolivarian” candidates do not think it is necessary
to voice their ideas.

May 24th-99
Eduardo Fernandez of Copei party:
In many countries it may be considered correct for the president to intervene in political
campaigns. In Venezuela, for good or for bad, there are norms against such interventions
and the president must be the first to respect.
Fernández also frets that there is an illusion that the constituents will be chosen, not by
party lists as in the past, but by names. But contrary to HC´s speech, the constituents will
in effect be chosen by lists and not by names, very much like past Congress.
Donald Ramírez also of Copei complains that HC was elected to solve problems, yet all he
does is campaign to control the Constituent Assembly.

May 23st-99
Carlos Canache Mata, president of Accion Democratica party denounces HC’s intervention
in the campaign is violating article 122 of the Constitution (public employees are to serve
the state, not to do political campaigning in favor of anyone). Canache also denounces
violations of articles 210 and 215 of the Suffrage law, and of article first of NEC norms.

HC begins his Sunday program called Alo Presidente; it may last hours. For the moment it
appears only on radio.

May 20th-99
Four other high profile Ministers step down, while HC loudly praises them as
indispensable deputies to the Constituent Assembly. Therefore, their campaign after so
much exposure as ministers and after so much public praise by HC on radio and TV, will
have quite an advantage over non “bolivarians”, who rarely have access, if any, to the

May 19th-99
NEC alerts that elections cannot be held without immediately getting Bs 35 (Spanish)
billion (equivalent to US$59 million)
Minister Alfredo Peña resigns his post, in order to run for the Constituent. HC gives an
emotional farewell to his minister who wants to be part of the “re-foundation” of the

May 17th-99
NEC president Andres Caleca asks HC to behave reasonably, to abide by the Suffrage Law,
and by the norms approved by NEC on May 14th. This means mainly that HC may not
campaign while acting as president.

The postulation process to participate in the Constituent Assembly begins today.

May 15th-99
Copei party complains that NEC has not told the public the final results of the referendum
of April 25th.

May 14th_ 99
The NEC completes the rules for the next election:
Election Day will be July 25th.
Of the 131 deputies in the Constituent, three will be elected by the indigenous population
with their own particular rules.
Of the remaining 128 deputies to be elected (by name and not by lists at least in theory),
104 will come from regional or state circumscriptions and 24 will come from a national
Every elector of the nation will vote ten times for the national circumscription. As for state
circumscriptions, the number of votes that each elector will cast will depend on the size of
the population of the state in which he or she resides, from 3 in the smaller states, up to 11
in the bigger ones.
Besides, in order to run as candidates on the July 25th election, aspirants in the national
circumscription must gather 20.000 support signatures.
Aspirants of state circumscriptions will need to gather 12.666 signatures if they are in the
most populous states, such as Zulia, Miranda, Carabobo28.
All voters will cast 10 votes to elect 24 candidates in the national circumscription. In
addition, for the regional circumscriptions voters will cast from two in the smaller states to
9 in Carabobo, 11 in Miranda, 13 in Zulia, 8 in Federal District to elect 104 candidates.

(Your editor: most voters will have to select around 20 candidates. This means the ballot
vote will be complex and slow. For that reason it will be practical --if not indispensable--
for each voter to carry their own personal list of favorite candidates.
For HC it will be easy to tell his followers who are his 128 favorites. The leaderless and
dispersed opposition to HC, will not have such a chance)

May 13th-99
Aspirants campaigning in states Lara, Aragua, Bolivar, Anzoategui, Tachira or Federal District, will need
to gather 6925 support signatures. Aspirants campaigning in states Sucre, Portuguesa, Falcón, Merida,
Guarico, Monagas, Trujillo, Barinas, Yaracuy will need to gather 3285 signatures. Aspirants campaigning in
smaller states Apure, Nueva Esparta, Vargas, Cojedes, will need to gather 571 signatures.
Cira Romero, independent candidate hopeful complains that the norms for postulations do
not exist yet, nor is it known the number of candidates that each voter may choose.
(Next day some additional rules were known, though not all).

May 8th-99
Joel Acosta Chirinos campaign chief of MVR party says that HC is the father of the
Constituent Assembly. HC promised his people he would transform the country. Therefore,
no one should think about limiting his participation.

May 7th-99
HC reiterates that he will promote his candidates in the elections, without resigning his
As for the coup d’etat (30 deaths) on February 4th-92, he says “we painfully did what we
had to do”.
(Your editor: HC may promote his candidates, the problem is his use of state resources and
national symbols).

Prosecutor General Ivan Darío Badell sends a letter to NEC with a copy to President HC
urging it to guarantee the impartiality of all public employees during the campaign. Badell
cites article 210 of the Suffrage law.

May 5th-99
The NEC sets the date for the election of deputies to the Constituent Assembly for July
Postulations will be accepted until June 14th, 39 days before the elections.

Public employees interested in the competition, have 15 days to resign.

(Your editor: political parties opposing HC will have little chances for promoting their own
candidates to the election, for reasons mentioned on April 25th. Independents, totally
disorganized, with enormous difficulties to let their names and ideas be known by the
public, will be too numerous to run against the organized HC’s party MVR and their
friendly parties).

