Archive for January 16th, 2003

March Pictures by Juan Ramon B.

January 16, 2003

Sign says “Elections and we dont fuck around anymore” Two marches: On foot over the bridge, bicycles under it

March pictures sent in by Juan Ramon (more in Pictures)

January 16, 2003

Dog looks for shade under flag!

Habeas Corpus, the OAS and General Alfonzo Martinez

January 16, 2003

The Habeas Corpus right is common to a large number of legal systems and is at the bottom of the pyramid of civil rights that help protect huam rights. It is the ability to have a judge order somebody freed when this person argues that he is in detention illegally. On Dic. 28th., General Alfonzo Martinez was detained illegally according to our Constitution, two days later, a judge ruled favorably on his Habeas Corpus request. Nevertheless, the Chavez Government has refused to release him.

Two days ago the CIDH, the Interamerican Court for Human Rights of the OAS, ordered the Chavez Government to free General Alfonzo Martinez and gave them seven days to fulfill the order. So far, nothing doing, with four days left to fulfill the order. I understand from a lawyer friend, that this would activate automatically the Interamerican Democratic Cahrter, so I am sure something will happen before then.

Lula surprisingly puts the screws on Hugo Chavez

January 16, 2003

According to a Brazilian newspaper (via El Nacional), Lula Da Silva said to reporters that he had to convince Chavez to allow the US to be part of the group of friends to resolve the Venezuelan crisis. The same article says that Colin Powell will be the US representative to the group. Separatly I read, but can’t find the link a report from an Ecuatorian newspaper that says that Chavez met with Lula and went in smiling, but left with a somber face, because Lula told him he had to hold elections. Brazil is the only country that has sided openly with Chavez in the conflict, up to the point of having the country’s Foreign Minsiter say that elections is not the solution, because is not in the Constitution. (False). The more Chavez plays the international card, the worse he looks.

Chavez attempts to disqualify Gaviria’s role at the UN

January 16, 2003

In his usual style, which the world is quickly learning about, Hugo Chavez attempted to disqualify the role being played by OAS Secretary General in the negotiatoions taking place in Venezuela, during his visit to the UN. Chavez said that he had invited Gaviria to Venezuela as an individual and not as a representative of the OAS. This is simply false and was immediately met with a forceful response by the always diplomatic Gaviria who said “there can be no mistake about my presence in Venezuela, I was invited by the Democratic Coordinator and it was discussed in the OAS what my mandate was and, with the presence of Venezuela, it was approved and is in a resolution”. The world is learning about Chavez very quickly. Chavez also said what is happening in Venezuela is subeversion by the right-wing,w hich I simply refuse to even comment about, it would imply 70% of Venezuelans are right-wing which is simply laughable.

Chavez says referendum impossible

January 16, 2003

As an example of the type of behavior that shows why Hugo Chavez is an illegitimate President, today at the UN in New York he said that “it is nearly impossible to have a referendum on Feb. 2nd.” Firts of all, as President Chavez has refused to give the funds required for the referendum. Second, while he has tried to block using a variety of legal maneuvers, today all rulings by the Supreme Court have been that it may proceed, even if there are rumors that they will use a technicality to stop it. Finally, our Constitution guarantees the principle of separation of powers and the Head of the Electoral Commisison said today that they are making the required adjustments to mantain the date. This shows Chavez will do the impossible to stop it. Separately his cynical Vice President said yesterday that “since the Government does not believe in the referendum” they will order the President’s supporters not to participate in it. How Democratic of him, no!

From Caracas Chronicles: how many feel about the referendum

January 16, 2003

From Caracas Chronicles, two paragraphs that, to me, reflect the frustration of so many Venezuelans:

The proposed “consultative referendum” scheduled for Feb. 2nd is an experiment unprecedented in Venezuela’s contemporary history. For the first time ever, a referendum was called by popular initiative. More than 1.5 million voters signed a petition to demand the right to vote on whether the president should be asked to resign. That’s 300,000 more signatures than the 10% of voters required to call such a referendum under article 71 of the constitution. The signature gathering drive, conducted by thousands of unpaid volunteers, was a real first for this country: a real grassroots movement driven by citizens looking to solve the country’s problems directly, whether or not their political “leaders” like it. And the idea could not have better, more inclusive and democratic credentials. Voting is the only way to guarantee that EVERY Venezuelan – rich or poor, black or white, chavista or anti – gets a say on the overarching question facing the country today: should Hugo Chávez remain in power, or not?

Predictably, the government mobilized en masse to scuttle the vote. High ranking officials labeled us fascists and coupsters for the horrible crimes of hitting the streets, clipboards in hand, to collect signatures. This must be the only country on earth where citizens who demand the right to vote are vilified as fascists by those who, from their comfortable perches in the corridors of power, are doing everything they possibly can to keep them away from a ballot box. Then, on November 4th, Chávez supporters attacked us with stones, bottles, and even guns when about 50,000 of us marched to the National Elections Council to turn in our signatures. Several people were wounded, some seriously.