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Chavez LOSES Venezuela referendum

In a stunning result, the Venezuelan people have rejected President Hugo Chavez' proposed Constitutional changes, which would have granted him broad dictatorial powers in case of "emergency" (which he could declare) and voided term limits, essentially allowing him to become "President for Life." Simon Romero has the story for The New York Times:


Voters in this country narrowly defeated a proposed overhaul to the constitution in a contentious referendum over granting President Hugo Chávez sweeping new powers, the Election Commission announced early Monday.

It was the first major electoral defeat in the nine years of his presidency. Voters rejected the 69 proposed amendments 51 to 49 percent.

The political opposition erupted into celebration, shooting fireworks into the air and honking car horns, when electoral officials announced the results at 1:20 a.m. The nation had remained on edge since polls closed Sunday afternoon and the wait for results began.

The outcome is a stunning development in a country where Mr. Chávez and his supporters control nearly all of the levers of power. Almost immediately after the results were broadcast on state television, Mr. Chávez conceded defeat, describing the results as a "photo finish."


Read the whole story at the link above. Earlier reports, linked at Gateway Pundit, predicted a Chavez victory, but each succeeding one sounded less and less sure. The actual results were probably a huge landslide against - enough to convince Chavez and his cronies that claiming victory would result in a popular coup.

Special credit should go to Globovision (in Spanish), which kept the process in the daylight.


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Comments (32)

The actual results were ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The actual results were probably a huge landslide against - enough to convince Chavez and his cronies that claiming victory would result in a popular coup.

And your assumption that he rigged the election but then decides at the last minute to lose instead is based on what, exactly?

I mean, I expected everyone to cry foul if he won the referendum, but you're doing so even thought he lost and immediately conceded. Do you have any reason for it, or are you just pulling that out of your ass?

The guy only has four years... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

The guy only has four years to get it to swing his way. There's no rush, yet.

I would bet that the Chavis... (Below threshold)

I would bet that the Chavistas stuffed ballot boxes until they just couldn't hold any more, and still lost. Only God knows what the true vote total should have been...and I fear to speculate on what Chavez will do to "improve the odds" for his next attempt at totalitarianizing Venezuela.

The results aren't official... (Below threshold)
engineer:

The results aren't official yet. Jimmy Carter has yet to call the election.

I'm sure he'll find some irregularity, and push for a reversal of the outcome.

And your assumptio... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
And your assumption that he rigged the election but then decides at the last minute to lose instead is based on what, exactly?

I mean, I expected everyone to cry foul if he won the referendum, but you're doing so even thought he lost and immediately conceded. Do you have any reason for it, or are you just pulling that out of your ass?......mantis

Because that is part of a pattern that has already been established.

About the Venezuelan recall referendum of 2004:

Venezuela's opposition party finally forced a recall election, with opinion polls showing that voters favored his recall by a margin of more than 2 to 1.

When there were questions about possible vote tampering by the Chavez side, the opposition called for election monitors. Chavez agreed to let Jimmy Carter oversee the election, and the Carter Center headed for Caracas.

Under Jimmy Carter's watchful eye, Hugo Chavez defeated the recall attempt by a wide margin -- reflecting almost a mirror-image of the opinion polls.

While two out of three Venzuelans polled before the election wanted Chavez out, when the ballots were counted, Chavez was declared the winner by an almost exact opposite margin. "About 58 percent said 'no' to a recall, while 42 percent said 'yes,'" wrote the Washington Post.

Carter ignored a press release from the polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland Assoc. that reported, "Exit Poll Results Show Major Defeat for Chavez." The release, dated 7:30 p.m. on election day, said, "With Venezuela's voting set to end at 8 p.m. EST according to election officials, final exit poll results from Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, an independent New York-based polling firm, show a major victory for the 'Yes' movement, defeating Chavez in the Venezuela presidential recall referendum."

One of the most effective ways to monitor the fairness of an election is to employ the use of exit polls. In a nutshell, here's how exit polls work. After somebody has finished voting, a pollster will ask them how they voted. In emerging democracies, about 90% of voters participate.

By contrast, in America, where exit polls are widely used to call elections before the votes are all counted, less than 40% of voters participate.

Statistically, exit polls should mirror the actual vote, within a relatively thin margin of error.

The margin of error between Carter's certified fair-and-square ballots and the independent exit poll results constituted a swing of almost forty points -- a statistical impossibility.

Chavez counted on Carter leaning his way -- Carter's history of promoting anti-American dictators is no secret.

LINK

It appears Jim Addison did his research and knows the background which he opined about here.

If seems your question was pulled out of your ass mantis.

Mantis, you're an idiot.</p... (Below threshold)
Blake:

Mantis, you're an idiot.

