Velásquez regrets militarization due to protests against CNE
"Let me tell the country with due responsibility that we declare the existence of a fraudulent process in the specific case of Bolívar state"
With the vote logs in his hands and joined by Bolívar residents, the candidate for opposition Unified Democratic Panel (MUD), in Bolívar state, south Venezuela, arrived in the local chapter of the National Electoral Board to challenge the results of the gubernatorial election held on December 16.
"Allow me to tell the country with due responsibility that we declare the existence of a fraudulent process in the specific case of Bolívar state. We cannot accept the election result; therefore, we will proceed to challenge it," exclaimed the leader of opposition Causa R party.
He pointed to a wide array of irregularities in the vote tally. For instance, he related, Tibisay Lucena, the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), at the time of releasing the first bulletin, "said that (pro-government candidate) Francisco Rangel Gómez got 45% and Andrés Velásquez 44%. One and a half hour later, she informed that it was 43-42. Concomitantly, I was holding a meeting with Edgar Mata, a CNE delegate; and he told me that 126 records were pending."
Velásquez lamented that the army did not let him and his team come in the local chapter of the CNE in Bolívar for a meeting with the CNE authorities, as well as the militarization of Ciudad Bolívar.
"The armed forces acknowledged by us should ensure the public order, but never grabbing the process or sequestering the CNE office. That we refuse."
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.