May 3nd-99
Political party Copei asks for international observers to come to see if there are reasonable
rules, fairness by the state and equal conditions for all candidates.

May 1st-99
HC declares himself in campaign for the election of deputies to the Constituent Assembly.
(Your editor: fair if state resources are not used.
He reiterates that splitting the 1998 elections was not legal.

April 29th-99
Congress decides not to censure HC for his language against it, but it asks HC to depose
his aggressive attitude. His answer: “I would have been honored to be censured by the
April 26-98
HC signs a controversial enabling law (to legislate on fiscal and tax matters) for 6 months,
requested to Congress on his inauguration day.

April 25th-99
Referendum day.
Prognosis is that abstention will be huge.
When at mid day HC goes voting, with all the media linked up to the government station,
he speaks for 8 minutes, asks people to go voting, reminds them that never before in
history have the entire population been called to vote on the great decisions that will decide
the future of their nation.

(Your editor: People will back HC, who has written absurd questions hard to disapprove.
The great majority of the people do not know what a Constitution is, much less what an
originaire Constituent Assembly means. Nevertheless HC tells them it is the only way to
end corruption and re-found all the institutions that failed them. According to HC, never in
mankind history has there been so much democracy: A referendum to ask if the people
want a constituent assembly, if they vote yes, then every deputy to the assembly will have
to win an election (“not with deceiving party lists that were normal in prior Congress
elections”, but one based on names). Thereafter the new constitution will be subject to yet
another popular referendum.
With the exception of a few editorials and opeds in the press, no one is pushing for the NO
vote, or for abstention. Traditional political parties that are against HC, have been
devastated by their own mistakes. They hardly count. Add to that HC’s ubiquitous rhetoric
about their corruption (until his arrival) that ruined the people, assurances of the end of
poverty, that the constituent is a panacea.
The traditional political parties are also in agony from the lack of funds after two elections
in 1998 and no more government funds this year. Opposing political parties have 14
governors out of 23, and around 60% of the soon to be dissolved Congress elected on
November 8th-98. But at this moment, they have no backing of the people.
NEC, though not picked by HC in 1998, is quite indulgent to his desires.
It is worth noting that HC has said several times that an election with participation of half
or less of the people, is not legitimate. Yet, he did not accept quorum for this referendum,
nor for the next elections related to the change of the Constitution.

The questions in the referendum are:

First question
Would you be willing to call for a National Constituent Assembly with the purpose of
transforming the state and the creation of a new legal order that would permit the
functioning of a social and participating democracy? Yes or No

Second question
Do you agree with the rules proposed by the National Executive to summon the National
Constituent Assembly, already examined and partially modified by the National Electoral
Council in its march 24th-99 session and published in the official gazette #36.669 on March
25th, 1999? Yes or No
The Spanish text:
Primera pregunta ¿Convoca usted una Asamblea Nacional Constituyente con el propósito de transformar el
Estado y crear un Nuevo Ordenamiento Jurídico que permita el funcionamiento efectivo de una Democracia
Social y Participativa?
Segunda pregunta ¿Está usted de acuerdo con las bases propuestas por el Ejecutivo Nacional para la
convocatoria a la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, examinadas y modificadas parcialmente por el Consejo
Nacional Electoral en sesión de fecha Marzo 24, 1999, y publicadas en su texto íntegro, en la Gaceta Oficial
de la República de Venezuela N° 36.669 de fecha Marzo 25, 1999?

Breaking the electoral rules, the government through Ministers Alfredo Peña and Luis
Miquilena, announce results before NEC does.

Results, according to the NEC:

Abstention: 62,2%.
In the first question, the few that voted backed HC 92,4%. For the second question,
somewhat less. These results with 95,5% of the votes counted. NEC never gave final
Your editor: abstention of 62,2% is the highest ever abstention a lot worse than the 45,6%
that abstained in the elections for National Congress in November 8th-1998.

April 23-99
The rules for the assembly are finally published by NEC (daily El Universal) under the title
“El abce de la Constituyente”. Mayor highlight: the new constitutional text will be subject
to a referendum, without quorum.

April 21-99
The NEC belatedly prohibits the executive branch to campaign for the approval vote in the
referendum set for April 25th. It reminds HC that the state’s symbols and resources belong
to all Venezuelans-- whether they are for Yes or No in the referendum.
Oficina Central de Informacion is forced to retire its TV add telling the people to vote Yes.

April 20th-99
NEC ponders campaign violations by the government for supporting the referendum with
state resources. NEC cites article 210 of the Suffrage Law of May 28-98.

April 18th-99
HC insists in the inevitability of the Constituent Assembly dissolving Congress.
He admits he pretends to govern 14 years, two periods of 7 years, as in France.
(The current Constitution allows him to govern 5 years)

NEC recognizes the huge problem that would arise in the April 25th referendum if voters
approve the first question, and not the second.