About the Venezuelan rec... (Below threshold)
mantis:

About the Venezuelan recall referendum of 2004:

Your link is to a piece called "Jimmy Carter: The Worst Ex-President in History" from Omega Letter: The Daily Christian Intelligence Digest? Are you serious? I shouldn't even respond that's so completely idiotic, but whatever.

So your contention is that if opinion polls (nevermind that you don't link to anything close to a reputable source for the polls; and the source you do link to doesn't mention any details that would allow someone to follow up), when they differ from voting results, should be trusted over those results? Furthermore, polls from a previous vote concerning a different issue (recall vs. constitutional referendum) is evidence that the current vote is faulty, even though the side you are saying rigged the vote lost? Do you even pay attention to what you are saying? You need help.

Btw, let me just point out that if you want to point to polls as more reliable than votes, then you must believe that John Kerry won the 2004 presidential election.

Oh yeah, about the recall. Opinion polls commissioned by groups opposed to Chavez, performed by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Inc. and DATOS prior to the election showed him leading by 5 - 13%. Too bad the Christian Intelligence Digest didn't write about those polls, or you may have heard about them.

This has reverberations out... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

This has reverberations outside Venezuela--in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, where Chavez-style governments are trying to emulate his consitutional "reforms."

Just like Hillary, if a dictator's "inevitability" is undermined, the house of cards begins to fall. Latin America would by and large love to see this hideious man go away and leave them alone.

A blow for Democracy, all over the hemisphere.

Mantis, you're wrong. I ke... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Mantis, you're wrong. I keep an eye on Venezuela, and my wife's Nicaragua, since the two are joined at the hip para Chavez-Ortega.

There were the most reports ever of electoral "irregularities" in this election, and I gather those who are employed by the government or its state owned operations, including the oil co., are pressured to vote Chavista.

What happened here is that the abstentions on the Chavez side were so large that they couldn't rig the elections by the 4+ millions of votes they'd need to gain credibility for the reforms. There were reports of ballot stuffing, and destroying ballots/info.

Sorry, Mantis, you're all crapped out on this one (notice a trend here, anyone???)

Mitchell:"Sorr... (Below threshold)
marc:

Mitchell:

"Sorry, Mantis, you're all crapped out on this one (notice a trend here, anyone???)"

That's not a "trend," but a veritable landslide.

Mitchell,Well that... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mitchell,

Well that's why I asked what Jim was basing it on. You allude to irregularities, but provide no references or links.

And despite multiple predictions from opponents both here and in Venezuela that the vote would be rigged, or at least canceled if Chavez thought he would lose, it went ahead and he lost.

And even though a recount is allowed, provided there is approval from the Chavez-friendly Supreme Court, he has conceded the vote and has said nothing about pursuing one.

I do find it amusing that despite the fact that none of you can point to anything indicating fraud, let alone the massive fraud that Jim assumes, that you claim I'm "all crapped out on this one." What a cute little fantasy world you live in.

Btw, I don't like what Chavez has done in recent years, I didn't want him to win this referendum, and I think that fact that he accepts the loss is a good sign for Venezuela (hoping for a clean vote for their new president in 2012, and no more coups). I just think the continued claims of fraud on the part of the the guy who lost are pretty ridiculous considering none of you can provide any basis for them.

All of what I read I have r... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

All of what I read I have read in various publications. I don't have the time to do your spade work Mantis.

I'm too busy figuring out the truth, verus the propaganda.

There are a number of Venezuela newspapers, tv, blogs with this info. Even the CNE, the Ven. electoral commission, publicized the large number of complaints.

It's all there to see, if you would bother yourself to see it.

Ah, I see, the old "I can m... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Ah, I see, the old "I can make claims but I'm too busy to back them up" defense. Good show. I have "bothered to see," but I don't speak Spanish so I've had to rely on the English press. So far all of seen has been along the lines of the NYTimes article that Jim links to:

The voting seemed to unfold largely without irregularities, though there were isolated reports of fraud and violence in parts of the country.

Until you come up with something else from a reputable source, I'll continue to find your claims unconvincing.

If you install google tool ... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

If you install google tool bar, it will translate Spanish, and a bunch of other languages, to English. Typical Democrat, no intiative.

You can start with the CNE or EL Univeral, these are actually sources.

Your complaint lacks merit. Typical whiner Dimo.

Oh, and there is something ... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Oh, and there is something called "Google Search," which can be very productive.

Did you know it can search a term and return thousands of documents for research. You really must check it out.

And look for what's called "links" in the blogs, if you find any. They take you to primary sources, often.

There, I've done my good deed for the day.

So you have plenty of time ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

So you have plenty of time to respond to me, but not enough time to produce one link. Interesting.

Anyway, I checked El Universal, and of the five stories I read, this is the only one that discussed the issue (terribly translated):

The celebrations erupted around Caracas, with fireworks and claxonazos of the opposition.

