World » Americas

Jimmy Carter and the OAS backed Chavez victory in the recall vote

Jimmy Carter and the OAS backed Chavez victory in the recall vote
Carter’s center and the Organization of American States, the two main watchers in Venezuela, said they had no objections to make to Chavez’s stunning victory in the referendum on his mandate. After losing the vote for an apalling 16% margin, now the opposition has no other alternative than to accept the official results.

In a joint statement on Monday, former US Presient James Carter and Organization of American States secretary-general, Cesar Gaviria, validated official results that confirmed Venezuelan president Chavez’s stunning victory in a referendum on his mandate. Thanks to an apalling 58.25 percent support, the leftist leader will be able to remain in office until January 2007.

“We have no objections to make. Our numbers are very similar to the ones provided by local authorities”, said Carter to the press after Mr. Gaviria had also validated the results provided by the National Electoral Council and rejected by the opposition as “fraudulent”. Shortly after the announcement of the two main watchers in Caracas, the opposition said it would nevertheless ask observers to audit again the voting as the official results “do not match with our numbers”.

Latin American leaders reacted favourably to Chavez’s ratification: Argentine president Nestor Kirchner congratulated his Venezuelan counterpart, as well as other leaders among the region. Oil markets also welcomed Chavez’s triumph as crude fell from record on Monday in London and New York.

The great margin by which Chavez won, makes the Venezuelan president feel safer from a possible onslaught of the opposition, which has tried to oust him by all means available: a military coup in April 2002, a two months national lock out at the beggining of 2003, and a recall vote last weekend.

It is time for the conservative opposition to reconsider its strategy and wait until Chavez mandate expiring date to constitutionally dispute his power in the polls.

As for Chavez, Sunday’s elections probed his social programmes are effective and his policy of giving political representation to the toiling masses for the first time in Venezuela’s history is also correct. Also, his independent line in foreign affairs has also probed to be succesfull among the region, as Latin American leaders either supported him or keep aside from the confrontation.

Hernan Etchaleco