50.8 Percent of the Official Vote Enough to Impose Cuba-Style Dictatorship in Venezuela?

Hugo Chavez's successor promises to come down with a "hard hand"


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This weekend, Nicolas Maduro won a hotly contested election to replace Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela. For fourteen years, Chavez oversaw a program of subordinating the Venezuelan state to his socialist party, culminating in the mobilization of the army to secure victory for Maduro. His margin of victory against Henrique Capriles, who ran against Chavez last year, was officially about 300,000 votes, or 1.8 percent. The Capriles campaign says its own recount indicates a 300,000 vote margin in their favor, and Capriles presented his allegations of voter fraud, which include that:

— Government supporters forced Capriles' observers out of 283 polling places, threatening them with guns in some instances. There were 722,983 votes cast in those polling places, and the lack of witnesses allowed the possibility of fraud, including double-voting.

— Government backers on motorcycles, traveling in menacing packs, turned pro-Capriles voters away from the polls.

— There were 3,535 damaged voting machines, representing 189,982 votes.

— Voting rolls included 600,000 dead people.

— An unspecified number of votes were recorded for people whose official birth dates would make them 100 to 120 years old.

— In 1,176 of the 39,319 voting machines, Maduro got more votes than Chavez had in the October presidential election even though Chavez was far more popular and won nationally by a far bigger margin.

— Maduro supporters held get-out-the vote campaigns at 421 polling stations in violation of election laws prohibiting partisan material at voting centers.

The government has blamed violence during protests that erupted in the country after Sunday's election on the opposition, with Maduro promising to come down on the country with a "hard hand" and accusing Capriles of trying to plan a coup (Maduro's predecessor, Chavez, led a hilariously disastrous coup attempt in the 90s). For his part Capriles canceled a major demonstration today, saying the government would use it to try to provoke more violence.

At the Caracas Chronicles, Francisco Toro explains the post-Chavez Cubafication of his country:

Chávez's extremism, his dismal vow to turn opponents into polvo cosmico , stayed largely – mostly – at the level of rhetoric. Venezuela has dozens of political prisoners, not hundreds or thousands. Dissent was repressed sporadically and selectively, rather than systematically and comprehensibly. The result was something I've written about constantly since 2002: a yawning gap between extremism in speech and moderation in practice that was the defining mark of the Chávez era, and a constant driver of opposition paranoia and government dreams of final revenge…

Maduro doesn't have any of the assets that allowed Chávez to make Cold Civil War viable over a period of many years. He doesn't have the charisma. He doesn't have the personal authority. And he doesn't have the money. He doesn't have the luxury that those assets extended to Chávez of leaving the underlying tension unresolved. He has to resolve it. And that, basically, is what we're witnessing this week.

Any excuse was going to be good enough for Maduro to try to bring Venezuela to something much closer to the actual Cuban model of dictatorial control. For all his elaborate guarantees of representing continuity, what we've been seeing this week is something far more radical than anything Chávez ever tried to institute in his lifetime. Henrique Capriles merely provided one pretext, but any other would have been just as good.

We are, in other words, where Iran was soon after the 2009 election.

As the campaign to pin seven deaths during protests on the opposition begins, Toro relates that Capriles and a key ally already have arrest warrants issued against them, something the government refuses to comment on.

It's democracy in action.

NEXT: Feds Arrest Suspect in Capitol Mailings

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  1. That’s always enough, until the people have had enough.

    Consent to be oppressed? Be oppressed.

    Don’t Consent to be oppressed, but too apathetic to do anything about it? Be oppressed.

    1. Hey, this is random but is your name based on the novel by Dan Simmons? I just finished it the other day, and WOW. Mind-blowing shit

      1. Been my favorite books since I was 10 and stumbled across them in the used book store. Be sure to read the rest though the second two aren’t really as good as the first two.

        1. That’s what I’ve heard. I consider myself a pretty hardened guy emotionally but Sol’s story about his daughter REALLY got to me. Wasn’t expecting that from a sci-fi story (which usually are great on ideas/action but lackluster on human emotion)

    2. Time to kick this revolution into overdrive.

      Also I’m kinda pissed that spent all that trouble when I gave up on overthrowing a tyrant so I turn my evil, genocidal alien girlfriend back into a human so she can turn himself back into an alien again in order to kill that tyrant (and a lot of other people) in revenge for turning her into an genocidal alien in the first place. What a cocktease.

      1. Entaro Tassadar, Jim Raynor.

        Also, Fuck “Heart of The Swarm”

  2. Oh come on, Daniel McAdams assures us that the only people who would dare question the legitimate democratic election of Maduro are imperialist stooges of the US government.

    1. Well, outside of the 50% of Venezuelans who might actually want some type of freedom, that is correct.

    2. I knew this day would come — the CIA got to Reason. Next they’ll be telling us that there are no such thing as chemtrails.

