Sunday, August 15, 2004


Venezuelans ready and eager to vote

The recall election today in Venezuela looks to me very much like a preview of the American election in November. Venezuela is South America's oldest continuing democracy, and the voters can hardly wait to get to the polls. At issue, on a Yes-No vote, is the recall of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. This is the first presidential recall vote in Venezuela's history.

According to Reuters,

Even before polls opened just after 6 a.m. (1000 GMT), long lines of hundreds of voters formed outside ballot centers, which were guarded by troops. Some brought chairs to sit on, sipped coffee from thermos flasks or read newspapers.

Reuters says the "stakes are high,"

At stake is the survival of Chavez's self-styled revolution, a populist government that has spent millions of dollars of Venezuela's oil wealth on subsidized health, education and other social programs for the poor.

For his opponents, the referendum is the last opportunity before December 2006 elections to vote out a leader they see as a bullying dictator squandering Venezuela's oil resources to promote a dangerous, self-serving revolutionary project.

Imagine spending oil money on health, education and welfare! It's a scandal is what it is.

The poor would be much better served if all that money were to go to the rich. The poor have absolutely no patience. They don't understand that they must wait until the rich decide to trickle, as we do in America. It's not that Americans don't believe in income redistribution, it's just that it's supposed to come in a trickle, not a gush.

It's also supposed to arrive late. Otherwise, the poor won't have to struggle, which George Bush's own life has shown to be such an edifying experience. He's had to struggle to attend National Guard meetings. He's had to struggle to stay sober. He's had to struggle to speak English. Now look where it's brought him.

Early results are expected by midnight tonight. Stay posted.

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