April 13th-99
During two days Congress could not convene because of threatening “bolivarian” mobs at
its gates.
April 12th-99
HC: Congress and The Supreme Court are not legitimate. Congressmen are not elected in a
direct way, but through party lists, and the Magistrates are elected by a small group.
Both The Supreme Court and Congress have no moral legitimacy.

April 11th-99
HC: The Congress has no authority to summon my ministers to discuss the enabling law.
The decree calling the state of emergency is ready.
(Not surprisingly the Congress swiftly agreed to give him a more open enabling law –April

April 9th-99
Again, HC speaks about the Constituent dissolving the Congress.
He also threatens: “Only God knows if this process will be peaceful”.
(Your editor: HC means there will be war if he does not get what he wants)

April 8th-99
HC gets from the Congress special powers to legislate in economic and tax matters during
6 months. But this “enabling law to legislate” is not as open as he expects.
Now HC threatens: if I do not get the law exactly as I requested, I will call “a state of
(Your editor: This law was requested by HC on his inauguration February 2nd . This non
electoral event is reflected here to show HC’s usual arrogance)

April 7-99
The NEC approves the format on which candidates to the Constituent Assembly will gather
support signatures, in case the referendum held on April 25th allows for it. Besides the
signature, the supporter must ink his identity number and date of birth. Quite simple!

March 30th-99
The “Bolivarians” approve their own rules to select their candidates for the Constituent
Asembly. They want to avert having more candidates than strictly necessary.
(Your editor: The opposition cannot do likewise because they lack organization.
Discredited (and economically asphyxiated) political parties in the opposition could hardly
agree among themselves about common candidates, much less impede independents from
seeking a seat at the Assembly.

March 26th-99
Guillermo Garcia Ponce leader of MVR party assures that all nine pro-Chavez’s parties
will have common candidates for the Constituent.

March 23-99
The NEC decides:
The Constituent will host 131 members.
The second question for the referendum, written by HC on February 2nd is modified
following instructions from the Supreme Court. The expression “…the originaire power
the Constituent picks up from the sovereign…” is taken out.
After review of the 11 rules made up by HC on March 10th, it eliminates the 8th and the 9th

March 20th-99
The NEC discards the idea of quorum.

March 18th-09
Supreme Court annuls the second question written by HC (decree #3) for the Referendum.
It orders NEC to rewrite that question, and to review the rules written by HC (March 10th),
following recommendations of the court.
It states that the Constituent Assembly will not have the authority for dissolving branches
of government such as Congress. It will have to abide to the current Constitution until a
new one is approved. All this means that the Constituent Assembly will not be originaire
as HC frequently claims.
This in response to an injunction presented by Lawyer and politician Gerardo Blyde, on
March 3rd.

March 10th-99
HC formally proposes rules for the Constituent Assembly, subject to approval in the April
25th Referendum. Main aspects of the rules proposed are:
No quorum is established for the April 25th referendum.

Deputies to the Constituent Assembly must be native Venezuelans and over 21.
The election of the deputies to the Constituent Assembly will be personalized (by name
only, no lists)
The assembly will have 103 members. Three of them will come from the indigenous ethnic
In order to participate in the elections to select the 100 deputies to the Constituent
Assembly, aspirants may run on a national basis (national circumscription) if they collect
20.000 signatures, or a lesser, though variable number of signatures, if they decide to run in
their own state (state circumscription).
The signatures required to be a formal candidate to the Assembly will be submitted 30 days
after the referendum of April 25th.
The final campaign among those that collected the needed signatures will last another 30
Of the 100 deputies elected to the Assembly, 76 of them will come from 24 state
circumscriptions. The number of deputies elected in each state varies according to the
population of each state. In the majority of the states electors will vote for two candidates,
but in more populous states like Carabobo and Federal District they will elect six. In Zulia
state, the biggest one, voters will elect nine candidates.
24 deputies will come from the national circumscription. Each elector will vote for 10
The Assembly will be originaire (all powerful), since it picks up the popular sovereignty. It
will have the authority to dissolve Congress.
It will be installed on July 5th.
It will last 180 days.
The Constitutional text accorded by the Constituent Assembly, will be subject to a Yes or
No referendum within 30 days.
Source: Official Gazette March 3rd-1999

March 5th-99
HC´s parties MVR, MAS and PPT warn, yet again that the Constituent is originaire,
absolutely powerful, it cannot be limited at all by any institution of the old establishment,
not even by the current Constitution.

March 4th-99
The Supreme Court rejects 5 demands to annul Decree #3.

February 26th-99
Father Jose Virtuoso, a Jesuit Director of monthly magazine SIC asks, why must we begin
the Constituent in just three months?
There are many other voices complaining about the rush HC has to change the basic law,
turn the country upside down and re-found it.

February 23th-99:
The NEC should decide if the referendum will need quorum. Its Technical Commission
proposes quorum of 50% plus one. The “bolivarians” reject the idea. They argue that we
have never established a quorum for elections to renew government authorities. Those
wanting a quorum say that a minority cannot have the right to change something as basic
as the Constitution, the mother of all laws.

February 19th-99:
Lawyer Ligia Perez Córdoba demands he annulment of decree #3 at the Supreme Court.

