Target: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez
Goal: Guarantee Venezuelans can vote in the presidential candidate without facing negative reprisals
Many Venezuelans have expressed a hesitant fear in regards to the upcoming presidential election in their country. Despite growing frustrations with President Hugo Chávez’s policies, he is expected to win easily over the challenger, Henrique Capriles Radonski, as a result of political intimidation against the average voter.
Venezuelans have shown a deep concern that, if they were to vote for Mr. Capriles and Chávez wins, they would face negative repercussions. Tell the Venezuelan president that intimidation has no place in a democratic system and that voters’ voices must be protected.
Venezuela is plagued by a stagnant economy and rampant crime, and yet these factors will most likely not impact Chávez’s reelection. More important are the government jobs, government-built homes, and social welfare benefits that the average citizen stands to lose for casting a vote against Mr. Chávez.
A newly government-introduced electronic voting system only fuels the population’s fears that individual votes will be tracked and recorded. Such fears are well-founded; in 2004, millions of voters’ names were publicized from a petition calling for Chávez’s resignation. Many of those mentioned lost their government jobs.
Mr. Capriles faces an uphill battle. Chávez has the entirety of the state apparatus at his disposal, including television and radio, and government workers are often required to attend pro-Chávez rallies. While Capriles argues against a slow economy and runaway crime, Chávez focuses on defending his revolution, declaring that the future of the country is in jeopardy. And indeed it is if voters cast ballots they don’t believe in.
Tell President Chávez to ensure the anonymity of Venezuelan voters and guarantee their safety, regardless of the election’s outcome.
Dear President Chávez,
In the days leading up to the presidential election, many Venezuelans have expressed fear of repercussions should they vote for your challenger. Such fear seems justified—in 2004, many government workers lost their jobs for signing a petition asking for your resignation. And now, a new government sponsored electronic voting system is in place further casting doubts on the election’s credibility.
Please ensure that every individual in your country is able to vote without concern over repercussions. Votes cast out of fear are useless to the development of your country.
[Your Name Here]
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