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A walk for free and fair elections in Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

London 23.05.06 | Venezuela is living one of its most difficult political periods. Nowadays it is a country ravaged by profound polarization, which has translated into hatred amongst Venezuelans.

The European Union’s electoral observation mission deployed last December concluded in its March 2006 report that an important section of the population distrusts the country’s electoral system and its authorities. This conclusion was echoed in the report published April 2006 produced by the mission of the Organization of American States.

It is of utmost importance to note that both organizations found the political atmosphere in Venezuela deeply troubling for the attainment of a peaceful and democratic solution to its issues. Of equal relevance was the realization that the secrecy of the vote could be compromised, albeit remotely, as noted in the reports.

Venezuelans, 12.394.109 of them to be precise, have already suffered violations to their human and civil rights in the form of the publication of a State-sponsored database, commonly known as “Lista de Tascon” or “Lista de Maisanta,” which contains details of the political affinities of the entire electoral register, up until July 2004. It is fitting to stress that distrust is an ever present element in electoral processes in light of such precedent.

The government of Venezuela has made commendable strides in its effort to modernise its electoral processes. Alas the automation of elections has not produced the desired results as noted by European and American observers.

For the reasons mentioned a group of concerned Venezuelans (amongst whom I count myself) will start on June 25th 2006 a week-long walk from Germany to Brussels that shall end with the delivery of a request for Europe’s support, in the form of help in establishing dialogue mechanisms between parties, with the aim of creating the necessary conditions for the re-establishment of a climate of trust vis-ŕ-vis electoral authorities and processes. For free and fair elections can only be perceived as beneficial for Venezuela’s democracy and all its citizens.

Equally it is primordial that the set of recommendations made to the government of Venezuela by the European Union’s, the Organization of American States’ and the Carter Center’s missions that have observed elections in the recent past are fully implemented by the newly appointed electoral authorities.

Press enquiries about the walk should be directed to me at alek.boyd at gmail.com



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