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CONNECT THE WORLD

Formula One Returns To Bahrain Amidst Protest; Pervez Musharraf Placed Under House Arrest; Crews Searching for Survivors in Texas Blast

Aired April 18, 2013 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MAX FOSTER, HOST: You're watching CNN live from London. For the very latest on two big stories out of the U.S., a deadly blast in Texas and the Boston bombings investigation, we join our sister network CNN USA.

(SIMULCAST WITH CNN USA)

FOSTER: You've been watching CNN International's sister network CNN USA as we bring you the very latest on the two big stories out of the U.S. Explosions at the fertilizer plant in Texas and the latest on the Boston bomb attacks. We'll continue all of the developments and bring you the very latest on both of those.

But for now here's what's coming up on Connect the World. I will tell you why former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been placed under house arrest.

And I'll speak to the Venezuelan ambassador to the UK about what the Maduro presidency means for the rest of the world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Max Foster.

We'll continue to keep you updated on the very latest out of Texas and Boston this hour. For now, though, turning to other world news. And Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf has been placed under house arrest. The action came out of the nation's supreme court rejected Musharraf's bail extension.

Our Nic Robertson is in Islamabad with the very latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: By the end of Thursday it was becoming very clear Musharraf was being placed under house arrest at his farm just outside of Islamabad. His party officials appearing on television here saying that his house was being turned into a sub-jail, meaning that jailors would replace his security guards at the compound and he would not be free to leave.

It had begun earlier in the day. Musharraf attended the high court, the Islamabad high court. He had gone there to appeal for an extension for his bail in the case of locking up judges, 60 judges in the country, locked up for five-and-a-half months in 2007. The judge there in the high court refused to extend the bail, said Musharraf should be arrested.

Musharraf immediately escorted from the court room by his security detail, bundled into a waiting black SUV, driven to his farm on the outskirts of Islamabad where he remained for the rest of the day.

The police chief said he wouldn't act on an arrest warrant until he got the backing of the government. The government late in the day gave the backing for that, that allowed the process that led to Musharraf being placed under house arrest.

This all seems to have come from, if you will, a major miscalculation by Musharraf return to the country about a month ago, expected to enter politics, expected to get big support. From day one it didn't happen. He was anticipating hundreds of thousands of people greeting him at the airport when he landed. It turned out to be hundreds. Then there were the legal cases against him in court, charges of treason, charges of being involved in the murder of Benazir Bhutto, the charges of putting the judges under house arrest. And in all those cases the judges really went after those cases aggressively. Musharraf had expected them to hold off until after the elections, about a month away, that didn't happen.

And then his apparent miscalculation in the elections there. He was running, wanted to run for four seats, and the electoral collection barred him from running for any of those four seats, so not able to run in the elections whatsoever. Now, not able to leave the country and under house arrest at his farm just outside Islamabad.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Islamabad, Pakistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: A man from the U.S. state of Mississippi is being charged in connection with sending letters that may have contained the deadly poison ricin. Paul Kevin Curtis had his first appearance in federal court earlier today. The letters were addressed to President Barack Obama and a Mississippi senator. They were intercepted at a mail processing facility. Another letter sent to a Mississippi judge is also being tested for ricin.

Italy's political deadlock goes on raising some fears of potential instability in Europe's third largest economy. Lawmakers today failed to choose a new president after two rounds of voting. Now, they'll face a third ballot.

Elections in February left Italy with no party of capable of forming a government. The office of the president isn't as powerful as it is in some countries, but it has some vital functions, including the power to dissolve parliament and hold a fresh election, which may be necessary before very long. Giorgio Napolitano, Italy's president since 2006 steps down a month from now.

Another long night of sleeping (inaudible) survivors of Tuesday's powerful earthquake near the Iran-Pakistan border. Pakistan felt the brunt of it and is trying to get food, water, and medical supplies to thousands of people whose homes have been destroyed. At least 35 people were killed. Saima Mohsin shows us the scope of the devastation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is one of the many buildings that collapsed when the earthquake struck. This is Mishkail (ph) town, one of the worst affected areas along the Pak-Iran border.

