Camden Trades Council

Uniting workers and communities in the London Borough of Camden

VENEZUELA SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN

ELECTIONS BRIEFING NO 3 (17 SEPTEMBER 2012) 

1. Polls show huge leads for Hugo Chavez
2. Wheels coming off right-wing opposition’s election bid
– Four opposition parties withdraw from right-wing opposition’s electoral alliance
– Opposition MP condemns his own coalition’s neo-liberal economics – expelled soon after
– Leading opposition MP caught receiving backhanders
3. Ex US President Jimmy Carter praises Venezuelan election system
4. US prepares to destabilise Venezuela? – Former US Ambassador outlines intervention plans
5. Build support for VSC’s Rally for Venezuela – invite friends on Facebook and share the event on Twitter
6. VSC elections briefing – PDF for distribution

 

1. Polls show huge leads for Hugo Chavez
With less than one month left before Venezuelans go to the ballot box, a survey of recent opinion polls shows significant leads for Hugo Chávez in the race to be Venezuela’s next president.

Hugo Chávez is polling on average at 51% and Henrique Capriles on 35%, giving Chávez an average lead of 16%, based on all 13 polls carried out in August and in the first week of September.

Such a lead would translate into an advantage of more than two million votes for Hugo Chávez on October 7th.

Despite claims from the opposition candidate that the race was getting closer there had been little change compared with a month earlier with Chavez still way ahead.

You can see the full article here

 

2. Wheels coming off right-wing opposition’s election bid

* Four opposition parties withdraw from right-wing coalition

Against a backdrop of a likely defeat at October’s elections, four opposition organisations withdrew their support for the right wing coalition’s Presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski on September 11. The four organisations, Vota Piedra, Cambio Pana, Unidad Democratica, and Mano por Venezuela, made their formal withdrawal from the coalition, known as the MUD, with the National Electoral Council, meaning they will no longer appear on the ballot paper.

Leonard Chirinos, a representative of Vota Piedra, made clear that the recently exposed, once secret, opposition plan to privatise much of the economy contributed to the decision. “We prefer to take a step back because we consider the current situation one that we don’t want, nor one that a large part of the population wants,” Chirinos said of the plans. These would see the deregulation of banks, opening up of the economy to more privatisation and the reduction of state funding for social programmes.

He also denounced that he had received a lot of threats and “psychological pressure” from others in the right-wing coalition not to make known his opposition to the plans. He said that he had been called a “traitor” and his family told that “they are going to be burnt alive”.

David de Lima, who was the first opposition sympathiser to speak out against the neo-liberal plans, has said that around half of the 22 political organisations affiliated to the right-wing coalition may be opposed to the document, but “there isn’t internal discussion”. As the economic plan contrasts with Capriles’ official manifesto, David de Lima accused the Capriles’ campaign of practicing a “double discourse”. Read the full piece here

* Opposition MP condemns his own coalition’s neo-liberal economics – expelled soon after

William Ojeda, an opposition MP who criticised the “hidden agenda” of economic privatisations of the right-wing opposition coalition, has been expelled from his political party, Un Nuevo Tiempo. Ojeda was from the same opposition aligned party as David De Lima who broke the silence on the neo-liberal plans last month.

Ojeda was expelled just hours after criticising the MUD coalition for developing a neo-liberal economic package behind closed doors – “Democrats in Venezuela don’t accept hidden agendas…or neoliberal obsessions,” he declared.

Ojedo also criticised the opposition coalition for not seriously understanding the importance of the social programs implemented by President Hugo Chavez’s government. He said that Chavez’s social policies “can be improved, deepened and made more efficient, but we [the opposition] should begin by recognising the enormous work being done” by them. Read the full piece here

* Leading opposition MP caught receiving backhanders

Just three weeks from polling day, a video has come to light in which Juan Carlos Caldera, an MP from the leading right-wing opposition party Primero Justicia, is clearly seen taking illegal donations from a businessman. Caldera is the representative for the whole MUD right wing alliance which backs Capriles to the CNE electoral authority.

The funds are believed to have been for the Henrique Capriles Radonski’s electoral campaign. Primero Justicia is the largest party in the opposition coalition as well as the party of Presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski.

The video footage shows Juan Carlos Caldera meeting with a representative of Wilmer Ruperti, a Venezuelan multimillionaire businessman. The alleged amount of money involved is 40,000 Bolivares (US$9,300).

In the video Caldera is clearly shown trying to arrange for a meeting between the businessman and Henrique Capriles Radonski. He says:

“Well, for Henrique (Capriles Radonski) it’s difficult to meet up because it has to be when he is outside of the country. Henrique at some time will travel when he has some things to do…

Let me talk to him … I’m going to talk to him about this personally [and] find some agreement with the people who do his finances, the chief of the campaign”.

He adds “It has to be when he is making a tour, I think that he was going to go to Brazil…Yeah I imagine that if we are going to do it, we should do it in the next few days…I can check out what trips he has planned and we can coordinate.”

In Venezuela, as in most countries, money for electoral purposes obtained in this undeclared, secret fashion is illegal. Read the full piece here

 

3. Ex US President Jimmy Carter praises Venezuelan election system

Jimmy Carter, former US President, and now head of the respected electoral and human rights body the Carter Centre, praised Venezuela’s election process in September. He described positively the touch-screen voting system that immediately records a vote in a centralized location, while also printing out a ballot receipt that allows a voter to check the accuracy of the vote.

Carter noted that there had been “criticism of the outcome” of some recent elections in Venezuela by opponents of the current government, but dismissed these, saying that President Hugo Chavez had won “fairly and squarely.” (Source: here )

 

4. US prepares to destabilise Venezuela? – Former US Ambassador outlines intervention plans

In an extraordinary paper released this week, former US Ambassador to Venezuela, Patrick Duddy, outlined a range of military, financial and diplomatic measures that the US should be prepared to take against the Chavez government after the coming elections on October 7th. In the paper, published by the Council on Foreign Relations, Duddy’s recommendations include that the US could resort to using various means to “to communicate to the Venezuelan military leadership that they are obliged to uphold their constitution, respect human rights, and protect their country’s democratic tradition” and “organize a coalition of partners to limit an illegitimate Venezuelan administration’s access to government assets held abroad as well as to the international financial system.” See the full article here

 

5. Build support for VSC’s Rally for Venezuela

* You can confirm your attendance and invite friends to our rally on Facebook here

* You can also follow VSC on Twitter for regular updates here and share info on the event from here

* You can contact Matt on info@venezuelasolidarity.co.uk if you can take flyers for distribution or come in the office to help for a phone around of VSC supporters.

 

6. VSC elections briefing – PDF for distribution

VSC has produced a two sided elections briefing for you to distribute to raise awareness of how Venezuela’s election system is free and fair and warning of right-wing opposition attempts to campaign for non-recognition of the result if it does not go their way. You can download it here

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