Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Venezuela Roundup 

The opposition isn’t taking its rout in Sunday’s election well. Most of the opposition seems to have moved on very quickly and is trying to pretend there weren’t any elections. But some aren’t finding that so easy. For example, the leader of one of the principal opposition parties, Henry Allup of Accion Democratica, was almost physically beaten up when fisticuffs broke out among members of that party. Allup was giving a press conference when the fighting broke out. Apparently some AD members, frustrated by their parties poor showing at the polls and lack of internal democracy, got in a fight with some of the party enforces who tried to shut them up. I don’t know what could have possessed these poor people to think they could speak out freely at a gathering of their own party. What party do they think they belong to? The MVR? Sorry guys but you’re Adecos. You want free speech and primaries then you have to join the MVR. You won’t find any of those things in the opposition parties like Proyecto Venezuela, AD, COPEI, MAS, or Primero Justicia. To have any say in those parties you have to be bringing at least a few million dollars to the table.

Then we have some other members of the opposition who are determined to prove that they have no brain. One of the opposition pollsters, Alfredo Keller, insists that the low voter turnout shows that the Missiones (the Chavez led social programs) are losing their appeal. To him there was a high level of abstention “because in effect there was apathy amongst the Chavistas which can only be explained by the government losing its innocence and the aura of volunteerism that came with the Missiones” So that people didn’t vote in large numbers on Sunday doesn’t have anything to do with Chavez not being on the ballot – who is after all the person who created the Missiones. Nor does it have anything to do with even Congress people not being on the ballot. And it certianly doesn’t have anything at all to do with most people not knowing who was running for office or for that matter what those offices even do. It was all because people are presumably tired of the Missiones.

Now I could go on an on about how absurd this is. But that would just be so much hot air and a waste of time. Rather, here is a way to test this notion. Lets see if in the Assembly elections of December and the Presidential elections of next year more people vote than voted in this past Sunday’s contest. I bet they do. In fact, I bet a LOT more people will vote. Further, I bet the pro-Chavez margin will be even higher than it was in this election. And if what I am predicting here comes true then I think the opposition will have to start coming up with new excuses and new analysis as their current ones will have been blown out of the water. So to my friends in the opposition – you better put on your thinking caps. December will be here sooner than you think I you are going to need a whole new set of excuses.

Now to more positive news. It was good to see that the foreign media picked up on the hand over of land titles by Chavez to various indigenous groups. Finally, some historical wrongs are put right.

And saving the best for last: via Venezuelanalisis I found out about a new pro-Chavez blog called VenezuelaSolidarity. Now a while back I referenced an article by a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor who had a bad experience with a private physician in Venezuela and wished she had simply gone to one of the doctors in Barrio Adentro (the free local clinic program set up by Chavez). Well today VenezuelaSolidarity had an even better account of some one having a very negative experience with a private for profit doctor that only wound up being rectified when he was seen by the Cuban doctors of Barrio Adentro. Here are the final few lines from the article:

My experience with Barrio Adentro was extremely limited. I didn´t see a large part of their work that involves both preventative and
diagnostic work with the community. But my experience was extremely impressive. It isn´t hard to see why the program is so popular with the people, especially when the costs involved in private treatment are considered. What would the poor do without Barrio Adentro?

I am deeply grateful for the treatment I was provided. The Cuban
doctors are the product of a socialist revolution, and Barrio Adentro
is a key program in the struggle in Venezuela to build a ´new
socialism of the 21st century´´. I can testify first hand that
socialism does make you feel better!

It is a fabulous article. Be sure to read the whole thing.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?