The Vice-President and the recall referendum

September 4, 2003

The Venezuelan Vice-President presented an accusation to the Attorney General’s office against Sumate, the organization that gathered and prepared the signatures for the recall referendum. A legal analysis of the accusation shows that the charges are so ridiculous as to being ludicrous. Sumate is a civil association and thus can not be considered to be a political party as the Vice-President assumes in his accusation. He says Sumate “usurped” function of the Electoral Board by revising the signatures and purging them. Well, what are the people supposed to do? Spontaneously gather the signatures and hand them in? The accusation also says that Sumate collected money for its efforts in coordinating, collecting and handing the signatures “without receiving aid from the Electoral Council”. Well, the Vice-President should know that the Electoral Law simply bans the Council from giving funds to civil associations like Sumate. Thus, the charges against Sumate are ludicrous and represent another smokescreen by the Chávez administration.

The Vice-President Jose Vicente Rangel is so cynical that today he went to visit the Electoral Board and spoke about not interfering with the electoral power. His most cynical statement was: “People are saying that the Government will do anything in its power to stop the recall referendum. Nothing is furthest from the truth. We may have opinions that is all”. Yeah!Yeah!Yeah!


Rangel also complained that he did not think it was proper that the US Ambassador visited the Electoral Commission to offer technical help. Of course, this is in preparation for blocking the possibility of foreign observers being present during the recall referendum.

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