That would put an end to the uncertainty surrounding the electoral process and which had already led to the opposition to demand "results already!" The CNE, which had to be surrounded by the military to prevent incidents.

The CNE had delayed delivery of the final scrutiny of the referendum to ratify the constitutional reform with which President Chavez was seeking re-election indefinitely, with the argument that he wanted to deliver secure results.

However, the delay did more to encourage rumors and suspicions about a possible attempt by the government to alter results, which in the end did not happen.

You would think they would have mentioned that "there were the most reports ever of electoral 'irregularities'," as you claim, in at least one of those stories.

El U. is closely aligned wi... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

El U. is closely aligned with the gub'ment down there. Check out some others to test your thesis.

This takes little time, responding to you. I already read the news today, and here's hoping you finally do, too.

Oh, forgot to point this ou... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Oh, forgot to point this out, all the voting machines are made by a gov't. controlled company and they are all computerized.

There are no hanging chads, so the fact that the vote "count" was difficult would lead a reasonable person to be suspicious, as it's basically a computer download to a server that we're talking about.

Hmmmmm. If BushHitler controlled the polling computers, wonder what you'd say then, Mr. Mantis in your Pantis???

If BushHitler controlled... (Below threshold)
mantis:

If BushHitler controlled the polling computers, wonder what you'd say then, Mr. Mantis in your Pantis???

Well, gee, if he lost I'd be just like you and claim it was rigged!

Oh wait, that doesn't make a lick of sense.

Well gee, Mant, you totally... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Well gee, Mant, you totally missed the point.

The article snip you used above referenced concern over the tally. The concern was well-founded, but ultimately irrelevant as Chavez could not cook the books enough to make it a clear winner.

As I stated, above, the pro-Chavez turnout was on the order of several million less this election, than last. He couldn't manufacture that kind of mass fraud. With a higher turnout, he probably could.

He has never turned over the "key" to the computer voting machines for observers to test.

Hmmmm, if ChimpBushMcHitler did this, what would you say, ManPants?

The problems that took plac... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

The problems that took place related to the delay imposed by the Venezuelan electoral board. The result was thus announced officially more than one hour past midnight, while it already had been circulating for hours in many web pages. The government even "leaked" an inaccurate piece of news that Reuters swallowed hook, line and sinker.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071202/ts_nm/venezuela_referendum_dc

From La Prensa, Nicaragua, from the Dictator's own mouth:

"To tell the heart, I have several hours debatiéndome in a dilemma. And I came out of this dilemma and I am calm, I hope that Venezuelans also, "Chavez said to ratify the figures offered by the election authority.

http://www-usa.laprensa.com.ni/archivo/2007/diciembre/03/noticias/internacionales/230561.shtml

Want to explain why Chavez had to spend "several hours debating" what to do? What was his dilemma exactly? We're dealing with a vote count here; or that's what his government should have been focusing on.

Mantis, don't be stupid.

Well that's why I ... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
Well that's why I asked what Jim was basing it on. You allude to irregularities, but provide no references or links.....mantis

Gee, a dictator wannabe that tries to consolidate power indefinitely that also seized the countries MSM (TV, radio, newspapers) can only be viewed as a reputable leader in lefty LA-LA land.

This man's past actions illustrate he will stoop to nothing.

Given the passion of Chavez's opposition he may understand that the old term "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice and I'll blow your freak'in head off", could have some relevancy right about now.

I can't speak for Jim when he posted this:

The actual results were probably a huge landslide against - enough to convince Chavez and his cronies that claiming victory would result in a popular coup.

But it's understood that Chavez is quite capable of underhanded tactics.

You are the only here it seems that is saying we must maintain some faith in his credibility before condemning him or assuming he would have the audacity to cheat.

I have no problem assuming the worst in his case.

The government even "lea... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The government even "leaked" an inaccurate piece of news that Reuters swallowed hook, line and sinker.

Exit polls? Need I remind you of 2004?

Want to explain why Chavez had to spend "several hours debating" what to do? What was his dilemma exactly? We're dealing with a vote count here; or that's what his government should have been focusing on.

What he said he was debating was whether to release the results when the vote was so close, but whatever. That the results were delayed does raise eyebrows a bit, and I wouldn't be surprised if Chavez considered something underhanded. I'm not saying he's not capable of what you guys are talking about, what I'm saying is that there's no evidence he rigged the election, and the biggest clue of all is the fact that he lost.

Just because he could have done something doesn't mean he did. If he had actually won, I would be skeptical right along with you. The fact that he lost and accepted it is a good sign, and I hope that they are able to peacefully elect a new president when his term is up.

I have no problem assuming the worst in his case.

Fine, but the fact remains that you can point to nothing that indicates that this losing vote was fixed.