February 18th-99
Supreme Court demands respect from HC, alluding to his remarks on February 15th and

February 17th-99
A third recourse against decree #3 lands at the Supreme Court. Fundacion Fundahumanos
led by Enrique Ochoa Antich wants an interpretation of the second question that would be
submitted on referendum.

NEC formally calls the referendum, April 25th. It modifies somewhat the questions HC
lied down by HC in Decree #3 on inauguration day February 2nd-99.

February 15th-99
HC Threatens to take the streets to protest with the people if the Supreme Court objects to
his decree calling for the referendum. “If the court considers what corrupt people are
alleging in order to stop the Constituent process, the people will talk”. “The court must
listen to the clamor of the people and disregard demands presented by the corrupt ones”.
(This referring to a recent demand from AD party and another one from Gerardo Blyde)
February 12th-99
HC Attacks the Supreme Court that has to take a decision on decree #3. “Between the
corrupt ones and the clamor of the people, the Court is obliged to listen to the people”.
“The court will have to decide in favor of the people-- or against it”.

NEC legal adviser says there should be a quorum in the referendum.

February 10th-99
Lawyer and politician Gerardo Blyde also goes to the Supreme Court to demand the
annulment of decree #3.

February 9th-99
HC harshly criticizes those who denounced his decree #3 to the Supreme Court and those
who used media to deem it authoritarian, arbitrary, or unlawful, more a plebiscite than a
consultative referendum. These critics want Congress to write the norms or bases for the
referendum, instead of me, in order to derail it. HC warns his critics that his popularity is
around 90%.
(Your editor: criticism of the decree, including the slanted, incomprehensible,
disconnected questions is immense)

February 8th-99
AD party denounces to the Supreme Court, the text of Decree #3 calling for a Referendum.
It seeks the annulment of the decree.

February 6-99
Nicolas Maduro chief of the MVR parliamentary fraction in the Chamber of Deputies says
that Congress does not represent the people, it was fraudulently elected in a deceitful
electoral system. NEC is investigating that fraud. Above and beyond, we have realized how
much time is lost with meaningless talk.

February 2nd-99
HC is formally inaugurated as President. In his oath he promises to change our “dying
HC calls for the referendum leading to the Constituent. Until now he was saying he would
call it on February 15th. Signs Decree (#3) calling it.
He suggests the Constituent may convene to deliberate in the Capitol Building, specifically
where the Senate usually meets.
Besides, he asks Congress for a law that would allow him to legislate during 6 months in
economic and fiscal matters.

Main aspects of Decree (or Executive Order)# 3:

Article 1: The carrying out of a referendum so that the people would decide whether or not
they want a Constituent Assembly.
La realización de un referendo para que el pueblo se pronuncie sobre la convocatoria de una Asamblea
Nacional Constituyente.
Article 2: NEC will take the necessary actions to disseminate the text of the convocation
for the referendum, exhort the people to vote and count the votes.
El Consejo Nacional Electoral ejecutará los actos necesarios para divulgar el contenido de la propuesta de
convocatoria, invitar a los ciudadanos a participar en el referendo y realizar el escrutinio del acto de votación.
Article 3: The ballot will have the following questions, which will be answered YES or No.
El instrumento electoral contendrá las siguientes preguntas que serán contestadas con un
«si» o un «no».
First question: would you call for a Constituent Assembly with the purpose of transforming
the state and to create a new legal order that would permit the effective functioning of a
social and participating democracy?
¿Convoca usted una Asamblea Nacional Constituyente con el propósito de transformar el Estado y crear un
nuevo ordenamiento jurídico que permita el funcionamiento efectivo de una Democracia Social y
Second question: do you authorize the President of the Republic to set the rules, after
hearing opinions from political, social and economic sectors, for an electoral process which
would choose the participants in the Constituent Assembly?
¿Autoriza usted al Presidente de la República para que mediante un Acto de Gobierno fije, oída la opinión de
los sectores políticos, sociales y económicos, las bases del proceso comicial en el cual se elegirán los
integrantes de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente?
Article 4: the secretaries (or Ministers)…will be in charge of the execution of this
executive order.
Los Ministros de Relaciones Interiores y de la Secretaría de la Presidencia quedan encargados de la ejecución
del presente Decreto
(Your editor: the first question is totally biased. With the second question HC asks for empowerment to set
the rules for the election of the deputies to the Constituent Assembly)

January 23nd-99
Congress elected on November 8th is inaugurated. It names as its president Luis Alfonzo
Davila, of MVR party. HC does not bother to attend the ceremony. He prefers to go to the
inauguration of Governor of Aragua State Didalco Bolivar. There he reminds Congress that
he will call the referendum on February 15th, unless it acts sooner.
HC: “if God and the people want it, I will govern ten years or more”.

The Congress inauguration was marred by threatening “bolivarians” who surrounded the
capitol building the whole day. The National Guard was able to keep them in control. But
several non-chavistas Congressmen had to leave late at night in military vehicles.

