Will Venezuela boot Chavez today?

Venezuelans go to the polls today, to choose whether to give Hugo Chavez a third term, or elect his challenger, the democratic non-communist Zulia state governor, Manuel Rosales. No one knows how this will turn out.

All indicators that might signal the outcome are contradictory. Opinion polls vary widely, with Chavista polls showing Chavez with a 30-point lead, and opposition polls showing Rosales about 5% to 10% ahead, in growing momentum. In addition, huge demonstrations of Rosales supporters through Caracas show the commitment of the Chavez opposition, something the Chavistas, with vastly more resources, have been unable to match in numbers. But even that is hard to draw a judgment on. One of the most curious events embodying this contradiction was the strong stock market rally in Caracas Friday.

Market sources told Bloomberg 
the rally happened because investors believed Chavez was winning. My sources in Caracas said it was because investors believed Rosales was winning. All of these things show that no one knows what will happen on Sunday. Some projections of what might happen, based on varying factors, can be read at Publius, at Venezuela Today  and at the BBO investment bank weekly report. But no one knows for sure. The only thing left to do is just watch, particularly because Jimmy Carter's Carter Center is down there in Caracas to flatter the dictator. That raises the imperative to watch hard for signs of fraud, because the Carterites won't catch them.

That's what Venezuela's bloggers are doing, and three of them are in the forefront of the news, reporting minute by minute the many developments that will shape events of this election. Be sure to watch the live blogging of Miguel Octavio at Devil's Excrement, Daniel Duquenal at Venezuela News & Views, and Aleksander Boyd at VCrisis  for the latest developments as this election progresses. To delve even deeper, check out two blog aggregators. Venezuela Today, for a Drudge-Report-like presentation of many blogs, and an interesting new blog aggregator called To2Blog Venezuela, which is working like an RSS feed of all blogs covering Venezuela.

So much is at stake in this Venezuelan election - not just for the fate of the Americas region in general, but for the U.S., too, given the kind of mischief Chavez may direct at the U.S. if he wins, fairly or not. His alliance with Iran and its nuclear programs, as well as his weapons purchases from Putin's Russia, all point to potential trouble ahead for the U.S. on a Chavez victory. If he is ousted, none of those will be a problem, and we can instead fully focus on winning free trade pacts for the region instead of worrying about what Ahmadinejad is setting up in our own hemisphere.
If you experience technical problems, please write to helpdesk@americanthinker.com