For millions in Venezuela,
the region and beyond, Chavez is bigger than life. He's heroic.
He's important to sustain Bolivarian values. He's a legend in his own
time. He's a role model for other leaders.
He's also struggling to recover from complex cancer surgery. It's his
fourth in 18 months. More on that below.
Venezuelans support him overwhelmingly. On Sunday they showed it. Regional
elections were held. Bolivarianism triumphed.
Chavez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won 20 of 23 gubernatorial
races. Reuters called it a Chavista "sweep." AP said Chavez allies "steamrolled
At just under 54%, turnout was surprisingly low. In 2008, it was 65%.
Mayoralties were also at stake then.
Perhaps this time a combination of voter fatigue, the approaching holidays,
and other factors kept people home.
Voting went smoothly. On Sunday, National Bolivarian Armed Forces Operational
Strategic Command head, Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernandez, said:
"The process is going well, and we hope it will continue so during the
whole day." Later reports confirmed a calm, smooth vote.
About 141,000 military personnel protected 12,748 polling stations and
From Cuba, Chavez called on Venezuelans to vote. Minister of Science and
Technology, Jorge Arreaza, delivered his message on national television,
Chavez urged "particularly the patriot people, those who love the homeland,
to take part and solidify spaces of government which guide us into the
greatest sum of happiness possible."
He added that Chavez is doing well. He "sends his love to Venezuela and
the people of Latin America."
On Saturday, he began "to communicate, instruct, govern, and give instructions
to be carried out" back home. He's "closely following the elections."
"He has received the report on the situation in the country on such an
important day. He has ratified the call for our country to vote."
He added that his recovery shows a "positive trend with every passing
Sunday was far more than a Chavez sympathy vote. It was a referendum on
Bolivarianism. Results showed PSUV candidate dominance. Opposition ones
lost five previously held governorships.
Chavismo won in Zulia. It's Venezuela's most populous state. It's also
its vital oil industry hub.
Opposition candidates also lost Tachira, Carabobo, Monagas and Nuerva
Esparta. They held Miranda, Amazonas and Lara states.
In Miranda, former PSUV vice president Elias Jaua lost to opposition presidential
candidate/current Miranda governor Henrique Capriles. Near final totals
show he won 50 - 46%.
Venezuelans chose 23 governors and 237 legislators. As of Monday AM, legislative
voting results weren't announced. They may replicate gubernatorial ones.
PSUV candidates won three more victories than in 2008. Near final results
were as follows:
Amazonas: PSUV's Nicia Maldonado 37%; MUD's (Roundtable of Democratic
Unity coalition) Liborio Guarulla 65%;
Anzoategui: PSUV's Aristobulo Isturiz 53.97%; MUD's Antonio Barreto Sira
Apure: PSUV's Ramón Carrizalez 59.83%; MUD's Luis Lippa 22.42%;
Aragua: PSUV's Tareck El Aissami 52.72%; MUD's Richard Mardo 42.71%;
Barinas: PSUV's Adan Chavez 54.69%; MUD's Julio Cesar Reyes 41.72%;
Bolivar: PSUV's Francisco Rangel Gomez 43.57%; MUD's Andres Velasquez
Carabobo: PSUV's Francisco Ameliach 53.49%; MUD's Henrique Salas Feo 42.7%;
Cojedes: PSUV's Erika Farías 59.27%; MUD's Alberto Galindez 35.31%;
Delta Amacuro: PSUV's Lizeta Hernandez 61.27%; MUD's Arevalo Salazar 20.99%;
Falcon: PSUV's Stella Lugo de Montilla 48.28%; MUD's Gregorio Graterol
Guarico: PSUV's Rodriguez Chacin 70.41%; MUD's Jose Manuel Gonzalez 25.55%;
Lara: PSUV's Luis Reyes Reyes 41.98%; MUD's Henri Falcon 54.35%;
Merida: PSUV's Alexis Ramírez 47.56%; MUD's Lester Rodriguez 37.96%;
Miranda: PSUV's Elías Jaua Milano 46.13%; MUD's Henrique Capriles
Monagas: PSUV's Yelitze Santaella 52.59%; MUD's Soraya Hernandez - Independent
Jose Briceno 40.67%;
Nueva Esparta: PSUV's Carlos Mata Figueroa 52.44%; MUD's Morel Rodríguez
Portuguesa: PSUV's Wilmar Castro Soteldo 50.96%; MUD's Ivan Colmenares
- PCV's Oswaldo Zerpa 22.59%;
Sucre: PSUV's Luis Acuna 56.77%; MUD's Hernan Nunez 35.26%;
Tachira: PSUV's Jose Vielma Mora 51.7%; MUD's Cesar Perez Vivas 44.48%;
Trujillo: PSUV's Rangel Silva 79.4%; MUD's Jose Hernandez 17.31%;
Vargas: PSUV's Jorge Luis García Carneiro 69.05%; MUD's Jose Manuel
Yaracuy: PSUV's Julio Leon Heredia 57.08%; MUD's Biagio Pilieri 36.05%;
Zulia: PSUV's Francisco Arias Cardenas 50.99%; MUD's Pablo Perez 46.74%.
