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Opinion and Analysis: Opposition

Capriles Video: Opposition Pitches Violence for Municipal Elections

The opposition has released a video, in the form of a “message” from former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, which reveals their approach to the upcoming 8 December municipal elections.

After claiming fraud and refusing to recognise the 14 April presidential elections, they are now encouraging their supporters to vote on 8 December, but to also be vigilant in preventing any more such “fraud” on the day. They are painting the elections as a national “plebiscite” on the Maduro administration.

The Communist Party of Venezuela has also stated that the opposition has plans to cause destabilisation in the lead up to, and on the day of the elections. They further allege that major food distributors, “subordinate to transnationals” will stop distributing certain products from next week, to add to the pre-electoral tension.

Capriles shared the following video with his supporters via Twitter last week, and it was then picked up by some of the major private media. In the video, Capriles repeats his claim that there was “cheating” in the last elections, and encourages his supporters to “organise” on election day. He does not quote numbers, facts, dates, or sources to back up his arguments. However, as psychologists have argued, merely mentioning such things, without backing them up, can have a psychological impact. Those disposed to believe, will. 

Transcription:

Many people in the street ask me, ‘Capriles, what can we do to attain the change that we want?’ And I tell them, first voting en masse on 8 December, then after that, with greater and better organisation, [by mobilising] in all the corners of the country, so that we can prevent cheating and make them respect the will of the people.
On 14 April a photo was taken of a Venezuela divided into two halves. [A graph with blue column suggests Capriles got more “valid” votes” than Maduro, in the red column]. There was a difference of a few points in our favour. The government used all of its mechanisms to include fake votes and show a different result.

How did they do it? Neutralising our witnesses and volunteers in the voting centres, including fake votes through the forced vote and the misappropriation of identity. Now, these electoral crimes didn’t occur in all the voting centres [image of map of Venezuela]. Our solid presence across Venezuela prevented larger scale cheating. We guaranteed a secret and free vote for more than 14 million Venezuelans, and we managed to make them recognise the triumph of unity in 96 municipalities of the country. This 8 December, we have to eliminate the cheating in the voting centres where we know there are weaknesses, and that depends on us. You, as an elector, booth member, or witness, play a fundamental roll so that the election in your voting centre is a clean one [ie without any cheating].

[Red and blue pie graph graphic, alleging that “government authorities” have less support than “progress”.] Today, according to the latest polls, we’re a broad majority; those Venezuelans who want a change towards progress and future. The government knows it. And that’s why it seeks to make you afraid [image of moustached man saying ‘I’m watching you’] and demotivate you. [moustached man says 'I have everything under control']. A strategy they use is to say that they know who you vote for [Translator: the government has never said anything like that]. But that’s a lie. I say to all our people, especially our public servants and those who benefit from the missions; the voting machines and the fingerprint machines don’t reveal who you vote for. Your vote is your secret. It is proven that the voting machines and the transmission of information [from them] don’t change the votes. If someone has planted doubt about this, citizen verification allows it to be shown that the cheating doesn’t take place there. I invite you to participate in your [voting] centre so that any doubts you might have about that can be cleared up, confirming that the records and the number of voters in the electoral book correspond with the voting papers in the box and with the results that are announced by the National Electoral Council.

The cheating is in how and who deposits these votes in the box. Because of the forced vote, we challenged the elections in the Supreme Court, and because of the misappropriation of identity we demanded an auditing of the books and the fingerprint machines. Because the cheating wasn’t in the counting of votes, it was in the identity of the voters and the freedom with which each person could vote.

We know how to stop the cheating. That’s why it’s fundamental that, as a witness, you attend all our workshops on electoral preparation. On 8 December we have a key election for advancing towards national change, which the majority of Venezuela wants. We will elect mayors and councillors, which are the leaders that are closest to the citizen, who can most easily solve your problems. On 8 December we can win por paliza [translator: a word with two meanings: a big win, or a violent beating up of someone] in order attain what’s needed. We need to improve training and organisation of hundreds of thousands of [election] witnesses and family commands [translator: the opposition’s supposed organisational unit] in order to neutralise the cheating. Only in that way will we win. We will collect [the win] and we’ll govern these municipalities. For the progress of all Venezuelans, without political distinction.

I say to our people, it’s important to vote, that we’ll achieve change with our participation. We are the majority of the country, let’s go out to win, I’m counting on you.