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  • Venezuela Elections: Chavez Faces a Determined Democratic Opposition

    Most Venezuelans do not want to live in a socialist/authoritarian state. Most aspire to live productive and independent lives and escape poverty through work and property ownership. They hope to remain free citizens in a genuine democracy rather than red-shirted comrades in a communist clone.

    On September 26, Venezuelans will vote for the 165 members of the national assembly that approves future laws, and, at least in theory, reflects the consent of the governed.

    Hugo Chavez’s poll numbers continue to sink. His 21st century brand of socialism suffers the same defects as socialism of the 20th century—mismanagement, corruption, lack of productivity, and a loss of economic freedom. Neglect of basic services and infrastructure, especially electrical, is significant. While the inflation and murder rate in Venezuela are among the highest in the Americas, overall performance of the Venezuelan economy continues to slide. Oil and aid giveaways and support for clients, including terrorists, has begun to boomerang.

    In most democratic nations, Chavez and his socialist party [PSUV] would be headed for the exit. But Chavez is still banking on a win. Although his regime is a hybrid of Tammany Hall and Orwell’s Big Brother and he joins ranks with other demagogic Latin leaders like Juan Peron and Fidel Castro, Chavez still employs an ever-shrinking electoral fig leaf to justify his reign.

    In Venezuela, governing is based on the whim of the Maximum Leader coupled with hardball politics and a tilted playing field. The Venezuelan state has become a vast patronage machine. Nationalizations have gobbled up the private sector. Government voters are recipients of Chavez’s largess. The national electoral council is in Chavez’s hip pocket. He has increasingly restricted media freedoms and uses unregulated media access to sell himself and his candidates. Voters face a wide range of obstacles that include, after a 2009 electoral law, electoral districts heavily favorable to Chavez’s party. There will be no meaningful international observers and limited domestic observation. The potential for significant fraud cannot be discarded.

    The opposition on the other hand, which sat out the 2005 elections, is working to achieve unity and recharge with new leaders and ideas.

    Chávez wants to pulverize the opposition that refuses to give up on a democratic Venezuela. He aims to concentrate even greater executive power freed from any legislative check. If he fails to get what he wants in terms of deputies on the 26th, he’ll side-step the legislature for other populist mechanisms.

    The legislative elections will test the capacity of the democratic opposition to unite, mobilize votes, and work together to build an alternative to Chavismo. Opposition candidates will win a substantial number of seats and create a platform for 2012.

    The eyes of the world will be upon Venezuela this weekend. Friends of democracy around the world will be rooting for the opposition and need to be ready to offer attention and support in what is the opening shot of the campaign to dump Chávez in 2012 and transition Venezuela back to democracy.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Venezuela Elections: Chavez Faces a Determined Democratic Opposition

    1. Frank, WA says:

      I am curious how you have come to your opinion on what the people of Venezuela want in government. You make a lot of claims that Venezuelans do not want socialism which could be the case but you do not back any of these statement with facts, polls or personel quotes. Seems as though if the electorate were not interested is the PSUV they would not have been in control by popular vote for so long. Do you have any sources to site or is this a personal opinion piece?

    2. P. Parry says:

      You're comments and observations leave me near speechless. Nothing you have written is based on facts, be it murder count to economic issues. And, yes,the PSUV Party will win this election,with the majority required, because when you allow all the people to vote, and not just the "elitist wannabes", there are always (sadly) more poor than rich… ergo, support and help the poor get a leg up, and win the election. That is reality, and, after all, what's wrong with that? None so Blind as Those Who Will Not See.

      P. Parry

    3. Greg B. Vail, AZ says:

      When I first started reading news articles many years ago, laid out facts were not a major part of REPORTING. It was, and still is MY responsibility to dig into the facts ON MY OWN. Today's electronic media makes this so simple it isn't even funny. Yet, here are two posters asking to have their bread buttered for them. This smacks of laziness all to common in today's society. True, good reporting should not be all supposition, and the article does try to provide proof as seen in the many highlighted links, but conclusion can be drawn to some extent based on "feel". The mark of a good reporter is listening to the gut.

      The people of Venezuela have made themselves heard from time to time as Chavez allows them to, to vent AGAINST his government. Pro Chavez rally's are obviously orchestrated. Use you time and check, it is only a Google search away, or are you too lazy?

    4. Donecuador, FL says:

      I have worked several times in Venezuela for periods of over a year at one time. It was amazing to me to see the deterioration of the economy and the attitude of many of the people.

      The plants that I worked in are now dangerous to work in because of the lack of quality maintenance, the products manufactured in VE were far inferior and many could not even be used in the plants. Delays on work are beyond normal comprehension.

      Quality food goods in stores are sorely lacking, sometimes not available for weeks at a time. The number of people in lines at the government stores is pathetic. Been there, done that, and I sure don't want anything like VE has in our great country, except that there are many really good people there. Sure don't know where Parry and Frank are coming from, they must not have been in VE lately.

    5. Ace Sez Bishop ,Cali says:

      Change the name Chavez to Obama and your tale would be pretty descriptive of the USA–our President is taking control more than the American citizens are aware of–he is doin' it by any number of 'Executive orders' by- passing the Senate and the Congress and I might add–the Constitution

      He is migrating thousands of Palistinians (Hamas muslims)– into the USA—writing checks to pay for this nefarious conduct –with no checks and balances by any Gov't agency–Obama is setting himself up for President for life–just as Chavez is doing— Remember November–vote out all incumbents–both parties !!

    6. Rosanne R. from Will says:

      The Obama Regime is leading us on the path to a Venezuela-Chavez country. It will be very very very difficult to get us back on the Constitutional path to preserve what little of our Constitutional rights and freedoms remain. The November 2010 election here is super important, but that will only be the beginning of trying to restore a semblance of sanity to our once proud, productive and free country. Sadly, there are far too many American citizens who are still totally unaware of what this regime is attempting to do. The media is complicit in the evil being perpetrated on all of us. NOTHING, not even FREEDOM, is free. We must work hard for it, and I'm trying to do what I can to do that very thing. TALK to your neighbors and friends and GET OUT THE VOTE before you don't have a VOTE anymore!!!!! VOTERS OF THE U.S. unite!!! to save the country that we love and have taken for granted for too long.

    7. Steve S. California says:

      Well, Parry and Frank, when was the last time that you saw an informed and free public say they wanted repressive and expansive government? When was the last time you saw the same public freely elect a tyrant (without being duped, as in Fidel's case)? MOST folks want the same thing, an opportunity to succeed and live without too much interference. raise children and creater better opportunity.The exception is those who feel entitled to something for nothing, (which is different from folks who have fallen on hard times and need a hand up)but these folks don't form nations, they destroy them. They don't achieve higher accomplishments or expand mankind's horizons. They cheapen the gift of life. For generations. As far as popular vote in Venezuela goes, anyone who pays attention knows that is not the case there.

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