In today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern:
One good thing about blogging on the relationship between American and Latin American politics is that one never, ever, runs out of material.
Witness these two stories:
US urges respect for democracy in Venezuela
The United States Tuesday welcomed Venezuela’s “civic” referendum lifting term limits for the president and all politicians, but urged support for democracy and tolerance in the country.
I believe it was ShrinkWrapped who once said liberals are irony-poor, and that comes to mind right now. The article continues,
“We congratulate the civic and participatory spirit of the millions of Venezuelans who exercized their democratic right to vote,” State Department spokesman Noel Clay told AFP.
Venezuelans on Sunday voted 54 percent in favor of constitutional reform sought by President Hugo Chavez to run for unlimited reelection, in his bid to consolidate his brand of socialism critics compare to Cuba’s communism.
Clay said that after the vote, “it is important that elected officials now focus on governing democratically and addressing the issues of concern to the Venezuelan people.”
“We encourage all sectors of Venezuelan society to respect the diversity of use (of the vote) that is the strength of a pluralistic democracy,” he added.
The US reaction to Venezuela’s vote comes uncharacteristically before the complete tally has been announced. The country’s electoral board has issued its first, 54-46 percent vote result with only 94 percent of precincts reporting.
Following up on last week’s podcast about Michelle Bachelet’s visit with Fidel Castro, the Miami Herald’s blog Cuban Colada has been reporting on Fidel’s embarrassing statements regarding Chile and Bolivia following her visit. Nice going, Michelle.
Where to start? Listen to the podcast and find out.
Chat’s open at 10:45AM, and you can listen to the archived podcast at your convenience.
Abrogation of the soul
Congratulating this referendum is an insult to liberal forces in Venezuela which have been battling mightily against long odds and at risk of arrest, to preserve some semblance of a liberal society in a country deeply mired in the grip of crypto-fascist hysteria.
It should be understood that it is the liberal dispossition –one that supports and informs constitutional restraint on state power– not the democratic procedure, that distinguishes Western democracy from being the will of a fanatical mob. Liberalism is the soul that makes democracy moral and viable. The United States should not praise any democratic outcome as instinsically worthwhile, as Bush once did. What it should praise are liberal democratic outcomes….and Chavez’s coupling of potential permanence with his already near autocratic authority, is no victory for liberalism.