Chavez Supporters and Government Prepare to Defend Venezuelan Elections
In the light of documents and statements revealing opposition plans to cause destabilisation on election day and possibly not recognise the results, Chavez supporters are organising in order to defend the voting process and the results.
There are concerns, due to statements made by the opposition over the last few months, that they will contest Sunday’s results and cry electoral fraud. The opposition coalition, the MUD, have also circulated leaflets telling supporters to “stay out in the streets after voting” in order to minimise fraud by a “deceitful and criminal” government. Other documents also show the opposition is organising its voting booth witnesses to create tension and disturbances, and an environment of ungovernability.
Further, yesterday the head of the pro-Chavez campaign, called Campaign Carabobo Command (CCC), Jorge Rodriguez, warned that the opposition will conduct “exit polls”, announcing the “results” at 3pm, before the booths close, in order to create further confusion.
Members of the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP), the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), and the youth of the PSUV have already organised themselves into teams to mobilise and protect the voting centres, working with the CCC to avoid conflict at the centres and to pass on any necessary information.
In Sucre state, for example, 250 PSUV youth have also been trained and accredited as election booth witnesses, which includes understanding the electoral power law and the electoral processes law. More youth are also organised at each booth, with one person responsible for logistics, another for mobilisation, and another to encourage voting.
Vice-president Elias Jaua said on Monday that the Venezuelan people will also “go out onto the streets to defend the electoral results” should the opposition refuse to recognise them. He added that if that happens, the opposition will even be “condemned by its own support base”.
“In Venezuela there is a democracy that is more complete, deeper, and authentic every day and where there are sectors who have the right to be against this project,” Jaua added.
The defence minister, Henry Rangel, said he had met with the National Electoral Council (CNE) in order to guarantee safety for voters on Sunday.
“The deployment of our troops to carry out the Republic Plan is guaranteed, and owing to the maturity that we have as the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, [with years of experience] participating in electoral processes, we are even more prepared and better deployed [for Sunday’s election],” Rangel said. The Republic Plan is the plan the army implements for every election, in order to ensure that it is a peaceful and legitimate process.
“We have all the contingency plans in place, so that we can preserve the peace, tranquillity, and public order,” Rangel concluded.
Further, from Friday until the Monday after voting, as is the custom for Venezuelan elections, the sale of alcohol and the carrying of arms will be prohibited, there will be uninterrupted police service, and heavy transport, such as double-decker buses and large trucks will also be prohibited.