Chavez seeks re-election in Venezuela

CBC News
Venezuelans cast their ballots on Sunday in a presidential election that is expected to hand six more years in office to the outpoken socialist incumbent, Hugo Chavez.

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Kudos to Chavez -- it has been reported in local news that he has a big lead at present and that victory is assured.

As Bush himself said, democracy is grand.
Victory for Chavez: (external - login to view)

Chavez wins re-election by wide margin

By IAN JAMES, Associated Press Writer 4 minutes ago

CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez won re-election by a wide margin Sunday, giving the firebrand leftist six more years to redistribute Venezuela's vast oil wealth to the poor and press his campaign to counter U.S. influence in Latin America and beyond.
Challenger Manuel Rosales conceded defeat but vowed to remain in opposition. During the campaign, Rosales accused Chavez of edging Venezuela toward authoritarian rule and warned the president could undertake even more radical policies if re-elected.
Minutes after the results were announced, Chavez appeared on the balcony of the presidential palace singing the national anthem. He pledged to deepen his effort to transform Venezuela into a socialist society.
"Long live the socialist revolution! Destiny has been written," Chavez shouted to thousands of flag-waving supporters wearing red shirts and braving a pouring rain.
"That new era has begun," he said, raising a hand in the air. "We have shown that Venezuela is red!... No one should fear socialism... Socialism is human. Socialism is love," Chavez said. "Down with imperialism! We need a new world!"
Since he first won office in 1998, Chavez has increasingly dominated all branches of government and his allies now control congress, state offices and the judiciary. He has called President Bush (external - login to view) the devil, allied himself with Iran (external - login to view) and influenced elections across the region.
Chavez also has used Venezuela's oil wealth to his political advantage. He has channeled oil profits toward multibillion-dollar programs for the poor including subsidized food, free university education and cash benefits for single mothers. He has also helped allies from Cuba to Bolivia with oil and petrodollars.
He now promises to solidify his social program.
With 78 percent of voting stations reporting, Chavez had 61 percent to 38 percent for challenger Rosales, said Tibisay Lucena, head of the country's elections council. Chavez had nearly 6 million votes versus 3.7 million for Rosales, according to the partial tally.
Turnout among the 15.9 million eligible voters was 62 percent, according to an official bulletin of results, making Chavez's lead insurmountable.
"We will continue in this struggle," Rosales told cheering supporters as he conceded defeat.
Some supporters at his campaign headquarters wept, while others were clearly angry.
"We have to do something," said Dona Bavaro, a 36-year-old Rosales supporter. "My country is being stolen. This is the last chance we have. Communism is coming here."
Rosales, a cattle rancher and governor of western Zulia state who stepped down temporarily to run against Chavez, focused his campaign on issues such as rampant crime and corruption, widely seen as Chavez's main vulnerabilities.
A top Rosales adviser, Teodoro Petkoff, said the voting was carried out in a "satisfactory manner." He said some irregularities had occurred but most were resolved. Another member of the Rosales camp had accused pro-Chavez soldiers of reopening closed polling stations and busing voters to them.
Even before polls closed, Chavez supporters celebrated in the streets, setting off fireworks and cruising Caracas honking horns and shouting "Chavez isn't going anywhere!"
Earlier, Chavez loyalists jarred voters awake hours before dawn in Caracas with recordings of reveille blaring from truck-mounted loudspeakers.
"We're here to support our president, who has helped us so much," said Jose Domingo Izaguirre, a factory worker who waited hours to vote. His family recently moved into new government housing.
Rosales supporters accused Chavez of deepening class divisions with searing rhetoric demonizing his opponents.
Alicia Primera, a 54-year-old housewife, was among voters so passionate about the choice that they camped out overnight in voting queues.
"I voted for Chavez previously. I cried for him," Primera said. "Now I'm crying for him to leave. He's sown a lot of hate with his verbiage."
The campaign has been hostile, with Chavez calling Rosales a pawn of Washington and Rosales saying he was on the alert for fraud. Rosales' campaign had endorsed the electronic voting system as trustworthy as long as no attempts were made to thwart it.
More than 125,000 soldiers and reservists were deployed to safeguard the balloting.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Janelle Hironimus stressed "the importance of a free, fair and transparent process."
Conflict and ambition have marked the rise of Chavez, 52, from a boy selling homemade sweets in a dusty backwater to a failed coup commander in 1992 and now a leader who could set the tone of Latin American politics for years to come.
Constitutional reforms he oversaw in 1999 triggered new elections the following year that he easily won. Loyalists helped him survive a 2002 coup, a subsequent general strike and a 2004 recall referendum.
Chavez says he would convene a commission upon re-election to propose constitutional reforms, likely including an end to presidential term limits. Current law prevents him from running again in 2012.
The president insists he is a democrat and will continue to respect private property though he has boosted state control over the oil industry and has said he might nationalize utilities. Venezuela is the world's fifth largest oil exporter and soaring oil prices have made it the continent's fastest growing economy.
Chavez has pledged at least $1.1 billion in loans and financial aid to Latin American countries in the past two years, and billions more in bond bailouts for friendly governments as well as generously financed oil deals. But the largesse has proved a weakness at home, with polls suggesting many Venezuelans believe the aid impedes efforts to address the country's own problems.
Chavez, who says Fidel Castro (external - login to view) is like a father to him, has built increasingly close ties with Cuba, sending the island oil while thousands of Cuban doctors treat Venezuela's poor for free.

