Venezuela: The Chávez Victory by the Numbers

CARACAS, VENEZUELA; AUGUST 16, 2004, 08:00 HOURS:

First, the facts:

With 94.49 percent of the electronic voting machines reporting, the National Elections Council of Venezuela informs that the "NO" vote - against recalling President Hugo Chávez - has amassed such a wide margin over the "YES" vote - by those who wanted to depose the elected president - that the trend is irreversible:

NO: 4.991.483 (58.25%)
YES:
3.576.517 (41.74%)

That is a total of 8,568,000 votes.

That means that only about 470,000 votes are left to count, but the pro-Chávez vote already enjoys a comfortable margin of 1,414,966.

So even if the opposition gets every single vote left uncounted, the pro-Chávez side will win by almost a million votes. More likely, the remaining votes will fall in similar percentages as the 95 percent already counted, bringing the final total to something like 5.26 million "NO" votes to 3.76 million votes. This means that the opposition did not even succeed at garnering the 3.8 million votes that, had the pro-Chávez vote not turned out in these record numbers, would have been required to provoke a recall referendum. Thus, it is a double loss for the dwindling opposition in this oil-rich country of 24 million men, women, elders, and children.

Still, everybody won: Finally, after years of struggle, Venezuela has emerged as an authentic participatory democracy without coups d'etat, violence, or the false democracy of a two-elites, two-party system ruling its body politic through simulation. The repercussions will travel far and wide, even to the United States presidential elections this coming November.

The opposition members can and should take pride in the service they provided to their country and to the world around it: they made possible a referendum that sweeps Venezuela - and, soon, all of América - into a new day for the dream made reality of democracy that is also participatory and authentic.

More analysis to come.

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About Al Giordano

Biography

Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.