Venezuela's Chavez Triumphant
Date: Monday, August 16 @ 13:01:56 UTC
Topic: Venezuela and Chavez

History Making Democracy in Latin America

By: Sharmini Peries,

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, first elected in 1998 made democratic history today in a triumphant defeat of the recall referendum on his Presidency.

The very Constitution that he championed in 1999, that re-elected him in 2000, allows for a mid-term recall referendum for the President’s term in office. After six years in office, in this recall referendum held on Sunday, August 15th, Chavez lead with a 58% majority. Voters clearly exercised their constitutional right to confirm the President in a historic referenda process, never practiced in the history of this hemisphere.

Under the watchful eyes of over six hundred international observers and media scattered throughout the country, a majority of Venezuelan’s prevented their president from being ousted by a coalition opposition led by Accion Democratica (AD) and the Christian Democrats (COPEI), both parties representing the moderate and ultra right. Renowned international election observer delegations from the Carter Center, Organization of American States (OAS), and European Parliamentarians hailed the referendum process as free and fair.

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Thousands Gather Outside Venezuelan Presidential Palace for Chavez Victory Speech

Outside the presidential palace, thousands listened to President Hugo Chavez’ victory speech shortly after the country’s only electoral authority (CNE) announced the preliminary results of the presidential referendum which show that a majority of Venezuelans voted to keep Chavez as President of Venezuela.

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Why He Crushed the Oligarchs
The Importance of Hugo Chávez

By Tariq Ali

The turn-out in Venezuela last Sunday was huge. 94.9 percent of the electorate voted in the recall referendum. Venezuela, under its new Constitution, permitted the right of the citizens to recall a President before s/he had completed their term of office. No Western democracy enshrines this right in a written or unwritten constitution. Chavez' victory will have repercussions beyond the borders of Venezuela. It is a triumph of the poor against the rich and it is a lesson that Lula in Brazil and Kirchner in Argentina should study closely. It was Fidel Castro, not Carter, whose advice to go ahead with the referendum was crucial. Chavez put his trust in the people by empowering them and they responded generously. The opposition will only discredit itself further by challenging the results.

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