Long lines queued hours before dawn. Polls stayed open well into the night so everyone coming out could vote.
Turnout was nearly 81% of Venezuela’s 19,119,809 registered voters. US elections usually get around 50%. Off-year congressional races average under 40%.
From 1960 – 2010, the highest percentage participation was 63.1%. It was in 1960 when Kennedy defeated Nixon. The lowest turnout was 49.1% in 1996 when Clinton bested Bob Dole.
In the off-year 2010 congressional election, a meager 37.8% participated. America’s electoral process lacks credibility. Duopoly power permits no choice. Big Money always wins.
Venezuelans get the real thing. Their electoral process is the best in the world. It’s independently judged open, free and fair. Every vote counts. They’re tabulated fully and honestly.
US elections are rigged. Politics in America reflect more hypocrisy than democracy.
Overnight Sunday into Monday pre-dawn, Venezuelans celebrated. Fireworks went off in Caracas. People honked horns, waved flags, and cheered. Thousands massed outside the Miraflores presidential palace. Chavez rallied them.
From a balcony overlooking the crowd, he raised a sword once belonging to 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar. “The revolution has triumphed,” he said! Venezuelans “voted for socialism.”
“Viva Venezuela! Viva the fatherland! The battle was perfect and the victory was perfect!”
“Today we’ve shown that Venezuela’s democracy is one of the best democracies in the world, and we will continue to show it.”
“Venezuela will never return to neoliberalism and continue in the transition to socialism of the 21st century.”
“I want to make a recognition to the whole Venezuelan people, the whole Venezuelan nation. Today the country of Bolivar was reborn.”
In response, supporters chanted, “Viva Le Patria. “Ooh Aah, Chavez won’t go!”
Speaking for others perhaps a Vargas fisherman said, “I’m crying with joy. In the next six years, we will deepen the revolution.”
A construction worker said, “I can’t describe the relief and happiness I feel right now.”
A teacher said, “Chavez is my joy. He will continue protecting the poor and defenseless.”
After his victory was announced, Chavez tweeted:
“Thank you, my God. Thanks to everyone. Thanks my beloved people!!! Viva Venezuela!!! Viva Bolivar!!!”
An email sent this writer showed an image of him displaying a Chicago Daily Tribune headline saying, “CAPRILES DEFEATS CHAVEZ.”
It replicated Harry Truman holding up the notorious Chicago Daily Tribune (now the Chicago Tribune) early November 3, 1948 front page headlining “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.”
The broadsheet to this day hasn’t erased the memory it would like everyone to forget.
Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez tweeted congratulations, saying:
“Your victory is our victory! And the victory of South America and the Caribbean!”
Bolivian President Evo Morales replicated her tweet, saying:
“Your victory is also ours. It is of South America and the Caribbean. Congratulations President Chavez!”
Cuban President Raul Castro was one of the first leaders to send congratulations. Chavizmo was triumphant. Sunday was celebratory time. Monday it’s back to business.
Chavez said that he’ll deepen socialism in the next six years. Many problems need addressing. He promised to continue working to alleviate them.
It’s not easy turning around a money power run country run for generations. Since taking office in February 1999, Chavez did plenty. Venezuelans rewarded him with six more years. He deserved it. On January 10, he’ll be inaugurated to deepen Bolivarianism as he promised.
Around 10PM Sunday night, with 90% of votes counted, National Electoral Council (CNE) president Tibisay Lucena announced electoral results.
Chavez led Capriles by 54.42% to 44.97%. He was ahead by around 1.3 million votes. It was more than enough to assure victory. With 98% of votes counted, Chavez upped his victory margin to 1.5 million votes. He won 55 – 44%. Other candidates got 1% combined.
Lucena said, “Once again we’ve had a calm electoral process without problems, with the joy of this people who decided to vote massively today.”
Corporate media scoundrels stopped just short of sour grapes. For over a decade, they pilloried him mercilessly. They can’t bear having a hemispheric good example shame how America is run. The difference between both countries is stark. Previous articles explained it.
The New York Times has been one of his lead antagonists. On October 7, it headlined “Chavez Wins New Term in Venezuela, Holding Off Surge by Opposition.”
“Surge?” On Sunday it failed to show up except in a fake Spanish ABC newspaper mid-afternoon exit poll. It didn’t surprise. It was published in Miami, Colombia, Chile and Venezuela.
It claimed opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski won. The corporate run Varianzas agency released it. It said he defeated Chavez by 51.3% to 48.06%.
Perhaps it tried to deter Chavez supporters from voting later in the day. Not a chance. They wanted another six years and got them.
Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign (VSC) secretary Francisco Dominguez said:
“Fake exit polls are one way in which opponents of the current government have previously tried to discredit the results of elections where Hugo Chavez has won clear majorities.”
“This is part of a political game – a dirty war played by the Venezuela right-wing.”
“Journalists who have reported these polls believing them to be credible have later been embarrassed to have found themselves exploited for political motives.”
“Given that polling is not permitted on election day in Venezuela, any such polls should be treated skeptically.”
“There is the very real risk that this is part of a propaganda war by sections of the right-wing opposition with the aim of creating destabilization and unrest.”
“It would be irresponsible of journalists to give this poll any credence. To use it risks inadvertently supporting a campaign from the more extreme sections of the Venezuelan opposition to try to claim that any defeat at today’s election is simply the result of fraud.”
“As both campaigns said earlier today, people should await the official results from that will be released in the next few hours.”
The Times called Chavez a longtime “fiery foe of Washington.” He’s opposes neoliberal injustice and imperial ravaging. Times editorial policy supports them.
The article claimed Chavez is “an ailing and politically weakened winner facing an emboldened opposition that grew stronger and more confident as the voting neared, and held out hope that an upset victory was within reach.”
In fact, opposition insiders knew they had no chance and said so. Capriles was too far behind to win. Days before October 7, cohesion among them began disintegrating. A previous article discussed it. Corporate media scoundrels said nothing.
They pretended that Capriles had a good chance to win. It was laughable on its face. The Times said “Chavez spent much of the year insulting and trying to provoke Mr. Capriles and his followers.”
He gave them hell for good reason. He explained what they are and the danger they pose. Venezuelans remember the bad old days and want none of it repeating.
Instead of explaining beneficial social change under Chavez, The Times said “Venezuela is mired in problems, including out-of-control violent crime, crumbling roads and bridges, and power blackouts…”
True enough. These problems and others need addressing. Chavez promised to do more. America has these and many more unaddressed festering problems harming most people nationwide.
The Times failed to notice. It also downplayed the sharp drop in poverty and unemployment under Chavez. He’s waged war on inequality and human need. These and other vital issues go begging in America. Instead of fixing them, they’re getting worse.
On October 6, a scurrilous Washington Post editorial headlined “Venezuela eyes change,” saying:
“IF HUGO CHAVEZ is an autocrat, how could he be in danger of losing the Venezuelan presidency in an election on Sunday?”
“Polls show a race to the wire between the caudillo and challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski. An opposition victory would mean an epochal change of political direction in one of the world’s largest oil producers….”
Independent democrats Washington dislikes are called autocrats and much worse. A close race? It never was close throughout the campaign except in fake polls claiming it.
Indeed an opposition win would be “epochal” for all the wrong reasons. Venezuelans wanted none of it. They had final say.
Many Post editorials are scandalous and disreputable. This one was no different. It claimed Chavez “feels obliged to stage elections (but) in an environment that heavily favors the regime.”
“Mr. Chavez controls Venezuela’s courts, election commission and most television channels, which bombard the population with propaganda.”
ll of the above explains America, not Venezuela. Claiming otherwise is vicious and patently untrue.
Venezuelan voters are “intimidated,” claimed the Post. Chavez “is in danger of losing (because of) the havoc he has wreaked in what was once Latin America’s richest country.”
In fact, he turned a cesspool into a model social democracy. That notion is verboten in America. Money power won’t tolerate it. Neither do media scoundrels.
The editorial went on to pillory Chavez with one canard after another. Like all members of America’s corporate media establishment, the Post adheres to its strict code of suppressing truth and full disclosure.
Its notion of freedom and social democracy is none at all. It claimed Chavez’s “days as Venezuela’s leader are numbered.” It suggested a possible electoral loss.
It urged “Venezuela’s neighbors, and the Obama administration, should be ready to react if he attempts to remain in power by force.” It barely stopped short of recommending coup d’etat authority to oust him. Perhaps a future editorial will go further.
The Financial Times was more measured. It headlined “Chavez wins new term in Venezuela.” It covered his electoral win in 10 concise paragraphs. Pejoratives were omitted.
It said he “frustrat(ed) the opposition’s best chance of beating him after 14 years in power and reconfirming him as one of Latin America’s most commanding political figures.”
Indeed so for good reason. As long as he’s healthy, wants to keep serving, and keeps doing the right things, he’ll likely to remain so. Venezuelans won’t tolerate the alternative.
Crowds were jubilant for good reason. Six more years. Viva Chavez. Viva the kind of social democracy Americans can’t even imagine.
Stephen Lendman Blog