'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Monday, August 16, 2004


Chavez beat the recall by a sizable margin. Here's Al Giordano of Narco News:

With 94.49 percent of the electronic voting machines reporting, the National Elections Council of Venezuela informs that the "NO" vote - against recalling President Hugo Chávez - has amassed such a wide margin over the "YES" vote - by those who wanted to depose the elected president - that the trend is irreversible:

NO: 4.991.483 (58.25%)
YES: 3.576.517 (41.74%)
That is a total of 8,568,000 votes.

That means that only about 470,000 votes are left to count, but the pro-Chávez vote already enjoys a comfortable margin of 1,414,966.

So even if the opposition gets every single vote left uncounted, the pro-Chávez side will win by almost a million votes. More likely, the remaining votes will fall in similar percentages as the 95 percent already counted, bringing the final total to something like 5.26 million "NO" votes to 3.76 million votes.

This means that the opposition did not even succeed at garnering the 3.8 million votes that, had the pro-Chávez vote not turned out in these record numbers, would have been required to provoke a recall referendum. Thus, it is a double loss for the dwindling opposition in this oil-rich country of 24 million men, women, elders, and children.

Still, everybody won: Finally, after years of struggle, Venezuela has emerged as an authentic participatory democracy without coups d'etat, violence, or the false democracy of a two-elites, two-party system ruling its body politic through simulation. The repercussions will travel far and wide, even to the United States presidential elections this coming November.

The opposition members can and should take pride in the service they provided to their country and to the world around it: they made possible a referendum that sweeps Venezuela - and, soon, all of América - into a new day for the dream made reality of democracy that is also participatory and authentic.

Of course, the opposition, in its openly sleazy manner, is fighting the result, and, of course, the mainstream media is taking the opposition seriously; for example, the AP titled their Chavez wins piece "Chavez apparently survives recall vote" ... Do you think if the opposition had won by a million votes that "apparently" would be in the headline? And the Independent's Hannah Baldock basically called the thing for the opposition yesterday in an article titled "Venezuela's Chavez on brink of referendum defeat" that seems no longer to be online. Here's Justin Podur on the controversy:

Speaking of fraud, the UK Independents reporter Hannah Baldock seems to have violated Venezuelan law, using the opposition’s phony exit polls to declare a Chavez loss early on Sunday. The article seems to have been quietly removed from the Independent’s website, but the NarcoNews team did a dissection of the piece (see here:

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2004/8/15/205259/595#1) that includes Baldock’s figures: she cites "mid-morning results" (from where?) that "showed that the opposition, already boasting an enormous 1,758,000 votes to Chavez's 798,000, is well on its way to reaching the target of 3.76 million votes it needs to oust the authoritarian, left-wing President."

The Independent might have retired Baldock’s article from the site, but there is little doubt that the international press will seize on the opposition’s figures and contrast them with the CNE’s. The referendum has been true to the pattern in Venezuela, including "polarization", irreconcileable stories, and the sleazy role of the media.

And what exactly does this sentence from the Times' coverage mean:

But the voting, if anything, showed clearly that millions of Venezuelans — not just the very rich, as Mr. Chávez contends — want him out.

Yes, but more want him in; so he stays in ... that's called democracy.

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