The principle of bringing the consulate closer to citizens seems a warrant forgotten by our foreign service, which becomes pretty relevant these days of upcoming election. An estimate of two million Venezuelans, from all sort of ages, reside abroad, but the Venezuelan consular structure is the old one brought into the present, during those days in which Venezuela did not use to be country of emigrants as it does nowadays.
Based on the table recorded by the National Electoral Council (CNE), according to which 60% of people are able to vote, slighty over one million Venezuelans abroad should vote in the presidential election of October 2012. As a matter of fact, it is otherwise.
In the last election held on September 26, 2010, only 56031 citizens – who resided abroad and were able to vote from there – enrolled in the registry of voters, from which only 15,434 people fulfilled their democratic commitment, for an abstention of 72.45%. Ending September 2011, enrollment could reach 62,000 people. In presidential elections, abstention shrinks to 60% with a 40% turnout. Due to the low turnout that has been recorded, several NGOs and groups of citizens have teamed up in order to assess the situation and develop mechanisms that allow those citizens to exercise the right to vote.
Gabriela de Sola, coordinator of Venezolanos en Exterior (Venezuelans Abroad, Venex) points out some of the issues detected in multiple countries.
She expresses that the most common ones are related to the council officials who clog up the enrollment; their ignorance of the electoral laws; asking for requirements that are not contemplated in the law; failure to open timely the registry of voters, which should be open permanently, just as the CNE establishes it.
There are also issues associated with the existing distances, the fees and costs that people need to pay in order to go to councils which generally are located in other cities, and of course the fear of possible reprisals from the government; concerning aspects such Cadivi or a new list that discriminates those who participate in the primaries, those who are officials or relatives of public employees, those who posses a scholarship or companies that work for the state, etc.
Full Article: Banished voting rights – Daily News – EL UNIVERSAL.