Monday, December 03, 2007
Chavez triumphs in defeat
Hugo Chavez (above) has lost the referendum on constitutional change in Venezuela by the narrowest of margins. So how did the man who the neo-cons would like us to believe is an evil, power-hungry dictator take it? By cancelling the result and declaring the poll invalid? By arresting members of the opposition? By declaring martial law? Er, no.
"I thank you and I congratulate you," Chávez said calmly, referring to his opponents. "I recognise the decision a people have made." Turning to supporters, some of whom were weeping, he added: "Don't feel sad."
In his defeat, Chavez has claimed a great victory. He has exposed the lies of the neo-cons for what they were. Chavez was, and always will be, a committed democrat. Under his leadership, the people of Venezuela have been consulted, by way of a public vote, far more often than the people of Britain and many other countries which claim the moral high ground when it comes to democracy. Chavez is despised by the neo-cons not because he is a dictator, but because he is a democrat, who governs his country in accordance with the wishes of the majority of his people- and not in the interests of global capital. After yesterday's result, and the calm way Chavez accepted it, it's the neocons and their propagandists who are the ones looking even more ridiculous than usual.
UPDATE: You can read The Exile's take on the vote in Venezuela, and what it tells us about the strength of the democratic system Chavez has helped establish, here.
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Good news, as it was vital that Comrade Chávez abided by the will of the people, after all they did not let him down when he desperately needed there support. The problem is within Venezuela there is a bit of a Caudillo complex developing, which is not really healthy.
There are both historical and logical reasons for this, but instead of working to over turn this vote in a future referendum, Comrade Chávez should be looking to leave behind him a worthy successor as President. For if after two terms in power as President he is unable to do this, it will negate much of the good work he has done to date.
In a dictatorship, a referendum does not go the wire, and the dictator certainly does not lose. Rather, he gets ninety-nine per cent of the vote, or something like that.
So Venezuela is not a dictatorship. She is a functioning democracy. And she would have remained so if the referendum had gone the other way: Chávez could only have "stayed for life" if the People had kept voting for him until he died.
Totally agreed, Mick. Once again, Chavez has wrong-footed the neo-cons and their phoney 'left' allies.
They would have loved it if he hadn't accepted the result. Now what charge are they left with? 'He's a windbag'!
You might well be right about Chavez. But he's not exactly warm and fuzzy, either. Time will tell with that one.
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