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December 5, 2005

Where Are the Voters?

Yesterday's Venezuelan parliamentary elections turned into a plebiscite. Seventy five percent of the voters did not vote and twenty five percent of the votes cast were null votes.

The Chavez government has been cheating and lying all these years and on November 23 the definite proof was established when it was shown that the voting machines retain a record that can be used to determine how everyone voted. Based on this evidence all the main opposition parties recalled their candidates. But the grass roots opinion was for abstention even before that. The grass roots were very unhappy because the opposition parties did not go to the elections as a unified block, the only way to defeat Chavez. Divide and conquer was keeping Chavez in power.

The reason for the high number of null votes is because everyone working for the government was forced to vote under penalty of losing their jobs. And this is supposed to be a democracy.

As things stand, this election has shown that Chavez no longer has popular support. All his early goodwill is gone. Considering the 25% null votes, only 18.75% of the voting population cast votes which means that Chavez has a maximum of 18% of the population still backing him. It is important to bring to the fore an historic electoral fact: During the previous democratic period the extreme left wing used to get around 15% of the vote between all the various parties. If Chavez got 18% of the vote yesterday it means that nothing much has changed, Venezuelans rejected Castro-communism back then and they reject it now.

And what now? My hope is that the military wake up to the fact that they are backing a loser. Without the continued backing of the military Chavez is a footnote in history. Time will tell.

Denny Schlesinger
Caracas - Venezuela

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