Dan Kovalik, a member of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) delegation and Alex Main, representing the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR), travelled to Venezuela as invited guests of the National Electoral Council -the branch of government that oversees all electoral processes- to observe the presidential election there on Sunday, April 14, 2013. They joined 170 international accompaniers and 3,000 Venezuelan electoral observers for a week long program and training, in order to effectively monitor the presidential elections and take note of any problems or situations that may arise.
Since the results were announced by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) shortly after the election on April 14, and the following day Nícolas Maduro was officially recognized the victor by the CNE with 7,563,747 votes (50.75%) to opponent, Henrique Capriles’ 7,298,491 votes (48.97%), the opposition has been calling for a recount and unwilling to recognize the results. Capriles called on his supporters to demand a recount by going to regional centers of the CNE and their national headquarters. Shortly thereafter on Monday, April 15th during the evening violence erupted resulting in 7 deaths and many more wounded, not only in Caracas but in some states by what the government is calling armed thugs and a small sector of fascist activists aligned with the opposition.
Moderated by FPIF Director, Emira Woods, Mr. Kovalik and Mr. Main will share their experiences and provide the audience with their organizations’ findings and suggestions that were made to the National Electoral Council after the election. They will also be available for interviews following their presentations.
Dan Kovalik is a human and labor rights lawyer living in Pittsburgh where he is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1993 and has been a labor lawyer for the United Steelworkers (USW) ever since and is currently Senior Associate General Counsel for USW. He is also an attorney for Colombian Plaintiffs in cases alleging corporate complicity in egregious human rights violations. Kovalik was a co-recipient of the 2003 Project Censored Award for a story he co-wrote on the murder of trade unionists in Colombia.
Alex Main with the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR), focuses on U.S. foreign policy in Latin America and the Caribbean and regularly engages with U.S. policy makers and civil society groups to inform the public debate. He is frequently interviewed by media in the U.S. and Latin American and his analyses on U.S. policy in the Americas have been published in a variety of domestic and international media outlets including Foreign Policy, NACLA and the Monde diplomatique. Prior to CEPR, Alexander spent more than six years in Latin America working as an international relations analyst. He has a degree in history and political science from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France.