Now the military estimates that at least 1,000 homes have either been completely destroyed or damaged, rendering them uninhabitable. We've met people here who are living in makeshift tents they've had to make themselves. They're trying to get aid to them as much as possible, but it's incredibly hot here during the day. There is very little food and water getting to people. People are already suffering from dehydration, and at night it's incredibly cold where they have no shelter.

They're trying to get as much aid to them as possible. We've joined a military flight today, getting people in and out who need medical attention, but they're saying they need much more.

Saima Mohsin, CNN, Mishkhail (ph).

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Shameful, that's what U.S. President Barack Obama is calling the gun control defeat in congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to speak plainly and honestly about what happened here, because the American people are trying to figure out how can something have 90 percent support and yet not happen.

We had a Democrat and a Republican, both gun owners, both fierce defenders of our second amendment, with A-grades from the NRA come together and work together to write a commonsense compromise on background checks. And I want to thank Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey for their courage in doing that, that was not easy given their traditional strong support for second amendment rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: But on Wednesday, the U.S. Senate rejected the measure that would have expanded background checks for people buying firearms. Like the president, gun reform campaigners were also outraged after the vote with one calling it a stain on the reputation of the U.S. Senate. A broader reform package, which includes tougher laws on gun trafficking is still under consideration.

Some big names from Hollywood and world cinema are set to dominate the lineup at the Cannes Film Festival next month. Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn, respectively the star and director of the 2011 thriller Drive plan to be back on the festival's red carpet with their latest collaboration Only God Forgives.

Directors Steven Soderbergh and the Cohen brothers will also be in the running for a prize. Stephen Spielberg, seen here at the Golden Globe awards, is leading the Cannes Film Festivals' jury.

You're watching Connect the World. And mixed response as Formula One returns to Bahrain. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: The Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled for this weekend, but anti-government protesters in the country say they've been forgotten by the world's media. They want this weekend's Formula One to be canceled and they're vowing once again to disrupt it until their voices are heard.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen reports organizers insist the race will go on.

(BEIGN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Once again Bahrain is gearing up for its annual Formula One race on the impressive international circuit in the middle of the desert. But not everyone supports the F1 coming to town. In this village outside the capital Manama, protesters are calling for the event to be canceled, saying the rulers of the tiny kingdom are guilty of human rights abuses.

"The media doesn't cover the demonstrations like this revolution that is part of the Arab Spring," this activist says, "this is why we tell them come over to the Formula One race and come see the women and the men marching in the streets demanding democracy for two years now while the prime minister keeps insisting that he doesn't know if there's any demonstration in the country. There are demonstrations, indeed, every day, every village demanding democracy and human rights."

Clashes broke out ahead of last year's Formula One race. This year, human rights watch has accused the government of a campaign of arbitrary arrests and detentions ahead of the F1 in a bid to silence the opposition.

The government denies the claims and also tells CNN the race will bring benefits many Bahrainis seek. The government is pleased that the F1 will boost the economy and tourism. And it will also provide Bahrainis will more job opportunities.

The CEO of Bahrain's International circuit says he believes more than 70 percent of the population supports the race. The head of Formula One Bernie Ecclestone has voiced sympathy for the protests, but the race is still scheduled to move forward.

Many issues in the kingdom remain unresolved after an uprising in 2011 where the majority Shiite population demanded more rights from the rulers who belonged to the minority Sunni sect. Those protests were violently crushed by Bahrain's security forces with troops from Saudi Arabia coming into the country to support the government. In the aftermath of a protest, the government promised reforms, including a special unit set up to investigate claims of rights abuses.

But critics say little has changed. So the opposition continues to battle recently staging a drum march through villages outside the capital Manama with a clear message with those in charge of Formula One, "don't come here under the current circumstances."

