Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Price of Dissent in Venezuela

"The opposition, understandably shocked and demoralized, insisted on a hand-count of all computer voting receipts as the only way of settling the dramatic disparity between exit polls that showed 58% to 41% in favor of the recall and the announced result of 58% to 41% in favor of retaining Col. Chávez. Later that morning the most important observer, former President Jimmy Carter, declared that he was shown the computer tally by government supporters and that everything seemed in order. Mr. Carter then left Venezuela, and the opposition groups that had put their faith in him to facilitate a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Mr. Carter, who was vociferous and insistent about patience, transparency and hand-tallies during the Florida recount, left Venezuela to attend Mrs. Carter's birthday party."

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