Chavez protege wins Venezuela election; opposition protests, refuses to concede

posted at 9:21 am on April 15, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Venezuela concluded its first post-Hugo Chavez presidential election, and it turned out closer than anyone thought. The result, though, was about what most expected, which is that Chavez’ hand-picked successor Nicolas Maduro will run the country for the next six years — probably. His opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski, demanded a recount, claiming that electoral fraud had taken place:

Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor won a narrow victory in Venezuela’s presidential vote, but his opponent slammed the results as illegitimate and demanded a recount.

Nicolas Maduro secured 50.7% of votes in Sunday’s poll while opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski won 49.1%, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council said.

The council’s top official, Tibisay Lucena, called the results “irreversible.”

An hour later, Capriles vowed to contest them.

“I want to tell the candidate of the government: today you’re the loser and I’m telling you this unequivocally. You are the loser, you and your government,” he said early Monday. …

His refusal to concede left key questions about Venezuela’s future unanswered early Monday: Will authorities recount the votes? How would that process work? And will political tension in the deeply divided country boil over after the tight race?

At least for now, Maduro says he welcomes a recount:

The margin of victory was just over 300,000 votes. Perhaps not coincidentally, Fausta Wertz notes that there were 370,000 “null” votes, which should raise some eyebrows, and also says that overseas votes have not yet been counted.

The Wall Street Journal says that Cuba wasn’t going to let Maduro lose this election, not with its oil lifeline at risk:

Then there was the Cuba factor. The Castro regime has become a big player in Venezuelan politics and had a big stake in the outcome—namely the threat by Mr. Capriles that if he won he would curtail the shipment of some $4 billion in oil annually to the regime. As such Havana made sure it held considerable sway over the outcome.

Last month the Spanish newspaper ABC reported that the regime “is sending a detachment of agents for electoral control that could reach 2,500 officers, according to intelligence information that came out of the island.” Havana admits that there are already some 46,000 Cubans serving the “revolution” in Venezuela. These are supposedly medical personnel, teachers and trainers, but a former high-ranking chavista who didn’t want to be identified told ABC that “all of that is a cover to hide the control that Cuba has in Venezuela.”

That comment was supported by the declaration by Cuba’s chief of missions in Venezuela that the missions are there “to ensure our commitment; if until now we have been giving our all, [we] now are ready to give even our lives, our blood, if it were needed for this revolution.”‘

It wasn’t just the Cubans, though:

If Mr. Capriles prevailed it would be a major upset. A Maduro victory was more likely not only because of the sympathy vote for the late Chávez. The chavistas have been using state power to cheat, intimidate and spend themselves first across the finish line for more than a decade. International observers were prohibited from sending missions to Venezuela and Mr. Capriles was denied access to almost all television and radio stations during the campaign.

Good luck with that recount, Señor Capriles.


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Ay carumba!!!

abobo on April 15, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Next up Carter sanctions the election as free and fair.

Limerick on April 15, 2013 at 9:23 AM

That dude looks just like Saddam.

BobMbx on April 15, 2013 at 9:24 AM

The margin of victory was just over 300,000 votes. Perhaps not coincidentally, Fausta Wertz notes that there were 370,000 “null” votes, which should raise some eyebrows, and also says that overseas votes have not yet been counted.

Face it, when it comes to these third-world dictatorships the only votes that matter belong to the generals that run the military.

Happy Nomad on April 15, 2013 at 9:28 AM

I’m surprised that the election results were allowed to be as close as they are. Chavistats have to take a few lessons from Putin and Obama – but I bet they’ll put the next six years towards exactly that use.

Archivarix on April 15, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Chavez protege wins …

… Sean Penn gets raging hard-on.

Pork-Chop on April 15, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Whatever. Dumbasses voted themselves further in bondage. Not too far in the future there will be headlines in foreign newspapers saying similar things about the United States: Lying, cheating, politicos cement their hold on a dying nation.

Bishop on April 15, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Face it, when it comes to these third-world dictatorships the only votes that matter belong to the generals,/strike> community organizers that run the military urban ghettos.

Happy Nomad on April 15, 2013 at 9:28 AM

FIFY, bro.

Archivarix on April 15, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Well, that’s what happens when you allow Socialists to take over your country… you can’t root them out. They lie, cheat, and rob the treasury in order to stay in power. Something we’re finding out now right here in the U.S.

Murf76 on April 15, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Face it, when it comes to these third-world dictatorships the only votes that matter belong to the generals community organizers that run the military urban ghettos.

Happy Nomad on April 15, 2013 at 9:28 AM

FIFY, bro.

Archivarix on April 15, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Whatever. Dumbasses voted themselves further in bondage. Not too far in the future there will be headlines in foreign newspapers saying similar things about the United States: Lying, cheating, politicos cement their hold on a dying nation.

