Thursday, December 2

“The presence of international observers does not legitimize Maduro”

Correspondent in Caracas



Enrique Marquez is the vice president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), and together with Roberto Picon They are the only two independent representatives of the five rectors who have the directive of the electoral power in Venezuela, for now, dominated by Chavismo. In the 22 years that Chavismo has been in power, it should be noted that it is the first time that the opposition has two of the five rectors, which is not enough to have a balance in decision-making, but it is an advance that it can act as a brake against the excesses of the authoritarian regime.

Born 58 years ago in Maracaibo, (Zulia), the electrical engineer had to resign from his opposition militancy when he was appointed vice president of the CNE, where he chairs the Commission for Political Participation and Financing.

In his interview with ABC he confesses not having an existential dilemma between be an opponent and be an arbitrator of the electoral body in the elections. I try to be impartial. I abide by the rules, regulations, their exceptions and their flexibility, whether political actors like it or not.

Some 40 electoral observers from the EU, half a dozen from the UN and as many from the Carter Center have arrived in Caracas. Is their presence interference as you declared?

Not at all, my statement was misinterpreted. The agreement signed with the European Union contemplates three aspects that must be carried out to the satisfaction of the EU, such as freedom of mobility, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression within the framework established to avoid interference in the electoral exercise.

Are European observers stone guests?

They are not stone guests. They can declare through their official spokesperson that in this case it is Isabel Dos Santos and present their report publicly.

Why then so suspicious of international observers that it is the first time they are invited in two decades of Chavismo?

Today we have nothing to hide. We are opening the doors for you to see progress and be recognized, and the bad to be corrected. The presence of the EU, the UN and the Carter Center is an electoral guarantee, an important political advance that has been the product of political consensus.

Does the presence of EU and UN observers legitimize the Maduro regime?

No not at all. Their presence does not have to do with legitimation but with the need for the electoral process to be observed in a different way.

How is that?

International observation, especially from the EU, for the CNE and for the Venezuelan people is good and necessary because it allows us to show the attempts at democratic reconstruction, which is a cornerstone in solving the problems faced by the opposition and the government through consultation. , the recomposition within the framework of the Venezuelan Constitution.

Has the CNE improved since last May, when you arrived as its vice president?

We have improved technically by 90%, we have a robust and armored system, but politically we are far from reaching a satisfactory figure.

Politically, how much progress have they made?

I’d say 50%. We are still a long way from reaching a satisfactory level due to the many problems we have with political organizations. We have an outstanding debt with the parties.

How do they hold elections with the main opposition parties banned and ‘kidnapped’ by others, and politicians disabled?

Politically we have big gaps. There are 14 organizations intervened and, of them, three are from the opposition, such as Voluntad Popular, Acción Democrática and Primero Justicia. They are parties persecuted by Justice.

How many politicians were disbarred?

I do not know. It is a problem that the CNE has not been able to solve, I admit it. Venezuela cannot continue like this. There is a democratic political deficit.

What flaws does the CNE system still have?

We still fail in the control, the use of common goods, the application of sanctions during the campaign that is directed at the voters. Reprimands are just symbolic acts.

Do the party technicians denounce that the CNE has made improvements in the software and underhanded audits?

We have done 18 audits. It is a robust and armored system.

Is the electronic system of the CNE reliable?

It is 90% reliable.

What have the audits of the 6 million emigrated voters said?

There is no information on the emigrants. We want to increase transparency and guarantees that voting secrecy is protected, it works well.

How has the balance of the new CNE records been?

Some 450,000 new voters have registered. The gap between the deceased and those not deleted from the census is just 1%, which is manageable. In total there have been some two million data updates and queries.

What do you think of Carlos Ocáriz’s resignation from the Miranda government?

That he announced it on November 11 but presented it on 12 and the deadline had already expired. The CNE has a regulation but flexibility can be used.

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