Why does Chavez illicit mor... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Why does Chavez illicit more ire from the American right than Pinochet ever did? As for today, what about Mubarak or Musharraf? While the Bush Admin. did chill its relations with Islam Karimov, it did so only after he restricted their use of an airbase used in the Afghan conflict.

There are good reasons to be suspicious of Chavez, but it seems that conservatives in the United States are motivated more by ideological difference than by any overarching concern for democracy as such.

I wouldn't be surp... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
I wouldn't be surprised if Chavez considered something underhanded. I'm not saying he's not capable of what you guys are talking about....mantis

So you actually understood all along why anyone would be extremely skeptical over any Chavez's motivations, even conceding. To the casual observer, by at least conceding now it seems pretty clear this allows him breathing room to try again another day. And five more years to pursue his agenda of all out political power consolidation.

From just watching the "man on the street" interviews from the opposition in Venezuela they understand this is a temporary victory and Chavez is in no way done.

So it appears you do understand the reason Jim wrote:

The actual results were probably a huge landslide against - enough to convince Chavez and his cronies that claiming victory would result in a popular coup

Yet in post one right out of the comment starting block you write:

I mean, I expected everyone to cry foul if he won the referendum, but you're doing so even thought he lost and immediately conceded. Do you have any reason for it, or are you just pulling that out of your ass.....mantis

I guess you answered your own question with.....

"I wouldn't be surprised if Chavez considered something underhanded"

Mmmmmm, what bodily orifice did that come from?

Matthew, the problem with y... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Matthew, the problem with your comparison is that Pinochet didn't leave the Chilean economy in ruins like all, all of the other leftist dictators in LatAm.

The Chilean economy is actually the strongest in LatAm now, and their democracy is the strongest.

Just look at what Ortega did in Nicaragua, for example. I go down there often, and the place is a basket case.

Wake up, man.

"I wouldn't be surprised if... (Below threshold)
mantis:

"I wouldn't be surprised if he considered" is not the same thing as "He probably did."

I wouldn't be surprised if my neighbor has considered murdering me at some point. That doesn't mean he has, and there's pretty strong evidence against it considering I'm not dead.

Get it?

Mantis, for your point to h... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Mantis, for your point to have credibility, you'd have to ignore the large body of evidence demonstrating Chavez's destructive rule is, if anything, full of fraud, corruption, cronyism, and pursuit of raw power for the Caudillo.

That's the problem with overly inflexible minds in the liberal camp; you've got to view the totality of facts, not whether the guy threw this particular election.

For reasons I've stated repeatedly, above, there were reasons Chavez was boxed in; the student demonstrations (they're mainly socialist, these students, by the way) and the loss of 3,000,000 votes of Chavistas who stayed home and didn't support him, were too much to overcome.

Who was it in the Dimo party decry a lack of "nuance." Seems to apply amply to his own party. (See Harry Reid's assertion today that the surge has "failed").

I wouldn't be ... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
I wouldn't be surprised if he considered" is not the same thing as "He probably did."

They both convey suspicion on the integrity of Chavez.

Now you are just arguing the semantics of the degree in which you are willing to accuse him of underhandedness.

Due to his past actions the probability that "He probably did" is no more of a stretch than "I wouldn't be surprised if he considered".

I wouldn't be surprised if my neighbor has considered murdering me at some point. That doesn't mean he has, and there's pretty strong evidence against it considering I'm not dead

Well, if your neighbor was killing people around the block and you later turned up dead would "they" say your neighbor "probably did it" or "I wouldn't be surprised if he considered killing mantis".

Just as Chavez's past actions have proven he is willing to thwart the will of the majority then that means the probability of doing it now is just as high.

Get it?

Just as Chavez's past ac... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Just as Chavez's past actions have proven he is willing to thwart the will of the majority then that means the probability of doing it now is just as high.

Then why didn't he win?

Ok guys, nevermind. If you can't see the absurdity of believing the guy rigged an election but not enough to win, despite his previous willingness to use heavyhanded and dictatorial methods, there's no real point in discussing it with you. You're impervious to reason.

If you can't see... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
If you can't see the absurdity of believing the guy rigged an election but not enough to win

If you can't see the absurdity of believing the guy "considered something underhanded" (your words), while arguing about the absurdity of he didn't do something underhanded simply because he didn't win by enough to pull it off, seems to make "YOU" impervious to reason.


Great post! It will take qu... (Below threshold)

Great post! It will take quite a while to turn Venezuela into a Cuba, but as long as communists run the country it will just get worse and worse. Chavez is determined.

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe thinks
let's PLAY communism

pretend to fix the world
by destroying it

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
long to taste communism

but be a party leader
or join the wretched masses

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
demand should exceed supply

but don't let prices rise
shortages are much better

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe thinks
communism is GREAT

excellent way to destroy
countries for generations
.




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