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Venezuela under fire ahead of elections

November 11, 2015

The OAS chief has criticized Venezuela's electoral body for rejecting the inter-continental organization's offer to send election monitors. The criticism comes as Venezuela's opposition faces obstacles ahead of the vote.

Luis Almagro
Image: Getty Images/AFP/E. Benavides

The head of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday criticized Venezuela's electoral conditions ahead of legislative elections slated for December 6.

In an 18-page letter addressed to Venezuela's election commission chief Tibisay Lucena, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said that conditions in the South American country "do not ensure transparency and electoral justice."

"We would be sorely lacking in our job if we did not take into account the conditions in which the election campaign is taking place in Venezuela," wrote Almagro who heads the inter-continental organization of 35 states of the Americas.

'Only opposition parties are having problems'

Almagro said that opposition candidates face grueling conditions ahead of the vote, with many unable to access airtime or campaign funds.

In October, former presidential candidate Manuel Rosales was arrested upon returning to Venezuela from exile, while opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was sentenced to 13 years in prison in September.

"It's not that the people have never made a wrong decision, but instead that they are the only ones who have the right to be wrong," Almagro noted.

"It is worrisome that, through an analysis of those conditions we must conclude that, as of now, only opposition parties are having problems," the OAS chief added.

Journal Reporter - The Struggle for Power in Venezuela

Monitors rejected

The Venezuela opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) called for independent election observers to monitor December's elections.

OAS chief Almagro said that their proposal to send election monitors to the South American country had been rejected by Venezuela's electoral commission.

"Faced with the very same questions on functioning democracy, our duty - yours and mine Miss Lucena - is to guarantee it for everyone and not look away or turn a deaf ear to the reality that is in front of us," Almagro concluded.

ls/jm (EFE, AFP, dpa)