Venezuela's Electoral Council Dispels Myths Surrounding Referendum

One of the five directors of Venezuela's National
Electoral Council (CNE), Vicente Diaz, held a press conference on Tuesday to
dispel any myths surrounding Sunday's electoral results. Diaz called the
elections a "triumph of democracy" that demonstrated the country's
willingness to peacefully resolve political conflicts.

By Chris Carlson - Venezuelanalysis.com

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One of the five directors of Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE) Vicente Diaz at a press conference on Tuesday (CNE)
One of the five directors of Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE) Vicente Diaz at a press conference on Tuesday (CNE)
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Mérida, December 6, 2007
(venezuelanalysis.com) - One of the five directors of Venezuela's National
Electoral Council (CNE), Vicente Diaz, held a press conference on Tuesday to
dispel any myths surrounding Sunday's electoral results. Diaz called the
elections a "triumph of democracy" that demonstrated the country's
willingness to peacefully resolve political conflicts.

The CNE director held the press
conference to clear up doubts about the electoral results of Sunday's
referendum. Rumors and accusations had emerged from some opposition leaders
after the electoral body was slow in releasing the official results of the
election Sunday night. The opposition accused the CNE of having changed the
results to give them a smaller victory.

But Diaz, considered to be sympathetic
to the opposition, assured that these accusations are false and invited
everyone to visit the CNE web page to see the official results broken down by
state, municipality, voting center, and even voting booth. Diaz assured that
the official results match the results obtained by the public audit of the
paper ballots conducted Sunday night.

"There is no way that the
results could be any different from what the CNE announced," said Diaz.
"The votes were registered without any problems all over the country and
there were witnesses in all the voting centers."

Diaz explained that the delay
in releasing results was due to an agreement between the two political
campaigns to wait until 90 percent of the votes were tallied before announcing
the results, and that this was not possible due to some problems in
transmitting the results to the CNE headquarters. Results were finally
announced with only 87 percent of the votes tallied, he explained.

"Don't let them lie to
you," he said. "Don't believe the myths and stories that have caused
so much damage to the democratic route in Venezuela."

Diaz also refuted the claim
that the delay was due to a refusal to accept the results on the part of
President Hugo Chavez, assuring that witnesses from both sides were always
present during the tallying of the votes, and understood the reason for the
delay.

The CNE director called
Sunday's referendum a "triumph of democracy" and assured that the
event disproves some common myths about Venezuelan politics. According to Diaz,
the elections show that President Hugo Chavez is not a dictator, that the
opposition is not violent, and that the country can resolve its problems
through democratic elections.

"I think three myths were
dispelled," said Diaz. "The first is that the President is a
dictator, but this was dispelled when he accepted the results. The second myth
that was dispelled is that the opposition sectors are coup-leaders, and that
they have a plan for violence. And the third myth that was dispelled is that
conflicts cannot be resolved by voting."

Diaz went on to assure that the
election demonstrates that the "the people of Venezuela are not going to accept
violence to solve their conflicts," and congratulated both sides for their
civil behavior.

President Chavez, however,
responded to the comments in a televised speech on Wednesday, disagreeing with
Diaz' conclusions. Chavez said that he had no reason to thank the CNE director
for assuring he is not a dictator, and stated that the opposition did indeed
have plans for violence in case they lost the election.

"I am sure that if the
results had favored us, with such a small margin like that, they already had
their destabilization plan ready, or at least the radical sectors of the
opposition," assured Chavez.

President Chavez explained that
security forces were in action during the day Sunday due to various strange
actions among opposition leaders, including opposition governor Manuel Rosales.
Chavez revealed that he had given orders to the military in case any
destabilization plan was carried out, and that they were ready to take any
television channel that aided in the plan off the air.

"Don't think that we
aren't ready to confront your violent plans whenever they present
themselves," he said.