Monday, December 03, 2007

Chavez referendum fails in Venezuela

This is good, but I wouldn't get overly excited about it.
Venezuelan voters delivered a stinging defeat to President Hugo Chavez on Sunday, blocking proposed constitutional changes that would have given him political supremacy and accelerated the transformation of this oil-rich country into a socialist state.

Hours after the final ballots were cast, the National Electoral Council announced at 1:15 a.m. local time Monday that voters, by a margin of 51 to 49 percent, had rejected 69 reforms to the 1999 constitution. The modifications would have permitted the president to stand for reelection indefinitely, appoint governors to provinces he would create and control Venezuela's sizable foreign reserves.

Opponents of the referendum are justifiably pleased.

"People who have been with Chavez do not support the reform," said Elixio Fusil, who lives in a pro-Chavez district in western Caracas and voted against the reforms. "He wants a blank check, and that's impossible. We're not stupid like he thinks. It's that simple. There are conscious, thinking people here, too."

Fusil should probably enjoy the moment because it won't last. Based on the narrow margin of victory, there may be conscious, thinking people in Venezuela, but they don't out number the unconscious and unthinking by very much. The genius of Chavez holding this referendum now is that he has 4 plus years left in his current term. That is plenty of time to lull some more of those "conscious, thinking people" to sleep so he can still have his way. Chavez my have lost this battle, but his war to be communist president for life is far from over.

No comments: