The recent election in Venezuela offers an opportunity to improve the US-Venezuela bilateral relationship. On Oc. 7th, President Hugo Chavez was reelected to a new six-year term by a nine point margin. I — along with hundreds of other international witnesses — was duly impressed with the transparency of the electoral process and the enthusiasm of Venezuelans for democracy. Eighty-one percent percent of registered voters went to the polls! This turnout was remarkable when compared to the United States and other “mature” democracies.
Whether or not one agrees with Chávez’s policies, there can be no doubt that he won these elections fairly. There are so many checks and balances in the electoral system in Venezuela that there is virtually no room for fraud. The voter registry, the voting machines, the electronic ballot and the data transmission system are all fully audited by representatives of all the different political parties and independent observers.