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: The government has offered additional response to the claims from rights groups saying in a statement, quote, "Bahrain upholds the rights to peaceful protests, this is why it's launched a dialogue between all political groups to address political issues in a manner that will ensure the country develops in a sustainable way." It goes on to say, "it should be noted that some cases -- in some cases protests encouraged by extreme opposition groups result in deliberate and targeted violence. Only in these cases do security forces to respond and they do so whilst exercising appropriate restraint."

Coming up next, a desperate search for the missing after a massive explosion in Texas. A fire at a fertilizer plant suddenly erupts with the power of an earthquake.

Also, how close are investigators to identifying suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. We'll get a live update on the investigation.

And changing the world one girl at a time. We'll hear from a former prime minister's wife, how she believes education is key later in the program.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD live from London. Welcome back, I'm Max Foster. We want to update you now on two big stories we're following in the United States. A deadly explosion in Texas and the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Let's go -- well, let's start with the small town of West in Texas. Crews are searching house by house for any more survivors of a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant. The mayor says it felt like a nuclear bomb.

Homes and businesses near the plant were flattened. Authorities estimate the death toll between 5 and 15, but say it could grow much higher. Some residents captured the moment of the blast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(WIND NOISES)

(INAUDIBLE TALKING)

(LOUD EXPLOSION)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: A fire at the plant suddenly erupted in a deafening boom, throwing people to the ground blocks away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was actually picked up and thrown about ten feet. Thank God I went upstairs. Because if I hadn't, the couch that I had been on, when I came down, I looked at it, the couch wasn't there. It was right in front of a big bay window and it was shredded from the glass from the bay window, so if I'd been on that couch, I'd be dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Authorities say there's no out-of-control chemical escape from the destroyed factory. Still, around half the town has been evacuated. Texas governor Rick Perry is seeking emergency federal aid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: And I am declaring McLennan County a disaster, will request an emergency declaration from the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Some of the first daylight scenes from the town of West look like a war zone. David Schechter from our affiliate WFAA takes us through one devastated neighborhood.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID SCHECHTER, WFAA CORRESPONDENT: I want to show you some of the devastation we're seeing now that the daylight is out. This appears to be what was a home over here, completely just obliterated, smoking char.

If we keep moving around, I'll show you over here, there's -- you can see some remnants of the home. There is a -- I want to watch out for this power line here. Watch your head, here, Juan.

Over here, there's a hot water heater. And you can see the bathtub. This is, obviously, the bathroom of this home that is now gone. The heat from this fire or whatever was so hot, over here on the side of this structure, which is still standing, this looks like fabric.

This is -- I believe the vinyl siding that has melted off the side of this building. And some of this vinyl siding we can see about 20 or 30 yards away, hitting that building over there. And I believe we're not that close to the blast zone, probably at least a quarter to a half mile away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: And now to Boston, a city struggling to heal after Monday's deadly marathon bombings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(ORGAN MUSIC)

(CHOIR SINGING "AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL")

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Thousands of people filled a cathedral today for an interfaith service honoring the victims. Residents and dignitaries alike came to pay their respects, including President Barack Obama. He said those who carried out the bombings will be caught and will face justice. He also said such attacks can never destroy the American spirit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You've shown us, Boston, that in the face of evil, Americans will lift up what's good. In the face of cruelty, we will chose compassion. In the face of those who would visit death upon innocents, we will choose to save and to comfort and to heal.

That's why a bomb can't beat us. That's why we don't hunker down. That's why we don't cower in fear. We carry on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Investigators, meanwhile, are working around the clock to identify suspects in the bombings. The FBI is due to speak to reporters less than 30 minutes from now. We'll bring you that news conference live.

Three people were killed on Monday when bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. At least 183 others were injured, some critically. As Poppy Harlow reports, emergency responders are being praised as heroes for their quick actions that saved countless lives.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even 32 years as an EMT can't prepare someone for horror like this.

