Once again The Washington Post lashes out at Venezuela and misinforms its readers on the country’s reality.
In its most recent editorial ("How Chavez Lost the Popular Vote Â and Won By a Landslide," October 1), not only does the Post attempt to disregard a clean and transparent electoral process, but it also reaches the extreme of blatantly lying about the results, claiming that the opposition coalition managed to obtain 52 percent of the so-called "popular vote."
First, it is completely disingenuous and manipulative to draw a national vote count from a legislative election whose logic is predominantly based on individual electoral districts. With the exception of votes for the Latin American Parliament (a regional organization), it makes little sense to speak of a national popular vote in this election.
Second, if we insist on adding all the results of the party-line votes published by the National Electoral Council (CNE), it becomes clear that the 10 opposition parties that make up the Table of Unity (MUD) received 47.16 percent of the "national popular vote." The PSUV alone received 48.19 percent.
Most importantly, the Post’s criticism of Venezuela’s electoral system shows, at the very least, its ignorance about the meaning of participatory democracy. In Venezuela we elect the majority of our representatives to the National Assembly by name, and we respect the participation of minority parties.
The fact that Venezuela’s electoral system is different from that of the United States does not entitle the Post to discredit it.
Moreover, it is odd that the Post defends the system of proportional representation when that system does not even exist in the United States.
Beyond all of the misleading claims used by the Post to misinform its readers, what is most indignant is the condescension shown to the Venezuelan people and the peaceful and democratic road they have chosen. Venezuelans have exercised their right to vote 15 times since President Chavez was first elected in 1998.
There have been regional, legislative and presidential elections, not to mention referenda on the implementation of constitutional reforms and to recall President Chavez himself. (A tool not available in the U.S.)
In this most recent election, the Venezuelan people demonstrated their democratic vocation, along with their faith in the transparency of the country’s modern electoral system, in historic numbers Â 66 percent of the country’s 17 million registered voters cast ballots on September 26.
Even though the Post has consistently tried to discredit Venezuela’s socialist democracy simply because the Venezuelan people have chosen a sovereign and independent path, the truth is that this election marks the consolidation of the country’s system of participatory democracy. The Post should celebrate the fact that the Venezuelan opposition Â after coup attempts and sabotages over the past eleven years Â seems to have joined the democratic process.
Regardless, when the problem isn’t the reality of Venezuela’s democracy but continuing an aggressive editorial line against the democratic, socialist, independent and sovereign government of President Chavez, then it becomes clear why this editorial was published.
Bernardo Ãlvarez Herrera
Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the U.S.
October 2, 2010