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Electoral Fraud in primaries of Hugo Chavez's own party

By Sara Carolina Diaz | El Universal

Caracas, 19 April 2005 | Dozens of militants of the Movimiento Quinta Republica (MVR or Hugo Chavez's political party), that assured they had been scammed, showed up with placards at the headquarters of the red party in Caracas to denounce before the national leadership their claims of electoral fraud following the primaries, which had been conducted in various stages to select candidates for positions on neighborhood boards and city councils in the elections to be held on 7 August.

The request comes late, given that the time frame for registering candidates with the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) had expired at 12 am yesterday, which means that for the time being the candidates claims will remain in limbo. Save the CNE grants a new extension only those applicants registered by the party before the electoral body will be counted in the electoral arena.

Matters of expired time frames and extension dates seem to be of little importance to the demonstrators, but what worries them most is the imposition of the old habit of designating candidates in an arbitrary way by party bosses ("designar candidatos a dedo"), which precisely what they say is happening in different municipalities throughout the country.

Party members, arriving in busses that came from Carabobo, Anzoátegui and Miranda showed up dressed in red at the doors of the headquarters on Avenida Libertador, requesting the presence of the members of the CTN (Comando Táctico Nacional, a leadership unit of the MVR), but they were only received by a deputy and member of the CTN, Juan Carlos Dugarte, who instead of giving an immediate answer promised to deliver one later —once he had spoken with colleagues— after some hours. The response never arrived because the rest of the national leadership were elsewhere in different cities throughout the country ratifying alliances and agreements with the PPT (Patria Para Todos or Fatherland for All), Podemos (Yes We Can), the UPV (Unidad Popular Venezolana) and other organizations.

The militants —frustrated and annoyed— also filed their complaints concerning the disappearance of elector's data from the roll, which apparently had been allowed to happen so as to favor candidates "protected by Tarek William Saab and Freddy Bernal", while they questioned why MVR candidates had been sacrificed in order to favor alliances with other parties such as the PPT, Podemos and the UPV. "Freddy Bernal entered his candidates and registered others who were not from the MVR. In my place they allowed Deyanira González, who is currently a councilwoman and was defeated on April 10. I demand the removal of Bernal and want my stuff (“mi vaina”) returned to me". "This is fraud" said Genaro García, who assures that he won, fair and square, a councilman’s seat for the 1st circuit of the Parroquia Sucre in the 23 de Enero neighborhood. “Pissed-off people claim their rights” shouted the demonstrators as they waited for the reply, which never came.

Without Alliances in Three States

CTN spokesman Willian Lara said in conversation, while in the State of Zulia, that he had no idea there was a demonstration occurring at the headquarters of his political organization in Caracas, because he was busy concentrating on that entity’s alliances.

He assured that in Zulia the MVR had been successful in forging agreements with all sectors of the alliance. Nevertheless, he stated that as of yesterday afternoon there were still problems in Táchira, Bolívar and Guárico.

Translation by W.K.

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