From the Annals of Imperial Assymetry: Greg Grandin on the Venezuelan Election

Latin American historian Greg Grandin is a longtime friend of the blog. He’s been one of the main voices of wisdom and sanity on Venezuela over the years, whether in The Nation, or on Charlie Rose or Up With Chris Hayes (transcript here). This morning on FB he made a quick comment on the Venezuelan election, which I’m reproducing here with his permission.

• • • • •

On November 2, 2004, George W. Bush beat John Kerry 50.7 percent to 48.3 percent. Venezuela’s foreign minister immediately (either that night or the day after) recognized the results: “we will hope that in this second mandate we can improve our relations.”

Fast forward nine years, and Nicolás Maduro beats Henrique Capriles with 50.7% of the vote and the US refuses to recognize the result. “Look, we’re just not there yet,” said a State Department spokesman (who now works for—wait for it— John Kerry). “Obviously, we have nearly half the country that had a different view. And so we’ll continue to consult, but we’re not there yet.” [Leading Nathan Newman to quip on FB: “Maybe Kerry thought Venezuela jumped the gun back then, and this is pay back.”]

Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and other Latin American countries have recognized the results, but Washington’s refusal gooses the opposition, who have ransacked and burned government buildings. There have been up to seven deaths. If anyone has any doubts about the flimsiness of Capriles’ claim that he was robbed, read this post by Francisco Toro, who is as antichavista as they come.


  1. swallerstein April 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm | #

    Thanks for the link to the Charlie Rose conversation about Venezuela. Worth listening to.

    Grandin makes some good points, as does Casteñeda, from what might be called a Latin-American insider point of view.

  2. Furio Filoseta April 17, 2013 at 9:38 pm | #

    Please… Chávez HIMSELF promoted the recount in México in 2006. See him and hear him

    Also, José Vicente Rangel, then Venezuela’s vicepresident had this to say: “An opposing candidate can win an election by a few votes, but is a Government’s candidate does so, it raises suspicion”

    Read about it here:

    Just in case, APORREA is a Chavista site…

    Castrocommunism and the Internet don’t mix well, obviously.Wake up and smell the coffee, we now how infinite collective memory.

  3. Dave Cunningham April 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm | #

    It all has the flavor of Chile, 1973. Classic destabilization.

    This time around, though, Venezuela has lots of big, powerful friends.

    • Arker April 18, 2013 at 12:25 am | #

      Not sure how to feel about that fact.

      On the one hand as an American I am always a sucker for the underdog and the native.

      On the other hand, I suspect both sides in Venezuela are corrupt and truly unworthy of support. Much like both sides here. So those big powerful friends, if they live up the billing, may ultimately just make life even worse for Venezuelans in the long run.

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