So - who do you fancy for the American election - the president or the challenger? Because the result will have repercussions that will certainly affect the electorate but also the world in general. Yes indeed - on Sunday the Venezualan people will make a momentous decision.
Hugo Chavez, if you’ve been following the American media, is a dictator and very bad for his country. That’s why they’re hoping (and working) for his defeat on Sunday. A dictator, a buffoon, a bad ‘un.
But then you check what’s been happening in Venezuela over the period of his presidency. In 2004, the Venezuelan government took over the oil industry. Poverty in the country has been cut in half. Millions who didn’t have access to health care now have it; college enrollment has doubled and much of it is free. And this election is going to be a lot fairer than the election that’ll be held next month in the US. In the United States, some 90 million people won’t vote. In Venezuela, they’ve somewhere around 97% of the population on the voting register. And remember those ‘hanging chads’ or whatever it was in Florida, that got Bush in before Al Gore? That kind of thing is made impossible in Venezuela. Former US president Jimmy Carter, who got a Nobel prize for his work in monitoring elections world-wide was asked about Venezuela’s coming election: “ As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world."
So why do the US media give the nasty picture of Chavez that they do? Why don’t admit that Chavez is part of a left-of-centre development throughout many countries in South America - why don’t they welcome this?
Simple. Chavez and other South American leaders have stopped doing what the US State Department want them to do and are doing what they believe is good for their people. That’s why if Chavez is re-elected on Sunday, the US media will respond with a hurricane of stories about Chavez and the election, all of them negative.
And that’s why a victory by Chavez on Sunday is a consummation devoutly to be wished.