    3. Are you disputing that socialists would do well in Latin American elections?

      1. Obviously this proves that there was no fraud.

        And this means that libertarians cannot attack Maduro at all. He at least supports the poor and opposes American imperialism unlike Obama. What is the real tyranny? Chavismo or our repressive capitalist corporatistic society with guns, no health care and no democratic media controls?

        Stalin and Hitler are the great unsung libertarian heroes who stood up to the USG NWO tyranny.

        1. You forgot the /Lew Rockwell tag.

          1. Can’t forget those heroic anti-imperialist, , non-interventionist, pacifists Ho Chi Minh, Mao, Che and Fidel.

          2. Oh wait not to mention Imperial Japan. I mean who was worse: Mao, Chiang or the Rape of Nanking and Unit 731?

            1. How do we know that the Rape of Nanking really happened? I mean it made an enemy of the US look bad and can be used to justify intervention so obviously it didn’t.

              Oh and India would have been better off with a Mao so at least it wouldn’t be a US puppet. Instead they got that thuggish, crooked, tyrannical bitch Indira Gandhi. Mao would have been so much better.

              1. Also Chiang was a tyrant and Mao killed lots of people so who was the real villain in the so-called “Rape” of Nanking?

                1. His name is Justin Raimondo FYI

      2. Capriles isn’t exactly an anarcho-capitalist. Maduro barely won. It’s a Latin American election in which the government side (that hasn’t exactly respected the freedom of press or political opponents) eked out a small victory. There are suspicious aspects to the election. To simply dismiss the possibility of fraud, or to minimize the bad deeds of and apologize for Chavez and Maduro, as so many LRC types have done, simply because they oppose the US government, is reprehensible. If this was the other way around, and a USG supported politician with a sketchy human rights record in a foreign country barely eked out a small victory, how would the LRC crowd react?

  3. The Chicago Machine goes international.

  4. Yes it is. Vox populi, vox dei.

    1. With 600,000 graveyard votes, I think it is more “Vox mortuis, vox dei.”

      Besides, why should someone lose the right to vote just because they died?


  5. Forget Capriles he’s a pussy for calling off that rally. Civil war now plz. Syria II: Dead Red and LA Redemption

  6. Looks like the progressive wet dream is alive and well in Venezuela. How long before it is full-blown here?

    1. Well, their wet dream has not been going well lately.

      Americans still have gunz. Obozo gun control blows up in Senate. No teabaggers yet identified in Boston bombing.

      Sad proglotards are sad.

      1. Yup. How badly do they wish they could get away with this here.

        Venezuela bans private gun ownership

    2. They’re pretty much out of other people’s money to steal. I mean, the checks haven’t bounced yet, but it won’t be long.

      The flailing when the checks do bounce might be dangerous, though.

  7. Look we all know that this is how democracy works. Once a candidate has garnered 50.00001% of the popular vote, they have not only a mandate, but a moral duty to impose their agenda on the other half of the population who voted for the other guy. It’s the greatest social system EVAR you guys.

    1. It’s the greatest social system EVAR you guys

      It’s the greatest reason ever for more decentralized control.

    2. Exactly, the people have spoken.

      Besides, allowing another election would just give a chance to the capitalist wreckers to overturn what the people want.

      1. When are you moving there? I just heard they are giving out free visas.

        1. I already have a MasterCard.

          1. But why would you support kkkorporayshunz? Don’t you barter your skills for goods?

            Oh wait, I see the flaw. Never mind.

            1. Bartering sounds a lot like voluntary trade to me. GROSS.

      2. D-

        Also, Benji is a dog’s name.

        1. I once knew a gay Israeli mathematician called Benji.

  8. Going back to HuffPo to collect more proglotard tears. Am now polishing my monocle with a bucket full.

    1. You polish it yourself? I assign that task to the black orphaned child of a same sex couple killed by white supremacist with an AR-15.

  9. BTW, why has the son of Herman Cain and Genghis Kahn teamed up t defeat the ghost of Tupa Inca?

  10. Less was needed in Weimar Germany.

  11. “50.8 Percent of the Official Vote Enough to Impose Cuba-Style Dictatorship in Venezuela?”

    You want it? You got it!

  12. ? Voting rolls included 600,000 dead people.

    ? Maduro supporters held get-out-the vote campaigns at 421 polling stations in violation of election laws prohibiting partisan material at voting centers.

    Look, man. If you don’t like the way we do things over here you’re welcome to move to Indiana or Wisconsin or wherever. Nobody’s stopping you.

    1. No one needs a pressure cooker that holds more than 10 quarts.

      Yeah, I said it. Pressure Cooker Control Now! The people of Boston deserve a vote!

      1. I think I saw the ones used were 6 quarts. Therefore were not assault pressure cooker clips.

        1. We must do something! If saves one life, then we should do whatever we can to keep pressure cookers out of dangerous hands!

          1. Why do you oppose children being murdered? I say we should ban all potential bomb containment devices not just pressure cookers.

