Will Chavez survive Sunday's recall election in Venezuela?

The recall referendum to oust Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is set for this Sunday, August 15. Everything I’ve heard or read on this says Chavez is widely popular and the referendum will fail. Even polling firms employed by the opposition predict this (http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1228):

The National Electoral Council is trying to anticipate possible problems (http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news.php?newsno=1332):


  1. The election goes on peacefully, without any “force majeur” disruptions such as riots, and

A. Chavez wins. The opposition decides to gracefully accept it and wait until his term expires in 2006.

B. Chavez wins. The opposition decides not to accept and to Do Something – but what?

C. Chavez loses, and gracefully accepts the result. I am not clear, from the news coverage, whether that means he must step down, or merely that he must go head-to-head with Enrique Mendoza in a second, recall election.

D. Chavez loses, but does not accept it and decides to Do Something.

  1. Violence breaks out and the election is suspended. I won’t even speculate on what happens then.

What do you think will happen? What are the prospects that any of these outcomes will lead to civil war or another coup attempt?

I am gonna assume that there is gonna be civil violence ,but not a civil war. From what I understand , he has support of a variety of sources in the populace.

I see this as a move on a chess board , rather than a direct attempt on his presidency.


But why? What does the opposition hope to gain? If the recall referendum fails, that only strengthens Chavez’ mandate to govern, and the opposition has shot its bolt – not a chance of getting him out before 2006, not by any lawful and nonviolent means.

This is basically a power play with the US govt behind the scenes. At the moment with the elections coming up in Nov. , the earliest that the US can effect a regime change is some time in the spring/summer of 04.

By inciting Civil violence , it sets the stage for a signifigant part of the country to have stood up and said resign, now its probably not going to be a majority vote , but enough for bringing pressure to bear via the Organization of American States , and inducing sanctions and what not.

I am not totally conversant with Venezuelan politics ,and if Chavez can legally run for as many terms as he wants, so he can either be replaced , coerced , bribed , etc. , as long as the oil keeps flowing and at prices that the US will live with, other wise , it won’t be a half ass coup , for the mans next fortune cookie.


:confused: Not sure I follow you here – are you saying that if the recall referendum vote is interrupted by riots, or if the “yes” vote comes somewhere close to a majority – then OAS will impose economic sanctions on Venezuela and demand Chavez’ resignation? Is there any precedent for that?

Election’s tomorrow! Last chance to place your bets!

Since I have no vested interest in this election, I’ll just say that I don’t care about the results. They can deal with their own problems.

However, no matter what the result is I see oil prices continuing up for the foreseeable future. I won’t say that Chavez is to blame for it, but the instability in that country during his rule has certainly exacerbated the situation.

The rising oil prices are a problem to most of the world, Venezuelans are one of the few exceptions. That is exactly why Chavez will continue as the president of Venezuela, the economy is doing remarkably well he is investing the surplus in social projects… no chance in hell he’ll loose.-
The only person to blame for the oil crisis is President George W. Bush, he helped a lot in Venezuela´s instability and Irak… well we all know about Irak. The funny thing is that he is probably going to get another term in office eventhough a large responsability of U.S.A. poor performance in it’s economy.-
I guess the Venezuelans are smarter this year than the americans.

I thought the referendum winner was going to be whomever side got more than 50%, I found out that, according to the Venezuelan constitution, the Yes (to put Chavez on an early election (that is right, this referendum is only to see if elections are carried early)) vote actually has to be higher than the number of people that voted in the last election in favor of Chavez! I think it is unlikely that Chavez will lose this one.

Some reports I saw, point that the opposition made some polls that showed the yes side losing badly, since those polls were not released, and that there are more people than expected going to the polls, and the opposition all of the sudden gave up on releasing results early, I do think Chavez will be in Venezuela for a while.

Update: According to a story posted on cnn.com (http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/americas/08/15/venezuela.recall.ap/index.html) at 9:12 p.m. EDT (0112 GMT), the polling has been proceeding without violence or disruptions, turnout has been enormous and polling hours have been extended. Exit polling is forbidden and no results will be released until several hours after the polls close.

The Irish Times (paid registration required) is quoting a senior election official as saying it’s just over 58% No so far.

CBS Radio News just announced he held the office. But, of course, lawsuits are planned.

Still, fighting in the courts is way better than fighting in the streets.

To quote Churchill: " Jaw, jaw, jaw is better than war, war, war."

To my way of thinking, the Bush administration’s response to this situation will be a test of whether it is more strongly committed to democracy or to capitalism.

Oil prices have lowered after it seems that Chavez is going to stay.

I don’t know about Bush… but apparently capitalism is kind of married to democracy but has a major relationship on the side with despotism. Especially when related to securing oil sources and cheap labour.

(Not that I think Chavez isn’t democratically elected… but his style sure stinks.)

15% unemployment rate & no growth in years is remarkably well? 1st qtr growth of 4.5 % & second qtr growth of 3.0% with an unemployment rate of 5.5% in the US is a poor performing economy? I think you have it backwards

At this point, how can the Bush Admin respond? When the recall was in the offing, the Admin could support the opposition, financially and morally. But now that it’s over, and Chavez’ mandate to govern until 2007 has been reaffirmed – how can Bush plausibly do anything but keep his nose out of it? :smiley:

Problem is, Chavez had his enemies made to order, the backers of the referendum where also –not coincidentally- supporters or organizers of the strike that sunk the economy to even worse levels, than the ones Venezuela has now. Telling the people in a straight face that the bad things in the economy, like long gas lines, was the fault of Chavez was insulting.

Now, the pathetic display of monumental sour grapes the opposition is showing, does fit a pattern of lies and deception that was proven when they claimed for so long that they had more people on their side. Not only after the coup d’état, not only after the strike, but also now do they show to be deceivers to the 10th degree.

Before you criticize me, I have to say that I am already on the record of not liking Chavez, I say to the opposition in Venezuela: it is high time to organize and find candidates that will indeed seek to help the poor people of Venezuela, now Chavez is the “champion” of the poor, but this is the result of not giving them a better choice, threats to eliminate what they see as social programs that are helping them, means that many will never support the right for a long time, some of those programs will have to be adopted by a new leader for the opposition, I know that many on the right will get sick of having to support popular programs, but them are the breaks for 2007…

By lending its moral support (and maybe illicit logistical support) to a coup, I suppose. Or by using its economic muscle to make life difficult for Chavez.

Which is what I mean when I say that the Bush team can either support democracy in Venezuela or unfettered capitalism in Venezuala, but it doesn’t look like they can have both. I’m no great fan of Chavez, but he does appear to be the people’s choice.

We’ll see how things go, I guess.