Plastic wrapped busts of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez sit for sale at a market in Moron, Venezuela, Thursday, April 25, 2013. Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles said Thursday the opposition would go to the Supreme Court to challenge the results of the April 14 presidential vote, which was narrowly won by Chavez's political heir, Nicolas Maduro. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)The Associated Press
CARACAS, Venezuela – A member of Venezuela's top electoral authority says it has formally decided not to meet opposition demands for a top-to-bottom audit of the April 14 presidential election, heightening tensions over the almost evenly split and contested vote.
The government is threatening to jail opposition head Henrique Capriles on charges of masterminding postelection violence. Capriles says he will boycott the audit and challenge what he calls a stolen election in court.
Both sides are stopping short of moves that would escalate the conflict into direct hostility. For the government, jailing Capriles could bring international condemnation and drive more people into the opposition camp. For Capriles, open confrontation could bolster accusations that he only wants violence.