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There Hugo Again

8 October 2012

A few thoughts on the not-unexpected re-election of Hugo Chavez.

The only surprising thing to me about the whole election was the avidity of the rich-nation’s media to believe Chavez’ election was ever in doubt.  I tend to think it was wishful thinking, based perhaps in good part on the idea that IF the opposition won, POTENTIALLY… WHEN and IF the Orinoco Belt reserves come on line, they’d be sold mostly to the United States and client states, rather than to China, or used domestically.  Uh, well …yeah… maybe.

Really, I think those who put their faith in Capriles are like those who, in the United States, somehow thought Barack Obama was going to reform capitalism overnight.  Or at all…  Capriles contented in the last days of his campaign that he’d govern like the Brazilian socialists (which one presumes are less frightening to the “one percenters,” although acceptable to those who just think Chavez and company go a tad too far, or are tired of the same guy at the head of the government for so long, or at least wouldn’t mind a bit of a change), but that ignores the reality of governance.

Any victory would have been a very narrow one for a fragmented coalition of  far right-right-center-left of center-everybody BUT Chavez political parties who hardly share the same agenda.  The same could be said about a potential AMLO victory here… it wouldn’t have undone the quasi-capitalist state given PRI and PAN opposition.  The basic outlines of the Bolivarian Republic wouldn’t have changed all that much had Capriles won.

I expect Jimmy Carter will be blamed in the reactionary press for his claim that the  “election process in Venezuela is the best in the world”. Much the same claim is made about Mexico’s, and its basically true… these countries have very good, clear PROCESSES — which just means they’ve got great tech manuals.  Not that the manuals are followed.

I don’t think Fausta’s blog is completely off in right-field (well, yeah, it is… but sometimes even the “right” is… um… correct) in suggesting there were some irregularities.  I expect there were a lot of them, just as there usually are in elections in this part of the world.  But none she notes are particularly outrageous.  Well, maybe the supposed letter from Alvaro Uribe (the disgraced former Colombian President, who has made something of a post-presidential career of complaining about other Latin American leaders — that, and avoiding trial for crimes against humanity).   But Uribe has to be taken with a large grain of salt.

And — while I don’t expect “fairness” when it comes to political discussions — not having heard many complaints from that side of the political spectrum about irregularities when the PRI “won” last July here, or after the seriously tainted “victory” by PAN in 2006, I would gather that had Capriles somehow won, it would have been a free and fair election (which would have put the right in the position of admitting that Chavez had opened up the political system during his tenure… something often overlooked about him in the scramble to label him somehow a “dictator”).

While it has been widely reported that Chavez used the power of his office to benefit his re-election  (something incumbents usually do, mostly because they can), there’s probably a simpler reason Chavez won.  He’s got a track record of keeping his campaign promises.  And he got the most votes.

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