HARLOW (on camera): How hard was Monday?

MIKE BOSSEE, BOSTON EMT DEPUTY: It was -- the city's worst day and our department's best day, I think.

HARLOW (voice-over): Mike Bossee --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TEXT: BREAKING NEWS

FOSTER: An update now on our top stories, or one of them this hour, the massive explosion ripped through a fertilizer plant in the small town of West in Texas last night. We want to go straight to a live news conference.

GREGG ABBOTT, TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Texans will piece their lives back together, knowing that they have unparalleled support from their state, from their fellow community, and from their fellow Texans.

The second thing is incredible praise that must be given to the first responders across this entire community. In Texas, our first responders don't run from harm, they run toward helping out. That's exactly what happened here.

In the face of the most incredible danger, first responders ran in to try to save the life of someone else. These first responders literally lost their lives helping others. But first responders include firemen, policemen, law enforcement officers of all kind, health care providers, and of course the entire community. The support that we got in responding to this challenge is as big as Texas itself.

The third thing that we want to convey and that is that the state of Texas and the entire community will provide whatever resources are needed to ensure that these challenges will be met. This life -- these lives and this community will be put back together.

And then the last thing that I'll mention is an unfortunate follow-on to incidents like this that arise. It seems like sometimes when tragedies like this arise, they are followed by price-gouging. The governor has declared this a disaster, and so my office has declared a warning with regard to price-gouging and we've activated the price-gouging statute in Texas.

If anyone tries to profiteer off of this tragedy by hiking up prices for basic needs and necessities, they will be facing the wrong end of a lawsuit from the Texas attorney general.

At this time, I want to pass the microphone over to the officer from the Texas Department of Public Safety, with the last comment, that is that the Texas Department of Public Safety is going to be providing me a flyover here as soon as this press conference is over, giving me the opportunity to survey the damage with the ability to report back in more detail about my observations later on.

But at this time, I'd like to turn things over to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

JASON REYES, SERGEANT, TEXAS STATE TROOPER: Thank you, Attorney General Abbott. Jason Reyes with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Ladies and Gentlemen -- ladies and gentlemen, we want to thank you for patience, first and foremost. We know this has been a long day. Our last briefing was at 10:00 this morning, we wanted to give you an update on information that's going on as of now.

We are still in the search-and-rescue phase, looking for individuals. Officials from the state, county, local level, are tirelessly working to try and locate individuals.

For security reasons, ladies and gentlemen, the ATF has requested that no persons, nobody enter any of these affected areas, OK? It is really important. I would also like to report that as of 2:00 PM this afternoon, a community assistance building has been opened. This is the old library. This is for individuals of the city of West.

A post office has been opened as well, and it's going to be running, and that's for the needs of those families of West.

For any information, it's come to our attention that people are wanting to donate items. We are not in need of any perishable items at this time, but if you would like to make any monetary donations, we would encourage you to contact the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and a fund has been set up for the victims of West as well.

At this time, if you have any questions, we will entertain any of those questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there still 5 to 15 people? Is that still the estimate for right now, 5 to 15 people?

REYES: At this time, sir, we can confirm that we do have fatalities. The exact amount is not -- it's not --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 5 to 15 -- ?

REYES: We have confirmed fatalities at this time. We don't have the exact amount.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mayor of West was quoted as saying the number would be 30 to 40. Is this something you can confirm?

REYES: I cannot confirm what the mayor's statements were.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attorney General Abbott, can you speak to the potential as time goes on here that there could be some level of criminal negligence and is your office keeping open that option?

ABBOTT: I think issues involving that is way premature to even consider any issues like this. Our focus right now is on trying to help the families affected by this, get them back to as close to normalcy as we can, help out in the search and rescue component, and we'll have to leave to another day issues such as that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer, your men have been in there. Can you paint a picture? We can't go in there and see it. Can you paint a picture of what it is like in there?

