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Eyeing the Spin:

After the Referendum

by Suren Moodliar, encuentro5 staff


Few national votes are as close as the December 2nd  constitutional referendum's, but more meaning than can be imagined has been read into that 0.7% of votes that tipped one way instead of the other. A short survey of the US media reveals a liberal/conservative consensus glee at the outcome, while more thoughtful analyses pepper the progressive left publications. There are important and surprising exceptions. For example, Time decided to go beyond the air conditioned malls of East Caracas and into poor, traditionally Chavez-supporting neighborhoods. Unlike resource-rich Time, some left analyses, ideology-rich did not find the need to report from Venezuela nor to look at actual voting patterns. This review, similarly deficient, starts with some reflections on democracy and social justice before surveying the various analyses of the referendum outcome.

1. Glee & Gloating
2. Subversion [US Gobt; Oligarchs; Students]
3. Abstention [Chavistas Unimpressed; Unaware; Turned-Off]
4. Class [New Apparatchicks; Party Animals]
5. Strategy
6. Octroyal?


Michael Arostegui "Chavez Yes Men Faulted for Vote's Defeat" in the Washington Times December 7, 2007
Oscar Avila "Chavez Chastened, Hardly Capitulating" in the Chicago Tribune December 4, 2007
Javier Biardeau "Why did Abstention Win?" in Red Pepper, December 11, 2007
Juan Blanco Prada "Bush Loses Venezuelan Election" in The Progressive, December 5, 2007
Chesa Boudin "A Silver Lining for the Bolivarian Revolution" in The Nation, December 6, 2007
Hugo Chavez "Concession Speech" in Venezuela Analysis, December 8, 2007
China Post Editorial Board "Three Cheers for Chavez" in China Post (Taiwan), December 8, 2007
Hienz Dietrich "Strategic Defeat in Venezuela; Mortal Danger for Bolivia and Cuba" [Derrota estratégica en Venezuela; peligro mortal para Bolivia y Cuba] in Aporrea December 3, 2007
Sujata Fernandes "What Does the No Vote Mean?" in The Nation, December 6, 2007
Frank Foer "The Talented Mr. Chavez" in The Atlantic May 2006
Jens Erik Gould "Why Venezuelans Turned on Chavez" in Time December 3, 2007
Greg Grandin "Chavismo & Democracy" in The Nation, December 6, 2007
Nikolas Kozloff "Raising the Stakes for the South American Left" in Counterpunch, December 4, 2007
Jennifer McCoy "Venezuela Reins In, Doesn't Reject Chavez" in Newsday December 10, 2007
Omar Marcano "Battle Lost, But Not the War" [Se perdió la batalla pero no la guerra"]  in Rebelion December 9, 2007
Tim Padgett "How Will Chavez Handle Defeat" in Time, December 5, 2007
Mark Weisbrot "Progressive Change in Venezuela" in The Nation, December 6, 2007
NYT Editorial Board "Authoritarians in the Andes" in New York Times, December 8, 2007
Bill Van Auken "The Class Issues in Chavez's Referendum" in World Socialist Website, November 28, 2007
Elisabeth Young-Bruehl "Behind the Student Movement's Victory" in The Nation, December 6, 2007