"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Ninth consecutive electoral victory in six years

Not exactly new news, however:

Venezuela's “Bolivarian Revolution” Continues
Despite U.S. Resistance

by Gregory Wilpert ; Venezuelanalysis.com; January 03, 2005

Just two days before George Bush’s second electoral victory, someone Bush and his administration apparently cannot stand, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez, celebrated his ninth consecutive electoral victory in six years. The vote was for state governors and city mayors and Chavez’s allies swept the vote, winning 20 out of the 22 contested state capitals and 270 of the 337 city halls. Altogether, pro-Chavez factions won the same percentage of the vote, about 60%, in these elections as Chavez himself did two and a half months earlier, when he defeated a recall referendum.

In contrast to Bush, Chavez’s ninth electoral victory (including various referenda on the new constitution) has once again confirmed that he does indeed have a mandate to remake Venezuelan society, to continue his “Bolivarian Revolution”—which is named after South American independence hero Simon Bolivar. More than that, Chavez can now accelerate the implementation of his program, as his allies now control nearly all levels and branches of government. The main domestic obstacles that remain to his program, now that the political opposition has been decisively crushed for the time being, are within the government itself, such as saboteurs, corruption, inefficiency, and cronyism. It is well known, for example, that much of the government bureaucracy is staffed with oppositional civil servants who, if not actively prevent the implementation of programs, often do much to slow them down. To complicate matters further, many public servants who actively support the government do not have adequate training and experience, which also contributes to inefficiency.

Chavez is aware that he must accelerate the pace of reform, now that he has reached the height of his political power. The 75% of the population that lives in poverty and that has overwhelmingly supported him are clamoring for more and faster government action. They support Chavez because they believe that much has been done and because they hope that much more will be done soon. Realizing that the above mentioned internal obstacles to his political program represent a significant problem in responding to the hopes of his supporters, Chavez has promised to crack down on corruption, inefficiency, and bureaucratism within his government.



and the predictable US reaction...

"The head of the Organization of American States, Cesar Gaviria, also said his monitors had not found "any element of fraud".

"Until elements of fraud emerge we are not going to put the results in doubt," he said.

But the US has declined to back Mr Chavez's apparent victory.

The US state department said it "noted" and praised the work of the observers, but said it would be premature to describe the outcome as a victory for Mr Chavez until the final result was announced."



compared with the US reaction to elections in Iraq...

""The world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East," Bush told reporters at the White House..."