Monday, December 3, 2007

Venezuela's "No" and Cuba's future

Yesterday’s Venezuelan election taught me a few things: that the opposition is not to be counted out; that Chavez is capable of overreaching to the extent that some of his own people would oppose him; that Venezuela’s institutions, or at least the electoral authorities, retain some independence; that Chavez himself is capable of conceding defeat. Where he goes from here, with several years left in his presidential term, is not clear. Even less so what this setback means for Venezuela’s relations with Cuba. My guess is, not much in the short term, but I’m keeping an eye out.

Reuters has a package of coverage here. And Yoani Sanchez, with a keen eye on the Cuban media’s coverage of the referendum, was able to guess the result before it was announced.


Sharpshooter said...

The funniest thing from the vote that took place this past Sunday, was that prior to the vote Chavez said in a speech that a vote for the NO option was a vote for Bush and a vote for the YES option was a vote for him. These were his own words on Friday night. And yet, the Venezuelan people gave Bush (the NO option) over 50% of the vote! Even when he twisted the real meaning of the vote and implied that a vote against him was "a vote for Bush" (as he said) the people still voted NO. Then, President Bush seems to be more popular in Venezuela than even in the USA! And the regime in Cuba tried to make a moral victory out of the resounding defeat claiming Chavez conducted fair elections blah, blah, etc. But the fact remains that he will never be able to propose the Constitutional reform again during his term in office and he cannot run again. And Venezuela does not have a dictator for life as he had wanted all along. Good news indeed. Now if only Cuba would conduct some real free elections, let's see who wins. But free lections in Cuba are just pie in the sky. They know better than to risk an election.

leftside said...

Venezuelan's are not idiots. They understood Chavez's rhetorical flourishes for what they were. A few hundred thousand people voted against changing a 8 year old Constitution, not in favor of Bush over Chavez. Get real. Remember there was a landslide for Chavez as President less than a year ago. These reforms were rushed, not well explained to the public and were subjected to unbelieveably biased media opposition. As it is, Chavez took the blame and congratualted the winners.

Still, Chavez certainly has other ways to implement the more popular of the many socialist reforms he and the Assembly had proposed. And I do not doubt that as the 2012 date looms closer, the people will demand another vote to retain the most popular leader they have ever had. The Bolivarian Revolution is not going anywhere. Sorry.

Sharpshooter said...

Legally, Chavez cannot run for the Presidency and be elected again this time around. And he cannnot propose or bring the changes for a vote to change the Constitution either.
Knowing full well his "revolutionary adviser" I am sure he has something up his sleeve to get around that little hurdle the Venezuelan people threw in his path to the Socialism of XXI Century. The people of VEnezuela know that is a failed system that only brought poverty and the loss of their human rights anywhere it was forcefully implemented. (funny how communists never seem to win any elections, they always take power by force) I beg to disagree with you, the Bolivarian revolution and its path to Socialism (really is Communism) have been derailed. That may be the reason Chavez had such a shitty face Monday early in morning. I fully enjoyed every minute of it.