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Venezuela's Presidential Election Must Be Fair

Venezuela's Presidential Election Must Be Fair

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Will Venezuela's Presidential Election Be Fair?
Will Venezuela's Presidential Election Be Fair?

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Published by: Jerry E. Brewer, Sr. on Oct 06, 2012
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 Will Venezuela's Presidential Election Be Fair?
 Wednesday, 03 October 2012 00:00
 A critical issue that Mr. Chávez refuses to discuss with the people of Venezuelan is the amount of money coming into the country, that has been the highest in the nation's history, yet billionsof bolivars and dollars have been squandering to purchase weapons in Russia and othercountries, and the disbursing of significant amounts of money to other Latin Americancountries in exchange for promises of political loyalty and support.
By Jerry Brewer
 
 V 
enezuelans are preparing to cast ballots next Sunday, October 7, to elect their nextpresident -- either a strong man who will continue in office, or a new leader who will bring renewed hope to the many who have opposed President Hugo Chávez (and hisregime) who has held power for almost 14 years. A usual political question comes to mind when two sides rally for their choice to serve.Do you feel you are better off today, due to the current administration's tenure in office,or do you make a change?In Venezuela, the answer may lie in the reactive nature of the current administrationthat is planning to deploy 14,836 police officers to ensure security during Sunday'sgeneral elections. This includes, in a rare show of force, "8,262 policemen who will jointhe police force a week after their recent graduation," according to officials. As well,those officials add that these police forces will "work closely with the Armed Forces".Hugo Chávez is 58 years old, and he has served as Venezuela's president since 1999. With Mr. Chávez's political ideology of Bolivariansim and "Socialism for the 21stCentury", he has focused on implementing socialist reforms in the country as part of asocial project known as the "Bolivarian Revolution". As Mr. Chávez's past popularity continues to wane within Venezuela, he faces aformidable opponent in candidate Henrique Capriles. Polls are currently projecting aclose race that may subtly indicate that Mr. Chávez has lost support among Venezuela'spoor -- a major portion of the populace that he promised many reforms well over adecade ago.The true results of Mr. Chávez's leftist rule to date have been some of the mostdevastating in Venezuela's history, with the poor continuing to live below the poverty 
 
line, in squalor, unsafe homes, with little food and rolling blackouts of electricity, amongother things. A critical issue that Mr. Chávez refuses to discuss with the people of Venezuelan is theamount of money coming into the country, that has been the highest in the nation'shistory, yet billions of bolivars and dollars have been squandering to purchase weaponsin Russia and other countries, and the disbursing of significant amounts of money toother Latin American countries in exchange for promises of political loyalty andsupport.Too, Mr. Chávez refuses open debate with his opponent, citing the opposition is not worthy to face him. A real and major concern for a once proud Venezuelan homeland is Mr. Chávez havingtaken up the banner of Fidel Castro and Cuba's failed revolution of atrocities, humanrights abuses and shameful misery.Today, Venezuela's violent crime rate is among the worst in the world (see "Crime in Venezuela",
The Economist 
, April 14, 2012). This fact begs the question as to how cannearly 15,000 policemen be deployed to presidential election watch, along with military officials, and not to an ever increasing homicide rate that may be the worst in the worldtoday? There were 19,336 homicides in 2011 alone. Kidnapping, extortion, and armedrobberies are taking place throughout Caracas and other cities, including areas generally presumed safe and frequented by tourists.Mr. Chávez responded to this disparity in policing needs by justifying election security,saying "... his government would not accept 'acts of violence' like in 2002 and 2003," when he was briefly overthrown in a coup and resisted a 2-month general strike thatparalyzed oil production and the economy.Mr. Chávez says he is expecting the opposition to say that there was fraud during theforthcoming elections, adding, "I'm making a list of actions for my government to takein the event that we see other episodes of violence. If they dare to try something they'llregret it for the rest of their lives."This rash and threatening dialogue in contrast to his own former efforts and acts todestabilize the Venezuelan government's status quo -- after leaving prison, following two years of incarceration for leading an unsuccessful coup d'état in 1992. Widespread allegations of Chávez-regime corruption continue to surface. The recentcapture of Sergio Villarreal Barragan, known as "El Grande", of the Mexican BeltranLeyva drug organization, revealed additional charges. Mr. Barragan accused Venezuelanmilitary generals of "complicity in an international cocaine trafficking network that sentdrug flights to Mexico with tons of cocaine, from the northwest Venezuela city of Maracaibo to the Toluca airport in central Mexico". It was reported that Mr. Barraganconfessed "several Venezuelan generals knew of the operation, as did (incarcerated) Venezuelan drug kingpin Walid Makled".

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