REYES: This is a tireless -- and these gentlemen are working tirelessly, extremely hard trying to do this search and rescue. What they're dealing with, the circumstances, we've got the sheriff, here, he can actually elaborate a little bit more, maybe, with what we're dealing with.

MATT CAWTHON, CHIEF DEPUTY SHERIFF, MCLENNAN COUNTY: Thank you. My name is Matt Cawthon, C-A-W-T-H-O-N, and I am the chief deputy sheriff for the McLennan County Sheriff's department.

What I can tell you about the -- about the area of where the incident occurred is that it is highly populated, it is -- it is a neighborhood. It is devastated. It is still a very volatile situation. And my office -- our office is working very closely with the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the state Fire Marshall's office to determine the exact cause of this explosion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sheriff --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is this a very volatile situation?

CAWTHON: Because of the ammonium nitrate that was found at the scene. This is a fertilizer company. And as it is, it has that type of component in it, and it is a volatile product.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How dangerous is it there right now if you're in this general vicinity potentially?

CAWTHON: We have the Texas -- the TCEQ, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the EPA going in now to determine just how dangerous it is for our first responders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they wearing any type of face mask or whatever?

CAWTHON: I -- I'd have no knowledge of what equipment they have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the ammonium nitrate being stored in hydrous ammonia?

CAWTHON: I don't know about in hydrous ammonia? I've been told about ammonium nitrate?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff, is the ammonium nitrate fertilizer present there, did it all explode, or was it all burnt up in the process, or does some of it remain?

CAWTHON: That question, did some of it remain, did it all burn up, I have no knowledge of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the cause of the fire?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you missing firefighters?

CAWTHON: The cause -- we do not know the cause of the fire, that is what the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the state Fire Marshall's office is working tirelessly to try to find out. I'm going to pass this back to -- back to the attorney general.

(LAUGHTER)

ABBOTT: We can take a couple of more questions.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many of the residents say some of their friends, volunteer firefighter, are deceased. Can you confirm that any of the missing firefighters are deceased?

REYES: Once again, we can confirm that we do have fatalities. At this time, we cannot confirm the amount or number of fatalities we do have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you talk about the extent of the damage to the town?

REYES: As the chief deputy said, this is a populated area. There is damage to residences, homes and properties, and so these are the things that we're having to contend with right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier today, we were clarified -- earlier, we were being told it was 5 to 15. Now you do not want to say that, is that correct?

REYES: Yes, sir. Again, I can confirm that we do have fatalities. I can't give you that exact amount.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But -- so you're pulling back from the previous statement, we should not use, then, correct?

REYES: Again, we do have fatalities. We can't confirm --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you speak with respect to the firefighters? We were told 3 to 5 firefighters were missing, that was this morning. Do those numbers hold?

REYES: Out of respect for the firefighters, I think it's best that we continue our search and rescue efforts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When will the affected area be reopened?

REYES: I'm sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When will the affected area be reopened?

REYES: Again, this is a -- we're taking this on a day-by-day, hour- by-hour basis right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was there a hazmat team that was used --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- expect to open up?

REYES: We are not going to expedite anything. We're going to make sure that we do it right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the fire completely out?

REYES: Is the fire completely out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All fires?

REYES: I do not have knowledge of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should residents be concerned for their health? This was a fertilizer plant, contamination of water supply, anything?

REYES: We are taking every safety precaution. We're taking that into account.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should they be concerned for their health?

REYES: We will -- the Department of Public Safety have all of our state agencies, all of our resources are being utilized, and we're going to make sure all of our citizens are safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did a crew respond before the explosion?

REYES: I don't have knowledge of that. I'll take one more question, back there.

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: Are you guys looking into any zoning laws or anything in terms of this community and as a county that has such a populated area next to what seems to be a volatile plant?

REYES: Again, ma'am, I'm not familiar with the zoning ordinances, if that's what you're asking. I'm not familiar with any --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is anyone going to be looking into it after the investigation?

