Obama scores a key endorsement... from Hugo Chavez

Last week, President Francois Hollande of the French Socialist party gave President Obama an endorsement of the wink-wink variety, knowing that his support wouldn’t likely do much to win President Obama over to any more Americans’ favor; but speaking from Venezuela on Sunday, President Hugo Chavez demonstrated the same level of U.S.-political awareness, minus the even piddling attempt at subtlety.

“I hope this doesn’t harm Obama, but if I was from the United States, I’d vote for Obama,” Chavez said, according to Reuters. …

“Obama is a good guy … I think that if Obama was from Barlovento or some Caracas neighborhood, he’d vote for Chavez,” he told Venezuelan television, according to Reuters.

This attitude to an American president is a far cry from the days of calling President George W. Bush the “devil” and a “drunk.”

To summarize, this guy, who just loves America so darn much, would like to see President Obama reelected. So, there’s that.

Hugo Chavez, by the way, is seeking his third term as Venezuela’s president, with the election scheduled to take place on October 7th. The election process this go-around is ostensibly designed to be free, fair, and private, but something sketchy is definitely up with Venezuela’s polling, and suffice it to say that there are plenty who question the trustworthiness of the infamously corrupt country’s institutions. My hopes for an upset are not high:

Venezuelan polling firms are painting starkly different pictures of the coming presidential election: One group shows President Hugo Chávez comfortably ahead, while another shows a tight race. …

“There is something seriously wrong with the polling in Venezuela,” said Iñaki Sagarzazu, a Venezuelan political scientist who teaches at the University of Glasgow. “Someone is not doing their job well.”

One respected firm, Datanalisis, issued a poll on Tuesday showing Mr. Chávez with a 10-percentage-point lead over Mr. Capriles. The other respected firm, Consultores 21, issued its latest poll on Wednesday showing Mr. Capriles winning 49.9% to 45.7%. That is a 14-point swing between both polls.

The stakes are high for Venezuela, where a victory for Mr. Chávez, a stridently anti-American leader, would deepen his hold on power, while defeat would begin a new, uncertain path for the oil-rich nation.

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David Strom 6:01 PM on March 29, 2023