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This is a Blog of my trip to Venezuela with the Venezuela Information Office from August 13-18, 2004, as an official observer for the referendum on the Hugo Chavez government.

Monday, August 16, 2004

<Marc> We went to Miraflores to listen to Chavez's speech and watch the victory
celebrations. At 4:30 am, there were few available transportation options
so we walked there in the pouring rain and got completely soaked. The
crowd at the palace was a sea of red and completely estatic. Chavez's
speech was very conciliatory, but it is clear that this is an important
victory and solidifies the direction of the political project here in favor
of the poor and marginalized.

On TV, the opposition is crying fraud. They claim that their figures
showed them winning the vote by 60% to 40%, and pledge to put forward
evidence supporting their charges. At this point, though, it does not
appear that their is any basis for their position. It is unclear whether
they simply were victims of believing their own lies about the level's of
Chavez's popularity, or whether this is yet one more anti-democratic ploy
to press elite class interests against those of the people.

</Marc> <!--7:44 AM-->

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