January 19th-99
The Supreme Court rules in favor of the referendum. It legalizes HC´s plans. It states it is
not necessary to first amend the current Constitution. It says exactly what HC wants to
It is widely believed that the Court’s decision is to avoid the political crisis that certainly
would ensue if it contradicted HC’s plans. It is a political decision, not one based on the

January 18th-99
HC reiterates the possibility of dissolving Congress. This outlandish threat is aired before
the new Congress elected on November 8th is inaugurated and even before his own
January 11th-99
HC admits he thinks the idea of a change in the Constitution that allows for immediate
reelection, only once, is reasonable.
(In the current Constitution, the presidential period is for five years, without possibility of
immediate reelection)

January 9th-99
The Bishops Conference urges HC to act with respect to the current Constitution.
(Political parties such as AD, Copei, Proyecto Venezuela have exhorted HC likewise, as
well as intellectuals and jurists such as Arturo Uslar Pietri, Jesús María Casal, Allan
Brewer Carias, Fernando Fernandez, José Guillermo Andueza, Gustavo Linares Benso,
Juan Manuel Raffali)
There are two recourses at the Supreme Court asking if the referendum HC seeks is legal.

January 8th-99
Installs the Constituent Presidential Commission presided by him, with 11 other zealots. It
will promote the assembly and give its members a draft of the proposed new Constitution.

January 7th-99
HC says the Constituent Assembly must be very different from Congress as we know it. In
the Constituent there will be (honest) politicians, and also representatives of universities, of
the youth, farmers, fishermen, workers, entrepreneurs, churches, indigenous ethnics and
others. Meaningful consultation will be a priority. The new Constitution will not be written
behind closed doors, as was our dying Constitution written en 1961.
(Your editor: so far, HC has never explained what changes he wants. Nor what is wrong
with the current Constitution almost 38 years old, the longest we ever had. No political
parties protested it when approved (except the Communist party which was illegal at the

January 4th-99
HC ratifies that the 1992 military coups “were necessary, there was no alternative for us”.

December 11th-98
HC urges Congress to call for a referendum that would ask the people whether or not they
want a Constituent Assembly. Yet, he warns Congress that if it does not act swiftly, on
February 15th he will call it himself.

Most Venezuelans have no idea of what a Constituent Assembly means. HC insists that it is
the solution to all our problems. The majority of the people believes in his leader or at least
give him the benefit of the doubt.
A debate among jurists, academics, politicians has begun as to the legality of a referendum
to call for an all powerful Constituent Assembly. Another debate among HC and the elites
is whether that assembly is absolutely omnipotent, not subject to any existing institution,
independent branch of government or law, called (in French) “originaire” , or if it has
limits in its authority, in which case it is characterized as “derive” (derived from the current
system). For HC the Constituent Assembly is the people, it is “originaire”, absolutely
These terms are taken from Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes (1748-1836) and Ferdinand La Salle
This paper will avoid entering on the details of the jurists on these matters.

December 6th, 06
HC wins the presidential election with 56,2%29. His closest rival Henrique Salas Romer
gets 40,0%. Abstention is 36,55%, the second highest ever in presidential elections.
There are no complains about the journey.
In his victory speech, HC is respectful of his political opponents, welcomes investors and
promises to be a guarantor of liberty of expression.
He is elected for five years.
(The inauguration is set for February 2nd-99)

December 4th-98: the presidential campaign is more pugnacious than ever.

To reinforce his reputation as a violent man gained in the February 4th-1992 coup, HC
threatened to jail those stunting in any way the Constituent Assembly he wants to call,
pledges to fry the sculls of leaders of AD party. At a meeting in Apure state he swung a
whip several times to show the opposition what they could expect.

December 3rd-98
NEC gives the final tallies for the National Congress, in total 261 members elected for a
five year period. There are three Senators not elected, because of their condition of ex
(Rules to allow representation of minor parties, add 18 representatives in the lower
chamber and 6 senators)

There are 54 elected Senators:

Non “bolivarian” parties get a total of 32. AD gets 19, Copei 7, Proyecto Venezuela 4,
Convergencia 2,
Pro Chavez parties get 22. MVR gets 12, Movimiento al Socialismo MAS 5, Patria Para
Todos (PPT) 1, La Causa R (LCR) 1, Apertura 1. Other parties get 2.

There are 207 elected Deputies:

Non “bolivarian” parties get a total of 114, or 55%. AD gets 62, Copei 28, Proyecto
Venezuela 20, Convergencia 4.
Pro-Chavez parties get 93, or 45%. MVR 46, MAS 17, PPT 7, LCR 6, Apertura 3,
others14, for a total of 93

Backing HC are political parties Movimiento Quinta Republica, Movimiento al Socialismo, Patria Para
Todos, Partido Comunista de Venezuela, IPCN, GE, Movimiento Electoral del Pueblo, SI, AA, an alliance
under the name of “Polo Patriótico”.
Thus HC’s MVR and all their allies get 33,3% of the Senate, and 43,5% of the Deputies
Chamber. In the state assemblies HC’s candidates are less successful. Counting the
National Congress and the State Legislatives, what the “bolivarians” get is 33%30.

