Media Center



  November 24, 2003

In light of the invitation extended by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Carter Center have had the privilege of observing the first phase of the signature collection process for the recall referenda.

The joint Mission highlights as one of the most important aspects of this session the great demonstration for each other and for democracy on the part of the Venezuelan people, as well as the atmosphere of cordiality and patriotism that reigned throughout the process.

The CNE, political parties and civil society organizations have demonstrated their capability and efficiency through the organized and transparent management of this process, thereby strengthening confidence and belief in the Venezuelan institutional system. The army met the prescribed objectives for the implementation of the Plan República in a professional manner, providing citizens with the necessary guarantees to allow them freely to express their will.

The joint Mission of the OAS and the Carter Center has deployed 50 international observers in 14 States of the country, covering approximately 50 percent of the centers established in the States observed, and it hopes to deploy a similar mission over the coming session, beginning on November 28.

According to the findings of the members of the joint Mission, the signature collection has been undertaken in a general atmosphere of tranquility and great civic maturity, demonstrating once more for the international community the commitment of the Venezuelan people to democratic ideals.

The incidents identified by the observers were isolated and referred essentially to the late opening of various voting centers, discrepancies with respect to the duties of the traveling collectors, and a lack of signature collection forms – aspects that did not affect the normal development of the process or prevent citizens from exercising their right to participate in this process.

The various analyses of the voters’ list (REP) agree that it is sufficiently accurate for a process of this nature – a conclusion that will facilitate the signature verification process.

The joint Mission wishes to congratulate the Venezuelan people for carrying out this phase of the process - a process never seen before in this hemisphere - in such an organized fashion, as well as for its strong commitment to democracy.

The joint Mission also wishes to highlight the recognition that both the government and the opposition have afforded the role played by both public and private media, in the sense that they have progressed toward more balanced information provision.

The OAS and the Center Carter thank the CNE, the Government, the opposition and the Venezuelan citizens for the confidence and warmth they have shown our observers during this period. They have confidence that this climate of absolute respect for institutional norms, and for each other, will prevail during the coming signature collection days.


Javier Montes
OAS +58-414-249-9554

Kay Torrance
The Carter Center +1-404-420-5129

Reference: VE-11-24-E