Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, December 01, 2007

On Election Eve, Chavez Ally Turns Against Him

Raúl Isaías Baduel has been at Hugo Chavez' side for decades. He was with him in 1982 when they and other officers swore allegiance to the Bolivarian Revolutionary Army 2000, which would ultimately lead to Chavez' presidency.

Until his retirement in July, Baduel served as commander in chief of Venezuela's army, so we know he knows the heart of Chavez, and we know that his opinion piece published in Venezuela (and the NYT) on the eve of the election, will be a powerful force against Chavez. He writes:
I find myself with the moral and ethical obligation as a citizen to express my opposition to the changes to the Constitution that President Chávez and the National Assembly have presented for approval by the voters tomorrow.

The proposal, which would abolish presidential term limits and expand presidential powers, is nothing less than an attempt to establish a socialist state in Venezuela. As our Catholic bishops have already made clear, a socialist state is contrary to the beliefs of Simón Bolívar, the South American liberation hero, and it is also contrary to human nature and the Christian view of society, because it grants the state absolute control over the people it governs.

Men of honor, men who take risks when they could live an easy life, are men who are listened to. Hugo Chavez cannot count himself in this group, but Baduel certainly can.

Will it be enough? Maybe, especially as Chavez' rhetoric is beginning to turn more and more Venezuelans against the dictator in populist clothing. Venezuela News and Views reports:

I have received yet another poll, a famous tracking one and I do not want to give its name because, well, I cannot check 100% the source. I mean, it is a good source but I do not know if that person's source was as good as he is. Don't you love mystery?

Anyway, it is from a famous pollster who has been holding a tracking for a few months now. Early he predicted a possible SI [Chavez] victory, now his prediction is a NO victory by at least 7% and up to 16%. As usual, all depends from participation. What is new here is the guy going on record predicting a 7% minimum. Well, the poll is through phone interviews as tracking polls do and thus the error is 4%. So the NO, according to his own words, could squeeze by a meager 3%, enough to cause trouble and even allow enough cheating by the CNE. At any rate, my 5% gut feeling prediction keeps strengthening :-)

But the most interesting part of the tracking poll is the result for the following question: "Is it right for Chavez to qualify anyone that votes NO as a traitor"? Stunningly 70% of the respondents disagreed! And here we have again the 30% hard core chavismo that this blog has always acknowledged and the 70% rest of the country shocked by such rhetoric!!! This time around Chavez seems to be paying the price. Indeed, it is one thing to do a "rojo, rojito" where the worst is to lose your job and becoming a traitor where the worst, well, is up to the imagination of all....

This error was repeated once again tonight in the pitiful Chavez speech. And in this speech Chavez announced that if they lose they will recognize the result. Even if he put many conditions on losing the fact of the matter is that tonight Chavez, in one of his rare moments of lucidity, decided to prepare his followers to the unthinkable, until a few weeks ago, that he could lose an election.
The results of one of the most important election in Latin America ever may well be contested, so this story could be a long way from over. Stay tuned.

hat-tip: Real Clear Politics

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