March 2, 2004

As usual...

...CNE public relations are a shambles. Chairman Carrasquero, after tubeating himself earlier in the day, announced finally, final (we mean it this time), official CNE numbers on the petition for a recall vote on Chavez. The breakdown:

1,832,493 signatures are valid
876,017 signatures will need to be "confirmed" (through reparos) because they come from forms with the same handwriting in all the data fields.
688,000 (estimate, no precise number given) signatures disqualified for various reasons (signed twice, signed in forms not recognized in the actas, signed without being registered to vote, etc.

2,700 "repairs centers" would be set up and but there would be no "itinerant repairs" to visit the sick and elderly and confirm their signatures. The process would last 48 hours.

That all seems clear enough, but minutes after the official CNE broadcast, Jorge Rodriguez took questions from reporters where he said there would be more signatures going to "reparo" than that. "Around a million," is as specific as he would be.

The CNE decision is final. Will the opposition play ball? Should they? What will Carter Center/OAS say? Keep reading...