Monday, August 16, 2004

Venezuela, Cont'd

I have been following this story all day long, and I can say with limited certainty that it looks like Chavez won the referendum:

from the NY times:

But the Organization of American States and the Carter Center of Atlanta - monitors invited by the government and the opposition to validate the outcome - said the results were legitimate.

"There is a clear difference in favor of the government of President Chávez," former President Jimmy Carter, who heads the Carter Center, said at a joint news conference with César Gaviria, secretary general of the O.A.S. and a former president of Colombia.

The two men explained that the "quick counts" their organizations had conducted at various polling stations coincided with the outcome released by the Electoral Council. The quick counts, used in elections around the world, tally totals from various polling sites, have a margin of error of 1 percent and are more accurate than surveys of voters leaving the polls.

"We have found the information from the quick count was almost exactly the same as that presented" by the electoral authorities, said Mr. Carter, 79, whose organization has monitored elections in 51 counties. He added that "all Venezuelans should accept the results of the C.N.E.," the electoral body, "unless there is tangible proof that the reports are incorrect."

And this is the same thing I've been hearing all day. It seems that, yes, the country is divided and there is some big monied interests at play here, but also, it seems that Chavez was able to motivate his voters to get to the voting stations and that's where it sits. The country has spoken.

I'm not Venezuelan, and I don't pretend to know the issues as well as the people there. But I do have a strong belief that many, many people in Venezuela do appreciate the efforts of Chavez. I think that he is consciously using class warfare to the detriment of his people overall, but the international community should respect the democratic wishes of a sovereign state. Chavez is doing some dicey stuff, and I hope that the leadership of Venezuela changes at some point, but for now it looks like he has one the contest.

I know I didn't like it when Chretien was in, but I sure as hell wouldn't like it if the an external interest forced him out of office. hell, i'd probably be a pro-chretienite if that happened.

whoa, did i just write that?

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