Wednesday, 18 August 2004 By monsvenerisInternational observers monitoring the recall referendum in Venezuela agree that President Hugo Chávez has won. Naturally the U.S. sponsored opposition cries foul but monitors say they found no signs of fraud.
Referring to his victory in baseball terminology, Chávez remarked "the ball must have fallen right in the middle of the White House. It's a present for Bush."
Better for the civilized world if the baseball had hit Bush square between the eyes!
Chavez was alluding, of course, to the constant verbal attacks on him from the administration of U.S. coup leader President George W. Bush.
With 94 percent of the votes from the electronic polls tallied, 4.99 million voted in support of Chávez, and 3.57 voted against.
Results are still pending on the 10 percent or so of the electorate that cast their ballots under the old manual voting system.
"These numbers are based on 90 percent of the electorate, and it is impossible for the tendency to be reversed," says a member of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Jorge Rodríguez.
Despite the predictable outcry of the opposition coalition - which comprises of around 50 political parties, business and labour organizations and "civil society groups" - the projections of international observers matched the preliminary outcome announced by the election authorities.
The disgruntled opposition, however, has vowed to dedicate itself to collating evidence to prove electoral fraud had occurred.
No doubt the Bush administration will continue to pump funding and advice into opposition resources to achieve a U.S. approved outcome. Perhaps Florida’s highly experienced Governor Jeb Bush could come down to Caracas and lend a hand!
After all, Venezuela is the world's fifth largest oil exporter and one of the top four suppliers to the USA, to which it exports 1.5 million barrels a day. And we all know how well things are going for U.S. global corporate interests in Iraq!
The electoral turn-out was phenomenal. From the early hours of Sunday morning, the longest lines ever seen in elections in Venezuela formed outside polling stations. Foreign observers say they have never seen such numbers.
If only American voters embraced democratic elections with such enthusiasm, George W. Bush would surely never have surfaced from the black lagoon of U.S. politics.
President Chávez pronounced "a great victory for the constitution" that was rewritten at his request in 1999.
That right, it was Chavez himself who created the possibility of activating a recall referendum for elected officials, something the venal, virulent opposition would never have considered for it could threaten their tenure when in government.
Chavez declared "This is the first time this has been done on planet earth, and I am pleased to be the first president to submit himself to the people's judgment halfway through his term and to be ratified" in office.
Let the corrupt Bush try that! Let Australia’s deceitful Howard try that! As if! But Judgement Day is coming, and neither of these vicious political creeps will survive, no matter how much they lie and buy their way towards the polls.
Yes indeed, the greedy, fuel-guzzling U.S. NEEDS Venezuelan oil, and no doubt the Bush administration is seething over Chavez's popular reaffirmation as President.
"If the White House is wise, it has to court and accommodate Chavez," says Larry Birns, head of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.
Chavez has defied U.S. pressure to help lower record oil prices, and urges other governments to block regional trade accords that favour American corporate interests - something Australia's embarrassingly sycophantic PM John Howard is unwilling to even contemplate.
"Hopefully, from this day on Washington will respect the government and people of Venezuela," says Chavez, who should now be able to serve out his term until 2007.
President Hugo Chávez was first elected in 1998 and re-elected under the new constitution in 2000. He created a long list of sorely needed social programs for the poor, who naturally support his interest in their historic plight.
Chavez Government programs include a crucial adult literacy campaign, the provision of primary health care to the slums, micro-credit schemes for the poor, special markets in low-income neighbourhoods providing food at subsidised prices, and soup kitchens.
Nervous markets reacted favourably to the announcement of Chávez's triumph, especially the oil market.
And that, after all, is what U.S. foreign policy is all about, isn't it?