Venezuelan Opposition Begins Collecting Signatures to Recall Maduro

Nicolas Maduro says there is no way to force him out of office. Photo: Venezuelan president’s office.

HAVANA TIMES — Starting Wednesday, the Venezuelan opposition has been collecting signatures to request a referendum that would put an end to Nicolas Maduro’s presidency, not unlike the one held in 2004 when Hugo Chavez was president, DPA reported.

The initiative began early in the morning at hundreds of points around the country. The main collection point in Caracas, located at Brion Square, saw long lines of people.

Signature collection points were set up in the capital cities of the country’s 23 different regions.

The effort was set in motion hours after the National Electoral Council (CNE) presented the opposition with the official form where the signatures are to be collected. In this first stage, a total of 195,721 signatures, one percent of the electorate, are to be collected.

These signatures are required to approve the holding of the signature collection effort. Once approved, around four million will be required to force a recall referendum vote on Maduro’s presidency.

The Democratic Unity Table (MUD) announced that a protest planned for today, to demand that the CNE deliver the official form, was cancelled once the document was presented and that the rally points were converted into signature collection places.

The MUD executive secretary Jesus Torrealba reported that there is strict schedule for delivering the collected signatures to the CNE for verification.

“We are aware that these signatures will be collected in record time, because people want a change in government,” he told reporters.

The CNE announced it could accept the collected signatures up to 30 days from the start of the initiative, but the main proponent of the referendum, opposition leader Henrique Capriles, declared the needed figure would be reached within “hours.”

On the form, signatories must include personal information related to the voting districts where they are registered. In addition to this, they must have their fingerprints taken.

Capriles was at the main collection center in the state of Miranda, where he is governor. He signed the document and showed it to a crowd in the midst of applause.

“Our expectations have been met. I knew the people would respond and, together, we’re going to find a way out of the crisis, we’re going to pull Venezuela out of the crisis, which is what the majority of Venezuelans want. With this show of support, I have no doubt we can bring about this democratic, constitutional and electoral option to get out of the crisis,” he said.

He added that the referendum is a great opportunity to impel change in the country and “avoid social upheaval or a coup d’etat.”

“Let me say to the government that it should not close down the democratic road to change, because it is playing with the patience of Venezuelans. It’s adding fuel to the fire. This country is heading towards social upheaval or a coup,” he warned.

Representative Jose Miguel Olivares reported that, once the signatures have been collected and submitted to the CNE, the electoral entity will verify the signatures and those who signed the petition will be asked to appear somewhere to confirm their vote.

During the second stage of the process, the MUD will be required to collect nearly four million signatures. This will force the holding of a referendum and the CNE will be obliged to set a date. The opposition hopes it can be held this year.

Venezuela has already made use of this mechanism, when in 2004 it held a referendum against Chavez, who came out victorious and later won two elections.

The Venezuelan government is Cuba’s chief political and economic ally.

5 thoughts on “Venezuelan Opposition Begins Collecting Signatures to Recall Maduro

  • The people of Argentina elected their current President Macri dumping Kirchner. The people of Brazil want rid of the name-changing Rouseff and the corruption that went on in Petrobras when she was Chair and Lulu was President. This is want happens with free elections, the people decide what they want and yes, that makes the left squeal like so many stuck pigs as they seek to impose permanent control without the people having choice. The left will always accuse others for any losses they may suffer and cannot comprehend that its their system that is despised.

  • The reasons for the people of Venezuela being hungry for change, is that they are hungry. As a consequence of initially Hugo Chavez and then Nicholas Maduro, the country has the highest inflation rate in the world. Both Chavez and Maduro modelled their policies upon those promoted by Fidel Castro.

  • Overthrow? Harsh words for the constitutionally-permitted recall process underway in Venezuela. Current leftist Latin America strongmen like the leaders in Ecuador and Bolivia need to have a foreign bogeyman to distract their people from the day to day woes caused by their socialist agendas. They took this tactic directly from the Castros playbook. The truth is that, like Socialism, Maduro is his own worst enemy. The good news is that he will be out of a job soon.

  • I assume, Moses, you and your ilk desire to overthrow every democratically elected leader of every Latin American nation that you perceive as being friendly to Cuba. The overthrow and death of the decent and extremely popular democratically elected Allende in Chile to put in the vile, murderous dictator Pinochet for 17 bloody years beginning in the 1970s supposedly soured most people on foreign interventions, which included siccing the Mafia on Cuba in the 1950s. In recent weeks, including President Solis of Ecuador last week, the current or recently exited democratic leaders of Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia…and perhaps some others I haven’t noticed…have accused Cuban-Americans in Miami and Washington of “interfering” in their governments and, to quote Mr. Solis, causing “trouble throughout the region with anti-Cuban U. S. laws, such as encouraging and rewarding Cuban immigrants.” In other words, America’s insidious Cuban policy not only harms America and mocks democracy, it harms everyone except ex-Cubans. I wonder why.

  • Ma-burro’s days are numbered. He may act as if he is unconcerned but he has got to be peeing his pants to see the size of the crowds showing up to sign the first petition. His puppetmasters, the Castros, should be just as worried. The Venezuelan oil teat keeping the lights on in Cuba will dry up quickly after Ma-burro is shown the door.

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