I think not
I'm waiting for a single leftist to come out and express concern for the electronic voting implemented in Venezuelas election. Or is the concern only warranted when the US uses it?
I think not
No concerns?
Haha Chavez is really pushing his imaginary envelope.....

I wonder when his fake opponent will be banished with a handsome sum of money to disappear or at worst be executed....

He awarded his opposition two minutes per day on his television stations, while he rampaged on for two hours a day with his campaign speeches....all free to the public of course.

Interesting guy - a study to see what dictatorship is all about -
Quote: Originally Posted by I think notView Post

No concerns?

SShhhh, they don't want that brought up anymore...
The election was monitored by the European Union unlike the USA election.

But we'll keep that a secret.

I think not
Excuses are like *******s gopher, everybody has one.

Foreign agencies monitor ALL elections, including the US.

And btw, the UN gave its blessing to the Iraq and Afghanistan elections after monitoring both of them.

Strange, did not indicate that USA elections were monitored even though it called for such surveying. Can you please provide a link to show that the 2006 elections were internationally monitored?

We have had several right wingers say that there had been vote rigging and that they merited recounts. But nobody that I am aware of has said that the elections were monitored.

Thanks in advance for your links.
I think not
Quote: Originally Posted by gopherView Post

Strange, did not indicate that USA elections were monitored even though it called for such surveying. Can you please provide a link to show that the 2006 elections were internationally monitored?

We have had several right wingers say that there had been vote rigging and that they merited recounts. But nobody that I am aware of has said that the elections were monitored.

Thanks in advance for your links.

If democraticunderground is your primary source of unbiased news, you have my sympathies. (external - login to view)
Don't worry - it isn't.

I am aware of that program in 2004 which the right wingers hated so much. But I was referring to the 2006 election.
I think not
I have no idea regarding the 2006 elections. Does it really matter?

The point is, when Venezuela implements an electronic voting system (no paper trail) in 100% of its precincts, and Chavez wins. It's a no brainer he was "honest".

If that isn't bias, then I don't know what the hell is.
```Does it really matter?```

It should though I leave it up to you to determne for yourself whether there is any real merit to that concern as everyone is entitled to their opinion.

The fact remains that Venezuela's election was monitored with only minor faults detected. By contrast, the USA's November election was not monitored so that Republicans cannot make the claim that irregularities cost them the election because it was they who objected to this surveying in 2004.

As for "bias", I'll allow Venezuelans to determine that for themselves.
one last word on this issue - Extra checks REJECTED: (external - login to view)

Extra Checks on Voting Machines Rejected

The Associated Press
Monday, December 4, 2006; 9:37 PM

GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- A federal advisory panel on Monday rejected a recommendation that states use only voting machines that produced results that could be independently verified.
The panel drafting voting guidelines for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission voted 6-6 not to adopt a proposal that would have required electronic machines used by millions of voters to produce a paper record or other independent means of checking election results. Eight votes were needed to pass it.

The failed resolution, proposed by Ronald Rivest, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer scientist and panel member, closely mirrored a report released last week warning that paperless electronic voting machines are vulnerable to errors and fraud and cannot be made secure.
Some panel members who voted against the proposal said they support paper records but don't think the risk of widespread voting machine meltdowns is great enough to rush the requirement into place and overwhelm state election boards.
"They should be longer-range goals," said Britain Williams of the National Association of Election Directors. "You are talking about basically a reinstallation of the entire voting system hardware."
Congress created the panel after vote-counting problems in the 2000 presidential election to advise the Election Assistance Commission. Monday's meeting was held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is advising the panel on voting technology. NIST staffers wrote last week's report on the potential voting problems.
Some panel members worried that the systems with audit trails could present problems of their own, including printer errors. Others said it was unclear whether paper records could be used by voters who are blind or have other disabilities.
But Rivest warned his colleagues that software errors in the paperless machines could go undetected without a way of verifying the voting results.
That could lead to a scenario where you have "got an election result that is wrong and you have no evidence to show that it's wrong," he said.
Verifiable paper records are already used by many states _ 27 mandate them while another 18 don't require them but use them in all or some jurisdictions. Only five _ Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and South Carolina _ use machines without a paper record. More than half of all voters used machines with paper records during the 2006 elections.
The paperless voting machines are essentially laptop computers that allow voters to cast their ballots by touching a screen, and then tally the results. They are widely used across the country.

The Republicans could have allowed the imposition of paper trail systems but rejected them. Therefore, they have no complaint about losing elections to alleged and unsubstantiated irregularities.
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