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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Wish I was there!

Two months ago today I arrived in Caracas, Venezuela, and stayed for ten days. I've been on the street shown in the photo, which is of a rally held Sunday in support of President Hugo Chavez. After an arduous "repair" process, the National Election Commission has determined that there were barely enough valid signatures on petitions to force a recall referendum on Chavez under the terms of the 1999 constitution. Chavez has accepted the determination and expects to win in the referendum to be held in early August.

One thing you can be sure of about the crowd in the photo--they were having fun. Both the Chavistas and the opposition take to the streets regularly and express loud and exhuberant support for their positions. Democracy seems to be doing just fine in Venezuela. The next time John Kerry worries that "the disturbing trend towards establishment of an authoritarian regime must be reversed now," I hope he's talking about the U.S. and not Venezuela. Because we're the ones with the authoritarian regime.