        2.…..Term=steel balls&typahddsp=Steel Balls&hdrsrh=true

      2. How can one make good Boston Baked Beans without a pressure cooker?

        You can take mine from my dead oven-mitt clad hands!

      3. There’d better not be any bayonet mounts on pressure cookers any more!

  13. OT: You know the guy who allegedly sent that ricin to a bunch of people? He contacted Radley Balko in 2011 claiming that a Missouri Health Care Organization was trying to murder him.

    I think the guy might be crazy.

    1. Where are you getting the Missouri part? Or is that a typo for Mississippi?

      1. Sorry, I saw the tweet and for some reason thought it was Missouri when I skimmed it.

        1. No problem. So are they going to dig up Balko’s columns on this site and claim the crazy was a Libertarian (and thus everything bad in the world), or is Blako’s current affiliation going to shield us from that?

          1. Blako’s


  14. I’m amazed that Capriles got half of the vote, given Maduro’s giant political machinery and virtual media monopoly. It gives me hope that there’s still a large amount of people who haven’t drunk the Chavismo koolaid.

    1. The Chavismo koolaid is the only thing they serve at the reeducaci?n campamentos.

      You either drink or die of thirst.

    2. It’s a (much worse) version of what’s happening here with Obama. Most people don’t like the policies, but Chavez himself had a cult of personality that his Moonies clung to and that low-info voters of a certain income level were mildly pleased by. The opposition (especially the business community) is demoralized and paranoid — and rightly so, since the government really is against them!

      Demoralized and paranoid doesn’t really win many elections though unfortunately — just ask the Jewish voters and the Social Democrats in the Germany of 1938.

    3. np| 4.17.13 @ 10:25PM |#
      “I’m amazed that Capriles got half of the vote…”

      Uh, how many?

    4. The fact that even with all the shenanigans Maduro just barely won is pretty significant.

  15. So wait, dead people voting is a problem when it happens in other countries, but it’s simply non-existent or a joke when Democrats do it in the US?

  16. Democracy, bitches … what’s not to understand?

  17. Capitalist Austerity Leads to Greek Starvation:…..ungry.html

    Chavez knew to combat the capitalists and speculators and hoarders of foods in his nation. Hopefully Greek Democracy can find a champion like him.

  18. Heck, Bush imposed his dictatorship after losing outright to Al Gore in 2000. Venezuela is way behind.

    1. If the tu quoque fallacy did not exist then we wouldn’t have any arguments at all.

      Of course Dubya was a dictator since the Rethuglicans still control the House.

  19. Damn it: Waco fire department says there might be ‘hundreds of casualties’ in plant explosion.

    1. Sequester!

    2. Good God almighty, here is footage of the blast.

      Turn down the audio.

      1. Go home April, you’re drunk.

  20. I see the fucking faggot has taken to ripping off my name again, attributing positions to the name that I have never held.

    1. I wonder who it is. John wouldn’t do that, and I actually don’t think Cyto would either (though I won’t rule it out). Probably Heroic Mulatto, or maybe that LAOL guy

      1. Ummm…not me, bro.

    2. I thought you had misread a thread then I saw the extra X.

  21. Poverty rates in Venezuela have pretty much always risen and fallen in inverse proportion with the price of oil. This was true before Chavez, and it was true during Chavez. Any gains in poverty reduction during his presidency were more a product of the oil boom than anything else.

    1. The weird part is that Venezuela basically went stagnant despite the oil prices. Especially when you compare it to every other country in South America, almost all of whom had large gains in every measure over the 2000s.

      So despite Chavez’s amazing policies and the oil wealth, it essentially fell behind the rest of the continent.

  22. Of course he won fair and square. Only Rethuglikkkans steal elections.

    It is hilarious that libertarians support “democracy” when they all want to do is kill democracy by opposing gun safety, health care, reasonable regulations and force to live in sheds by the Rich rape us and steal our free shit by lowering taxes.

    Now if Obama invades Venezuela that will be okay since at least he supports the poor and is from TEAM BLUE and not a tool of the KKKORPORASHUNS.

    1. See, this is a name-parody I support. Does that make me a hypocrite? Probably.

    2. I’m not so sure about that last part. That would be Obama acting as a tool of the capitalist empire that runs America to crush an actual people’s revolution.

      I imagine the “moderate” press would go along, they were a bit too eager to go along with Bush, but I imagine there being far more left-wing backlash against Obama. For one thing it’d let them take out their frustrations on him when it doesn’t matter, then they can pick a “true progressive” in 2016 rather than right-wing reactionary corporate tool Obama.

  23. “50.8 Percent of the Official Vote Enough to Impose Cuba-Style Dictatorship in Venezuela?”

    Claim of 50.8 Percent of the Official Vote Enough to Impose Cuba-Style Dictatorship in Venezuela?

  24. Comeon dude. lets roll that beautiful bean footage!

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