Sunday, December 2, 2007


Just a quick update. It's almost 6pm and the voting day is pretty much over. Most centers are beginning to tally up the figures and send them on to the National Elections Council (CNE) for final auditing and counting. We expect the first official report to be released within about 2 hours. I voted early this morning with little difficulties - there were some minor technical problems at the voting center where I voted, but CNE technicians quickly resolved everything and got the voting on track. There appears to have been a lot of participation- little abstention, despite what many polls had suggested. The Plan Republic, which is the defense and security operation that secures the electoral processes here, has detained approximately 50 people for electoral crimes (fraud primarily - voting with fake ID cards, usurping identities, etc.). But otherwise, there have been few incidents.

Venezuelans, as always, have spent the voting day peacefully in a joyful, festive environment.

Once results are in, the celebrations of victory will begin!!!


Bosque said...

THis is good to hear. I wonder all those news outlets that spoke of mass violence, do they even know the Venezuelan people?

Delaware Watch said...

Undoubtedly the exposure of Operation Pliers helped to stem violence today on a larger scale.

Chavez is smart to speak of the US governments machinations often. The US then is placed in the position of not wanting to confirm what Chavez has predicted. It also puts the Venezuelan people on alert in case something should occur.

For nations that can't deter US might militarily, public exposure and prediction based on the discovery of sound intelligence is the best defense against the machinations of the US. It's probably the principal reason the Cuban revolution has lasted nearly 50 years.

Dana G.

jsb said...

Operation Pliers must have worked! The CIA must have somehow manipulated the voting machines. How could the NO win? NOoooooooooooo

TWR said...

I guess 'Operation Pliers' forced nearly 3 million chavistas to stay home and not vote? Can you people just admit defeat and stop trying to blame everyone else for your shortcomings?

You wanted 'democracy', well here it is. Accept it. The people of Venezuela do not want authoritarian rule and now you have seen proof of it at the ballot box. The Chavez regime has 5 more years in power; for the sake el pueblo venezolano I hope he doesn't manage to completely drive the nation into the ground. He should take lessons from another unpopular, lame duck president in the US...

hi0u91e9 said...

If the bolivar revolution is a peoples revolution then hopefully chavez's failure to abolish the limit of number of terms- shouldn't matter too much.
If the revolution is heavily reliant on the drive, charisma and strength of chavez then there is a problem. Both in terms of whether the revolution can continue to reform venezuela in the way it has done up to now, and also politically in terms of ingraining participatory democracy in venezuelan insititutions.

it will of course all be academic if the US is successful in its campaign to snuff out the threat of "the good example".

How this pans out will dictate not just the future of venezuela but south america as a whole.

tejasjeff said...

A vote for no is a vote for Bush right?

That moron even wins election in Venezuala -lol

Ricardo said...

Hey, Eva, why haven't you posted on the NO victory?

Working on a new conspiracy theory to explain chavismo defeat?

Dulce de lechosa, anyone?

Unknown said...

This is not the time to be ladies and gentlemen. This is the time to get ready to rumble and to mobilize the workers and poor, not with words but with concrete action.

Delaware Watch said...

Let's the discuss the only conspiracy theories that didn't work out. First, the electoral commission is stacked w/ Chavezistas that would cheat and ensure the No vote would win. Second, Chavez would never accept the defeat in a democratic fashion because he is a "dictator."

The opposition's narrow victory was their largest defeat. Now they can no longer claim the voting system is corrupt and partial. Now they can't claim Chavez is essentially authoritarian by nature and anti-democratic because his acceptance of the defeat thoroughly belies the claim.

"For now" and forever those weapons have been taken from the hands of the opposition. And the next time their claims to the contrary will fall on deaf ears throughout the world and in Venezuela.

The opposition will learn they lost everything with this "victory."

Unknown said...

I totally agree with Dana & Stephen.

One thing this referendum proved to the eyes watching around the world is that Venezuela IS a true democracy.

Too often Chavez is labelled a dictator. Let's just make one thing clear...

Dictators do not lose referendums. Dictators do not even do referendums... they just change constitutions without even telling the people.

The result of the referendum was extremely close. Voters rejected the reforms by 51% of the vote to 49%.

