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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 4/16 (342 comments)

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  •  here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gygaxian, propjoe, SaoMagnifico
    How tilted was the playing field? Take the National Electoral Council. After Chávez's death, the council decided the official presidential campaign would last only 10 days and each candidate would be allowed just four minutes of airtime daily. That decision meant that the opposition had less than an hour of television time for the entire campaign, while the government was allowed those same four minutes plus an additional 70 minutes per channel per week for “institutional” broadcasts. During the Chávez era, those broadcasts had already become indistinguishable from electoral ads. For Maduro, it was no different: Many centered on his approval of massive spending for public works at nearly every campaign stop.
    http://www.slate.com/...

    20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
    politicohen.com
    Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
    UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

    by jncca on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 04:09:52 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  So more like 15x, not 100x (0+ / 0-)

      I hadn't remembered the statistics, but it's still a huge difference.

      20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

      by jncca on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 04:10:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Or you were saying 100x for the dramatic effect (4+ / 0-)

        lol. Like I said, this might seem incredibly out-of-the-ordinary and as absolute evidence that the system is rigged yet I again posit that these institutional deficiencies are not endemic to solely Venezuela. Latin America for decades has suffered from an electoral system that needs fixing. Campaign finance laws are messed up all over the place and media exposure laws also need revising (not just in Venezuela but in Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, etc). The problem is that these laws that the Slate article notes benefit the government in power. So when Chavez was running in 1998, he was opposed to these laws and the systemic advantages afforded to the government in power. When he came to control government, he changed his mind about the law. Capriles is at the disadvantage of these laws but when he becomes president (2019 seems likely) he will probably keep them. These laws should be seen as the byproduct of a woefully inept judicial system that lacks the power to stand up to the legislative and executive branch. But judicial weakness is characteristic of most Latin American governments and not simply Venezuela (I'm a citizen of Panama as well as the US and the Panamanian Supreme Court patterned after SCOTUS is full of right-wing cronies for the Martinelli Administration).

        You have to remember that Latin America has never been a democratic society. It has always suffered some horrible handicap in the development of a civic society (Spanish colonialism leads to the Roosevelt Corollary leads to the Cold War conflict). Only since the 1980s have Latin governments begun to reform but the process takes decades to materialize. Latin America right now is in it's Andrew Jackson "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it" phase. Some governments have made more progress than others on judicial independence (notably Brazil) but Latin America is the embodiment of a strong executive political model. It's why Latin America for decades has had military leaders. The system is rigged and outsiders once elected become part of the corrupt system. Look at leaders today: Colombia has a military figure, Venezuela has a military figure, Nicaragua has a military figure, and most other leaders have strong ties to the military (Dilma Rousseff was once a guerilla fighter tortured by the dictatorship if you recall). So the problem in Venezuela is not endemic to Venezuela and wouldn't even be considered discernible were it not for the more bombastic style of the Socialists and America's interest due to offshore oil (and the newly drilled Orinoco basin). Many of the parties supporting Capriles are now run by men who 20 or 30 years ago benefited from the same system now used by the Socialists. When in charge, do you really think they will reform these laws? I don't. They will do the same thing the Socialists did. For all the praise about Capriles I have yet to be told one positive thing he's done to change the political climate or system of his country or state. He talks the talk but is backed up by the same politicians who messed up the country so badly in the 1990s that the citizenry was desperate enough to take a gamble on Chavez in the first place.

        My only criticism is that America's indignation about Venezuela is not motivated by American love for democracy. We castigate Venezuela because it is in our strategic interest (Oil, Oil, Oil) to have a more right-wing government in charge. Fox News and the politicians keep crowing about democracy. Anathema towards Venezuela runs deeper than lofty democratic visions for the country.  It's about more than democracy. Dictators in countries with no strategic interest get by with a slap on the wrist and a toothless UN Resolution (Uganda, Chad, Congo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Cameroon, Uzbekistan (whose dictator has boiled his political opponents), Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus). It's only when American strategic interests are involved that we feign outrage towards those damned dictators who won't leave their people alone (Iraq-oil, Libya-oil, Venezuela-oil, Iran-oil). Saudi Arabia gives us oil so we turn the other way. Lord knows the second the Saudi government turns off the tap we will suddenly be outraged and morally disgusted at their 40 years of maiming, torturing, usurping civil rights, destroying lives, lynchings, whippings, etc. Let's not kid ourselves into thinking 'democracy' is the crux of this conflict. It's not.

        21, Male, Latino-Spanish, OK-1 (Tulsa: The Art Deco, Terracotta, and Cultural Gem of Green Country!); Currently studying in Madrid, Spain

        by gigantomachyusa on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 05:03:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think anyone is pretending... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gygaxian, aggou, jncca

          That this problem is unique to Venezuela or that Venezuela is a despotic regime on par with Turkmenistan or Saudi Arabia. And I agree a lot of U.S. animus toward Venezuela is because their now-dead strongman and his Mini-Me have an irritating propensity for supporting our enemies, inventing outlandish conspiracy theories about our government, and just generally trying really hard to piss us off.

          But the counter of that, which is pretending that Venezuela is a liberal paradise and that President Chavez and Acting President Maduro are the larger-than-life heroes the Venezuelan government-media complex claims they are, is just ludicrous.

          Do you think Gov. Capriles would have been allowed to take office if the election commission had reported that he won the election? Because personally, I don't.

          •  We tried to topple his government (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bumiputera, Stephen Wolf

            I would be a little miffed too if Washington tried to oust me undemocratically. You have to compare Chavez pre-coup to post-coup because they were different men. Chavez has always been a rabble rouser but he never posed a threat to the US and only truly became a paranoid, spiteful individual against Washington after the coup attempt. Here's video of him in 1998: http://www.youtube.com/.... He doesn't attack the US, he supports private capital and he openly labels Cuba a dictatorship. You can say he was lying the entire time but I think the coup we orchestrated against him left bitter scars and forced him to ally with countries he normally would not even be open to for ideological reasons (Iran principally).

            I encourage you to watch 'The Revolution will not be televised' about the coup attempt against Chavez: http://www.youtube.com/...

            21, Male, Latino-Spanish, OK-1 (Tulsa: The Art Deco, Terracotta, and Cultural Gem of Green Country!); Currently studying in Madrid, Spain

            by gigantomachyusa on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 02:05:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Iran (0+ / 0-)

          isn't really helping their case with the nuclear weapons though.

          Living in Kyoto-06 (Japan), voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

          by sapelcovits on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:35:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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