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With just days to go before Venezuelans celebrate another free and democratic election, a privatelyowned newspaper with national distribution published a radical call for violence if right-wing candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski fails to win next Sunday’s presidential election.
Written by anti-Chavez youth activist Yon Goicoechea, the opinion piece warned of “horrendous” consequences if anything gets in the way of “what is now common knowledge – that Henrique is set to win the election”.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, as well as others in his socialist coalition, have made repeated calls for all parties to “peacefully” respect the results of this Sunday’s election.
Titled “Fraud is Not Free”, Goicoechea’s article claimed “the opposition will take to the streets if its will is not respected” and warned, “what takes place that night (October 7) is to be a military decision which, if taken mistakenly, will result in a massacre”.
Ignoring the entirety of respected polls that give Chavez a minimum 10-point lead against Capriles, Goicoechea insists the opposition candidate is “set to win” and warns, “the result will be horrendous” if “the CNE (National Electoral Council) commits fraud”.
“Within minutes”, he continued, “the streets of Caracas will fill with people celebrating Chavez’s triumph. On the other side of town, Capriles will give a press conference calling Venezuelans to take the streets. In a matter of hours, in every city across the country, two human masses will form, radicalized, and in opposition to each other. October 7 will be a great challenge for the Venezuelan Armed Forces because security will be seriously compromised”.
“God only knows how many days, weeks, or months the people will be in the streets”, he added, threatening who he called “the red (pro-Chavez) generals” who “must decide if they will massacre us and spend the rest of their lives in prison, or recognize the results”.
Yon Goicoechea, co-founder of the right-wing “Venezuelan Student Movement”, played an active role in the campaign against constitutional reforms proposed by President Chavez in 2007.
The following year, Goicoechea was given a $500,000 “Milton Friedman Prize” from the US-based Cato Institute, a right-wing think tank that frequently published studies criticizing President Chavez. The student activist has also received substantial funding and aid from other US agencies, including Usaid, National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House.
Responding to Goicoechea’s calls for radical street protests as the country prepares for another successful democratic election, members of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and others denounced what they called his blatant “disregard for public institutions” and “incitement to violence”. PSUV lawmakers also called on opposition candidate Henrique Capriles to “distance himself from such messages, or risk being an accomplice to what has been said”.
According to socialist lawmaker and President of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Youth Federation Carlos Sierra, who spoke to reporters last week outside the Ministry of Public Affairs, Goicoechea’s article Serra agreed with Montesino, affirming that “Capriles must distance himself from such messages, or risk being an accomplice to what has been said…Those in the opposition who have a conscience must separate themselves from these commentaries filled with nothing but ill intentions”.
Speaking on Venezuelan National Radio over the weekend, host Adal Hernandez affirmed that Goicoechea’s piece “is part of a campaign of psychological warfare aimed at producing abstention within our (pro-Chavez) ranks”.
“However”, he affirmed, “the opposition again fails to un- “fails to recognize the authority of a public institution – the National Electoral Council” and “incites both violence and terrorism”.
Submitting a formal complaint against Goicoechea that asks the Public Affairs Ministry to investigate, Sierra contrasted the opposition’s messaging with the “socialist youth” that support President Chavez and “want nothing but peace for Venezuela”. “Whether the President wins or loses, what we want is peace and not calls for violence”, he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Great Patriotic Pole, the mass pro-Chavez grassroots coalition of political parties, social movements, and others united behind the socialist candidate, Amanda Montesinos called the violent message disseminated by national opposition daily El Universal “clear evidence of a dark, twisted plan against the Venezuelan people”.
“Capriles and his campaign are behind this plan”, she said, “and they are looking to send their followers into the streets and thus provoke a massacre”. derstand that this is the same nation of people who made history by reversing their shortlived (2002) coup”.
Speaking at a campaign rally on Saturday, Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua called on “violent groups within the opposition” to “renounce their radical attitudes and join the democratic electoral process underway, heading to the polls and voting in total normality this October 7”.
Referring to recent opposition comments against the CNE, Jaua explained that “these are manifestations of a right-wing that knows it will be defeated by the passion and consciousness of a people who have awoken”.
“They (the opposition) have every right to express themselves and dissent from the will of the Venezuelan majority”, he said, “but they don’t have the right to not recognize its will”.
“Venezuela doesn’t deserve to be taken into a scenario of violence similar to what we’ve seen in Libya and Syria”, he affirmed.
President Chavez, who spoke to reporters alongside Jaua, added that the opposition “should prepare itself for defeat, because it is clear to everyone that they are going to lose”.
Chavez also explained that he had spoken to Jose Vicente Rangel, one of Venezuela’s most widely-respected investigative journalists and former Vice President, asking him “to reach out to contacts in the political world so as to ensure sectors in the opposition do some reflecting”.
Referring to possible postelection violence, Chavez told reporters, “a few members of the opposition have publicly stated that they won’t back any craziness”.
“I extend my hand to those that understand that we must learn to co-exist”, he said. “We, the majority, must live in co-existence with the minority, respecting each other… so as to live in peace and democracy”.
“Hopefully,” he said, “a truly democratic opposition will develop after the election”.
Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski did not respond to questions regarding Goicoechea’s calls to violence, nor would he confirm publicly he commitment to recognize the results of Sunday’s elections, regardless of the winner.
Source: Correo del Orinoco