Watching the BBC news I saw Leopoldo Lopez, opposition mayor of the Chacao of Caracas, municipality, proclaiming that "Venezuela had won and democracy had won, and that the victory for the Venezuelan people will have a very important impact in the rest of Latin America,"

What makes you laugh is if the votes had been the other way around can you imagine Leopoldo Lopez even mentioning the word democracy? The answer is no. It would have been a fix, a fraud, a robbery. Chavez would have been branded a cheat and a dictator and there would have been calls for international help to overthrow the tyrant!

I think that with this loss much of the lies and propaganda regarding his leadership has been shattered. It cannot be said that the man is not democratic when he loses a fair referendum in his own country and concedes defeat with humility.

After all, if we cast our minds back it was not that long ago relatively speaking that the current president in the US won a questionable election on the back of a dodgy recount in Florida under the watchful eye of his younger brother Jeb!

I believe that Hugo and Venezuelan democracy comes out of this episode with a lot of dignity and an enhanced reputation that hopefully in the longer term will quieten some of the doubters and mudslingers who slag off the man and Venezuelan politics from afar.

tejasjeff said...

Above all, they want action against the Fifth Column of right wing Chavistas who wear red shirts and talk of socialism of the XXI century but are opposed to real socialism and are sabotaging the revolution from within. Unless the Bolivarian Movement and the PSUV is purged of these reformist bureaucrats and careerists, nothing can be done.

Dana and Steve, whom do we line up against the wall first?
The Revolution looks as though it will follow Russian ,Chinese ,Cambodian precedents.Purges tend to be messy though , hope you are on the right end of the AK-47. BTW their building new ones under license from Russia. Hopefully you can get a brand spanking new one to help along the purges.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to hear the gloating of the neocons and "opposition" here.

This is just one battle in a war.

Greg Palast summarized it the best:

Fear of Chavez Is Fear
Of Democracy
Bush: If it's our oil, why do Venezuelans get to vote on it?
GOP panicked that counting votes in Venezuela will spread to Florida
By Greg Palast

The Family Bush can fix Florida. They can fix Ohio. But it's just driving them crazy that they can't fix the vote in Venezuela.

The Bush Administration and its press puppies - the same ones who couldn't get enough of the purple thumbs of voters of Iraq - are absolutely livid that this weekend the electorate of Venezuela had the opportunity to vote.

Typical was the mouth-breathing editorial by the San Francisco Chronicle, that the referendum could make Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's President, "a constitutional dictator for life." And no less a freedom fighter than Donald Rumsfeld, from the height of the Washington Post, said that by voting, Venezuela was "receding into dictatorship." Oh, my!

Given that Chavez' referendum was defeated at the ballot box, we now that, as a dictator, Chavez is a flop. Of course, without meaning to gainsay Secretary Rumsfeld, maybe Chavez is not a dictator.

Let's get clear exactly what this vote was about. Firstly, it was a referendum to change the nation's constitution to end term limits for President.

Oh, horror! Imagine if we eliminated term limits in the US! We could end up stuck with a president - like Franklin Roosevelt. Worse, if Bill Clinton could have run again, we'd have missed out on the statesmanship of Junior Bush. While US media called Chavez a "tyrant" for suggesting an end to term limits, they somehow forgot to smear the tyrant tag on Mr. Clinton for suggesting the same for the America.

We were not told this weekend's referendum was a vote on term limits, rather, we were told by virtually every US news outlet that the referendum was to make Chavez, "President for Life." The "President for Life" canard was mis-reported by no less than The New York Times.

But ending term limits does not mean winning the term. As Chavez himself told me, "It's up to the people" whether he gets reelected. And that infuriates the US Powers That Be.

Secondly, beyond ending term limits, the referendum would have loaded the nation's constitution with changes in property law, work hours and so many other complex economic adjustments that the entire referendum sank of its own weight.

It's the Oil.

Term limits and work hours in Venezuela? Why was this a crisis for Washington?

Why is the Bush crew so bonkers about Hugo? Is it because Venezuela sits on the world's largest reserve of coconuts?

Like Operation Iraqi Liberation ("OIL") - it's all about the crude, dude. And lots of it. The US Department of Energy documents I obtained indicate that the guys holding Bush's dipstick figure that Venezuela is sitting on 1.36 trillion barrels of crude, five times the reserves of Saudi Arabia.

Chavez' continuing tenure means that Venezuelans' huge supply of oil will now be in the hands of Venezuelans!

