Saturday, December 02, 2006

Venezuela election tomorrow

In anticipation of tomorrow’s election in Venezuela, the NYT reports on the rise in crime in the country (up 67%) after President Chávez took office, and the extremely high rate of gun-related deaths. The piece is obviously highly critical, though it would’ve been useful at least to get a pro-Chávez opinion of the phenomenon. The Washington Post discusses the government’s heavy-handed tactics with state workers and the media.

In addition, Slate has a story on race in Venezuela, and more specifically the growing Afro-Venezuelan movement. Particularly relevant for the election is that the Bolivarian revolution doesn’t really include blacks, but the opposition is seen as out of touch and racist:

On Globovision, the country's main 24-hour news network, which essentially represents opposition to Chávez, guests have repeatedly referred to the president, who is of mixed indigenous and black origin, as a "monkey."

So the choice is generally to vote for Chávez because they empathize with him, and at least he has some connection to the poor and dispossessed.

The opposition may call fraud, there may be riots, but it seems there is something else at work, something rather depressing. Although Venezuela faces some serious problems, Rosales still seems only the “non-Chávez” candidate. How many people will vote for him because they believe in his vision for the country? So there are blocs of voters who could possibly be swayed, who don’t like the direction the country is taking, but instead they may vote for Chávez, because he has something in common with them, whereas they don’t connect at all to Rosales.

Marc Cooper also has a nice analysis of Chávez and the election.


Anonymous,  6:47 PM  

Tomorrow will be exhausting physically and emotionally for Venezuelans. Including myself.

Unfortunately, Globovision in most cases does more harm than good to the opposition.

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