After 12 years in office,
Chavez remains overwhelmingly favored for reelection in October. Given
the alternative, most Venezuelans have a clear choice.
Poll numbers predict a sweep. IVAD has United Socialist Party of Venezuela's
(PSUV) Chavez leading the opposition umbrella group Democratic Unity
Table's (MUD) Henrique Capriles Radonski by a 57.6% to 26.6% margin.
Venezuela's 21st Century Group of Social Investigation, a progressive
think tank, predicts a similar result.
MUD officials supported the aborted 2002 two-day coup. Closely linked
to Washington, democracy's abhorred. It won't be tolerated under a regime
they control. Nor will Bolivarian populism.
The Washington Post called Capriles "a charismatic campaigner with a
loyal following." It said he promises to "rebuild democratic institutions."
Maybe April 2002 is his template.
The New York Times said he's "the fresh-faced governor of Miranda, one
of the country's most populous states, which includes" much of Caracas.
Ignoring his fascist agenda, The Times also claimed he's "a political
moderate." It suggested a "bruising and tight election campaign." It
quoted him saying Chavez "believes he is God. He thinks he can't lose,
and that's very good for us."
Primary results showed he won handily by 33 percentage points over Zulia
state governor Pablo Perez.
Calling himself a social democrat, the Economist said he takes "a gradualist
approach to restoring confiscated property, undoing currency controls
and abolishing unconstitutional laws."
In 2002, he was Baruta mayor. He defended the coup. He joined fascist
gangs attacking the Cuban embassy. It's was located in his former district.
He violated international and Venezuelan law helping seize power. He
never faced charges. How he wants to be president. Imagine law, order,
and justice if he's elected.
He and other MUD officials represent wealth and power. Venezuelans want
populism. Under Chavez, they've gotten it since 1999. They're not likely
to give it back.
On March 30, Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE) made it official.
It set October 7 for the presidential election. On December 16, regional
ones for state governors will follow.
Since registrations opened last year, 1,123,945 new voters joined the
roles. As of last October, nearly 18.2 million Venezuelans are eligible
to vote. Chavez is running for the third time. He committed to recognize
the results as announced.
Capriles stopped short, saying only that "everything I've achieved in
politics, I've achieved through the vote." Not quite. He participated
actively in the 2002 coup. Elections weren't in sight or planned. The
will of the people thwarted power grab politics. Expect little change
of heart this year.
April marked the 10th anniversary of Washington's coop attempt. Demonstrations,
debates, exhibits, and workshops commemorated it. Plotters aimed to
destroy Bolivarianism. Venezuelans had other ideas. Two days of mass
protests reversed it.
April 13 "Day of National Dignity" and others following
commemorated it. Thousands turned out supportively. Chavez addressed
them from the presidential palace (Miraflores) "people's balcony."
He said "(w)e demonstrated that a united people will never be defeated.
Due to that, I beg you not only to maintain unity but to strengthen
it, with our debates and criticisms, but unity and above all, more unity."
Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro suggested Capriles' coup plot complicity.
He said what happened marked the day that "fascism and the Venezuelan
right showed its true face."
Commemorations ran through April 19. They included a Revolutionary Youth
Day and Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) national conference.
Chavez announced creation of an "Anti-Coup Command." He was warned of
a possible conspiracy against his government. Washington never stopped
plotting to remove him. As long as he's president, he's vulnerable.
His health also remains an issue. He had three cancer operations and
multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Back in Cuba
for more, he called home to dispel rumors of his demise. Days of silence
had people wondering.
On state television, he said "I think we will have to become accustomed
to live with these rumors...because they are part of the laboratories
of psychological war, of dirty war."
Following the reoccurrence of cancer in February, Chavez took radiation
treatment. Since mid-April, he again got it in Cuba. Despite national
assembly president Diosdado Cabello saying he's expected home soon,
media scoundrels doubted his survival capacity and political future.
Cabello said rumors fueled their "desperate" campaign "because the polls
aren't" giving them what they want. The best they can do is wish him
dead or gravely ill unable to run.
Pro-Chavez attorney Dario Vivas said "(t)he same people who complain
that he talks a lot are the ones who panic" after days of silence.
Chavez said he's doing well, still "recovering." His "health exams that
were conducted today came out well." Though radiation therapy isn't
easy, he's able to "carry out (his) tasks as president."
Recovering from cancer isn't easy. Reoccurrence can follow remission.
Chemotherapy and radiation have short and longer-term side effects.
How severe depends on the type of cancer and how it's treated.
On April 26, Chavez returned home. He'll return for more treatment.
Since his cancer was initially diagnosed, all sorts of rumors followed.
The latest wondered if he's alive.
Mark Twain once called reports of his death greatly exaggerated. The
same holds for Chavez. He's alive, recovering, and expected to win a
third term in October. The stakes are high - Bolivarianism or fascism.
For most Venezuelans, it's an easy choice. As long as Chavez stays active
in politics, they'll vote to keep him there. Choosing a new PSUV leader
can come later.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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