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Novembre 24, 2008

Chavez Lost Again!

Charlotte at the polling station
My neighbor Charlotte at the polling station with a soldier from Operation Republic, the traditional election day security operative.
It feels like all we do these days in Venezuela is to go vote. Before Chavez we used to vote once every five years. Now it seems we vote yearly. Since 1998 when Chavez was elected we have voted twice to ratify a new constitution even if the old one was not worn out. We have voted on two referendums, one to oust Chavez which we lost and a second one that we won to stop Chavez from messing with his new constitution. We have also voted twice for president which the rascal won and twice for the other powers. That's almost one election per year.

Elections are the ultimate popularity poll and clearly Chavez's popularity, which was very high in 1998, has been in decline every since he took office.

Yesterday, Sunday, November 23, we voted for regional and local authorities. Chavez lost again!

Rain but not on election day
I'm sure glad we didn't get a downpour on election day.
It's been raining cats and dogs lately.
For election day we had a very lovely sunny Sunday.
The opposition finally managed to get its act together and despite there being dozens of parties, they managed to agree on "unity" candidates who did rather well.

Greater Caracas is located in the Federal District and the State of Miranda. The opposition won the governorship of Miranda. Caracas is divided into five municipalities and the opposition won in four out of the five as well as the post of "Major Mayor" or super Mayor which covers all of Greater Caracas. The former Mayor and ex minister of education, Aristobulo Izturiz, who lost to Antonio Ledezma for the post of super Mayor said in a sound bite to the press that Ledezma had not won. Instead, Chavez lost. In this, Izturiz, who is a faithful Chavez ally, is to be believed. Other important states were also won by the opposition. Chavez now controls only the most backward areas of the country. The tally of the popular vote is, more or less, Chavez 43% and opposition 57%.

Citizens line up to vote
This was a typical election day scene.
Lot's of people patiently lining up to vote.
Chavez still has four years to go as president but each day he looks more vulnerable. A friend commented that Raul Castro had effectively deposed his brother Fidel and hoped to improve Cuban relations with the USA. Chavez was a fly in the ointment being the loudest anti-yankee in Latin America. Supposedly Raul told him to stay away and Chavez no longer flies to Cuba on a whim to visit his buddy Fidel. So the rumor goes...

I can hardly believe that we will get rid of Chavez via the ballot box. Democracy is truly the art of muddling through. And what a muddle we have had for the past 20 years or so.

Denny Schlesinger

Chavez Lost! December 4, 2007

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