Your editor: Since HC does not have a clear majority in the deliberative bodies,
particularly in the National Congress, it is easy to understand why he says that political
realities are not reflected adequately.
Abstention is the highest ever, 45,6%31.

November 23rd-98
HC: “If members of Congress, AD or Copei Party, try to hinder the popular will (the
Constituent Assembly), they will be at the margin of the law, therefore they will be

November 14th-98:
HC says that the newly elected Congress (complete results not known yet), does not reflect
the political realities of the country. Also assures that the Constituent Assembly will be
held no matter what Congress may think about it. The Constituent will have to demolish
the electoral system so that the minorities get represented, it will have the authority to
dissolve the newly elected Congress, change the members of The Supreme Court, and take
all the important decisions while it is in the process of writing the new Constitution. “I will
not dissolve the National Congress, it will be the “sovereign Constituent Assembly” that
will be elected next year that will do it”.

November 11th-98:
State governors are finally acknowledged. Out of 23 states, HC gets nine32. In states where
HC’s candidates were not leading the counting, there were riots instigated by the

November 8th-98
Election Day for Congress, Governors and their Legislative Assemblies.
The process is peaceful, nevertheless characterized by long lines, because of its complexity
and the use for the first time of counting machines (provided by INDRA, a Spanish
HC’s political party MVR makes a strong showing indeed, so strong that HC becomes the
undisputed favorite candidate to win the presidential elections scheduled for December 6th.
Yet, MVR does not get absolute majority in Congress. Even counting other friendly parties
like Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), Patria Para Todos (PPT), Partido Comunista de

Thais Maingon, Sociologist, Estudios de Desarrollo (CENDES) de Universidad central de Venezuela.
Juan Carlos Rey, El Sistema de Partidos Venezolano, 1830-1999; Publicaciones UCAB 2009, page 134

Alfredo Laya in Vargas, Eduardo Manuitt in Guarico, Francisco Arias in Zulia, Alexis Rosas in
Anzoategui, Orlando Fernández in Lara, Didalco Bolivar in Aragua, Ivan Colmenares in Portuguesa.
Venezuela (PCV), Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR), the bolivarians would
not have enough votes to impose their revolution”.
International observers like The European Union (EU), Organization of American States
(OAS), criticize the long, slow lines to cast the votes, but overall they consider the
elections fair and transparent. Final results will be known days or even weeks later.

May 28th-98
Congress modifies part of the 1997 Suffrage Law (Basic Electoral Law). It mandates that
the next general elections expected for December 1998, being too complex, will be split in
three different dates.
Thus, Presidential elections will be held on December 6th 1998, as expected. Elections for
Congress, governors and their legislative assemblies, will be held on November 8th 1998,
and elections for city Mayors and their Municipal Councils and Sub-County boards will be
held in June 1999.
HC complains that splitting the elections is a trick by the traditional political parties
dominating Congress to jeopardize his imminent electoral success.
Your editor: it is true that Venezuelan elections have never been this complex. The change
was for technical reasons, not political. HC never gave solid reasons to back his complaint
that it was a change aimed at him.
(The elections for Mayors and their Municipal Councils and Sub-County boards, includes
near 6000 authorities)

Until this date, NEC’s directorate was controlled by the contending political parties. In
addition they also watched the voting centers during elections. This way it was difficult for
one party to be unfair to the rest of the parties. The reform in the law has a crucial change:
the political parties will no longer have a participation in NEC’s directorate. From now on,
according to article 51 of the new Suffrage Law, NEC’s seven board members may not be
formally linked or connected to political parties or groups of electors. Watchdogs of voting
centers will be chosen randomly by draw.

The main offer HC makes in his campaign is to call for a “Constituent Assembly” with a
mandate to write another Constitution (it would be Constitution #26 since independence in
1811) and set up a “new republic”. In his own particular counting, it would be the “Fifth
The new republic would have different laws and all the institutions anew.

One problem of that offering is that the Constitution (1961) does not allow for a
Constituent Assembly. So in order to call for it, most constitutional experts believe that,
first the current Constitution would have to be changed.

Another problem: would the new Congress to be elected on November 8th, accept to be
substituted the following year by another –all powerful- assembly called “Constituent
That would depend on the results of the November 8th election.
Main laws violated--extracts

Constitution 1961, until December 1999

Article 113: The electoral laws will guarantee the liberty and secrecy of the vote, and will
establish the right of proportional representation of the minorities.
The electoral arbiter will be integrated in a manner such as no political party or group will

Article 122…. Public employees are to serve the state, not a political partiality.

Constitution since January 2000 (Bolivarian Constitution)

Article 23: international treaties, pacts or conventions relative to human rights, subscribed
and ratified by Venezuela, have constitutional hierarchy and prevail over all other
laws….and are of immediate application by the courts and state entities.

Article 42: …the political rights of citizens may be suspended only after a firm judicial

Article 63: Suffrage is a right. It will be exercised through free, universal direct and secret
ballots. The law will guarantee the principle of personalization of the suffrage and the
principle of proportional representation.

