The Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, looked to be losing his grip on power last night as exit polls showed him to be trailing the opposition by almost a million votes.
The figures were early indications that, for the first time in the country’s history, the President may have his term in office cut short by a referendum.
The mid-morning results showed that the opposition, already boasting an enormous 1,758,000 votes to Chavez’s 798,000, is well on its way to reaching the target of 3.76 million votes it needs to oust the authoritarian, left-wing President.
This is what happens when you’re elected by an overwhelming majority and you think that means you can grab as much power as you can fit in your fist and use it to smash people. Guess what, boss. The people hit back. So now you’re out on your ass, and it looks like you’ll have to pull off a successful military coup to get your old job back.
Two days ago I wrote about how for a while there (until the facts came in) I thought Hugo Chavez was the right guy for Venezuela. Sure enough, someone in the comments section had to come along and prove John Derbyshire’s point.
Wherever there is a jackboot stepping on a human face, there will be a well-heeled Western liberal there to assure us that the face enjoys free health care and a high degree of literacy.
It’s embarrassing to watch it, and I’d like to think it’s even more embarrassing to be the one doing it. Sadly, no, apparently that is not the case.
I’m slightly annoyed that I have to quote John Derbyshire here. (I suppose I could quote someone else, but he nailed it best.) The reason I wish someone else said this is because even though Mr. Derbyshire is absolutely correct, he makes the same mistake in a different way. Grant McEntire in the comments wasted no time adding McEntire’s Corollary, also correct:
Whenever there’s a right-wing authoritarian jackboot stepping on a human face, there will be a well-heeled American conservative there to assure us that the face enjoys a high level of stability and order and that it’s in our national interests.
That pretty much covers the bases. All I have left to say is good riddance to another wannabe jackbooted bastard. I say “wannabe” because Hugo Chavez never had what it takes to join the big leagues, though it never did stop him from trying. That, or Venezuela was just a little more resilient and a little harder to break than he bargained for.