Thursday, November 20, 2008

Open Thread: Venezuelan Elections November 23, 2008 (Sunday)

***As of now Venezuela has been immune due to oil profits and social services the effects of the world economic crisis. With falling oil prices, eventually a reckoning will come. If Chavez's party the PSUV loses, the solution will be Obama/capitalist style cutbacks. If the left wins, socialism will be deeper.

***The election Sunday in Venezuela, is one of the most important and polarized in Venezuelan history. It is for the gubernatorial and municipal positions. The last time Venezuela had local elections, the opposition abstained claiming the elections in Venezuela are rigged. In reality the voting in Venezuela is universally deemed honest.

***One writer for this blog, went to Venezuela, as an election observer. Watched voting in both pro-Chavez barrios and elite suburban neighborhoods. Saw nothing resembling fraud. Sunday’s elections will be monitored by 130 international observers, including a representative from each of the 34 members of the Organization of American States (OAS). Additionally new voting machines will be brought to 34,662 voting centers.

***Two parties running opposition candidates to Chavez's slate are the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) and leftist Patria Para Todos (PPT).

***The opposition acknowledging Chavez's popularity (60% approval), are not attacking him directly or sounding ideological. They are concentrating on local issues.

***Alan Woods has a deeper analysis.

Post election assessment.



Anonymous said...

In reality the voting in Venezuela is universally deemed honest.

Is that why the government STILL hasn't released to official vote tally from he Dec. 2007 constitutional referendum? The Venezuelan electoral system REAKS of corruption to high heaven.

But the question on everyone's mind is, will Hugo's brother Adan replace "el maestro" (Hugo's dad) as Governor of Barinas?

Unknown said...

I love people like this op ed columnist who go to Venezuela for 5seconds and then decide that everything is great. I live there, well lived there, and during those elections i was in a state that had more people vote than were alive in the entire state. That is to say, that dead people rose from their graves, and infants became of voting age for a day.

Frank Partisan said...

FJ: There are three possible results to an election; win, lose or draw. Chavez lost the election you are talking about. Losing is the opposite of winning. Your side won that election. Where's the happy face?

That Spiegel publication tried to link Chavez with FARC. The truth is he told them to give up and disarm. They are worthless to him. He gave them the chance to hand over hostages with honor, and they blew him off.

Really????: Thank you for commenting,

Nothing in my post says everything is great. Alan Woods's account is balanced, strengths and weaknesses of the government.

If that is true what you say, why did Chavez lose the last election? Yes really, he lost. He has a chance of losing Sunday as well.

Only the extreme right complains about Venezuelan elections. Sunday there will be about 130 observers from every OAS country.

The right was discredited at the last midterm election, by their boycott.

Anonymous said...

FJ: There are three possible results to an election; win, lose or draw. Chavez lost the election you are talking about. Losing is the opposite of winning. Your side won that election. Where's the happy face?

If you can't produce an official "tally" of the votes cast, it's OBVIOUS that you system is broken, corrupt or more likely, BOTH!

Anonymous said...

It's my sincere belief that had the 2007 result had NOT been summarily "declared", Chavez would be pushing up daisies today. The real-time announced results were failing to add up with what was actualling happening on the ground in terms of turnouts at the polls. The call to arms was ultimately revoked at the eleventh hour, when Chavez gave up the game and admitted defeat.

The reason no official count was ever released was because it would have been too embarrassing to the Chavez administration to admit the REAL vote count.

Unknown said...

just like Chavez was beaten last year to extend his "presidency",
yet he will go at it again. One thing all dictators have in common is that they want to stay in power forever, and that they come out of power filthy rich.

Frank Partisan said...

D; Thank you for visiting.

Dictator? I oppose term limits. Term limits are over when the people vote you out.

In the US, term limits were invented, because Franklin Roosevelt was extremely popular.

The opposition of Chavez is not making a smart move, harping about his wealth. Too many oligarchy members to examine, for that to work.

FJ: You've brought up the issue of vote results on your blog several times. It is hard to find any other source.

Anonymous said...

I get all my info from Noticias 24. Take it up with them.

Anonymous said...

Even Hugo's brother, Adan Chavez, who is running for Governor of the state of Barinas, is reporting problems with the voting machines changing people's votes.

Anonymous said...

And I'm not the "only one" complaining about Hugo's inability to comply with his own laws.

The CNE, who runs Venezuela's elections, are required by the Venezuelan Consitution to post official election results within 30 days of an election. That has YET to happen for the Constitutional referendum held on December 2, 2007.

Mariamariacuchita said...

I noticed that right-wing madcap Rick Santorum recently called Chavez a "buffoon" and a "strutting dictator" I admit it made me laugh. He also notes that Chavez' "madness is not without method, and he is a menace to our national security." From the Phildalphia Inquirer

I think he has mistaken Chavez for another strutting buffoon called Bush.

That 60% popularity rating is intense.

justme said...

10 years of dangling a carrot to the poor, and they still believe in him, maybe few more carrots and he will have complete control and be the dictator he wants to be, than he may go for full control of south america, we will see,,

Frank Partisan said...

Maria: Your link didn't work.

