With a “slowdown operation” CNE officials seek to frustrate new Venezuelan voters in Táchira State

With a “slowdown operation” CNE officials seek to frustrate new Venezuelan voters in Táchira State

With a “slowdown operation” CNE officials seek to frustrate new Venezuelan voters in Táchira State


Morrocoy operation is what CNE (National Electoral Council) has been applying in the last two weeks at the only electoral registration point enabled in Táchira State, with a single machine ready to serve 400,000 new young voters from Táchira plus the number of people who come to make changes of residence.

Anggy Polanco // Correspondent lapatilla.com

The purpose is to generate fatigue and frustration among new voters who, amid the apathy of some, make the effort to register in the registry of the National Electoral Council to be able to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming presidential elections.

People who come to San Cristóbal from various municipalities of the state, incurring in sizable expenses in an impoverished country, are then subjected to long hours of waiting under the sun or the rain, even enduring hunger, until they fulfill their objective.

Young people are served through a teller window where they show their identity document (cédula de identidad). They do not even allow older adults to use the waiting seats. Registration takes between 2 to 3 minutes for each person. They ask for the email, the address of residence and to choose the voting place. In this last step, in some cases, officials arbitrarily choose the voting site to register.

It is worth mentioning that the only requirement to register in the Electoral Registry is the original identification card, regardless of whether it has expired, and being over 18 years of age. However, some people arrive at the office with additional requirements such as RIF, residence letter and current ID which, according to the Electoral Processes Law, are not necessary documents, but there have been cases in which officials request such documents.

“We would like to think that this is not the case, but on Thursday we mobilized 40 young people from the Junín municipality from 8:00 am, and from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm these kids stood in line. On Monday we mobilized 50 young people from San Antonio del Táchira and they arrived at 9:00 am, but these boys had to wait standing 4 hours to register, because the electricity arrived at 12:30 noon and the wait while they turned on the machines and then began to work at 1:00 pm,” said Jonathan Basto, regional coordinator of the ‘Voto Joven’ organization (Young Vote, Youth Vote).

The electrical outages in Táchira affect the operation of the regional office of the National Electoral Council and interfere with the registration of new voters. “Of the eight hours a day that the office should operate, the only machine enabled for registration only operates for just four hours, due to continuous 4-hour power outages, whether in the morning or afternoon,” Basto explained.

It is never known at what time they will suspend the electricity service to the sector where the CNE regional headquarters is located in ‘Barrio Obrero’.


With a “slowdown operation” CNE officials seek to frustrate new Venezuelan voters in Táchira State


Unfortunately, the office does not have an emergency power plant and does not have the necessary conditions to serve the number of people who come in daily.

Sometimes, the ‘Voto Joven’ organization provides hydration to the boys they manage to mobilize, but this is not the case all the time, because they have limited resources to travel from the most distant municipalities such as Bolívar, Junín, Guásimos, Andrés Bello, among other areas of the state.

“The response of the kids, despite the situation, has been to stay there as an act of protest, with the desire to register to be able to participate in the elections on July 28,” said the organization’s coordinator.

The youngsters know that each of these obstacles is part of a plan to discourage them, and that if they do not register, they will not be able to participate. Furthermore, the time they have to complete the process is very short.

Voto Joven has even detected cases of boys who have registered and still do not appear in the system, and when they come to ask, they are only told to wait.

They look to instill frustration

Luis David Pinto, youth coordinator of ‘Vente Venezuela’ (political party) in Táchira, last Thursday March 14th (#14Mar), went with a group of colleagues from the Pedro María Ureña municipality to the main headquarters of the CNE in San Cristóbal. They arrived there at 7:30 am, but come 11:30 am there was a blackout, and they had to remain in line waiting. The young people of Ureña ate standing under the sun and yet persisted, but when the electricity came back on, they did not open the office door and the officials said that the electricity service had not arrived.

He reported that the idea, at first glance, is to intentionally delay the process so that people who travel from afar lose the money, time and desire to register for the CNE, a situation that he considers is very serious.

“We live in Ureña and it is difficult for us to transport a busload of people, which costs 400,000 pesos that we all pay. That is the cost of wanting to choose, that is the cost of us wanting to do something that the Constitution establishes as a right. So, they want to steal our rights. They want the process to go at a slow pace so that people get angry, frustrated and leave,” Pinto said.

Now, the group of young people who come from the border deal with the mistrust of mobilizing people for San Cristóbal, a very complicated task and a fight against the current.

It’s not easy to encourage new voters


With a “slowdown operation” CNE officials seek to frustrate new Venezuelan voters in Táchira State


For ‘Voto Joven’ in Táchira it has not been an easy task to mobilize boys and girls from their municipalities to the CNE. First, the members of the NGO that promotes the rights of young people have tried to encourage and motivate them, since many see the Venezuelan electoral system as a problem, as it hinders the voting process. Others have no interest in participating in national politics, because they do not believe in the governing body.

“The challenge is gigantic, not only for the organization, but for the members of the country’s political parties and student movements. We all know that this is due to a political model that seeks in some way to discourage the kids,” Jonathan Basto told lapatilla.com.

The hope is that next week the electoral registration period will begin throughout the country and that an electoral machine will be installed in every municipality or in each main town square. This would help the more than 3 million young people in the country register before April 16th.

Fewer possibilities for those abroad

For new Venezuelan voters who are outside Venezuela, the situation is even worse because young people, whether or not registered in the CNE, must go to the consulates in each country where they are resident and have a proof legal resident status to be able to make the change of residence or register.

“We know that the majority of Venezuelans who are outside the country are not located near consulates, and to go to consular offices they must travel very long distances by plane or bus, which generates high economic costs and physical wear and therefore, it is estimated that not many will be able to register,” Basto reported.