President Hugo Chavez won the right to seek re-election indefinitely by 54.36% to 45.63%, according to the first bullletin announced by the National Electoral Council (which Chavez controls completely).
About 4 pm today I asked a friend with vast direct experience in elections and Venezuelan politics how things looked.
He said the exit polls he knew about showed the No vote ahead of the Yes vote by roughly 52% to 48%.
“These numbers mean Chavez has won,” he predicted. “The final result tonight will be about 55% to 45% for Chavez.”
His prediction was dead-on.
I crashed early tonight, taking advantage of the blissful downtime created when both of my young sons are sleeping, the only time my young Tasmanian devils are briefly transformed into beatific cherubs.
A few minutes ago my wife (and I) were awakened at 11 p.m. by our five-month-old son hollering for momma’s breast.
I turned on the TV, saw Chavez crowing and surrounded by the worst crooks in his regime, all beaming widely.
“Chavez won,” I told my wife when she returned to our bed.
“Of course,” she replied. “The votes belong to those who count the votes.”
My princess is a wise woman.
Chavez ignored his own constitution and election laws to achieve this victory.
He probably cheated too, though it doesn’t matter at this point.
No one in the world who regularly pounds the drums of democracy will stand in defense of Venezuelan democracy.
No one cares anyway.
The rest of the democratic world has too many other problems demanding the immediate attention of the drum beaters, like salvaging their own collapsing economies – as if dozens of simultaneously sinking worldwide Titanics captained by fools have any chance at all.
How could so many Venezuelan voters be so incredibly stupid?
I have asked myself this question repeatedly since I returned to Venezuela in mid-2004 after living and working the previous 11 years in Washington, DC.
However, I then think of the US voters who twice elected George W. Bush president of the United States, and then “fixed” that mistake with a bigger mistake by electing Barack Obama president of the United States.
It seems voters everywhere would rather buy a pig in a poke.