Venezuelan Opposition Group That Called for Coup d’etat Will be Investigated

The Attorney General announced that his office will investigate members of an opposition coalition that made a public call for civil disobedience and for the military to intervene during recall petition drive.

Caracas, Nov 14 ( Venezuela’s Attorney General Isaias Rodriguez announced yesterday that his office will investigate some members of a prominent opposition coalition group that published an advertisement in a local newspaper calling for “active civil disobedience” during the petition drive which is to take place November 28 to December 1st. According to Rodriguez, leaders of the group will be asked to testify at the Attorney’s Office.

The opposition group that published the ad -ironically know as Bloque Democrático (Democratic Block)-said that the signature collection campaign “is not just a petition drive, but a de facto recall referendum, through which the great national majority expresses its will of rejecting the [Chavez] regime. It will be a plebiscite and, once realized, Chavez must abandon power this very year.”

During one of the petition drives, government supporters will collect signatures to request a recall referendum on opposition National Assembly deputies. At a later day, the opposition will try to gather enough signatures to request a recall referendum on President Chavez’s mandate. The right to revoke an elected official’s mandate is a Constitutional right that Venezuelans recently acquired thanks to the new Constitution drafted by elected representatives and approved by the people through a popular referendum during Chavez’s first year in office.

The opposition group also said in their public statement that “the petition drive must be the beginning of active civil disobedience. Chavez can only be dismissed through such civil disobedience, while waiting for the Armed Forces to comply with its duty and reestablishes the constitutional order.”

The Democratic Bloc is a coalition of opposition groups which broke from another opposition coalition know as “Democratic Coordinator,” during the government-opposition talks in mid 2003. Over the past few months they have issued several calls for a “military-civil rebellion,” via newspaper advertisements and fliers distributed throughout the capital Caracas.

More evidence of plans

Representatives of the Patria Para Todos – PPT (Fatherland For All) party had formally asked the Attorney General to investigate the opposition group’s calls for violence, as the police recently discovered several arsenals of weapons and people connected with opposition movements are under investigation in connection with the weapons and their possible use.

“This group must assume responsibility for making a public call to the military to overthrow the government,” said Pedro Albornoz, the Secretary General of PPT, after meeting with the Attorney General.

According to the chief of the DISIP scientific police, at least one of the arsenals was going to be used to generate incidents of violence during the opposition’s petition drive. According to National Assembly deputies of parties that support the government, the opposition plans to cause incidents of violence and then accuse the government of sabotaging the signature collection process.

The publication of the ad by the Bloque Democrático is a piece of evidence that gives credibility to the police and deputies’ theories.

As Wall Street experts and international agencies such as Fitch Ratings have recently predicted that Chavez will win the recall referendum, and polls show Chavez’s popularity growing, opposition sectors are growing increasingly uneasy about their chances of collecting enough votes to get Chavez out of office.

Electoral Council condemned the opposition’s statements

Last Monday, The National Electoral Council (CNE) issued a resolution condemning the group’s statements. CNE president, Francisco Carrasquero, said that the CNE cannot permit such statements to go unchallenged because “the procedure of collecting signatures constitutes the only formula or instrument to put into effect the referendum granted by the Constitution.”

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