This morning United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader Diosdado Cabello presented evidence, including phone recordings, documents, and emails, allegedly proving that the opposition has plans to not recognise the 14 April presidential election results.
Cabello played an audio recording of a phone conversation to the public in which Joao Nunes, Capriles’ bodyguard and driver, said that Capriles won’t recognise Sunday’s results if he loses.
In the recorded conversation, which lasts just over a minute, Nunes talks with another person, “Michell”, who says “It’s looking to be full on, man”. Nunes responds, “Man, they’re going to rob it from them in the streets…”. Michell then says, “Looking at it from here, here what they are saying is that he’s not going to recognise [the elections] if he loses… there’s going to be problems, full on problems”.
Cabello also showed an email allegedly sent from Amando Briquet, of Capriles’ campaign team, to Guillermo Salas, member of the organisation Esdata. Esdata has reported on Venezuela’s electoral process since Chavez was elected in 1998, and claims there are “statistical irregularities” by the National Electoral Council (CNE) which “violate the right to elect”.
In the alleged email, dated 6 April this year, Briquet wrote, “…we need everything set out in Washington for checking over by the [Capriles campaign]. It's necessary that all documentation is presented internationally if we decide to take the road of not recognizing the results."
Cabello said opposition umbrella group MUD’s secretary, Ramon Aveledo, was involved and that he had requested documentation from Salas “in order to be able to support their decision not to recognise the results”.
Further, Cabello denounced an alleged meeting between the head of private, opposition supporting newspaper, El Nacional, Miguel Otero, with Capriles and Briquet. Cabello accused the three men of meeting in order to “discuss not recognising the elections”.
Finally, Cabello said an organisation called Patriotic Board (Junta Patrotica), which includes Guillermo Salas, signed a document which they sent on 7 April to Vicente Diaz. Diaz is a CNE director known to side more with the opposition. In the document the Patriotic Board allegedly expressed its decision to not recognise the CNE’s reports.
Cabello told press he’d made the information public in “order to guarantee peace; this is a …warning so that they know we know what they are planning to do”.
Public prosecutor Luisa Ortega also verified that seventeen people have been detained in Sucre, Monagas, and Aragua states for sabotaging the electrical system. Blackouts have been more common over the last two weeks across Venezuela.
“A small group has been sabotaging the electricity system, and that’s why there have been some power outs, but they aren’t the part of the majority of the people, because the people don’t want destabilisation, they want peace,” Ortega said. She informed that the crime of sabotaging the electricity grid is punishable by up to 30 years prison.
According to Wilmer Barrientos, head of strategic command of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, the seventeen people detained were “caught red-handed” damaging electricity facilities.
In Merida this afternoon, opposition supporters, after a large rally where Capriles spoke, committed various acts of violence in the city. Some of the perpetrators were drunk, and some wore balaclavas, making it likely they were part of the violent Movement 13 group based on Merida's University of Los Andes. They attacked the offices of the goverment youth, INJUVEM, of public radio YVKE Mundial, the state government building and its workers, and various privately owned shops in the centre of the city. The number of injuries is as yet unknown, and the national guard have calmed the situation.
Other events over the last few days have also pointed towards an opposition strategy of destabilisation and not recognising Venezuela’s electoral power.
Yesterday Capriles refused to sign a CNE document of commitment to recognise the election results, instead signing his own document. There he committed to “respect the will of the people” but attacked the CNE for supposedly being “negligent” and “biased” towards the government, and Maduro’s campaign for supposedly “taking advantage of the poor” and using public media.
On Monday, there was some violence and some people were injured, in an upper class suburb of Caracas. According to reports by residents of the area, it now appears that Maduro supporters were attacked by the opposition group JAVU, which then went to the press and blamed “Castro-communists” for the violence.
On Saturday government officials also released a recorded conversation that allegedly reveals the use of “mercenaries” by the Venezuelan opposition to create chaos in the lead up to the elections.
Maduro alleged that the “mercenaries” were already in Venezuela and had three objectives: to sabotage the electrical grid, increase the number of murders, and assassinate Maduro. He alleged that they were coordinated by the Central American right wing, with some sectors of the opposition. He said his information was based on conversations recorded by Venezuela’s intelligence organisations.
Foreign minister Elias Jaua claimed the “mercenaries” are led by a retired colonel of the Salvadoran armed forces, David Koch, and coordinated by Salvadoran right-wing politician Roberto d Áubuisson.
Yesterday Maduro released a photo of one of the supposed mercenaries, Julio Cornejo, and asked the Venezuelan public to inform authorities if they see him.