Special VHeadline.com correspondent Katherine Lahey writes: As the August 15 recall referendum continues, the reality of the voting process slips farther and farther away from the opposition promulgated image of tension, worry and outbreaks of violence.
There's no Chavista propaganda ... no one is wearing Chavista red ... they're sincerely respecting the public call on television last night asking people to abide by a peaceful, democratic voting process and not to bring propaganda to the polls.
President Hugo Chavez Frias was out early to vote!
The order of the day is to respect the rights of each voter to make an independent decision .. the feeling in the streets is a profound respect ... although trumpets blared at 3:00 a.m. to rally folks to the polls. In general the people have been calm, and are taking the process very seriously ... which is not to be confused with passivity, flatness, or disinterest.
The time to celebrate comes later.
The private media, however, walk the streets in the opposition neighborhoods, surveying crowds and inciting them to dramatic scenes of impatience, harping all the time on the alleged incompetence of the voting process in general. For the cameras, they chant “We want to vote!” As usual the opposition-loaded private media continues to create their own stories at the expense of any real news.
The real drama continues behind closed doors...
Already with just minutes to spare before 3:00 p.m. international media began receiving emails from IP address 126.96.36.199 claiming to release preliminary results. In accordance with electoral regulations, VHeadline.com will not publish the information ... we do not give much credence to the information since tracing the sender IP to Virginia, USA!
Within the past hour, the CNE announced that they had recovered a recording of the CNE president announcing that Chavez had lost the election. Audio technicians were quickly able to declare the recording a fake but it is clear that radical elements had planned to broadcast it to announce a supposed victory for the opposition.
With the discovery and technical backup, it appears now that the opposition has created an even more embarrassing situation for itself, since an opposition official has publicly gone on the record admitting that the story is true. The private media has interview confused members of the opposition who claim that they voted Yes, but that the machine "ate" their vote, and printed "No." When asked for proof, they responded that they torn them up and thrown them away...
The same sad story reappears in opposition reporting from San Francisco (California) where members of the opposition have advised their supporters to refuse to provide documentary proof of legal residence in the USA). The idea is that given the fact they will consequently be denied the opportunity to vote, it will implant an image of repression of voter’s rights and ultimately to discolor a projected Chavez victory.
As the process proceeds with relative tranquility, VHeadline.com will continue to wait for updates and we’ll be back with more. Voting stations will now stay open until at least 8:00 p.m. and/or as long as there are people who want to vote.
We’re patrolling the streets and keeping our eyes on developments…