Article 65: Those condemned for crimes against the public funds, may not run in elections
for public office.

Article 145: Government employees are to serve the state, not political partialities. Their
appointment or removal may not depend on their political orientation or affiliation.

Article 186: The National Assembly will be integrated by deputies chosen from each
federal entity through elections that must be universal, direct, personalized and secret,
following the principle of proportional representation. Each state will additionally elect
three deputies.

Article 293: NEC must guarantee equality, trustfulness, impartiality, transparency and
efficacy in the electoral contests …

Article 294: The electoral branch of government should be guided by the principles of
independence, functional and economic autonomy, non partisan, impartiality, and citizen
participation; administrative decentralization, transparency, speed in the voting system and
prompt information of results.
Article 296: NEC’s directorate will have 5 persons unconnected to political organizations.
Three of them will be elected by the civil society, one by the legal and political faculties of
the national universities and one by the Citizen (or Moral) branch of government.
…they will be designated by The National Assembly with approval of 2/3rds.

Suffrage law and Political Participation, since May 28th-98 through August 11-09
Article 2: Each federal entity will elect two Senators to the National Assembly. Additional
senators will be named on the basis of the principle of proportional representation of the
minorities embodied in this law.

Article 7: For the deliberate bodies, members will be selected under two systems, one
based on names and the other based on lists where proportional representation rules apply.

Article 11: The system to elect Senators will follow the principle of proportional

Article 51: To be in NEC’s board of directors, (…) the candidate may not have a direct
connection with any political party.

Article 55: NEC’s Competences ….#18: …investigate the origin of funds used in electoral
campaigns, and limit them if necessary …

Article 95: Voter’s List will carry (…), exact details such of their home address. (…) Each
person’s data will be included in the copies given to the political parties that request them.
Article 210: The Federal, State, or Local governments may not do any publicity or
propaganda for or against any individuals or political parties…

Article 168: whatever the mechanized system to count the votes is adopted, it must be

Article 169: counting the votes is necessarily a public act, where everyone may enter to
watch, except for reasons of lack of space…

Article 209: 48 hours before elections, no electoral propaganda is allowed.

Article 210: during electoral campaigns, national, state or local governments may not do
publicity or propaganda for or against anyone vying in the election (…)

Article 215: Government employees at all levels from the Federal, state or local
administrations must be politically impartial while on the job. As a consequence, they may
not abandon their normal work routine in order to participate in political activities. They
may not boast electoral propaganda in their places of work.

Article 261: … participants in electoral campaigns violating this law will be sanctioned
with a fine equivalent to between 200 and 500 Tributary Units.
Electoral Power Law (ley Orgánica de Poder Electoral), September 15-2003 through
August 11th-09
Article 4: The Government’s electoral branch (autonomous) must guarantee equality,
reliability, impartiality, transparency and effectiveness of the electoral process, including
personalization of the suffrage and the concept of proportional representation.

Article 9: Members of NEC’s Board of Directors: …may not be directly related to political

Article 32: Among reasons for dismissal from NEC’s board of Directors (…) direct or
indirect affiliation to political organizations.

Article 33: Among CNE competences…# 10: …publish in the official Gazette results of
all elections and referenda within 30 days.

Electoral Law, since August 12th-09 (Ley Orgánica de Procesos Electorales)

Article 17 of by-law#6 of Electoral law: all government employees are to serve the state
and not any political partiality.
Article 18 of by-law Electoral Law #6: public employees may not use state assets in favor
of any candidates or to make electoral propaganda.
Article 19 of by-law#6 of Electoral Law #6:

Law against Corruption, since April 7-03

Article 13: Public employees are to serve the state, not political or economic partialities.
For this reason, public employees may not use public funds to favor political parties or
particular economic interests.

Article 14: The hiring or dismissal of public employees may never take into consideration
political affiliation or orientation…

Article 18: Public employees at all levels must use their resources at their disposal only
according to budget.

Article 39: May not hold public office …#5 public employees or civil servants convicted
for any of the crimes or offenses established in this law.

Article 54: Public employees may never use state assets for their own benefits (…) may be
imprisoned from 6 months up to 4 years.

Article 68: Any public employee that abuses his or her power, or uses it to favor or harm a
political candidate, group, party or movement, shall be sentenced to one to three years in

Estatuto Electoral del Poder Publico (From February 2nd-2000 through August 11th-
2009), gaceta 36.884 del 3-2-00.
Article 4: The President, State Governors, and Mayors postulated for another term in
office may keep their jobs during the campaign, which will not last more than 25 days.
Article 15: In elections for the National Assembly, the state legislative Assemblies,
Cabildo Metropolitano de Caracas, Municipal Councils and Sub-County boards, will apply
a dual system, one of personalized vote, the other a list vote following the principle of
proportional representation embedded in the Constitution and in this law.

In each federal or municipal entity 60% of the representatives of the people, shall be
elected on the basis of their names and 40% according to party lists following principles of
proportional representation.

