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The Carter Center, OAS and the Recall Referendum in Venezuela

Solidarity with Venezuela
Hands Off Venezuela Campaign-  http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org

*The Carter Center, OAS and the Recall Referendum in Venezuela *

*By Cort Greene*

After decades of corruption that had permeated the politics and life of the people of Venezuela, the Bolivarian Process and its representative Hugo Chavez were elected with a majority of the electorate in 1998 and then again reaffirmed in 2000. With this the winds of change blew through the whole of the country and political system.

Those who had the most to lose, the oligarchy and the comprador bourgeoisie, who were tied by a thousand threads to American and Spanish imperialism and had enjoyed the perks and privileges of their position, started a campaign to subvert the will of people who have supported the Venezuelan Revolution on many occasions. When a coup d'etat, organized by the United States government and a business-backed effort to sabotage the economy with a industrial stoppage didn't work, they resorted to other forms of intrigue.

One of many maneuvers now being employed by the so-called opposition and their U.S. handlers is the recall referendum. On May 29, 2003 after intense pressure by the afore-mentioned groups, the government of President Chavez agreed to a process for the referendum with the Carter Center, the Organization of American States and United Nations Development Program.

These groups profess to be building "democratic processes", but remained silent when the democratically elected President of Haiti was overthrown in a recent coup, and during the disputed 2000 presidential elections in the United States, where disenfranchisement and fraud were rampant.

However, many problems emerged for those who thought they could use the recall process as a ploy to steal an election. The greatest problem was that not enough legitimate signatures were gathered to launch a referendum. The Venezuelan National Election Council (NEC) has thrown out 400,000 signatures for various reasons and ruled another 870,000 were not valid, and the Venezuelan Supreme Court's constitutional panel concurred.

Many of the fraudulent signatures were of children, foreign nationals or people who had been dead a long time. Additionally, workers were forced by their bosses to sign or be fired, and patients in hospitals were told they would not receive proper treatment and care if they did not sign. Very democratic indeed!

The reason for this is clear: the majority of the population (some 80 percent of which live in poverty) is not in favor of the recall election. A recent opposition demonstration consisted of just a couple thousand people, as compared to the millions who flooded the streets in a show of support for Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution.

But this is not enough for those outside "observers" who wish to disregard the will of the majority and the decisions taken by the NEC. The Carter Center and its Americas Program, directed by Dr. Jennifer McCoy, have played the leading role in this. The OAS and other "fifth column" groups, have joined the Carter Center in calling for a repair process of the fraudulent signatures.

Ground rules were agreed to and the NEC set dates for the process. Then the electoral panel of the Venezuelan Supreme Court, who are heavily in favor of the opposition demanded that the NEC recognize the signatures and gave them five days to do it.

In the face of this blatant bullying, both the Carter Center and the OAS quickly made statements saying they just wanted fair elections and praised the efforts of the Coordinadora Democratica (CD) and other terrorist groups who have received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy.

The proof of the objectives of these bullies is in the pudding. Due to a split within the opposition, some very interesting revelations were made public this past week. The General secretary of Accion Democratica (AD), Henry Ramos Alup stated that the CD was really opposed to the re-call process and he wanted internal meetings of the CD recorded and made public.

He alleges that some CD members say one thing in private meetings and another altogether in public. "We [the AD] are not prepared to play along or remain silent vis--vis new adventures or stoppages, such as April 11, 2002 [the coup] and December 2002 [economic sabotage] that have cost the Venezuelan People dear."

Accion Democratica is no liberal group (one week ago armed members of this group took over a public hospital and destroyed a baby incubator and other equipment), and is the largest group within the Coordinadora Democratica.

So there we have it the CD is planning more of the same, and the Carter Center and the OAS just stand by and watch.

We call on them to stop this farce and end their intervention in Venezuela.

Leave the country and let the people of Venezuela decide!

Defend the Venezuelan Revolution!

Forward to Socialism!

Letters of protest can be sent to:
Dr. Jennifer McCoy, Director; Americas Program of the Carter Center:  POLJLM@langate.gsu.edu <mailto: POLJLM@langate.gsu.edu>

cc:  Ktorran@emory.edu <mailto: Ktorran@emory.edu> ,  carterweb@emory.edu <mailto: carterweb@emory.edu> and  Jmontes@oas.org <mailto: Jmontes@oas.org>

homepage: homepage: http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org