REYES: Again, we'll leave that with the city and county governments.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Is anyone from the city going to be available to answer the question?

REYES: We are working on setting another date for another press conference, ladies and gentlemen. I want to thank you for your time, and we'll get back to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spell your last name, please.

REYES: Last name Reyes, R-E-Y-E-S.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: And when will we next hear from you? When will we next hear from you guys?

REYES: We will be making a -- around 6:00 or so, you can expect to have another briefing from us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Attorney General --

FOSTER: Hearing the latest briefing, then, on the -- the deadly blast that happened in Texas. Actually, details are becoming less clear as a result of that. They cannot say how many fatalities there have been, they don't know if the fire's actually out at this fertilizer plant, and they don't know the cause of the fire, either.

They're still trying to locate individuals, and the implication being that those individuals are firefighters, but even that wasn't confirmed.

Also, interesting to hear that a price-gouging statute or law has been put into place in Texas to prevent hiking of prices for what they call basic needs and necessities. It does sometimes happen after major incidents, that prices go up, there's some profiteering going on, but they're trying to get rid of that by bringing in a price-gouging law.

Another briefing in coming hours, but they're still clearly in the thick of this investigation and trying to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

Live from London, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Just ahead, Nicolas Maduro looks set to be sworn in as Venezuela's new president, despite the opposition crying foul. We'll have more on what could be a crucial 24 hours for the country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: The Venezuelan opposition is vowing to continue its fight for a recount of the vote in Sunday's presidential election. Hugo Chavez's protege, Nicolas Maduro, was declared the winner by more than 1 percent, prompting claims of voter fraud. Paula Newton in Caracas has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(CROWD SHOUTING)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Minutes after the polls closed in Venezuela's election Sunday, our cameras already spotted trouble: opposition observers demanding to be let into this Caracas polling station, saying they were authorized to oversee the vote.

"They asked us to organize all the monitors, and now they won't let us in, and I don't know why," Gabriel Perez tells me.

ALFREDO ROMERO, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: A group of 200 motorcycle -- motorcycles were firing guns, I know that.

NEWTON: At that same polling station, more accusations investigated by a human rights group that says it has handed over 140 detailed incidents of voter fraud or violations, descriptions, witness names, phone numbers, addresses, all now in the hands of the electoral commission here.

NEWTON (on camera): And there were guns?

ROMERO: Yes.

NEWTON: Motorcycle games.

ROMERO: Yes.

GONZALO HIMIOB AMTOME, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Exactly.

NEWTON: And you know they were Chavistas?

ROMERO: Yes, of course.

NEWTON (voice-over): The so-called gang intimidation, bikers dressed in Chavista colors, is meant to intimidate their supporters, the opposition says, or keep them from voting at all.

(HORN HONKING)

(PEOPLE SHOUTING)

NEWTON: And there's more.

ROMERO: There are some claims also that they were paying for votes. You cannot pay for a vote. Fraud could also mean that people from the government come and press you with a gun, and make you vote for one person. This is fraud.

SAMTOME: Yes, they were forced to vote that way.

NEWTON: So, the system itself is fine, but these people were told --

SAMTOME: The system could be fine, but all the abused before and during the election brings doubt to the --

NEWTON: To the results.

SAMTOME: -- Venezuelan people, yes.

NEWTON (voice-over): The electoral commission says its automated voting system is one of the best in the world, there were very few irregularities, and there is no need for a recount.

(MAN SPEAKING SPANISH)

NEWTON: President-elect Nicolas Maduro first said he'd welcome a recount, then reversed himself.

(PEOPLE SCREAMING)

NEWTON: The refusal to recount meant opposition supporters took the streets, not knowing they'd be taking on Venezuela's National Guard. Paola Possamai shot this from her mobile. She says she and her friends were protesting peacefully when the officers turned on them.

PAOLA POSSAMAI, OPPOSITION PROTESTER (through translator): They are firing teargas, and the officers are armed with rubber bullets. You can see an aggressive use of force. They're shooting to private property, knowing that people were running from them and not confronting them.

