Observers submitted account on Venezuelan election|
Gaviria reports "problems of equity" in referendum process
Valter Pecly Moreira, the former head of the OAS mission of electoral observers in Venezuela, and César Gaviria, the Secretary General of the hemispheric organization, presented an oral report on the August 15 recall vote on President Hugo Chávez before the OAS Permanent Council
|César Gaviria, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), vowed to carefully analyze any claims on electoral irregularities the opposition may submit (Photo: Paulo Pérez Zambrano)|
SARA CAROLINA DIAZ
The mission of international electoral observers of the Organization
of American States (OAS) presented to the OAS Permanent Council
in Washington a report on the August 15 recall vote on President
Hugo Chávez, ratifying the results the National Electoral
Council (CNE) has disclosed, according to which the Venezuelan
President won the election.
"No fraud was committed in the electoral process I witnessed,"
said Valter Pecly Moreira, head of the OAS mission in Venezuela,
when making an oral account on the events that took place
in Venezuela in order to celebrate the August 15 vote.
The OAS Secretary General, César Gaviria, also participated
in the presentation. He indicated that the electoral results
echoed the people's will, but problems of "equity" were detected
during the process.
"When a President in Latin America is running for immediate
re-election, it is very hard to create conditions for equity.
We have seen this in other countries," he said.
The circumstances in Venezuela are very peculiar, he added,
"as President Chávez had a significant majority in the
Constituent Assembly, and in the processes there is a concentration
of friends of the President, and at the CNE and the Supreme
Tribunal (of Justice) there are people of the parties supporting
him." According to Gaviria, in certain cases, the CNE "ended
up making partisan decisions."
Nevertheless, he claimed that said circumstances do not "vitiate"
the process. "That is a factor in the political game, and
it has consequences that are not very desirable or convenient
During their presentation before the hemispheric organization,
Pecly and Gaviria referred to fraud claims the Venezuelan
opposition has made in connection with the referendum. In
this sense, Gaviria ensured he is to "evaluate carefully"
any evidence Chávez opponents may submit.
Tensions, discussions, and problems
The OAS Secretary General stated that the hardest time OAS
representatives faced in Venezuela was the moment when the
signatures supporting the recall petition were verified.
"Achieving the revoking referendum was no bed of roses. All
kinds of problems emerged, many problems. I even had an argument
with (President Chávez). But, in the end, we managed
to attain an electoral solution," Gaviria explained. He insisted
that OAS faced tensions and even disagreements with the top
electoral body, which made him question the OAS participation
as an international observer in the referendum.
"We had many tensions with the CNE; we had many problems.
That is why the process was delayed for some months. Some
members of the CNE had a very hard stance almost until the
end. They said we were just like the other guests, and therefore
we would only be allowed to visit predetermined places and
would have no chance to implement a quick vote count mechanism,
for they found it unacceptable. Honestly, I even thought we
were not going to be invited (to the referendum), even though
we had accompanied them along the whole process," Gaviria
told the hemispheric forum.
Gaviria, who was a facilitator at the Negotiation and Agreement
Table that operated in Venezuela from November 2002 to May
2003, ensured that the OAS ended up with serious problems
of credibility and relations with both the government and
Translated by Maryflor
Report on Venezuelan referendum delivered to OAS Permanent Council