Election day in Venezuela and Russia; Update: Putin’s party wins 61% Update: Raid on Jewish ctr, plus reports that Chavez wins Update: Not so fast

posted at 1:45 pm on December 2, 2007 by Bryan

Voters in two major oil states run by two increasingly difficult dictators go to the polls today. In Venezuela, up for referendum is a constitutional change that would allow Hugo Chavez to keep running and running for president until his decides not to. Given the way he has stacked the electoral deck over the past year or so, it would amount to giving him the Venezuelan presidency for life. Chavez has waged an anti-US campaign and threatened to cut off Venezuela’s supply of oil to the US if he sees or imagines any sign of American influence on the vote. Venezuela currently sells about 60% of its oil to the US; Chavez would be crippling himself if he cut off the oil. Currently polls say that NO will win out by a few points and Hugo won’t get the presidency for life, but with Chavez anything is possible including outright fraud. The blog to watch on this election is Venezuela News and Views.

In Russia, Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party is expected to solidify its grip on the Russian parliament. Putin has waged an anti-US campaign to fire up the paranoia and stoke old memories of the Soviet empire. Different dictators, different countries, using the same villain to stoke up the hate.

Of the two elections, the Russian vote is probably the less historic, mainly because Putin has said that he doesn’t want to remain Russia’s president after next year (he’ll be term limited out of office, if he sticks to the current law, and a new president will be elected in March) and his party is expected to win. He will remain influential, but Putin would have to change the Russian constitution between now and March to remain in office, er, unless he just decides to go the full-on dictator route and dispense with the constitution altogether. That’s always a possibility. A win for Chavez, on the other hand, all but guarantees that he’ll become an oil-rich Fidel Castro and make himself a thorn in the US side for decades, and right on our southern doorstep and right next to US ally Colombia. A loss for Chavez might be enough of a blow to do him in politically. Or it might make him even more dangerous. Either way the vote goes, Venezuela probably won’t be the same afterward, while Russia will be very much the same after its vote.

Update: Putin gets his very dubious mandate.

Update: The Venezuelan government raided a Jewish center on the eve of the election.

The police raid took place as 900 Jews enjoyed an all-night wedding party at the nearby Union Israelita synagogue in Altamira, an upscale suburb of Caracas.

According to sources, members of the police unit that investigates drug-trafficking and terrorism broke the main gate of La Hebraica in the middle of the night, allegedly looking for weapons and explosives. Officers searched the premises but found nothing, the sources said.

Even Sen. Carl Levin is saying Chavez is making efforts to be a dictator. Yet there are reports that Chavez has won the referendum.

Update: Did I mention that Venezuela News and Views is the blog to watch on this story? Well, keep an eye on that blog.


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A loss for Chavez might be enough of a blow to do him in politically. Or it might make him even more dangerous.

I’ll vote for the latter, and also that the actual results will not be reported in favor of a sham that says Hugo “won the vote”.

steveegg on December 2, 2007 at 1:56 PM

Vote for me!
I promise you Dis, Dat, and Da Other Thing!

Kini on December 2, 2007 at 1:58 PM

Final results not until 2 am in Venezuela? Looks like it’ll be a long night. Hopefully, there will be good news tomorrow morning.

This exit poll has Putin’s party with 60%.

JammieWearingFool on December 2, 2007 at 1:58 PM

Russia is more an oligarchy than a dictatorship. Russian elites have some power to limit Putin. The problem with Putin is he is becoming stridently anti west due to pressures inside the country to blame foreigners for Russia’s ills.

Oddly I think a key thing that would impact Venezuela is the death of Castro. If Castro dies and Cuba starts to shift from Communism would Hugo intervene in Cuba ? The ties are there and Hugo would see any US involvement in Cuba as a threat to socialism. We could see him sending Venezuelan troops into Cuba to prop up the communist regeme

William Amos on December 2, 2007 at 2:01 PM

Global warming is doing nothing to stem the cooling of detente.

SouthernGent on December 2, 2007 at 2:09 PM

Is this the Russian vote where Kasparov’s Opposition Party is making a show?

MadisonConservative on December 2, 2007 at 2:32 PM

Unfortunately I think your link killed the Venezuela blog.

Number 2 on December 2, 2007 at 3:14 PM

Number 2,

It still works for me:
http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com/2007/12/election-day-post-doomsday-vote.html

Not much is happening right now. The polls just closed.

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 4:30 PM

The opposition to Putin have ALL been murdered in assassinations/hits or imprisoned into silence and ineffectiveness.

Hugo Chavez’ initiatives could lose by 98% and he’d still declare himself the winner whether by sham or force, take your pick. Given his mania and intense narcissism, it’s impossible for him NOT to win at this point. What Hugo wants, Hugo gets.

SilverStar830 on December 2, 2007 at 6:08 PM

Putin is re-elected,I’m shocked,and Hugo gives himself
another term,or probably will with this referendum.