As Arturo Quiran, resident of a poor folks' housing complex, told me, "Ten, fifteen years ago there was a lot of oil money here in Venezuela but we didn't see it." Notably, Quiran doesn't particularly agree with Chavez' politics. But, he thought Americans should understand that under Chavez' Administration, there's a doctor's office in his building with "free operations, x-rays, medicines. Education also. People who never knew how to read and write now know how to sign their own papers."

Not everyone is pleased. As one TV news anchor, violently anti-Chavez, told me in derisive tones, "Chavez gives them (the poor) bricks and bread!" - how dare he! - so, they vote for him.

Big Oil has better ideas for Venezuela, best expressed in several Wall Street Journal articles attacking Chavez for spending his nation's oil wealth on "social programs" rather than on more drilling platforms to better fill the SUVs of Texas.

Chavez has committed other crimes in Washington's eyes. Not only has this uppity brown man spent Venezuela's oil wealth in Venezuela, he withdrew $20 billion from the US Federal Reserve. Weirdly, Venezuela's previous leaders, though the nation was dirt poor, lent billions to the US Treasury on crap terms. Chavez has said, Basta! to this game, and has called for keeping South America's capital in South America! Oh, no!

Oh, and did I mention that Chavez told Exxon it had to pay more than a 1% royalty to his nation on the heavy crude the company extracted?

And that's why they have to kill him. In 2002, The New York Times sickeningly applauded the coup d'etat against Chavez. But that failed. Therefore, as the electorate of Venezuela is obstinately refusing to vote as Condi Rice tells them, there's only one solution left for democracy-loving Bush-niks, the view express out loud by our President's spiritual advisor, Pat Robertson:

"We have this enemy to our south controlling a huge pool of oil. Hugo Chavez thinks we're trying to assassinate him. I think we ought to go ahead and do it. We don't need another $200 billion war It's a whole lot easier to have some covert operatives do the job."

But Hugo's not my enemy. Indeed, he's made a damn good offer to the American people: oil for $50 a barrel - nearly half of what it sells today. By locking in a long-term price, Venezuela loses its crazy Iraq war oil-price windfall. In return, we agree not to let oil prices fall through the floor (it dropped to $9 a barrel in 1998) and bankrupt his nation. But Saudi Arabia doesn't like that deal. And Abdullah's wish is George Bush's command. (Interestingly, Chavez' fellow no-term-limits dictator Bill Clinton endorsed the concept.)

I don't agree with everything Chavez does. And I've found some of his opponents' point well taken. But unlike Bush, I don't think I should have a veto over the Venezuelan vote.

And the locals' sentiments are quite clear. I drove with one opposition candidate, Julio Borges, on a campaign stop to a small town three hours from Caracas. We met his supporters - or, more accurately, his lone supporter. The "rally" was in her kitchen. She served us delicious arepas.

The next day, I returned to that very same town when Chavez arrived. Nearly a thousand screaming fans showed up - and an equal number were turned away. (The British Telegraph laughably reports that Chavez' boosters appear "under duress.") You'd think they were showing for a taping of "South American Idol." (Well, the Venezuelan President did break into song a few times.)

It's worth noting that Chavez' personal popularity doesn't extend to all his plans for "Bolivarian" socialism. And that killed his referendum at the ballot box. I guess Chavez should have asked Jeb bush how to count votes in a democracy.

So there you have it. Some guy who thinks he can take Venezuela's oil and oil money and just give it away to Venezuelans. And these same Venezuelans have the temerity to demand the right to pick the president of their choice! What is the world coming to?

In Orwellian Bush-speak and Times-talk, Chavez' referendum was portrayed before the vote as a trick, Saddam goes Latin. Maybe their real fear is that Chavez has brought a bit of economic justice through the ballot box, a trend that could spread northward. Think about it: Chavez is funding full health care for all Venezuelans. What if that happened here?

tejasjeff said...

Chavez is not and was not a Dictator.
Neither was Robert Mugabe when he was freely elected lo these many times.
See any similarities?
Go reread Animal Farm.

tejasjeff said...

What did Baduel say? He spoke of national reconciliation and offered to negotiate with Chavez. He renounced all intentions to organize a coup. In short he offered a smiling face and the hand of friendship. This is quite a clever tactic and confirms our impression of Baduel that he is a clever counterrevolutionary.

Found the first person for the
Counterrevolutionaries go before the Bourgeoisie right?
I never can get this damn Purge Protocol right.

ric said...