Latin American Studies Professor Miguel Tinker Salas said:
Results "underscore the fact that Chavismo can survive at least at the
regional level without Chavez."
"The reality is that the Chavistas today proved that their movement is
institutionalized enough to sustain itself and to win statehouses in almost
90 percent of Venezuela."
What's true regionally reflects overwhelming national support.
Chavista campaign manager Jorge Rodriguez hailed the victory. "The map
painted red," he said. It's PSUV's color.
"Chavismo, the force of the nation, won a crushing majority. This is a
victory for all of Venezuela but particularly a victory for Chavez."
Voters overwhelmingly showed support for Chavez, his allies, and Bolivarian
social justice. They won't tolerate going back to Venezuela's dark past.
Ahead of the vote, banners on lampposts read "Now more than ever with
Chavez." Vice President Nicolas Maduro addressed Venezuelans, saying "Let's
not fail Chavez."
"Today is a day where the entire nation will ratify its love for the country."
He explained that Chavez is communicating with his cabinet daily. He's
kept informed "step by step of everything that is going on economically
Ahead of the vote, Venezuelan officials expressed outrage about Obama's
Friday comments. As Chavez struggles to recover from complex surgery,
he called his policies "authoritarian."
A Venezuelan Foreign Ministry statement said he further damaged relations
between the countries. He showed "aggression and disrespect" at a very
Venezuela "demands respect from (Obama) and officials from his government
for the dignity of the Venezuelan people, its institutions and especially
Obama outrageously said:
"The most important thing is to remember that the future of Venezuela
should be in the hands of the Venezuelan people. We've seen from Chavez
in the past authoritarian policies, suppression of dissent."
His comments reflect America's imperial arrogance. Venezuelan governance
shames its northern neighbor. It champions democratic freedoms. Washington
spurns them at home and abroad. It wages war on humanity.
Information Minister Ernesto Villegas responded to Obama, saying:
Venezuelans "openly exercise freedoms and rights that US. society is far
"With his despicable statements in this very delicate moment for Venezuela,
the president of the United States takes the responsibility of pushing
bilateral relations toward increased deterioration, showing evidence of
the continuity of its policy of aggression and disrespect toward our country."
Media scoundrels unjustifiably attack Chavez. They do it viciously. They've
done it throughout his tenure. Facts don't interfere with their misreporting.
It's standard practice to vilify independent leaders. Democrats are called
tyrants or close to it.
America suppresses democratic values. In Venezuela they thrive. Venezuelans
pray for Chavez to regain full health. He's too important to lose.
A Final Comment on His Heath
On December 14, the Havana Times published a Venezuelan government press
"Consistent with the duty to inform the Venezuelan people and the peoples
of the world about the evolution of the state of health of the President
of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, additional medical information
from Havana is being presented in relation to the results of the surgery
and the current condition of Commander Hugo Chavez."
"Currently the patient is progressively and favorably recovering his normal
"This recovery process, however, requires a reasonable amount of time
due both to the complexity of the procedure performed and complications
that arose during surgery (these consisted of bleeding that required corrective
action to allow its proper control)."
"In so far as the positive developments continue - which are beginning
to become evident - the application of additional specific treatment is
foreseen to assist in the full recuperation of the patientís health."
"With this information, the Bolivarian government hopes to convey the
message of calm and hope to all people of good will, in different corners
of the nation and around the world, who are directing their prayers and
good wishes for the speedy and satisfactory improvement Commander Chavez."
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
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