The more I think about this,and I don’t remember seeing
it anywhere,but wouldn’t dinnerjacket,who keeps saying
Israel has to go,would be like Hitler,but really,the
way Hugo Chavez is acting,being buddy’s with dinnerjacket,
the way hugo has shut down his own media,and even more
importantly,the way he is treating his own people,if he’s
realected,doesn’t this make him like”Benito Mussolini”,
from Italy,world war two!

canopfor on December 2, 2007 at 7:34 PM

Yet there are reports that Chavez has won the referendum.

It’s definitely the end of the world when we start getting our news from Al Jazeera.

Gregor on December 2, 2007 at 7:49 PM

It ain’t over ’til it’s over:

8:03 PM Two sources saying abstention is around 44-45% (one is Italy’s La Repubblica). If this is true, then things have to be close.

8:09 PM From a good source, the Government withdrew its advertising from tomorrow’s paper celebrating the victory

8:32 PM Mood shifting towards No win

http://blogs.salon.com/0001330/2007/12/02.html#a3744

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 8:12 PM

Semi-free people give up the remainder of their freedom. Every populace deserves its leader/s.

Entelechy on December 2, 2007 at 8:20 PM

21:05

1) Serious source tells me Chavez canceled his press conference.

2)Jorge Rodriguez on TV, with bags under eyes dropping to his knees, calling to all to keep the piece and recognizing that the election is close!!!!

http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com/

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 8:33 PM

it’s going to be very very close:

http://alexismarrero03.blogspot.com/

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on December 2, 2007 at 8:40 PM

9:39 PM Both BBC Mundo and El Pais have shifted from Si wins, to “close”. I hear is not even close.

http://blogs.salon.com/0001330/2007/12/02.html#a3744

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 9:04 PM

21:59

Still nothing official. But my SMS box is full of junk. Meanwhile the NO headquarters are loudly implying their victory. It does seem that the NO won but the CNE and the government are figuring out how to present it. One thing is certain: if the SI had won convincingly, AND honestly, we would already know. One thing we can thus advance in all certitude: if the SI won, it is by the narrowest of margins.

The delay of the CNE is simply scandalous at this point!
http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com/

The original projection was a tally by 2am their time.

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 9:12 PM

Globovisión:

82% of the votes already counted.

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 9:39 PM

10:56 PM Rosales on TV saying that last year he accepted defeat and he expects losers to admit defeat tonight.

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 10:14 PM

from http://alexismarrero03.blogspot.com/ via babelfish:

the tendency is irreversible the Triumph of NOT with 56% against 44% of If already it is confirmed. the Zulia state this Confirmed partially, with a arrasador triumph in all West. I do not win in Falcon, Mérida, Tachira, Guarico, Portuguese. Dear friends the information of these states I do not place it because to not confirmed the definitive one. it is a fact that do not have to fill of much joy, very in spite of the flojera and comfort of many Venezuelans which they remained in its house, in spite of the fear that seeded east government. we won. Single we have left that this government demonstrates his capacity and has the decency to recognize his defeat this is the principle of one long long walk is much way to walk but we are in that. Perhaps with calm we must wait for it official numbers move a little but single parano to be left so badly but they knows that they lost I gain Venezuela

but, given the nature of his personallity, he will likely ignore the results

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on December 2, 2007 at 10:16 PM

From The Devil’s Excrement:

10:56 PM Rosales on TV saying that last year he accepted defeat and he expects losers to admit defeat tonight.

11:08 PM The President of VTV Anselmi was just on the Government’s TV channel and the guy was absolutely drunk!

http://blogs.salon.com/0001330/

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 10:17 PM

Reuters: Chavez leads tight vote, say officials
Sun Dec 2, 2007 9:25pm EST
http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSN0235721220071203?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&rpc=22&sp=true

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 10:20 PM

Take with caution:

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM DEFEATED
Quico says: Multiple sources inside CNE now confirm it. Chávez’s constitutional reform proposal has been defeated at the polls. An official announcement is imminent.

http://caracaschronicles.blogspot.com

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 10:26 PM

Now really, does anyone take this seriously. We know if Putin/Chavez fall behind in the popular vote, it will be fixed in the name of democracy…. unless of course there is fighting in the streets.

I swear, at one point in my life I thought the world’s people were growing wiser. Now I think we’re destined to fight these same battles over and over again for centuries, if not forever..

petefrt on December 2, 2007 at 10:32 PM

And I never thought it could happen here. But now I do.

petefrt on December 2, 2007 at 10:34 PM

Rumors

12:01 AM, Monday 3 December

Source informs me that the NO won by 5.4%

http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com/

I’ve read similar rumors now in a number of places.

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 11:13 PM

Most of the Venezuelan bloggers are drinking. Must be some kinda local custom.

bnelson44 on December 2, 2007 at 11:17 PM

From the Venezuela News and Views

In spite of all the obscene governmental advantage, all the threats and blackmails, the Venezuelan people found the strength to say NO.

¡Gloria al Bravo Pueblo!

Good on you, Venezuelan people!

Entelechy on December 3, 2007 at 2:37 AM