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Venezuelan Election Update

You can't go anywhere in Caracas, these days, with out seeing banners reading, "Chavez No Se Va!!" Elections are only 2 days away on Sunday, December 3rd. As of Thursday the schools of Venezuela have been closed and have been taken over by election officials in order to make sure elections will run smoothly. However, many Venezuelans believe that the elections will run no where near to smooth.
Presidencial Elections in Venezuela

Friday, December 1st

You can't go anywhere in Caracas, these days, with out seeing banners reading, "Chavez No Se Va!!" Elections are only 2 days away on Sunday, December 3rd. As of Thursday the schools of Venezuela have been closed and have been taken over by election officials in order to make sure elections will run smoothly. However, many Venezuelans believe that the elections will run no where near to smooth.

I'm based out of a one of the most established community radio station titled, "Radio Negro Premiro."  link to fmnegroprimero.iespana.es. This station, along with many others, is currently hard at work planning electoral coverage.

As of today at 6am both Hugo Chavez of the Fifth Republic Movement and Manuel Rosales of The New Era party, according to law, have had to cease campaigning. The majority of polls are showing a large margin in favour of Chavez.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venezuelan_presidential_election%2C_2006 Most people are expecting Hugo Chavez to be re-elected as President of Venezuela; however, according to many are preparing for possible accusations of election fraud from the Manuel Rosales´ opposition party. There are rumours Chavistas have infiltrated the opposition party, and have found that the The New Era Party has plans afoot to discredit the electoral process. It has been said that t-shirts stating FRUADE, or fraud in English, have already been printed. It is also feared that opposition party members plan to intentionally vote for Chavez, and then accuse the machines of selecting the wrong candidate. Already from one pulling station there is a report that the three main election officials have not appeared for there duty, thus disrupting the election process.

The radio stations are banning together to cover the elections in order to prove that the elections are fair. Radio stations from each district are planning on both transmitting via locally their radio stations, via live web streaming, and remotely. Each station will be transmitting mobile on trucks equipped with video cameras, audio recorders, radio transmitters, and a kitchen. They intend to drive from pulling station to pulling station documenting the electoral process, and hopefully defend the Chavez victory. People will begin lining up to vote at 3am on Sunday morning; so, it will be a long day for the radio staff but hopefully productive.

At this point I am unaware if there are plans for after the election and how to handle the opposition protests and international media coverage. Organizing in Venezuela seems to happen poco a poco, little by little.

Alex Queral, Reports from Venezuela 03.Dec.2006 04:40

Alan Graf

Alex Queral, the director of the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center is in Venezuela. He just sent this report from there.

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Venezuelans Ready to Vote

Caracas, Venezuela -- This capital city awoke at 3 am at the "toque de
diana" or reveille, exhorting all Venezuelans to get out to vote. In
between the highly amplified sound of horns played by jubilant
citizens, hundreds of loud firecrackers ensured that no one could miss
this crucial moment in Venezuelan history. Saturday night was
peaceful by all accounts, leading many here to wonder what election
day would bring.

There are suggestions that Manuel Rosales (the opposition candidate
and governor of the oil-rich state of Zulia) will go back to Zulia and
declare it an independent state. Meanwhile, there are increased
reports of Marines and US Navy activity in the island-nations of
Curazao and Trinidad & Tobago, where the US has
military bases. There is a remote possibility that if the Venezulan
army was called in to Zulia to secure the oil fields and facilities,
the US military could become involved.

Another possible outcome plausible rumor is that Colombian
paramilitary forces -- of which there are more than 5,000 in Venezuela
already, according to intelligence estimates -- could be the main
source of destabilization by instigating violence in Caracas. There
are large numbers of Colombian refugees in Caracas, so the ultra right
wing paramilitaries would easily blend into the population. Chavez
discussed these possibilities on national television during his last
interview before the elections.

Many barrios here are preparing for serious levels of violence and are
organizing within the neighborhoods to protect community radio
stations, water treatment plants, and other key installations
throughout Caracas. I am not able to assess at this moment what is
the likelihood that we'll see the level of violence
they believe will occur, but these folks lived through the April 11,
2002 coup, which left several dead and hundreds injured. There was
however, a document that was eventually posted on the internet written
by the New York City-based New Cuban Coalition instructing opposition
sympathizers on how to organize and respond to a violent overthrow of
the government or even an "auto-coup" -- a coup led by
Chavistas to create an excuse to attack or at least discredit the
opposition. The document goes back and forth between telling people
to be safe, stay at home and let the professionals "handle it" to how
to isolate and neutralize Chavistas to how to effectively shoot to kill.

Ultimately, most analysts agree that there will be at least small
pockets of violence throughout Caracas and elsewhere in the country.
More updates to follow this afternoon.

For further analysis on the situation on the ground visit
www.venezuelanalysis.com