Every voter will have a right to cast as many votes as the number of representatives will be
elected in every constituency and, additionally one vote for one of the lists postulated by
citizens or Associations with Political Objectives.
Glossary of terms
Accion Democratica (AD) political party: Founded on September 13th-1944, it won
presidential elections in 1947, 1959, 1964, 1973, 1983, 1988. It was the most influential
political party since its foundation until the mid 1990’s. It claims to be Social Democrat.

Alo Presidente: HC’s Sunday TV and radio program, beginning in 2000. Average length
around 6 hours.

Bolivarian: Simón Bolivar (1783-1830) is the foremost figure in the war for independence
from Spain and in the foundation of the republic. HC claims his ideas are inspired from the
national hero, and suggests his life is devoted to finish his dreams. HC tells Venezuelans he
and his followers are “Bolivarian”, and has included the word in the name of the country.
For those opposing the so called Bolivarian revolution, HC has hijacked the name of the
national hero.

Carter Center: It is relevant because it was accepted by the government to come and
facilitate, together with OAS and United Nations Development Program, the so called
“Table of Negotiations and Agreements” between Government and the opposition. The
contending parties met between November 03 and May 04. Besides, the Carter Center
together with OAS was a notable observer during the August 15-04 referendum. Its final
report on the referendum may be found at www.cartercenter.org

Citizen’s power (or Moral Power): The branch of Government consisting of the Public
Prosecutor, the Comptroller General and the Defender of the People or Ombudsman).

Coordinadora Democrática: it refers to a coalition several political parties and NGOs

including unions and entrepreneurs that joined efforts to oppose HC in 2001 up to the
Referendum of August 15th-04. It pretended to represent HC opposition, although not
necessarily every one opposing HC felt represented by the Coordinadora. Its heyday was
in the Table of Negotiations and Agreements mediated by OAS, the Carter Center and
United Nations Development Program that began in November 02 and ended in May 04. It
was dissolved shortly after it lost the August 15th-04 Referendum.

Confederacion de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV): Founded in 1947, it is most

important confederation of labor unions, at least until HC gained power. The National
Electoral Council has not allowed CTV to call elections in order to renew its directorate
since October 2001. The organization has been dying out since then.
Carlos Ortega, its president since 2001, was condemned (December 05) to almost 16 years
in jail for co-leading with Fedecamaras a 60 day strike against the government. The formal
accusation: rebellion, treason to the motherland, devastation and instigation to commit
criminal offenses. Ortega managed to escape prison on August 13th-06 and lives in exile in
Perú since then.
HC has not recognized CTV since 2003, when he created another worker’s confederation
named UNT Union de Trabajadores de Venezuela.

Copei political party: Comité de Organización Política Electoral Independiente, founded

on January 13-1946. In 1948 it defined itself as Social Christian. It won presidential
elections in 1968 and 1978. After Acción Democrática (AD) party, it was the second most
influential party in the democratic period from 1959 through 1998.

Fedecamaras, acronym for Federacion de Camaras y Asociaciones de Comercio y

Producción de Venezuela, is the most representative association of private entrepreneurs.
Founded in 1944. It lead together with the labour unions (Confederacion de Trabajadores
de Venezuela) three one day strikes against HC and one lasting 60 days on December 02
and January 03. Since HC acceded to power it has always been under attack.
Its president Carlos Fernandez, who together with the labour unions (CTV) called for a
strike against the government on November 02 and January 03, is in exile in the USA.

Morochas or duplicates: Hoax used in elections of deliberative bodies, to lessen the

weight of party lists in favor of direct election of candidates, where there is no
proportionality factor at all. The Constitution in article 63 and 186, and Suffrage law
articles 2,7,11, and Electoral Power Law articles 15, 19 and 20, impose a proportional
system. With this trick the proportional system is reduced to a minimum, giving way to a
majority system instead, violating the spirit of the law.

MVR political party: Acronysm for Movimiento Quinta República. It is HC’s own party
from 1997 until October 19-2007, when it morphed to PSUV Partido Socialista Unico
Unido de Venezuela.

NEC: acronym for National Electoral Council, a translation fron Consejo Nacional

OAS: The Organization of American states. It is relevant because it was accepted by the
government to come and facilitate, together with the Carter Center and United Nations
Development Program, the so called “Table of Negotiations and Agreements” between
Government and the opposition, that met between November 03 and May 04. OAS and the
Carter Center was a notable observer during the August 15-04 referendum. It has been
present as an observer in some other elections.

Plan Republica: the role of the military during elections.

Proportional Representation system (for seats in deliberative bodies such as the National
or State Assemblies): The seats are allocated according to the percentages of votes that
each party get in the election. It is the system that our Constitution prescribes at least
PSUV political party: Acronym for Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela. It is HC’s own
party since October 20-2007. HC wanted this new party to absorb 23 other small parties
that supported his government. He has not achieved this desire completely.
PSUV substitutes MVR (Movimiento Quinta República)

Súmate: an NGO founded in 2002. It seeks to build democracy, and promote democratic
principles. It has become an electoral think tank for the opposition. It’s directorate has been
criminally charged several times. The most notable accusation is “treason to the
motherland” after accepting some US$35.000 from US National Endowment for