Chavez fails as a dictator, because he keeps losing elections.

Chavez's worst enemies are within his ranks. In 2007 some of the constitutional reforms, would have taken priviledges from bureaucrats. He was sabotaged within. When they run for office, they come begging for his help.

FJ: Just came from a party celebrating the Russian Revolution by watching The Big Lebowski, and monitoring the election. Your link was the best for results.

The opposition won in important districts. Overall it went as the consensus amongst my comrades. Chavez would lose important districts.

A Venezuelan who lives in the US, told me her pro-Chavez mother stayed home, because of problems with crime etc.

Chavez will have to make important decisions with eventually the effects of the world economic crisis and oil prices falling.

Justme: Again he is doing a bad job being a dictator. He lost the most important districts. Observers from the OAS had no problems with the election.

A Pinochet type government is your alternative.

Graeme said...

Crime is directly related to poverty. Chavez needs to stop dicking around, 17 out of 22 is what I call a mandate. It's time to smash the opposition.

Foxessa said...

Ren -- I disagee with you re term limits. The longer anyone remains in power they more the ruling group restructures the organizational hierarchies and staffs them with their own cohorts until it becomes impossible to vote to them. Look at the PRI in Mexico. That's why term limits are essential to a functioning democracy. Without term limits the abuse to make a permanent ruling class by the one in power is unavoidable. Which is why the Venezuelan voters, wisely, refused to give Chavéz that option.

You can see in smaller what this is about right here in NYC when Bloomberg pushed through via the city council, overturning the term limits set by voter referendum twice here. His popularity has dropped for the first time in his two terms. It has upset a well-planned candidate and platform plan the dems here had already set up. Most of us voters are furious with him -- but the big developers that have made this place nothing but a playground for their own kind (while progressively uglifying the city as well with their hideous tacky edifaces).

Love, C.

sonia said...

A Pinochet type government is your alternative.

Chaveza is already a Pinochet. But instead of being supported by American mafia and business interests, he is supported by the Russian mafia and business interests.

And Chavez's new bosses are coming on their warships with their orders.

troutsky said...

People get this dictator meme in their head, there is no amount of evidence you can present to shake it. Only when their side wins can it possibly be a fair election.

It is simplistic to view it as a referendum on socialism vs capitalism.

Anonymous said...

The opposition got 5 out of the 22 where 50% of the largest urban populations live.

And why is crime a problem in Caracas? Just look at Chavez's Tupamaro thugs celebrating the election "victory" in the streets just outside the Presidential Palace in Miraflores.

Anonymous said...

note - You don't wear ski masks in Caracas because it's cold...

Frank Partisan said...

turn out over 65%, very high for local and regional elections where abstention was always over 50%, it means Chavez managed to mobilise its traditional base
- the PSUV received 5.6 million votes (up from 4.5 in the constitutional referendum), the opposition received 4.1 million (down 400,000 from the constitutional referendum)
- PSUV candidates won 17 out of 22 states and lost in 5
- Zulia and Nueva Esparta were controlled by the opposition and remain so
- Aragua, Guarico, Yaracuy and Sucre were controlled by pro-Chavez governors (Podemos) who joined the opposition at the time of the constitutional referendum last year and are now back in PSUV hands
- Carabobo (up until now run by Acosta Carlés, corrupt Bolivarian turned oppositionist) is likely to be won by opposition, and so is Táchira (up until now run by a Bolivarian governor)
- PSUV loses Miranda, up until now run by "Bolivarian" businessman and leading right winger inside PSUV, Diosdado Cabello. Miranda state includes a large part of the middle and upped class East or the capital Caracas
- PSUV also loses the Alcaldia Mayor (Greater Caracas) council and most likely also loses the Sucre council in Caracas (including the working class chavista neighbourhood of Petare), up until now run by corrupt and inefficient Bolivarian Rangel.
- the elections took place in a democratic way, with very few incidents
- the National Electoral Council delayed the closure of some polling stations where people were still queueing to vote, while the opposition protested that this was "fraud" (!¿) and tried to organise incidents around the issue
- Adan Chavez, elected governor of Barinas, declared that in this new stage "the revolution must be deepened"

Both Venezuela analysis and the Guardian have articles that are interesting:

Graeme: The PSUV who lost, were representative of the bureaucratic arm of the PSUV.

The blog Leftwing Criminologist writes about crime and poverty often with expertise.

Foxessa: Term limits were developed in the US, because of fear FDR would never go away. A painter needs time to finish his art, and doesn't appreciate another artist finishing his work.

In Venezuela, by the time elections for president roll around, it'll either be a Chilean style dictatorship, or socialist.

The PRI in Mexico's long run doesn't compare to Venezuela. Venezuela has clean elections.

As it gets closer to Chavez stepping down, people will demand the referendum be repeated.

Sonia: A country has the right to state to state relations.

It looks like posturing to me.

Troutsky: t is simplistic to view it as a referendum on socialism vs capitalism.

You are correct. Much of Chavez's opposition is leftist, as the Venezuelan Communist Party, PTT and even several Trotskyist groups. The extreme right is discredited. The biggest problem is bureaucrats and reformists inside Chavez's party. They are hated, and play a saboteur's role.

