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Venezuela’s recall: CNE authorities did not invite the EU

By Aleksander Boyd

London 29 July 2004 – Further to my previous article on this topic, I have just received an email from my representative in the European Parliament, where a straightforward explanation as to why the EU decided to send not an electoral observation mission to Venezuela leaves no room for spin. Let it be sufficiently clear that the sole body authorised to invite international observers for the coming referendum is the National Electoral Council (CNE). Being an entity totally dominated by the three chavista directors -Francisco Carrasquero, Jorge Rodriguez and Oscar Battaglini- the absence of European observers from all sides of the political divide can only be attributed to them. Unfortunately directors Sobella Mejias and Ezequiel Zamora can not forward invitations individually, for decisions in that respect must be approved by the majority of the board.

The point remains; the most important electoral event of our contemporary history is vitiated with nullity, its source is none other than the very directors of the CNE who seemed resolutely determined to avoid transparency at all cost. Foreign Secretary Jesus Perez declared yesterday, after meeting with Carrasquero, that Venezuelans abroad will have to present proof of residence in order to cast their votes. This is another blatant violation to our civil rights for provisions in that regard are non-existent in our legislation. Curious to see how power changes people, in previous elections Jesus Perez cast his vote without being prompted to show a proof of residence -whilst living in France- in times where the ‘corrupt and elitist oligarchy’ had control over Venezuelan institutions. Present encroachment of our rights notwithstanding, justice is going to catch up with the rabble that governs Venezuela today that is one thing they can be absolutely convinced about.

Following the email aforementioned.

Dear Mr Boyd,

This is an answer we received from the EP relevant official.

Silvia Janicinova Assistant to Dr. Charles Tannock MEP

Dear Sir,

At its meeting on 22 July, the Conference of Presidents of the political groups decided not to authorize a Parliament delegation to observe forthcoming elections in Venezuela. The request was introduced by Mr Brok, in the name of the Election Coordination Group, which had considered this country as a priority for the European Parliament.

This should indicate that there was a great interest on Parliament's side to observe the situation in this country. The reason why the request was refused by the Conference of presidents is that there was no formal invitation from the Venezuelan authorities for Parliament to observe the event. As a matter of fact, the existence of such an invitation is one of the must important criteria to be fulfilled in order to authorize such election observation missions from the European Parliament.

As far as the Commission is concerned, despite its political will to be present in that country to observe such event, the reason not to deploy an EU-EOM was that the conditions set up by the authorities for international observers where so restrictive that a proper election observation mission could not be envisaged.

Regards,

Pietro Ducci
European Parliament
Election Observation Service
Directorate-General for External Policies



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