More than 3-million Venezuelans went to the polls on Sunday (1 December) to elect a new president despite threats from pro-Castro terrorists who had threatened to shoot anybody who dared leave his home to vote.
MS People lined up to vote
MS Soldiers with weapon carrier
MS Soldiers talking to people - sign "no Votes FLN"
MS People in line
MS Political posters
MS People going in to vote
MS Soldiers searching man
MLS People lining up
MCU Dr. Leoni
CU Man being fingerprinted
MS Leoni voting
LS President Betancourt shaking hands
Betancourt shaking hands
MS Man counting votes
MS Betancourt votes
LS Man counting votes
LS Ballot board - people watching
LS People counting ballots
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Background: More than 3-million Venezuelans went to the polls on Sunday (1 December) to elect a new president despite threats from pro-Castro terrorists who had threatened to shoot anybody who dared leave his home to vote.
Almost complete but still unofficial returns indicate a victory for Dr. Raul Leoni, the candidate of President Romulo Betancourt's ruling Democratic Action Party. In a field of seven candidates Leoni won almost one-third of the total vote.
More than 90 percent of the eligible voters turned up at the polls. Some voters had lined up as early as 4 A.M. Some of them had to wait three hours or more. Many made paper hats to fend off a burning sun as they stood in line.
Troops patrolled the streets of Caracas on the lookout for terrorists, and each male voter was searched as he entered the polling place. Women were required to open their handbags.
Despite the security precautions there was sporadic sniper fire throughout the day. According to some unofficial reports about 20 people were killed.
President Betancourt has fought left-wing terrorism throughout her term in office. His ambition is to turn over his office to a freely elected successor next March it would be the first time in Venezuela's history that one freely elected President had succeeded another.