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03 December 2007
Venezuela votes no.
By the narrowest of margins, the people of Venezuela voted not to pass the constitutional changes that President Hugo Chavez Frias had asked for. This means that the working day will not be reduced from eight to six hours and that social security will not be extended to the millions who work in the informal sector of the economy.

The president made a dignified concession speech and told his people that the vote had only been lost "for now". Hopefully, a full post mortem will now take place and the factors that led to the defeat can be considered. Changes will obviously have to be made before another ballot takes place.

In the meantime, the vote has to be seen as a victory for Venezuela's democracy, and a further legitimation of the previous elections and referenda that Chavez Frias has won.

This sort of thing can only happen in a functioning democracy, of course. So Venezuela clearly is one.

3 December 2007 at 16:52  

Yes, good on Venezuela. I know quite a few bourgeois Latin Americans who are up in arms about him, and point out that if what you normally have is a succession og governments operating openly in the sole interests of the rich, sooner or later someone is going to work out how to turn the game around. Don't agree with everything Chavez says or does, but in the league table of shitty behaviour by Latin American leaders he's flirting with relegation.

But many of the people who voted the Chavster back in last year clearly took the view that it's better not to give him too much rope. People tend to hang themselves. I hope he takes this on the chin and trains up a sensible successor who'll keep up his principles without the risk of the descent into egomania that even the best aren't immune to.

3 December 2007 at 17:39  

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