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Tascon List

The Tascon List is a list of the signatures of those who petitioned in 2003 and 2004 for the recall of the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, a petition which ultimately led to the Venezuelan recall referendum, 2004, in which the recall was defeated. Before and after the referendum there were accusations that the list, published online by National Assembly member Luis Tascon as part of the verification of signatures, was being used by the government to discriminate against the petitioners. The government also claimed some private firms were using the list to discriminate in favour of petitioners.


A signature collection drive was launched initially in mid-2003. On 17 October 2003, President Chavez said on Alo Presidente that "those who sign against Chavez are signing against their country and against the future", and added, "whoever signs against Chavez, there will remain his name recorded for history."El Universal, 17 October 2003, "El que firme contra Chavez esta firmando contra la patria"


In February 2004, on the TV program Alo Presidente 180, President Chavez announced that he had signed a document asking the National Electoral Council (CNE) to provide copies of all the signatures of the petitioners for the referendum, in order to expose the opposition's "mega fraud". Due to a lack of funds on the part of the CNE, Luis Tascon, a representative of the ruling party in the legislature, led the collection of photocopies of the signatures.

Tascon subsequently published on his website a database of the more than 2,400,000 Venezuelans who had signed the petition, together with their national identity card numbers (cedula). Tascon's actions were condemned by both the National Electoral Council and by Marisol Plaza, the Chief Public Prosecutor. Tascon said he posted the list in order to support the verification of signatures, saying that publication of the list provided a way for those who appeared on it, but had not signed, to register a complaint with the CNE. Tascon later said that the source of the list was not the CNE, but an unidentified ex-head of Sumate, which had collected the signatures. Tascon said he had bought the list for several thousand US dollars.El Universal, 21 April 2005, Tascon: Alto jefe de Sumate vendio la lista por miles de dolares

On 20 April 2004 the CNE itself published a list of signers, and created a website where signers could determine the status of their signature .

Use of list

Once the list was posted, Chavez, on a Venezolana de Television broadcast, encouraged use of the website to verify illicit use of national identity cards. Roger Capella, Minister of Health and Social Development declared that "those who signed against President Chavez would be fired because they are committing an act of terrorism".El Universal, 21 March 2004, "Firmar contra Chavez es un acto de terrorismo" There was a public outcry, in particular by the organization Sumate, and because of reports that people who worked for the government were fired, denied work, or denied issuance of official documents because of their appearance on the list. In July 2004, access to the database was granted to members of the "Batallones Bolivarianos (BBI) por Internet (Internet Bolivarian Battalions)" which previously had to register on Tascon's website to gain access under the strict requisite that they had not signed the petition for the referendum.

Burying the list

Luis Tascon later removed the list from his website, after widespread accusations that it was being used to discriminate against those who had signed the petition, noting that it was a crime to "persecute" people for signing.

On 16 April 2005 Chavez declared the "Tascon List must be archived and buried" and continued "I say that, because I keep receiving some letters, among the many I get, that make me think that still in some places they have the Tascon List on their tables to determine if somebody is going to work or not".El Universal, 16 April 2005, Chavez exigio enterrar "la famosa lista" del diputado Luis Tascon

Legal claims

A case was opened on the Venezuelan Supreme Court against Tascon in May 2005.El Universal, 20 May 2005, Tascon dispuesto a acudir al TSJ However, Luis Tascon has parliamentary immunity as an active member of the National Assembly and cannot be tried as long as he is in office.

In March 2006, three former government employees introduced a case against the Chavez administration at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, arguing that Jose Vicente Rangel, the country's vice president, ordered their dismissal because their names appeared on the Tascon List and, therefore, were victims of discrimination for political reasons. A decision on the case is expected to be reached in October 2006.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Tascon List

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