April 15, 2013
Maduro is the real loser in Venezuela
What a lousy morning. The 6am alarm went off and I heard on the radio that Maduro had won the election - 50.7% of the vote.
Maduro now faces two insurmountable problems:
1) Capriles and the opposition have not conceded. They shouldn't. There is evidence of fraud all over. My friend Daniel Duquenal in Venezuela has been reporting minute by minute about the election. He will join me later today on the radio.
Let's hope that Jay Carney waits a few days before he claims that Maduro won.He killed the opposition last October when he put the US behind the results.
2) 50.7% is no mandate, as Pres Obama learned in November.
Venezuela faces a long list of very serious problems and having "Chaviztas" steal the election won't fix them.
Venezuela is suffering from chronic power outages. Just ask anyone who lives there. My parents have friends in Caracas and the lights go out so often that it is a joke.
The infrastructure is crumbling because of the corruption and irrational behavior of the Chavez regime.
There are unfinished public works projects all over, another indication of the impulsive nature of a dictator who was more concerned with headlines than results.
Add to all of this the double-digit inflation that every Venezuelan housewife can tell you about plus food and medicine shortages that are reminiscent of Cuba.
There is rampant crime, homicides and kidnappings. Caracas is very unsafe, unless you are a government official protected by guards.
Last, but not least, there are real questions about the legitimacy of Chavez' inauguration, i.e. nobody saw him publicly. Did he raise his hand from a casket?
We've been critical of President Obama's indifference toward Latin America. Yesterday's election offers the US a chance to stand up for the integrity of democracy in a very important country.