Monday, August 16, 2004

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez -- arch-nemesis and thorn in the side of GW -- apparently survived a popular referendum to oust him, winning the popular vote by nearly a 60/40 margin. With more than 8.5 million votes cast, it smashed the previous record for turnout. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, monitoring the election, said it was the largest turnout he'd ever seen.

I'm not exhaustively apprised of everything having to do with the Chavez/Bush conflict, however my initial reaction is it's a no-brainer that GW & Co. would despise this guy given what he stands for. Chavez is a champion of the poor and he has spent millions of dollars to teach adults to read (compare to GW's bogus No Child Left Behind), brought Cuban doctors to the slums, and granted loans to small farm and business owners. He has banned the cultivation of genetically modified crops, directly knocking out humongo-corporation Monsanto (would GW ever do anything like this??).

On top of this, it at least appears efforts were made to insure this election was a fair one (unlike say in our country in 2000). An electronic thumbprint ID system was used, which due to the sheer number of voters caused the closing of polls to be postponed (you think GW & Co. would've held polls open to insure all voters could vote?). Even Chavez himself initially experienced problems when attempting to vote for himself, having to move to another thumbprint machine.

Again, I haven't done a good deal of reading on Chavez, but if Bush is against him, he can't be all bad.

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