NEWTON: She says four people were injured, all of this before the government deemed the protest illegal and the opposition decided to call them off anyway, fearing there'd be more violence.

That hasn't stopped the government from threatening to arrest Henrique Capriles, claiming he incited the violence.

NEWTON (on camera): Are you afraid of being arrested?

HENRIQUE CAPRILES, OPPOSITION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): I am not afraid of their threats. I am in a fight for the truth, and I want this country governed out of truth. Their threats don't intimidate me. They can't cover the reality with their threats.

The people want there to be a recount. These are smoke screens. They are using violence, threats, so that the world will not focus on the recount.

NEWTON (voice-over): But some are.

JOHN KERRY, US SECRETARY OF STATE: We think there ought to be a recount. I don't know if it's going to happen in the next days. They're talking about having an inauguration on Friday. Obviously, if there are huge irregularities, we're going to have serious questions about the viability of that government.

NEWTON: And so the opposition says it will keep fighting for that recount.

LEOPOLDO LOPEZ, OPPOSITION LEADER: Why not do it? Why not do it? The answer is because the government is hiding something. And what are they hiding? They are hiding more than 1.5 percent of the vote that could make the difference and give the presidency to Henrique Capriles. That's the core of the argument.

(CROWD SHOUTING)

NEWTON: Even if the opposition has grounds for a recount, it's a sure thing Maduro will be sworn in by Friday, leaving him to govern a divided nation still at odds over who should be Venezuela's rightful president.

Paula Newton, CNN, Caracas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: The post-election violence has so far left eight people dead, and there are fears of more unrest ahead of Friday's official swearing-in ceremony. Earlier, I spoke to Samuel Moncada, the Venezuelan ambassador to the UK, who told me the opposition, they're just sore losers.

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SAMUEL MOCADA, VENEZUELAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UK: This is process is so technically ordered, that there are 39,000 polling stations. And in each - - not even polling stations, I will say polling booths -- there are witnesses of both parties, of both sections, and at the end of the day, they have to sign off the results.

All opposition witnesses signed off the results. They agreed with it. And there is not one instance -- there were 150 international organizations monitoring the process -- there is no one instance when you would state that those witnesses were pulled out of a polling station by guns.

And indeed, there is a massive difference between being threatened by a gun and being killed by a gun. Eight people got killed on Monday evening and houses were burned down. Even today, a museum in the south of the country was also burned down.

There is a fanaticism in the reaction that is amounting to an actual coup d'etat instead of our civic process.

FOSTER: Maduro is due to take his position, to be sworn in, tomorrow. That looks likely to go ahead no matter what happens at this point. Are you concerned, though, about him presiding over such a divided country, and what does that mean for the rest of the world as well? It just -- gives a sense of instability.

MONCADA: All Latin American countries have recognized the result. Spain, Portugal, France, have recognized the result. There's been no align movement at the UN, more than 123 countries have recognized the result. And in that sense, we are quite comfortable. That is democracy.

In 2007, the government proposed a referendum to change the constitution, and it lost the referendum by 1.8 percent, which is more or less the difference that Maduro -- of Maduro's advantage today. And the government recognized its defeat.

This country is divided and the result changed according to election. And the point is, it's not new. The way to resolve our differences is through counting the votes, and it's normal. The point is, when one side is a sore loser and they don't want to recognize the result for whatever reason, they resort to violence.

This country is polarized, is divided, and that is normal in our history. This has been our history for the last 14 years, and democracy is the way to sort it out.

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FOSTER: South American leaders, including president-elect Nicolas Maduro, are currently meeting in Peru to discuss the Venezuelan political crisis. Before leaving Caracas, Maduro said the opposition was actually a political coup supported by the United States.

In just a few minutes, we're expecting to hear from the FBI on the ongoing investigation into the Boston bombing. Stay with CNN for that. That, though, was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you so much for watching.