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Cablegate: Secretary Powell's Statement On the Venezuelan

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS CARACAS 002595

SIPDIS


FOR WHA/PDA,WHA/AND,INR/R/MR,PACE/PR/FPCW/WHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PGOV OPRC KIRC VE
SUBJECT: SECRETARY POWELL'S STATEMENT ON THE VENEZUELAN
REFERENDUM RECEIVES WIDE COVERAGE ON LAST DAY OF

CAMPAIGN


-----------------------------------
SUMMARY
-----------------------------------
1. On August 12, the last day of campaigning for the
presidential recall referendum, the printed and
electronic press are full stories on the various
aspects of the referendum. While "El Universal" led
with the story on the Pope's remarks and prayers to
Venezuela, it also picked up Secretary of State Colin
Powell's remarks, as did all the printed and electronic
press. Perhaps the next most important theme was the
need for transparency and most importantly the
"totally" secret nature of the vote. Editorials and
television shows with a host of invitees from both
sides, gave their parting remarks before the mid-night
deadline.

-----------------------------------
SECRETARY POWELL STATEMENT ON VENEZUELA RECEIVES BROAD

SIPDIS
MEDIA COVERAGE
-----------------------------------
2. The statement by Secretary Powell on Venezuela
was broadcast minutes after it was read in Washington
by Globovision, a CNN-type program. "El Universal," a
major daily also placed it in its website almost
immediately after it was read with the title, "Powell
Calls upon Venezuelans to Reject Violence." By the
time it reached the printed page, the emphasis was
changed to the call for "Rejection of Intimidation."
Other newspapers followed by placing it on their
websites as well. The "El Nacional" article emphazied
the Secretary of State's call to Venezuelans to reject
both "inimidation and violence."

3. On Friday morning, all the major dailies both in
the capital and all the provinces, carried the story.
"El Universal" lead with the story of the Pope's
blessing to the Venezuelans, but beneath that headline
was the note which reads "Colin Powell: The Secretary
of State Calls upon Venezuelans to Reject Violence and
Intimidation and Exercise Their Right to Vote." Both
"El Nacional" and "El Universal" dedicated almost one
whole page to the remarks of the Secretary, the Pope,
and other international leaders. The leading dailies
carried news of the story on the front-page, although
it was not the leading headline it did receive more
coverage that than the remarks of the Pope. The major
TV news programs also ran the story. News of the
Secretary's message was not covered by the pro-Chavez

SIPDIS
"Vea." The majority of editorials also emphasised the
need to vote.

-----------------------------------
OTHER REFERENDUM THEMES
-----------------------------------
4. Other stories with a referendum angle included news
on
a. the pending arrival of President Carter and OAS
Secretary General Gaviria;

SIPDIS
b. the Wednesday press conference with Center Carter
and ex-presidents of Argentina and Costa Rica;
c. the Center Carter press conference at the CNE;
d. doubts about the fingerprinting machine;
e. the possible manipulation of data by the CNE;
f. the call of the Episcopal Council for all
Venezuelans to exercise their right to vote and reject
violence;
g. the need for transparency;
h. and perhaps most important, the secrecy of the
vote.

5. Both "El Universal" and "El Nacional" printed full
pages (the former in color) of instructions on how the
voting process worked. In the spirit of equality,
opposition TV shows have invited pro-Chavez
respresentatives as well. Another topic which caught
the headlines was the attack on the Globovision vehicle
and crew and the Spanish journalist who was caught up
in the violence and wounded.

-----------------------------------
TOP STORIES IN THE PRESS
-----------------------------------
6. a. OAS guarantees that the recall vote is secret.
(El Nacional, El Diario de Caracas, Ultimas Noticias,
El Globo, El Universal, 2001)

b. Powell calls on Venezuelans to reject violence (The
Daily Journal, El Universal, El Nacional, Ultimas
Noticias, El Globo, El Nuevo Pas, Reporte, 2001, The
Daily Journal)

c. Pope prays for reconciliation in Venezuela. (The
Daily Journal, El Universal, El Nacional, Ultimas
Noticias, 2001)

d. Venezuela's political opposition will close the
recall campaign with a march on Caracas streets. (El
Nacional, 2001, El Universal)

-----------------------------------
OTHER REFERENDUM STORIES
-----------------------------------
7. a. CNE approves of norms to tally up votes and for
the use of the fingerprint-taking machines. (El
Universal,

b. Jimmy Carter and Cesar Gaviria arrive in Venezuela
tomorrow. (El Universal)

c. Venezuelan Government decided to address Cantv's
American partners to warn them of the risk they will
run if the telephone company is involved in an
electoral fraud. (Reporte, Diario Vea)

d. Foreign journalist snatched in downtown Caracas.
(The Daily Journal, El Universal, El Nacional)

-----------------------------------
EDITORIALS AND OP-EDS
-----------------------------------
6. a. Today's top "El Nacional" editorial says that
"the Venezuelan people should not miss out on this
opportunity to settle accounts with a leader that ended
up not being [a leader] such, but an adventurer that
made us lose five valuable years in the development of
the country."

b. "El Universal," in an editorial, also called on
Venezuelans to vote saying: "voting on August 15, more
than exercising a right is fulfilling a duty, an
obligation with the future, with future generations,
with a present committed to rebuilding and putting the
country on the right course."

c. Political analyst Alberto Garrido wrote in "El
Universal": "The nature of the revolution will be
defined on August 15 once and for all. Chavez has said
that his revolution 'is a process to destroy the
system, not to remake it.' He repeated those words in
his speech last Sunday. August 15 must mean, in his
view, the extinction of the representative democracy."

-----------------------------------
COMMENT
-----------------------------------
7. On this the last day of the campaign the media is
full of referendum related articles and stories.
Interestingly, except for "Vea," the pro-Chavez daily
and full-page pro-Chavez "non-ads" paid for the Union
of Petroleum Workers, there was surprisingly little
"Si" or "No" advertisement. The Venezuelan referendum
has arrived at the homestretch.
Shapiro


NNNN
2004CARACA02595 - UNCLASSIFIED

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