Is anyone surprised at the fact that Maduro won yesterday’s election in Venezuela? No one should be; Chavez’s successor simply could not be allowed to lose.
One odd thing, though, was the extreme narrowness of the margin of victory; shouldn’t they have made it bigger if they wanted Maduro to seem like the legitimate president of the country? But perhaps it’s because he really lost the election by so very much that they were only able to do what they needed in order to assure his victory by a mere hair.
On the other hand, Obama’s victory made me realize anything is possible, including people voting for a failed policy that has just about bankrupted the country, because they think it will be better for them. At any rate, Venezuela will continue to suffer, but the opposition grows stronger.
But doesn’t this all sound depressingly familiar? It certainly does to me:
In a Chavista stronghold in Petare outside Caracas, Maria Velasquez, 48, who works in a government soup kitchen that feeds 200 people, said she voted for Chavez’s man “because that is what my comandante ordered.”
Reynaldo Ramos, a 60-year-old construction worker, said he “voted for Chavez” before correcting himself and saying he chose Maduro. But he could not seem to get his beloved leader out of his mind.
“We must always vote for Chavez because he always does what’s best for the people and we’re going to continue on this path,” Ramos said. He said the government had helped him get work on the subway system and helps pay his grandchildren’s school costs.
The governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela deployed a well-worn get-out-the-vote machine spearheaded by loyal state employees. It also enjoyed the backing of state media as part of its near-monopoly on institutional power.
Maduro, however, is not Chavez.
His opponent Capriles has asked for a recount, but it certainly won’t overturn the election. They’ll make sure of that. Fausta is my go-to blogger on this, and she reported a few days ago about a very chilling event:
[From the Ecuador Times] “Juan Aranda, head of campaign in the Tachira State of the current presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, was killed on tuesday morning, after been kidnapped by two individuals who were impersonating police officers.”
This is a warning to Capriles: if you disavow or challenge the result of the April 14th election, you’re dead.
As I said yesterday, the election is rigged. Capriles, who is no fool, is campaigning, knowing this. His only tactic, after the results are in, would be to challenge the results.
A brave man.
[NOTE: By the way, this is certainly interesting:
Capriles was born in Caracas, on 11 July 1972. He is the son of Monica Cristina Radonski-Bochenek and Henrique Capriles García. Henrique was a successful businessman, and in the 1950s, he helped launch Kraft Foods' entry into Venezuela by inviting the vice-president of its Nabisco subsidiary and persuading him to do business there. Capriles' father was from Curaçao, and Capriles' great-grandfather, Elías Capriles, was born in Curaçao in 1850.
Capriles' paternal grandfather, Dr. Armando Capriles-Myerston, was of Sephardi Jewish descent, while Capriles' paternal grandmother, Laura Garcia-Arjona, was from a Catholic family, and was related to political leader Simón Bolívar. Capriles' father was raised Catholic. Capriles' mother was born in Venezuela, to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from Russia and Poland, who had left Europe during World War II; his grandmother's mother and father were murdered in the Treblinka extermination camp. His maternal grandmother, Lili Bochenek de Radonski, spent 20 months in the Warsaw Ghetto. His maternal grandfather, Andrés Radonski, was an engineer active in the cinema business in Poland, who after emigrating to Venezuela in 1947, opened his first cinema in Puerto La Cruz. The company "Circuito Radonski" merged into Cinex in 1998.
Capriles' parents agreed to educate their children in the Catholic faith until they were old enough to decide for themselves. Capriles said his faith had developed over the years, but that his time in prison in 2004 had "brought him much closer to God". Capriles has stated that he is a "fervent Catholic", and in an interview in the runup to the 2008 gubernatorial elections, he said that his greatest hero in history was Jesus Christ.
Capriles is really, really young, too: forty. He might be good for a few more go-rounds in this battle, if he manages to survive.]