With a victory margin of almost 10% amounting to a lead of 1.3 million votes, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was re-elected to a third term yesterday; a term that will expire in 2019. The margin of Chavez’ victory, coupled with challenger Henrique Capriles’ acknowledgment of defeat, appeared to mute claims of fraud which the opposition and US corporate media were trying out as themes over the past two weeks. There have been no reported incidents of violence since Capriles’ concession speech removed any basis for opposition supporters to challenge the results in the streets.
Thank you to US solidarity activists for standing ready to defend Venezuelan democracy. While we don’t need to go into emergency mode, we do need to remain vigilant. Venezuela’s healthy democracy points a finger at the ills of our own. Venezuela’s economic policies which have cut in half poverty and cut extreme poverty by 70%, are an indictment of US economic policies in service only of the corporate elite. And, Venezuela’s leadership to increase Latin America integration and continental policies refusing to acknowledge US hegemony, demonstrate that the US military build-up which now consumes over 50% of the discretionary budget, neither makes us more secure nor increases our influence.
These are not truths that the US political-military-corporate elite will accept lying down. The US will continue to demonize President Chavez and work to destabilize Venezuela through pumping millions of tax-payer dollars to opposition groups and anti-Chavez political parties through USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy. We cannot rule out other covert measures to recover US control over the world’s largest oil deposit. We have to remain vigilant in our defense of Venezuelan democracy and continue to work to change our own government.
Venezuela is an example to those in the US who want to build a better world. If Venezuelans can reduce poverty, so can we. If Venezuelans can use their national resources to benefit all, not just a few, so can we. If Venezuelans can have a vibrant democracy, so can we.