Chavez could be an Allende, if he doesn't start on a socialist program.

FJ: Chavez denounced the Tupamaros on his TV show as terrorists. There are several groups calling themselves Tupamaro. I have mixed feelings about them.

They do some of the work police should be doing amonst other things.

Larry Gambone said...

The PSUV got 58% of the vote. As you mention the PTT, PCV and some Trotskyist groups ran candidates too. Therefore, the socialist or socialist-leaning vote must be even higher than 58% I should mention that where the right won it did so something like 55%-45% and in many instances where the PSUV won it did so 60-40 or even 70-30. These are not figures to make the right-wing feel happy. It means that even where the right won, their hold is tenuous.I should add that any President or PM in the rest of the world would be jumping up and down with joy at winning 58% of the vote, remember Obama's "sweep" with 52%? Yet, the Bolivarian victory is being touted by the pressititutes as a major loss to the right.

Anonymous said...

They do some of the work police should be doing amonst other things. assination of opposition party members and harassment of peaceful student demonstrators.

They only supprt Chavez because he lets them keep anything they can steal from their victims.

Anonymous said...

The opposition won in the major cities and oil production districts.

Sounds like Venezuela is ripe for a Bolivian style autonomy movement...

Anonymous said...

What's going on in Caracas, Ren? Are Chavez's goons and the Tupamaro's refusing to turn over the mayor's office now?

Anonymous said...

So, they're about to anounce the official opposition victory in the Caracas mayoral contest, but Chavez's goons kidnap election officials at gunpoint and prevent the announcement.

I guess Hugo's feeling the need to let everyone know who's REALLY in charge.

How classy.

Anonymous said...

Another way of spinning the recent election is as follows:

56% of the vote totals went for non-PSUV candidates. The Mayors of the federal district and many major metropolitan areas went to the opposition. In 2004, Chavez's candidates garnered 58% of the total vote, which fell in 2008 to only 44%.

Votes for non-Chavez democratic party candidates increased by 2,846,103 to 5,246,291, or by 84.3%.

In the end, the number of Venezuelans being governed by Chavista governors fell from 22,158,512 to 15,201,334 (or 31.4%) and the number of Venezuelans being governed by "other" democratic party candidates grew from 3,836,343 to 12,585,623, or in other words, they grew by 228%.

Anonymous said...

Although the total number of voters in the Venezuelan election declined since 2004 by over 2 million voters (total), in the state of Barinas where the Chavez family rules...

"The figures we have so far show that the results in Barinas state are irreversible. The information handled by us is that out of 452,050 people enrolled in the Barinas' register of voters, information has been received of 449,577 voters. According to the data released so far (99.10 percent), Adán Chávez got 148,280 votes, for a total of 50.48 percent; and candidate Julio César Reyes has 129,111 votes, that is, a difference of 18,179 votes. With this figures at hand, everything shows that the result is irreversible," he said.

99.1% voter turnout??? LOL!!!!!

Mad Zionist said...

Down in the banana republics there's always trouble...

Frank Partisan said...

Larry: It's unprecedented for a movement to sustain itself, as long as the Chavez's movement. It's going on ten years. Most revolutionary situations are fast.

FJ: Once you have state power, cops, courts, taxes, jails and other tools, you don't screw around with motorcycle gangs or guerillas in the jungle. If you need something done, you have the naked power of the state. Chavez has no need for Tupamaros as part of the state. Nobody will be stopped from taking office.

MZ: You're thinking of Colombia.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Ren, they give hime something that the State cannot. Plausible deniability.

Every State has a "nocturnal council". It's where the REAL power lies.

Why do you think Venezuela's crime & murder rate is through the roof? You won't find that kind of crime in North Korea.

Anonymous said...

btw- What do you think of FARC's Venezuelan sanctuaries...

I know, I know, Chavez doesn't support the FARC/ELN. LOL!

Larry Gambone said...

FJ you are always good for a laugh. One of my problems with Chavez is that he DOESN'T support the FARC, though given the geopolitical political situation, I can understand why. Right-wing extremists demonize Chavez, the way they demonize Obama and everyone else who isn't a raving Nazi, but in reality, and until he hands power over to the workers and neigborhood councils, Chavez is a social democrat.

Anonymous said...

A Happy Thanksgiving to the Left side of the blog-o-sphere, from the Right. Enjoy the holidays!

Frank Partisan said...

Sean Penn and Christopher Hitchens interview Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez.

Larry: Chavez is influenced by Heinz Dieterich. I've been reading Alan Woods's book against Dieterich. His "21st century socialism," is worse than Marcuse's writing. Total postmodernism with reformism.

FJ: You should learn who the players are. The right of Chavez's movement is corrupt. They aren't above taking $$.

Happy Thanksgiving friends.

Larry Gambone said...

I read Alan's Woods articles on Deitrich. A load of rubbish, his "21 Century socialism". No comparison to Marcuse, who, by the way, I heard speak one time. Except for his erroneous views on the working class, I always liked Marcuse, as well as the other "Frankfurters." .

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