Bishop on April 15, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Don’t be silly. The people of Venezuela are not as stupid as you may think, and they did not vote for the alleged winner. But it does not matter who votes, as long as it matters who counts the votes. Same here – some Philly district results can attest to it.

Archivarix on April 15, 2013 at 9:35 AM

So what’s the big effin deal? He was democratically elected, right?

-Libs

CycloneCDB on April 15, 2013 at 9:37 AM

When you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on Paul’s vote.

petefrt on April 15, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Don’t be silly. The people of Venezuela are not as stupid as you may think, and they did not vote for the alleged winner.

Archivarix on April 15, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Apparently they are and apparently they did, or enough did to make the cheating a viable tactic.

How can Venezuelantonianites not be stupid and vote for socialist douchebags but we here in the U.S. can?

Bishop on April 15, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Venezuela concluded its first post-Hugo Chavez presidential election, and it turned out closer than anyone thought.

It was my understanding that from the moment Chavez died, Maduro was looked at as a candidate with no base. It wasn’t even assumed he’d win.

ernesto on April 15, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Jimmy Carter certifies the results anyway and Obama will send congratulations as soon as he recuperates from his hard weekend golfing.

Skywise on April 15, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Apparently they are and apparently they did, or enough did to make the cheating a viable tactic.

How can Venezuelantonianites not be stupid and vote for socialist douchebags but we here in the U.S. can?

Bishop on April 15, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Don’t be an idiot. In Russia, some regions voted for Putin to the tune of 146% of the overall adult population. Do you really so incredibly naive as to believe that the numbers shown on TV have anything to do with the actual votes?

Archivarix on April 15, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Until we fix the voting fraud in our own country, we should shut the hell up.

beatcanvas on April 15, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Until we fix the voting fraud in our own country, we should shut the hell up.

beatcanvas on April 15, 2013 at 10:18 AM

We won’t. It requires a Republican conservative President, a majority in both Congress chambers, and a prevalence of conservative Supreme Court jurists, all of them with dinosaur-sized balls to enable them to withstand massive urban rioting. Naturally, none of that will be allowed to happen as soon as Soros-owned computer tallies the election results.

Archivarix on April 15, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Until we fix the voting fraud in our own country, we should shut the hell up.

beatcanvas on April 15, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Every Democrat and left wing person I know says there hasn’t been any election problems since President Bush stole the White House from Kerry and Gore.

You are saying we need voter ID, maybe national ID, and and a CPA audit of our whole process, then?

OK.

IlikedAUH2O on April 15, 2013 at 10:31 AM

You are saying we need voter ID, maybe national ID, and and a CPA audit of our whole process, then?

IlikedAUH2O on April 15, 2013 at 10:31 AM

I would start with non-computerized voting machines leaving an actual paper trail, but a federally-issued Voter ID and a heavy jail term for registration fraud would be good, too.

Archivarix on April 15, 2013 at 10:39 AM

… Sean Penn gets raging hard-on.

Pork-Chop on April 15, 2013 at 9:29 AM

The sex metaphor is apt.

Once you decide that Social Justice is all that matters, little things like majority rule become less important. After all, who knows better than media lords and Hollywood types what the little people really need?

Meantime, they impoverish (screw) the people they love so much.

IlikedAUH2O on April 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Odd that voters in Venezuela showed more sense than voters in the USA. The Marxist candidate there got a smaller percentage of the vote than the neo-Marxist in the United States.

paulus1 on April 15, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Anyone else’s jaw drop when they saw the results? That was only 1.6 pts!

ZachV on April 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Personally, I was rooting for Maduro to win, because coming after Chavez will be a tough act to follow, and the next president will be blamed for everything wrong with the country, will be hugely unpopular, and will be hated with all the fervor that the people used to love Chavez with. Maduro will be the rebound pastor of the Church of Chavez, and the rebound pastor always gets fired in his first term. Better it be Maduro than Capriles. If he stops screaming bloody murder and goes away quietly for now, people will be looking for him in a few years.

JoseQuinones on April 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Personally, I was rooting for Maduro to win, because coming after Chavez will be a tough act to follow, and the next president will be blamed for everything wrong with the country, will be hugely unpopular, and will be hated with all the fervor that the people used to love Chavez with. Maduro will be the rebound pastor of the Church of Chavez, and the rebound pastor always gets fired in his first term. Better it be Maduro than Capriles. If he stops screaming bloody murder and goes away quietly for now, people will be looking for him in a few years.

JoseQuinones on April 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Not unlike the point some Republicans made when Obama beat Romney: let the Democrats own the destruction they created.

(And the other points about voting irregularities also apply.)

AesopFan on April 16, 2013 at 5:34 PM