Correspondent in Caracas
The failure of the recall. The 1,200 centers enabled from 6 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon to collect signatures to revoke the Chavista president woke up today empty and without voters interested in activating the plebiscite process despite the fact that the vast majority of Venezuelans, 70 %, you want to remove Nicholas Maduro.
The Bolívar Squares of the cities and other public places, and not the schools for being in class, remained without queues of voters the entire twelve-hour day to express their willingness to revoke Maduro. The National Electoral Council set up red tents with laptops and fingerprint-capturing equipment to serve voters.
If the 4.2 million voters (20% required) had attended, they would have had to sign between 5 and 7 seconds, which would have been physically and humanly impossible to materialize.
In practice, officials could not serve 5 people for every minute.
“From one of the few points set up at this time, in this case in the Plaza Bolívar de Acarigua, the time it takes for a person to express their will is between 5 and 7 minutes,” said Nicmer Evans, spokesperson for Movement for the Revocation (MOVER), one of the three conveners that highlighted the loneliness of the authorized centers.
Only one or another voter, who did not care about the threats and reprisals, went to stamp their signature. Two days earlier, Diosdado Cabello, the regime’s number two and vice president of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), threatened to obtain the identity of the signatories to repeat the famous ‘Tascón List’ with which 4 million Venezuelans were subjected to public ridicule in 2004 for signing against Hugo Chávez.
It is the case of Oscar Alirio Hernandez who on his Twitter account defiantly stated that “I don’t think the recall request will prosper, but I’m still going to sign against Maduro. What Diosdado Cabello wants to know who signs? They can give you my address if you like, I don’t care, there’s more to gain than I have to lose. Go to hell!”
A day earlier, Ana Yánez, a member of Mover, warned voters “not to lend themselves to the fraudulent act called by the CNE for the right to revoke. The electoral schedule is impossible to meet.
control and intimidate
He denounced that most of the points to sign are “cells of the government party (PSUV) to control, intimidate and restrict the right of the citizen. Let’s say NO to fraud. Nicolas Maduro is not afraid of the people,” he exclaimed vehemently.
As the convening organization, Mover presented a letter to the CNE on Monday demanding the modification of the recall schedule, whose original regulations establish a minimum of fifteen days of information campaign and three days of signature collection days.
Nicmer Evans said that they await a response from the CNE to their requests, but deep down he rules out that they rectify it because one of the officials told him that “it was unfeasible.” “We will continue to insist and fight,” he told ABC.
The other two civil organizations, made up of dissident Chavistas, also rejected the trap that the Maduro regime has set for them, denouncing their fascist and authoritarian character.
The Unitary Platform of the opposition of the interim government of Juan Guaidó, who had not joined the conveners of the RR, released a statement the day before saying that “Maduro was afraid of the RR because he knows that if Venezuelans express themselves, they have to go! The measures announced by the CNE only reflect the intention of making a recall referendum against Nicolás Maduro impossible.”
In the coming days, the Platform will hold different national assemblies that will seek the integration of Venezuelans to advance in the search for free, fair and verifiable presidential elections. On February 12 they are calling a big march.
The Unitary Platform also “repudiates the statements by spokespersons of the regime where they claim to request a list of people who support the Recall, and asks the international community to assume mechanisms to consolidate an agreement process,” said Robert García, national secretary of the Copei Christian Democratic Party.