HAVANA TIMES — Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles has applauded the National Electoral Council’s decision to hold a complete audit of the votes cast at Venezuela’s recent presidential elections, reported dpa news.
“This places us right where we want to be. The problem is in those ballot boxes (…) We know where the problems are. Let the truth prevail,” Capriles stated during a press conference.
Capriles added that he hopes all ballots, vote records and registries are audited. “The latter are very important, because that’s where people sign and set their fingerprints. That’s what we need to look at.” Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) has not confirmed that it would carry out the recount in this fashion.
Nicolás Maduro, the Chavista candidate, was proclaimed president by the CNE on Monday, in the midst of protests voiced by the opposition, which does not recognize Maduro’s victory, secured through 50.75 percent of the votes (7,563,747 votes), narrowly surpassing the 48.97 percent (or 7,298,491 votes) obtained by Capriles.
The opposition leader stated he had requested an audit of the election results on Sunday. “Hours went by. The presidential candidate accepted the recount, then changed his mind and revoked his decision, we still don’t know why.”
“I want the people to know that they’ve won. The CNE has offered us a chance to resolve the political crisis facing the country,” he affirmed, accusing the Maduro government of bringing pressures to bear on the Electoral Council.
“I call on all of the country’s states to put an end to the persecution of public servants. None of them have any way of knowing who voted for whom. The government is duty-bound to ensure peace,” he maintained.
“We’re not the ones terrorizing people or making up stories, like Maduro did when he dashed off to Peru because he’d found out I was going there. But I stayed (in Caracas) when I found out the CNE was going to announce its decision,” he said.
Capriles was referring to the meeting held last night and early Friday by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in Lima, where Venezuela’s political crisis, sparked off by the recent and controversial presidential elections, was discussed.
Capriles accused the government of “lying” and claimed it “had set fire to one of its own headquarters”, that of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), an incident chalked up to the opposition by Maduro’s government.
“They’re extremely good liars. I’d never come across a Marxist Christian before, a follower of Sai Baba turned Christian,” he said, adding that “there isn’t a single report of an incident of this nature happening at any CDI in the country. And Venezuelans were told exactly the opposite, to give the matter a political connotation.”
He was referring to Venezuela’s Comprehensive Medical Diagnosis Centers, or CDIs, set up in different neighborhoods and communities across the country and offering medical services to the population as part of the government’s social programs for the underprivileged, which had reported attacks by members of the opposition.
“I demand that the government cease persecuting people. We’ve had enough,” said Capriles, whom the government accused of causing the deaths of eight people in the protests following Sunday’s elections.
The opposition leader denied this accusation and charged back: “Has Maduro expressed his condolences to any of the victims of the country’s violence?,” referring to the thousands of deaths witnessed every year in Venezuela, where the government reported 16,000 homicides last year alone.
To conclude, Capriles smiled and called on supporters of the opposition to protest Maduro’s swearing-in ceremony peacefully: “We don’t want confusion. Put on some music, put on some salsa rhythms, and strike your pots and pans in protest.”