imc activists | 15.08.2004 01:11 | Venezuela
The Venezuelan referendum on the left-wing presidency of Hugo Chavez began at 6:00 am (Venezuelan time), 11am BST, today. Indymedia UK is getting live reports from the streets of Caracas and are distilling news from other media sources as they become available. Things have been calm so far, but tensions are expected to rise during the vote.
Full timeline reports in the article, please read on.
Newswire Reports[ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ]
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Zmag Reports [ 1 ][ 2 ]
For the most part, voting has proceeded peacefully and there have been no substantiated claims of procedural irregularities by either side. The right-wing opposition is ridiculing reports that they are trying to fake a victory using sampled cut and paste speeches by saying that the audio is part of a comedy routine from three weeks ago. As voting draws to a close, we have one confirmed report of a political murder of a Chavez supporter and unconfirmed statements about three others killed. The votes are now being counted. Popular movements are readying themselves to take to the streets if they see any signs of a coup by the country's rich elites. 17:24 Caracas 22:24 BST
Earlier reports of shots fired have now been confirmed although there are no reports of injuries. The head of the National Electoral Commission claimed at 13:35 that he had obtained a copy of a cd with a prepared music montage and a sampled voice-over of his own voice, announcing that the referendum had been lost by Chavez. Voting appears to be proceeding normally although the huge voter turnout means that the polls will be kept open later than initially planned.12:52 Caracas 5:52 BST
We have unconfirmed reports that there have been EXCHANGES of gunfire in the eastern zone of Caracas (El Petare). The Metropolitan police opened fire on Chavistas, who responded. Independent media has a video that is expected shortly. The indymedia reporters have gone out on the street to get more information. 10:30 Caracas 3:30 BST
Currently about 4 million people have voted and millions more are waiting to vote in huge lineups. The American Carter Center declared earlier today that they have documented no voting irregularities thus far. Indymedia newswires in Puerto Rico is the central clearinghouse for Spanish-language reporting.