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DEMOCRACY IS STRONG IN VENEZUELA:
Bolivarianism Triumphs in Referendum Vote
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
The vote wasn't about Chavez. It was a popular endorsement of Bolivarian continuity, and against oligarch dominance, no democracy, and back to an impoverished state.On February 15, Venezuelans voted on whether to let presidents, National Assembly representatives, governors, mayors, and state legislators run indefinitely for re-election after Chavez last December proposed a national referendum for constitutional change - so voters, not politicians could decide.
Sunday they spoke decisively in favor by a 54.4% to 45.6% margin with over 94% of votes counted. Chavez didn't win. Venezuelans did for Bolivarian continuity and against oligarch dominance, no democracy, and back to an impoverished state.
Since 1999, Chavez transformed Venezuela to what it is today:
On February 16 at 2.41AM, Reuters reported that "Chavez wins re-election chance in economy's shadow." Around the same time, AP said "Chavez calls Venezuela vote mandate for socialism," and The New York Times headlined: "Chavez Decisively Wins Bid to End Term Limits."
From Caracas, reporter Simon Romero wrote:
For his part, before and after America's election, Chavez offered friendship and conciliation, a change from George Bush's hostility and confrontation, and a new page between two hemispheric neighbors to advantage them both.
In Caracas, supporters were jubilant when Chavez appeared on the Miraflores balcony in triumph. Thousands turned out. Fireworks exploded, bugles blared, and people waved red flags, honked horns, sang the national anthem, and shouted "Chavez no se va" (Chavez isn't going anywhere), and "Viva Chavez."
He read a congratulatory note from Fidel Castro quoting Bertolt Brecht to Jorge Luis Borges, then declared Bolivarianism is re-invigorated. "God grants victory to perseverance," he said. Even Brazil's Lula told Germany's Der Spiegel that "Chavez is without a doubt Venezuela's best president in the last 100 years," and an opposition Venezuelan journalist admitted privately that he didn't trust the old regime to take over again so he backed the referendum. One Chavista agreed saying: "They're not coming back. This is another victory for the revolution."
Romero also admitted that Chavez is "by far Venezuela's dominant political personality" and immensely popular. Opposition forces were subdued but not silent with Sumate leader Maria Corina Machado saying: "This was a victory imposed by the abuse of state power. This should not be seen as a defeat but as a national challenge" ahead of next year's National Assembly elections. For now, she accepts the results but not happily.
So did Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue, yet his comments were hostile in saying: "Chavez's intention is clear. He aspires to be president for life. He is convinced he embodies the popular will and is indispensable to the country's progress. But his capacity to pull this off is far from assured" given his ability to maintain social spending with much lower oil revenues after prices fell around 75% and may drop further.
Pomona College professor Miguel Tinker Salas had another view saying: "The greatest challenge the government now faces is governing in the face of crisis and not falling into triumphalism."
Opposition leader Omar Barboza unapologetically denounced the outcome: "Effectively this will become a dictatorship. Its control of all the powers, lack of separation of powers, unscrupulous use of state resources, (and) persecution of adversaries." Comments like these are typical and a clear case of sour grapes.
In contrast, Louis Riel of Toronto's Bolivarian Circle was joyful in
At 9:35PM Sunday, however, Venezuelans rejoiced when National Electoral Council (CNE) President, Tibisay Lucena, announced the results with 94.2% of votes counted - an impressive Bolivarian triumph. Another defeat for generations favoring power over people. A hopeful sign that continuity under Chavez will inspire others to take over when he's gone.
Venezuela has 16,767,511 registered voters, 11,422 voting centers, and 126 others in overseas embassies and consulates. Turnout was nearly 70%. Voting proceeded smoothly with very few problems reported. Polls opened at 5:30AM and remained open as long as people were in lines. For the most part, they were short and moved quickly. Venezuela's electoral system is a model democratic process, a far cry from America's sham one.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on February 17, 2009.
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