Monday, December 03, 2007

Outbreak of optimism...

Update: Thursday 6th December: Spoken like a true Statesman...NOT! Chavez is now truly losing the plot: today at a press conference - with the Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard chiefs - designed to reinforce the point that he wasn't pressured into recognising the 'No' win said: "Fue una victoria de mierda y la nuestra una derrota de coraje"
"It was a shit victory and ours a courageous loss"!!!
Update: Tuesday 4th December: Predictably, the abstention rate of 44% is causing some concern: what's clear is that while millions of Mr Chavez's supporters probably still back him, they were unconvinced by his proposed reforms to the (new!) Constitution"
Perhaps I made a mistake in the timing of my proposals, that could be, that we are not politically mature enough,"... "It's a challenge for us, we're going to convince those of our comrades who have doubts, those who have fears concerning socialism."
Venezuela and the Latin American blogosphere is alight with far more optimism than pessimism over yesterday's very close defeat in the referendum for constitutional change. (some say TOO close!) The main emphasis for most is that at least 3 million voters from Chavez's re-election failed to show up to vote in the referendum: the following from Vcrisis:

"The result of the referendum lends itself to different readings, the most obvious being number of votes for and against the illegal, and now unpopular, reform: 4.379.392 in favor (a year ago 7.309.080 people voted for Chavez in the presidential race) and 4.504.354 against it. Ergo while the opposition, led by the student movement, managed to increase its numbers by some 200,000 (compared to votes cast for Manuel Rosales last December), officialdom, in spite of the huge advantage in terms of funds and media, saw 3 million of its supporters shunning the reform and sitting out the vote. Some chavistas have attributed this defeat to poor performance on behalf of Chavez´s government. Such candid admissions, to be applauded and encouraged by all of us, just reiterate what we have been saying all along."

More interestingly, because of the polls indicating a win for the 'No' camp, Chavez had tried to make this a definitive 'for me' or 'against me'...he even said:

"Those who vote NO are doing a favor to George W. Bush. Our real opponent, our real enemy is the US Empire. On Sunday we are going to deal another knockout blow to the American imperialism. Nobody should forget that it is the backdrop of the battle."
It seems that finally the Venezuelan public are recognising the difference between reality and rhetoric.

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