As I posted earlier, Venezuela’s opposition was trying to collect 200,000 signatures needed for a petition to recall dictator Nicolás Maduro.
Huge crowds turned up. Somebody even photoshopped Hugo Chávez up from the grave,
The opposition’s recall petition is the first in a three-stage process that would last at least eight months and would need to surmount possible procedural obstacles from the Supreme Court and the electoral court, both staffed with Maduro loyalists, according to constitutional and political experts.Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who is spearheading the referendum drive, said the opposition collected 1.1 million signatures on the first day, well above the threshold of 198,000.
The signatures will be submitted to the National Electoral Council, known as CNE, which will then have 20 days to authenticate them and the accompanying fingerprints. If it does, the opposition must then collect nearly four million signatures in three days to trigger the actual recall vote.
To recall Mr. Maduro and force new elections, they would have to garner more votes than the 7.5 million the president got in the 2013 ballot.
I am extremely pessimistic that it would have any effect:
- For starters, “this is just the first step in a ridiculously slow, needlessly tortuous, laughably unfair process.”
- As the WSJ points out, “the government controls everything from the delivery of signature forms to the authentication process.”
- Maduro’s term ends next year. Why should the government hurry?
- Cuba is getting new funds from the US, and is in no hurry to pressure Venezuela to improve.
- The other actors in the region (drug cartels, FARC, Iran) have no incentive to precipitate a risky change.
- The purpose of the regime is to consolidate power around itself, not to act in the benefit of the country.
Let’s hope I’m wrong.